caitie-ihrig-in-focus-column-socorro-el-defensor-chieftainOn September 8 I will be stepping down as Editor for El Defensor Chieftain as I accepted a  photography position back in New York.

It has been an honor telling the stories of the residents in Socorro County.

From city council meetings to vaccine clinics to athletic events, I’m glad I was able to be there for all of it and promote the positives while bringing light to the negatives.

While it was difficult getting to know community members due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of community events, I will remember those who I got to know and those who continually brought a smile to my face by making me laugh or telling me what they liked about the content I was covering.

I have gotten to know many members within the City of Socorro and in the Socorro Consolidated School District and I thank those who have given me story ideas and those who pointed me in the right direction for a story I was working on.

I am very thankful for the community members who gave me sources for a story or told me how they thought the story could be better and have a greater impact within Socorro County. There were many sources who, after I interviewed them, would give me contact information for other people who they thought could add to the story.

To the athletes who have had incredible success this past year: I am sorry I couldn’t provide the amount of coverage you deserved while I covered news at the same time, but it was an honor to watch the amount of success you brought to Magdalena and Socorro. There were quite a few state championship runs this year and I hope that success continues. All of you deserve it, especially after the past two years of uncertainty.

I am grateful to those who let me interview them for 52 Faces, especially the many talented artists that live in Socorro. It was special seeing all the artwork that has been created in this county and the pieces that showcase how wonderful this county is.

There are so many positives about Socorro and I hope those continue to be showcased and the county continues to grow.

While it is a small county in terms of population, it amazed me how everyone came together to help others. There were always volunteers for vaccine clinics or people helping others after a flood. There are many feel-good stories in this county due to how everyone supports one another.

When I started this job in November, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what the community would be like. What I found was a group of people who supported me, who supported the newspaper and wanted to see both succeed.

I also found people who supported me and were there for me outside of the Chieftain.

I found a family here and a family that is very hard to leave. For the past nine months, they have had my back, have been a shoulder to cry on, have been my sounding board and so much more.

To that group of people, thank you for every single thing each and every one of you have done for me. No matter what time of the day it was, you were all there for me. There were many laughs, many jokes and many times that still bring a smile to my face when I think about them.

To my coworkers, thank you for all the laughs, the amount of food we would bring each other and for always checking in on me when you knew it had been a hard day. They realized that a basket of McDonalds french fries and a Dr. Pepper would make me feel better and there were days one of them would show up with food for me because they knew I didn’t eat lunch or needed a pick-me-up.

There are so many people here that I am going to miss. There are events I wish I would still be in town to see and cover. There are games that I wanted to attend.

I am so thankful for everything I have gotten to do, but I am also looking forward to what this next opportunity will bring.