OPINION: Out with the old, in with the old

Feb. 7—Don Hohler is calling it a career this week after 68 years in the business.

His final column will be Friday, then he will put his pen and pad and laptop computer away for good.

Don was a veteran when I started here in 1979, fresh out of Michigan State University.

I was born in 1957 — about a year and a half after Don started working for the Reflector-Herald.

I could tell you thousands of stories about Don and his career at the Reflector, but I will let him do that. Don has always been a great story teller. He has written about three generations of people in Huron County.

All I want to say is Don is one of the good guys. He has a passion for his work and he let me know it more than once when his story didn't get in on time, or if it wasn't above the fold on the front page.

He was my colleague. But more than that, he was my friend, and I will miss him.

Good luck, Don. Enjoy your retirement, because you've certainly earned it.

So it's out with the old and in with the ... old?

We had a new reporter start on Monday morning ... but there is nothing new about Brian Gott.

The 1986 Norwalk High School graduate worked at the Reflector in the early 90s after a stint with the Lorain Morning Journal. After leaving here, Brian worked for the Sandusky Register.

His twin brother Mark, lives in Charlotte, N.C., where Mark lived and worked for years after leaving Norwalk.

"I worked here 1990 to 92," he said. "At the Register, I was at the Huron County bureau for a year and on the crime desk for two years."

He started at the Lorain Journal when he was 19.

"I covered the Norwalk council for four years between the three newspapers," he said.

It was back to business Tuesday for Brian as he covered the Huron County commissioners and the Norwalk city council meetings.

Brian had a number of jobs in Charlotte, starting with a two-year stint at the Charlotte Business Journal.

He then spent seven years with the American Cancer Society, five years in corporate and media partnerships with Mecklenburg County, and then five years as the marketing specialist with IKEA in Charlotte.

If you ever bought anything from IKEA, you know it comes in a box or two with a lot of pieces.

Lots of pieces and instructions that are tough to figure out.

"I did a lot of community projects and we had to put a lot of furniture together," Brian said. "I hated it when I started, but it's kind of fun now. They can put 100,000 pieces in a little box."

His last job in Charlotte was for two years with Monarch, a non-profit organization that focuses on mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Why come home? Brian said his mom and dad still live here, and he has kept in contact with a lot of his friends.

"I've been coming up here a lot the last couple of years and I missed my hometown ... this is a lifestyle change," Brian said. "Joe Centers got me to come home.

"I do like this area. Norwalk is really a nice small town. I was tired of the crime and traffic and all of the things of the big city."

Brian is looking to make a difference.

"I did win four investigative awards as a reporter — two here and two in North Carolina," he said

He likes to keep people in check.

"You better believe it," he said. "That is what I was known for."

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com.