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Ashland Source correspondent reporter Waylon O'Donnell issues a farewell statement as he retires from Ashland Source, taking the mantle of Program Director at 104.5 WQKT / 960 WKVX in Wooster, Ohio.

Esteemed Ashland Source,

We’ve had a humorous relationship, haven’t we?

I have always been a devout writer, but I credit you with nothing less than honing my editorial skillset.

You have taught me the importance of tactical rhetoric, accurate reporting, and the inquisitive examination of “How can we/this/that be better?” – ala “Solutions Journalism.”

Ashland Source pioneer Courtney McNaull deserves true commendation for my initiation into the organization. For some unbeknownst reason, she supported a rugged, long-haired Ashland University radio host and accepted him into the Ashland Source tandem.

Thank you, Courtney, for believing in me. The man I am today would never have manifested without your encouragement. You epitomize gentleness, genuineness, and absolute compassion.

l admit I was nervous when Courtney moved on to other opportunities, but the addition of Tracy Leturgey to Ashland Source proved more than sufficient. Tracy and I developed a strong ongoing friendship that stemmed from our shared Pennsylvanian hometown.

Thank you, Tracy, for exemplifying the significance of balancing professional and personal development. Your work ethic inspires me as does your passion for family. No matter the situation, you always had my back.

Journalism is not for the light-hearted; it’s tough, and it can weigh you down. In today’s world, negative news stories tend to be more popular than positive ones. “Feel-good” articles exist, but at times get pushed aside by uncomforting, albeit necessary, articles that are a journalist’s duty to work.

Reliability and truth may not always be met with acceptance, but those qualities are the standard that every media entity should uphold.

I challenge Ashland Source to continue to put your readers first.

Thank you, Ashland Source, for opening the door to the Ashland community. It has been the best gift I have ever received.

Revered Ashland,

We have a humorous relationship, haven’t we?

What stemmed from a young man’s whimsical choice to attend Ashland University blossomed into a beautiful home. I have never been more proud to belong to such a place.

To the community members I have interacted with over the past few years, thank you for being so welcoming and for accepting me as an Ashlander. Outsiders know not the true feeling of living in this community.

We’re cohesive, we support each other, and even though we have our disagreements, the Ashland community always comes first. It is no wonder that we are evolving.

If I were to settle anywhere, why not Ashland?

I am forever grateful to Ashland for giving me a home when I did not know where I was going. You are the reason I wake up every morning.

This is not goodbye, Ashland. This is simply another sunrise.

Beloved God,

We have a humorous relationship, haven’t we?

You have always known what is best for me and You continue to lead me where I am supposed to be, even if I do not always anticipate Your plans.

Lord, thank You for giving me an undeserved and unforeseen opportunity with Ashland Source. It has been a reward to work for this organization.

I know I could have been better with our communication practices, but I never forgot You. You perform massive, incredible, marvelous miracles, and yet You took the time to carve a path for me to follow.

Even when I have faced stubborn obstacles, You have always been there for me. Even when I felt alone, Your hand was guiding me.

Without You Ashland would not exist, but You cared enough to establish such a wonderful community. Your craftsmanship does not go unnoticed, I assure You.

I am honored that You love me. I love You too.

Thank You for tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Waylon O'Donnell,

Proud Ashlander

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West Sunbury, PA native. Alum of Ashland University & Gonzaga University. News and sports announcer for 104.5 WQKT in Wooster, trivia host for Sporcle Live, and Communications and Transportation Coordinator for the Ashland County Cancer Association.