For he’s a jolly good fellow

Published 8:35 am Friday, January 29, 2010

At most newspapers such as ours, there are countless people working to make sure there’s a seamless transition from our office to your paper box.

Most people can tell you what a reporter or editor does and how to reach said people if you have a news tip or a complaint about a story.

When you want to subscribe to the paper, you know to call the circulation desk.

If you have a yard sale coming up, you stop by and place an ad with a classifieds representative.

But there are people behind-the-scenes, too, who make getting the newspaper to a carrier look easy.

Tops on that list is Wayne Edwards, who up until last night, was our go-to man on everything from turning pages into plates for the press to delivering papers that somehow didn’t make it to their intended destination and everything in between.

After three years here, Wayne, the 2008 Tidewater News Employee of the Year, has decided to move to a paper in Opp, Ala., to be closer to his family.

Our do-anything-anyone-ever-asks-of-you man will be sorely missed, not just because his work ethic is unmatchable, but because he’s a positive soul in a stressed-out and not-always-positive world.

I can’t remember the first time I met Wayne, because I’m sure it was when I was on deadline and worried about 43 other things. I can tell you, however, that we were fast friends and brothers-in-arms when it came to the thrice weekly battle of getting the newspaper out. Usually that involved me frantically running to the plate room to tell him that I was sending another page to fix a last-minute error. No matter how late it was, he always smiled and nodded his head — sometimes giving me a raspy laugh and teasingly telling me he wouldn’t take it. A cross word never came from his lips, although I know I had given him plenty of occasion to burst.

Too many times to count, Wayne saved this newspaper — me, in particular — from embarrassing errors. He would read the pages while plating them and discover mistakes in stories, ads, special sections, wherever, and bring it to our attention.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I said, “Thank God you caught that!” to him, because I’d bet I could afford something nice at a fancy jewelry store with the loot I collected.

Wayne was our go-to guy for hauling heavy stuff all over the building. He was in charge of making sure inserts got into the paper each deadline night. He worked maintenance on the machines he used regularly. He even ordered cleaning supplies.

If he was out traveling for the paper, Wayne would bring back Bojangles chicken for the women at the front desk. He’s helped a reporter change a tire and our classifieds manager move to another apartment. On more than one occasion, especially after I had eye surgery last year, Wayne would give me a lift home after a really long night making the newspaper.

He shared stories about his son, Tyler. He made sure we all knew how much that kid was loved.

Most of all, he was (and is) our friend and has become like family to us.

Good luck, Wayne. If anyone deserves it, it’s you.