I’ve been staring at a blank document for about five minutes, and for perhaps the first time my life, I’m finding it challenging to muster up the right words.
How do I summarize and express enough gratitude for the last 10-plus years of my life that were spent reporting on the city I grew up in? Words escape me, because I truly think this city has helped me more than I ever could help it.
I’ve seen joy, tragedy and everything in between in this role and I wouldn’t change a second of it.
It’s in this newsroom that I grew into the writer and woman I am today, and I’m endlessly thankful for the experiences I’ve had as a journalist here as well as the people who have trusted me with their stories. In doing so, they’ve taught me about life, about resilience, and perhaps most importantly, about compassion.
Entering journalism as a fresh-faced 20-something 11 years ago, I had passion: I have truly considered this job a calling and a responsibility from Day One.
This has been so much more than a job. I woke up, spent my days, and went to sleep thinking about this job, the stories I planned to tell, as well as the people who entrusted me with their own.
From the start I’ve always strived to give a voice to those who couldn’t speak up on their own.
Quickly in my career I developed a niche for myself in this newsroom: Homelessness and addiction was a topic I naturally gravitated toward.
I don’t believe I was ever assigned a story in this realm. I sought them out, and I sought hard.
I suppose, if I ask myself why, the answer is that I grew up in Surrey in a single-parent home, both witnessed and experienced abuse at far too young an age, and have always thought it was sheer luck that I didn’t end up worse off in life.
I’ve always taken time to get to know, respect and give dignity to each and every marginalized person I met along my path as a journalist. After all, I recognized how easily that could have been me.
I worked hard within the metaphoric walls of this newsroom to tell the stories I have. And I was extraordinarily lucky enough to have an editor who gave me the freedom to do it.
Last day. All the feels.
— Amy Marie Reid (@amyreid87) November 23, 2020
It’s this passion for helping those who are suffering that will continue to drive my career path, just from a different role. It’s one that I hope will be equally impactful.
I start this week as the Fund Development and Communications Manager for the long-standing and well-respected Phoenix Society that helps people change their lives through drug and alcohol recovery.
Although I’m just as eager to step into this new role as I was journalism all those years ago, leaving my role as a reporter was an extremely hard choice. For the better part of my adult life it’s been a massive part of my identity.
I truly hope each and every one of our readers know how thankful and blessed I consider myself to be having had this career. To tell your stories. To share the successes. To be there during the tragedy. To help you voice your calls for change. To shine light on injustices.
And, I would be remiss to conclude this column without thanking my editor, Beau Simpson. It was you who gave me the chance as a young and green reporter (we both know you had many more qualified candidates to choose from at the time).
It was you who mentored me and helped mould me into the writer and journalist I have become. I will be eternally grateful for the support you and this company has provided me with over the last decade – and for putting up with my often feisty demeanour in my pursuit of stories.
Some of the happiest and most fulfilling memories of my life have been with this newspaper and this team, one that has truly come to feel like family to me.
So, while Amy Reid the journalist says goodbye, I won’t be gone.
I will continue to strive to make this city a better place by trying to help those who are struggling, just from a different role, from a new lens.
They say a society is judged by how they treat their most vulnerable. My life’s goal will always be to try to make ours just a little bit better, because we have a long way to go.
Until next time, Surrey.
Amy Reid has been a staff writer for the Now-Leader for more than a decade. Her last day was Monday (Nov.23).