Forty-one and done.
Whenever someone says, “can I ask you a question?” I always respond “42.” According to the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. If 42 is the meaning of life, I’m there.
Forty-one years ago one of my best friends and future brother-in-law called about a truck driver job at the Belleville News-Democrat. It worked perfectly with my school schedule in St. Louis; I planned on becoming an architect. Instead, on Dec. 23, 1976, I started on a path that included many challenges, opportunities and rewards.
After 41 years, I have decided it is time to retire from the BND.
For nearly 14 years, I have had the honor and privilege of being the steward of this 160-year-old, ever evolving local news organization. I believe in local journalism. It is often the only thing that keeps the wolves from eating the sheep.
Please indulge me while I share a few things I have learned:
▪ Do the right thing for the right reason.
▪ If it was easy, anybody could do it.
▪ If you don’t invest your time, talent and/or treasure in your community, it’s not really your community.
▪ Being from here means you should be for here.
▪ Math never lies.
▪ Any two folks who want to find an answer can.
▪ Balance must be sought, and respect is earned
▪ Absolute power always corrupts absolutely.
▪ Corruption is a team sport.
▪ You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem. If you can’t see a solution, you aren’t looking hard enough, so pray more.
▪ There are a few good politicians out there, and I think I met both of them.
▪ Change is the only constant.
▪ Live your life and make all your decisions with no regrets.
▪ The harder you work, the luckier you get.
This community has been and will remain very important to me. I was born three blocks from this desk, went to grade school two blocks from here, and was married in the church between those other two buildings. I have never lived far from my office, never was lured by the grass being greener, and have tried to invest my time, talent and treasure to improve this region. I have been fortunate to serve on and lead multiple boards and civic groups. Being involved helps you to understand and to care. As I like to say, get to know the metro-east. I live here. I love it.
I’m proud to say I’ve worked pretty hard and been very lucky. I have been a part of the BND and it will always be a part of me, but now it’s time for others to step up.
I remain thankful for God, my family, my friends, and all of those whom I have worked with over the years.
Forty-one and done. The answer is “42.”
Jay Tebbe is the president and publisher of the Belleville News-Democrat.