TOM WARD – Thank you all

TOM WARD – Thank you all

It was October 1977, at age 24, when I first hoisted a camera for The Woonsocket Call and began my journey that ends this week. For every single moment of it, how lucky I have been! My love of news began at age 11 as a Providence Journal paperboy, and never subsided. Nor has my love of wondering why things don’t get done a certain common-sense way. I know everybody wonders about things like that, but I got to play in the “news” sandbox, thanks to people like George Beaubien and Frank Pelletier, who set me upon the path believing I could do a good job.

Nineteen years later, it was my good fortune – as well as the honor and privilege of my life – to start this newspaper. With the help of some really talented people, including partner Jamie Quinn, we’ve kept it going for 1,256 issues. I cannot thank all of you enough, readers who had enough faith in our search for interesting and useful stories, to keep coming back for 24+ years. Thanks also to advertisers, new and long-time, who understood that not only would our newspapers reach most of the people in this thriving market, but that their business messages, over time, would be money well spent in growing their customer base and our communities.

Very kind people have said to me: “That’s quite a legacy.” Well, there’s even more. Four years ago I wrote a column celebrating our 20th anniversary. My second daughter, Kate McMorrow, now assistant principal of Cumberland High School, commented at its end: "As I sit here reading this, I am happily reminded of grandma bringing us to see ‘daddy at work’ – all of 10 feet away, in our living room. I am reminded of how this paper was simply a part of our lives, and I am reminded of how, to (I and my sisters, Michaela and Kristen), at the ages of 9, 7 and 5, it seemed ‘easy.’

“I am also reminded of 15 years later, when we started to understand the truth. It was NOT easy, it was hard work and true passion. It was dedication to doing what was right and what was needed in our town. It was scary nights and days of wondering if it was going to work out. I am so proud of you. I am so proud of what you and The Valley Breeze family have accomplished. I am so proud that you have always stuck to your roots and have spoken your mind. I am proud when people ask me ‘You’re Tom’s daughter, right?’ And most of all, I am so proud to have grown up seeing firsthand what hard work, dedication and a true passion for your community, your job, and your family will lead to.”

I was later blessed with a son, Steven, who long-time readers recall as our “Disney baby,” born unexpectedly on our first-ever Orlando trip.

And all of this because I married “the right girl,” Carol, who took this huge leap of faith with me in the frightening winter of 1996.

They are, and have always been, my legacy. The Valley Breeze is part of all of us, and it always will be. And so this is goodbye. I leave our Opinion Page and this space in the able hands of Dan Yorke, a WPRO radio host who will begin writing in two weeks, as well as Erika Sanzi, who will also be found here writing on various topics.

Thank you forever, and may God bless all of you.

Ward is founder of The Valley Breeze newspapers

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having done it.(Emerson) Passion will always meet the challenge. Enjoy your retirement.

Like many others I've been a faithful reader all these years and have enjoyed the local articles and especially your opinion pieces. You will be missed. Happy Journey!

Here's wishing you a long and comfortable retirement. It's been a pleasure reading your editorials and congratulations on a job well done! Maybe well see each other around town. I'll be sure to stop and say "HI" the next time we pass.

Good bye to a good and worthy man. You tried your best to inform citizens of Rhode Island for so many years. The best to you in the next stage of your life. Blessings to you and your loved ones.

Sir, thank you for providing an honest and reliable source of local news for all these years...God Bless You.

Long time from over Tucks. Enjoy your family!

What a great service you provided to our communities. Enjoy your retirement - you deserve it! Frank was my next door neighbor in Cumberland and I'm not surprised that he assisted in your career. He was a very nice man. Enjoy life, Tom.

Thank you for printing my letters to the editor and I’m glad you git to meet my (step) Dad, Herb O’Rourke, when he was building rock walls and fountains at the Butterfly Garden at Chase Farm.
And never forget that Christine Nowak made sure that people spelled Line Rock correctly.
Jim Fredrikson

Thank you for all the support you willingly gave to community groups. Your support raised awareness of the good works done by good people. We'll make room for you, Carol, and the family in the shade at the next Arnold Mills parade.

to bring the many Northern RI communities the Breeze and Observer cover the finest news coverage and stories possible!

Thank You for your continued efforts encouraging residents to shop and support their local businesses.

Also, Thank You for your friendship all of these many, many, years.

Enjoy your and Carol! I want to see many, many, miles put on that new Motorhome. More-so, when you return...all the photos! Remember when you stand-out in 1977, for the "Call" you were also, besides a "Cub" Reporter, photographer...and a damn good one at that with your brand new Professional Minolta XK! :-)

Lastly, I spoke with Ethan...I told him that I hoped, as I know do many others, you will continue to share with us, on occasion (monthly?) a column.

Oh, one last thing. The site address for FaceBook is:

Your time has come. I look forward to continuing our 41-year friendship on it!!!! As I am also sure do many, many others!!

Tom Letourneau

If we had a Hall of Fame in Lincoln I would nominate you to be enshrined with a copy of your first Valley Breeze. I believe I read every one of them. If not I only missed a few.
In fact I now read all the editions. The Breeze is the only place that has the news of our area.
Not only news, but great coverage of. Community Events and Local Youth Sports.
You are the Fred Lynn of Newspaper Publishers. Your rookie year with the Breeze was a MVP year ( you did it all). Then each year was an All Star year with he great team you put together.
I am very grateful for you and the Valley Breeze.

Mr. Ward,

There's a reason rear view mirrors are small and windshields are big.

Nice to see where you've been, but the adventures ahead are as big as you want them to be.

We are fulltime RV'ers and avid online readers since 2000. Hope our nomadic paths cross on the RV trails.

Enjoy your hard earned retirement and new found freedom.

Until then.....

- Captain Jack Sparrow