Shelby County’s excellent support system unmatched

Published 10:58 am Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When you’re fresh out of college and newly married in an ugly economy, you tend to look at the abilities you’ve been gifted with and head into the job market, open to anything.

The first thing I learned about becoming a reporter is the importance of a strong support system.

I can honestly say that the staff of the Shelby County Reporter is a credit to its county.

They’re constantly mentoring me through the ups and downs of communicating county news to county citizens.

On Monday, June 6, we received a press release from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Unfortunately, those types of releases rarely offer positive news. A Mt Laurel toddler was missing from her family. We knew little else, but shared what we had learned.

The following afternoon, our photographer was by Spoonwood Lake in Mt Laurel, hoping for a moving image to share with the community. A group of other media members stood by awaiting news. I joined our photographer on the scene just as Sheriff Curry came forward to share his statement.

I’ve never covered anything like this during my months as a reporter. I tend to fall head over heels for my stories, getting pulled into the passion and drive of each person interviewed. In this case, though, I didn’t get pulled in until I was driving away. I had watched Sheriff Curry explain the situation to the press. The weight of the little girl’s death was clearly weighing on his shoulders. His grief stayed with me as I returned to the office.

As I was surrounded by a handful of experienced news reporters and emergency response teams, I watched one of our county’s leaders compassionately express condolences for a family that lost so much. With a support system full of men like the sheriff, I believe it’s clear this county is in good hands.

Christine Boatwright is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 16 or by email at