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  Comments (0) Total Wednesday Apr. 16, 2014
 
Happy Trails
Like I Was Sayin...
There’s a story I like to tell about my colleague Myers Reece. It involves how I “discovered” him after he had spent months backpacking through the jungles of South America. How I set him on the straight and narrow by making him my first hire at the Flathead Beacon. Of course, this story is largely embellished and is mostly told to make Myers laugh. We’ve always laughed a lot.

In reality, Myers was already an up-and-coming writer when I hired him in 2007. He had worked freelance jobs for outdoor magazines, interned at newspapers and was well known in the industry. He did have a somewhat unorthodox resume, opting to major in history instead of journalism at the University of Montana. And, yes, he had just recently returned from a trip to South America when I met him at a Bozeman restaurant.

Myers and I hit it off almost immediately. When we started this newspaper, he lived on my couch for a few weeks before buying a home in Kalispell. During that first year, we spent 12 hours a day working together, then another four hours discussing that work at the neighboring bar. Then we would do it again the next day. He is a loyal friend and an even better employee and I’m sad to see him go.

After six years, Myers is taking on a new challenge. He will be contributing to a number of publications, including ours, but will no longer be working at the Beacon full time. He has plenty to keep him busy, including work on his first book.

I met Myers when he was just 22 years old, and looked even younger. He’s inherently shy, but somehow broke some of the biggest stories we’ve ever published – on unlicensed orphanages, corrupt police departments and shady multinational corporations. He’s quiet, but eager to ask challenging questions. He’s won multiple awards for his investigative and wildlife reporting.

Myers does journalism right. It’s personal to him. Criticism, which is common in this business, still hurts. He’s humble and often wears his stress on his sleeve. I hope his next venture is a bit more relaxing, but I doubt it. Once you live and breathe deadlines, you really can’t function without them.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this newspaper the last six years, you have Myers to thank. He has been the quiet leader on this team since the beginning – setting an example by the story he breaks and the doggedness with which he works.

We are lucky to have Myers continue to contribute to this publication, even on a more limited basis, and I’m happy to announce that Missoulian Flathead bureau reporter Tristan Scott will be joining our staff full time. Tristan is a talented journalist and also a good friend. And he was my first choice to fill the position of senior writer.

Tristan and Myers actually have a lot in common beyond their journalism pedigrees. For one, they’re both exceptionally fast. Myers won the Two Bear Half Marathon in Whitefish last year. Tristan spends his time running ultra marathons – or 50-milers – in the backcountry. So, I’m still guaranteed to lose to my new coworker the same way I did to my last one.

I’ve been blessed over the years to work closely with driven young reporters who approach this job with enthusiasm rather than pessimism. My day at the office is spent with friends who make me laugh. And Myers has been there since the beginning, since I “discovered” him more than six years ago.

He doesn’t need me to wish him luck, but I will anyway. And when his first book is published, I’ll be the first one in line to buy it.
 
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