Dear readers, friends and community members,
After nearly three and a half years at Patch, I’m saying farewell. Today is my last day here at Patch. With the New Year, I’ll be embarking on a new journey. I’m leaving Patch to work for a weekly news magazine in Las Vegas.
Before I wind up buried in the desert due to unpaid gambling debts, I wanted to thank all of you for your years of support for making Union City and Fremont Patch what they are today. Your news tips, story ideas, comments and feedback have driven the sites and held me accountable as a journalist.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you at community events, at town meetings and while on assignment. There are others who I know only by screen names and email addresses. It’s been wonderful getting to know all of you.
I began working for Patch in August of 2010, launching the Union City site three months later. I had little daily news experience, had never sat through a City Council or school board meeting, and didn’t know a single thing about Fremont or Union City. But I was passionate about telling people’s stories, and the community embraced me. In August of 2012, I helped launch Fremont Patch — at the time the largest of Patch’s nationwide network of hyper-local news websites. The Fremont community embraced me, too. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow as a reporter. I hope that I've done right by your respective communities.
During my time at Patch, I’ve written thousands of stories from inspiring profiles to tragedies that rocked our communities and everything in between, most of them stories that you couldn’t find on other news outlets. There are just too many memorable experiences to single any out.
Of course, I didn’t do it all on my own. I’ve had a great regional team backing me. For the sake of brevity, I won’t name them but they know who they are.
Leaving isn’t easy. My Patch sites are my babies. I was afraid of leaving them but something happened during my last days here that let me know they were in good hands — yours.
Just before Christmas there was a terrible house fire in Union City that displaced 16 people, including five children. Users commented on our Facebook page asking how they could help. Because of your desire to help, the fire department opened their local firehouses to welcome donations on Christmas Eve and the family was able to have a Christmas. “Thanks to the community, family and friends we felt like there was nothing lost,” one of the family members told me the next morning.
That’s what the power of information can do — inspire action and touch lives. While I’d like to take credit for it, you guys made it happen. Keep it up.
Keep sharing your stories, keep reading, keep patching your community in.
During this transition period, feel free to contact regional editor Alex Gronke with questions, concerns or story ideas. Email Gronke at email@example.com.
Zoneil Maharaj (@zoneil)Editor, Fremont and Union City Patch