I honestly can’t believe it’s been two and a half years since I started working at The Galveston County Daily News as a full-time employee. I’ve enjoyed every second of it, but it’s time for a new chapter.

During my time at The Daily News, I’ve gotten to experience many events — the COVID-19 pandemic being the most life-changing. I also got to try multiple roles at The Daily News. I’ve written sports stories and sports columns, designed pages, copyedited stories, created graphics, took photographs, wrote two editorials and even got to write an entertainment column.

All of these responsibilities and opportunities helped me develop into a well-rounded journalist who could plug in his skills when needed. I was a utility player, and it was rewarding.

I enjoyed covering Galveston County. My all-time favorite event to write about was the annual Ohana Surf & Skate Dog Competition for the Galveston Island Humane Society. I love dogs, and watching dogs — and a cat — surf is pretty cool.

THE NEWSROOM

The Daily News wouldn’t be what it is without all of its employees, but I got to develop a special bond with my fellow newsroom co-workers.

I’m thankful for meeting senior reporter John Wayne Ferguson and reporters Keri Heath and Emma Collins; I’ve been impressed by their abilities to chase down stories. I’m thankful for Community News Editor Angela Wilson’s passion for sports and her patience.

I’m thankful for Photography Editor Jennifer Reynolds providing amazing art for my stories every time. I’m thankful for photojournalist Stuart Villanueva for always showing up extremely early for assignments and for our Colorado Rapids photo shoot.

I’m thankful for Editor Michael A. Smith and Managing Editor Laura Elder for giving me a chance to try many roles as an intern and full-time employee.

I’m thankful for Deputy Managing Editor Margaret Battistelli Gardner who helped improve my writing skills. I’m thankful for Ivy Hettinger-Roberts for backing me up when it came to copyediting stories or proofing pages.

I’m thankful for Sports Editor James LaCombe and his guidance. I’ve written many sports stories and columns and designed many sports pages under his watch. He’s been a steady guiding force in helping improve my writing and interviewing skills.

He helped me find stronger descriptive words to tell a story. LaCombe is one of the best when it comes to writing features, so it helped to have someone I could turn to when writing my features. LaCombe is a close friend, a mentor and a role model, and I’ll always be grateful for him.

I saved the person for whom I’ve been most thankful during my time here at The Daily News for last. I’ll always be thankful for my immediate boss, Design Editor Seames O’Grady. He has taught me so much during my time here, especially when it comes to page design.

In a way, O’Grady reminds of the character Red from “That ’70s Show.” He shows how much he cares about you not by his words but by his actions.

No matter what was going on, I always knew he had my back even when he didn’t need to have my back. He stuck up for me whether I made a mistake or cleaned up a huge error.

While I’ve had a wonderful time here at The Daily News, it’s time to embark on a new adventure. It’s been real, Galveston County. Goodbye for now, but I’m sure I’ll be back visiting soon.

Keenan Betz: 409-683-5237, keenan.betz@galvnews.com or on Twitter @surebetkeenan.

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Former Sports Columnist, Reporter & Copy Editor

Keenan worked for The Daily News in various roles from June 2017 through December 2021.

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