We are closing out 2020 and pray for a outstanding 2021. This has been a year for the record books, but that is not what I want to talk about in this column.

I want to talk about the Pontotoc Progress and the people who make this paper happen each week.

Like any industry, people would be surprised at what happens behind the scenes to produce any product.

The people at the Progress work day and night to insure you get the best paper possible week in and week out.

This is a small staff and even on their vacation and holidays, they work to make sure they get their jobs done. This is a staff that does the work they do because they care about this community and want to give you the information that you need to know about what is going on in Pontotoc.

David Helms, Editor, leads the news gathering. David writes a column each week that rivals any paper with his humor and insight. No one works more diligently than David in making sure every story in the paper is accurate and fair in its reporting. You would be surprised at the hours he spends not only writing but reading for accuracy. David is an accomplished photographer and he insist on having lots of pictures of the people of Pontotoc in the paper each week.

Regina Butler, Reporter, is the only other full-time reporter on staff. Regina writes a column and does a lot of the features and special section stories. When reading the paper, you will know if it is one of Regina’s stories without seeing the by-line. Regina writes from the heart and it overflows in the words she writes. She is the one we can call on to go out and shoot pictures and cover an event any day and at any time of the day or night.

Jonathan Wise, Sports Editor, is the only full-time sports writer on staff covering our three schools with multiple sports being played all year long. Jonathan not only covers the sports and coordinates what we call stringers, people who will cover a sporting event and send Jonathan the story, to make sure he gets as many stories with the names of as many young athletics as possible about their high school accomplishments as he can. Like David, Jonathan is an accomplished photographer and makes sure we have the faces of as many children as possible in the paper each week.

Galen Holley, Stringer, who is really one of the family, has been working with the Progress for several years now and brings so much to the paper. He is one of the best feature writers I have ever read. He can write a feature on anything and will bring you in the story and you will read every word as he carries you to the end with great interest. Galen can cover any type of story as well as being a fantastic sports writer.

Angie Quarles, Advertising Director, is the person that goes out and works with the local businesses to help them develop their advertising message. She helps them with taking pictures of the people and products to help you not only read about their stores but can have a visual. Angie is one of hardest working people I have had the honor of working with. She juggles the advertising of every business in Pontotoc for the paper each week and all the special sections and magazines that we produce each year.

Chelsea Williams, Designer, is the one that puts it all together. Angie will bring in pictures and the information for an ad and tell Chelsea to make it look pretty and she does. Chelsea is a creative person, but more importantly she cares about each and every ad that she designs. She designs the ad as if it was her own business she was designing for. Not only does she design the ads, she designs the paper and every special section and magazine. When Chelsea began working with the Progress part time almost seven years ago doing magazine work the design of our magazines took on a new style that took our paper and products to a new level. She joined the staff almost four years ago full time and if you see something new in the design of the paper or magazines, Chelsea is the one responsible for that.

Tonya Criddle, Office Manager, is the one that keeps everything working around here. She handles all the legal, classifieds, circulation, she makes sure all the bills get paid, that we have the supplies we need and tries to keep up with who is where so when a call comes in she can know how to route a call. If I tried to list everything she does for the paper you would get tired of reading the many task she keeps up with. Working with this group of people is like herding cats, but she manages with ease.

I can’t tell you enough good things about this group of people and their dedication to this community and this newspaper.

They work their family life around their responsibilities here at the paper and that is not an easy task, but they do it as a team and support and help each other.

I am proud to be a small part of this team and am grateful they continue to do the work they do each week.

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