Howard says farewell to office with legacy strong June 29, 2010
Editor’s note: This is the text of outgoing APSE President Garry D. Howard’s speech on Saturday night at the awards banquet in Salt Lake City.
Good Evening …
This has been a scintillating ride on the APSE express train and before I say another word, I must do this …
I must thank the Lord for enriching my life with one of His most vivacious creations, a young lady who morphed into a steadfast wife, a loving and comforting mother and a life-partner who has walked every step of the way with me for the past 23 years, comforting me, supporting me without question, and making my existence as pleasurable and fulfilling as any man can expect.
Donna Howard literally walked into my life while I was navigating my way through the early years of my journalism career, a vision more lovely than any of the white-sand beaches that border her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida.
I must thank her for standing by my side and enriching my life with a daughter, Jennifer Nicole, a 10-year-old who truly has the ability to be anything she desires.
Standing before you on the last day of my term as President, I remain humbled by your belief in my ability to lead this powerful organization.
These past three years have been a roller-coaster ride, filled with thrills that have lifted me to the highest of highs.
I could not have arrived at this point without the help my greatest mentor, my darling mother, Ann Boone Howard, and I thank her for insisting that I read books instead of shooting jump shots, that I learn respect and dignity, and use those skills as I worked my way through prep school and college.
She has been my inspiration to achieve and without her guidance, I would never have been able to become the man that I am today.
I owe her everything.
This wonderful group to which we all belong has been breathing for the past 37 years and when I was elected second vice president three years ago, I pledged to do my very best to continue its ascent.
I hope I have not let you down.
We have accomplished a great deal this past year, partnering with Indiana University to create a hot new web site and building the APSE Red Smith Hall of Fame, which brought tears to the eyes of many of its inductees.
Tim Franklin has been a man of his word and I want to personally thank him for working, hand in hand, with me over the past year to bring our ideas to fruition.
I also want to thank Kurtis Beavers, whose creative touch literally turned an empty room in the IUPUI student center into a place of inspiration for the thousands of students who call it home.
I want to thank Jack Berninger, our Executive Director, and his lovely, hard-working wife/partner, Colleen, for supporting my ideas and doing whatever was necessary to make this year a very successful one.
I know damn well I’m leaving APSE in capable hands with new President Phil Kaplan, a sweetheart of an editor who has an attention to detail that will make his tenure a certifiable success.
Talented Michael Anastasi will be standing right behind him as the First Vice President and he is an editor who knows how to get things done, as evidenced by this wonderful convention we have all thoroughly enjoyed.
And Gerry Ahern, our new Second Vice President, really knows what he is doing.
I also want to take a moment to thank Michael Anastasi, personally, for hiring and then helping my godson, Tony Jones, become a successful sports reporter and a stronger person under his astute leadership.
As I walk away from this stage, my head is certainly held high because I know that we are all in this game together, working at our individual newspapers to bring great sections to the homes of the people who reside in our respective cities.
I have had a number of shoulders to lean on during this journey and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the names of Charles Johnson, Elmer Smith, Leon Carter, Joe Sullivan, David Squires, George Solomon, Bill Dwyre, David Tucker, Jackie Jones and Jim Naughton, stellar journalists all who reached out to help me become a strong leader.
When I was hired as the Executive Sports Editor at the Milwaukee Journal back in 1994, Marty Kaiser said I was the right person to help him make his newspaper shine.
He believed in me, supported me, stood by my side and helped guide me. He gave me an opportunity when no editor at a major newspaper in this country had given an African-American a chance to lead his or her sports section.
He is a man that I admire not just for that, but for all that he has done to make me understand that what we do is not for us, but for those who support us by buying our products.
We do it for them, each and every day, and to do for others is a very noble endeavor.
Yes, Marty gave me the opportunity, but he also made it crystal clear that it would be me who had to lead the sports department.
And over the past 16 years, we have helped turn the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel into a newspaper that enjoys one of highest penetrations of readership in the country, a newspaper that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting in two of the past three years, a newspaper that has certainly earned its respect.
Thank you for everything, Marty.
Lastly, I want to thank all of you for believing in this organization, for helping it grow and prosper.
APSE is its membership and without each and every one of you contributing, it would not be the pillar on which we all lean so heavily.
This ride has indeed been exciting but it has also enriched my life. The relationships that I have fostered with many of you … Bill Windler and Louisa Boardman, my fellow sports editors at the Journal Sentinel, my main man Toby Carrig, legendary Roy Hewitt, John Cherwa, Monte Lorell, Jerry Micco, Glen Crevier (even though he loves the Red Sox), Tom Jolly, Greg Lee, Lee Nessell, Lynn Hoppes, Greg Brownell, Jeff Kuehn, Holly Lawton, Larry “One in a Million” Graham, Scott Monserud, Paul Skrbina, Bud Geracie, Mike Sherman, Mary Byrne, Tommy Deas, our new Third Vice President Ben Brigandi, all-world Mike Fannin and on and on and on and on … have certainly enriched not only my journalism career, but my life.
I thank all of you for believing in my ability to lead.
I thank you for your kindness and your uplift.
I thank you for not just being outstanding colleagues but for just being my friend.
As I exit, I leave you with my favorite poem, words written by William Earnest Henley that have inspired me since my Mother first showed me their wisdom when I was just a little boy.
Out of the night that covers me
Black as a pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloodied but unbowed
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade
And yet the menace of these years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid
It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
All that is left to say is …
I love you all.
Thank you for this most wonderful opportunity to be your President.
It has been a helluva ride!