Seventeen years ago, this month, the very first Valley Patriot rolled off the printing press at Graphic Development in Hanover, Massachusetts.
We remember the predictions of local politicians who said we would be out of business in 3 months, laughing at the idea that anyone would take this monthly publication seriously.
We also remember the many challenges we’ve had to overcome, challenges that we never could have imagined we would face.
Since 2004 we have survived the breakup of our original board, the retirement of Chuck Ormsby and Ralph Wilbur, (two of our three founders), the decline of the newspaper industry due to the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and various on-line news sites, multiple bogus lawsuits (and we haven’t lost yet), the Columbia Gas explosions, an onslaught of bad press by our competitors at the daily newspaper, other newspapers stealing our advertisers, months of shutdowns from COVID, (and the loss of advertising revenue from so many business closings), and of course, the continuing attacks we get by corrupt political hacks trying to destroy our credibility or shut us down any time they are criticized in the pages of this newspaper.
We have also achieved some amazing accomplishments since 2004.
Our publisher Tom Duggan wrote a new public records law in Massachusetts that makes it harder for public officials to conceal public information, and has strict penalties for those who refuse to comply with public records requests.
The Valley Patriot team also created a charity BASH that we hold every year in March (it will be in MAY this year because of COVID) whereby we have raised and donated more than $80,000 for college scholarships, and honored more than two dozen police officers, firefighters, and veterans, as well as raising tens of thousands of dollars for local non profits and those who work with the homeless.
The Valley Patriot also published “Heroes in Our Midst” in 2017. The book is a compilation of stories that have appeared on the front page of The Valley Patriot honoring local veterans who not only served their country but continued to serve their community when they returned home.
Yes, we have faced a lot of challenges and accomplished quite a bit in 17 years, but we couldn’t have done any of it without the help and support of the local business community advertising their products and services.
We also could not have kept going through the tough times without the dozens of staff and volunteers who randomly pitch in to help us when times are bad.
Thank you to everyone who helps us publish this newspaper every month! We hope to be around another 17 years! ◊