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Column: Voice of the community

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Among the elements readers find Wednesdays on The Republic’s Opinion Page are columns written by our panel of community columnists. These are people who don’t write for a living but have a passion for writing and sharing their thoughts.

They write about people, places and issues that are tied to the Bartholomew County community. And they do a great job.

As with anything, though, things change. In this case, John Walter announced to us this week that it’s in his best interests to step away from his role as community columnist. We respect his decision.

Walter said it wasn’t an easy one to make because he loved writing for The Republic. He started after former Associate Editor Harry McCawley became familiar with Walter’s book “MY WAR” and asked him to write a column.

Soon after receiving the first copies of his book, and knowing McCawley’s interest in history, Walter presented him with a copy.

Several months later, Walter said he met McCawley as they passed on the street. Walter said McCawley stopped him with this comment: “For an engineer, you write pretty well. Would you care to join the community columnists?”

Walter said he would think it over and get back with McCawley. A few weeks later, Walter said, “Yes.”

That was eight years ago this past February. In that period, more than 50 of Walter’s columns have been printed in various editions of The Republic.

“They allowed me to write about whatever I wanted. I have to admit, some articles were better than others. In fact, there are several of which I am a bit proud,” Walter said.

“The real rewards I have received over these years is a greeting such as, ‘Hey, John, I enjoyed your article in The Republic!’ Either, in person, written or emailed, it meant a lot and made the effort involved more enjoyable.”

However, Walter said that at 93 years old, he feels like a wind-up toy train that is losing steam.

“It is obvious if I am going to keep chugging along, I need to uncouple a few of my ‘cars,’” Walter said.

“It is due to necessity, not with joy, that I will gradually stop doing some of the things I enjoy doing. In deciding the priorities, meeting deadlines is no longer totally under my control; therefore, things with deadlines go first.”

That means the end of his newspaper columnist days.

While we’ll miss what Walter has to say, we’re excited to see who else in our community has a passion for writing and would like to contribute to our community’s discussions.

It could be an engineer or a homemaker. An attorney or a mechanic. A retired worker or a college student.

Walter was an engineer.

This is an opportunity for people to share ideas, provoke thought and help contribute to the marketplace of ideas in The Republic.

If you think you’d like to become a community columnist, I encourage you to contact me to learn more.

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