There comes a time in anyone’s life where the writing on the wall tells you to call it a day, and for me I read it last Friday.

After a work career that spans over 40 years covering first the city of Richmond and for the last 20 years Halifax County, I’m officially retiring on Dec. 31.

I can’t think of all the multitudes of people I’ve met the past 40 years that I admire and respect, in Richmond and especially here, where I grew up.

The landscape has changed, but in general my neighbors and friends have not.

I won’t be around to officially record the completion of the courthouse project, the SOVA Innovation Hub or the first solar energy project, nor will I report on the outcome of the debate regarding the future construction or renovation of county schools.

As a resident of Halifax County, I will, however, be around to keep an eye on how things develop, not as a reporter but as a taxpayer and county resident.

I’ve been extremely blessed to have the support of co-workers and friends at The Gazette-Virginian and indeed the support of those in the community who approach me with a friendly wave or honk of the horn as I go about my daily routine.

I guess the neatest thing about it all is that I’ve had the pleasure of watching my classmates’ kids grow up and become the next generation of athletes and scholars.

I was all about leaving home for the big city when I graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1977, and I didn’t dream of coming back home until family obligations brought me back in 2000.

That, as it turns out, was the best move of my life, and, thanks to a childhood friend and the good graces of my future employer, I had the opportunity to chronicle a number of events through the past 20 years, mostly positive.

Most of all, I had the chance to work with and get to know hundreds of people, too many to list here at the risk of leaving someone out, and with my fading memory that is a distinct possibility.

Needless to say, I’ll miss everyone who I came in contact with in my 20 years with The Gazette, both inside and outside the newspaper office, and all of you remain lifelong friends.

To borrow a phrase from the most trusted man in America — Walter Cronkite: This is Douglas Ford, Gazette-Virginian, good evening.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at