1. I'm giving the top-story nod to the tornado of May 31, 1985. For one of my photo assignments that day, I reported to an emergency-vehicle show at Conneaut Lake Park — but there were no emergency vehicles to be found. Finally, someone told me, "They all went to the tornado!" Read that to say, "What kind of stupid newspaper guy are you?" Well, from that moment, my life was set into motion on a months-long journey of photographing and reporting on this major catastrophe that claimed four lives in our county, dozens more throughout the region, and destroyed so many homes and businesses. The Associated Press used the Tribune as a news hub for a week or so; what a learning experience that became for me. Though devastating, this event quickly became an example of an entire community — you — coming together, helping each other, picking up the pieces, holding each other up and rebuilding.
2. Sept. 11, 2001, changed the face of America, obviously for the worse, but it also became another example of communities — you and the entire nation — coming together, working as one, helping each other.
3. Many local sports teams have brought the thrill of victory to their Crawford County hometowns. When I was along for the ride with the Meadville High basketball teams of the 1980s, I observed and helped report on the fever-pitch these events can generate. They are clear examples of whole communities coming together. So sweet; if they come your way, live them deeply.
4. As a photographer for 10 years, I saw first-hand, day in and day out, the great work that goes on in our schools. The dedication of these outstanding teachers, administrators, concerned parents and school board members was constantly reflected in the kids I saw learning and growing.