One might not be too far off the mark in thinking Polk County has seen more than its fair share of farewells this summer.

Retirement announcement after retirement announcement has ushered in new seasons of leadership and the momentum such change brings with it while ushering out figureheads whose names had come to be synonymous with the organizations they represented.

Last month saw the arrival of new Southwest Baptist University president-elect Eric Turner, who will assume his post at the university’s helm Saturday following the departure of 22-year veteran C. Pat Taylor.

Earlier this month, Fair Play Police Chief Ed Morrison ended his 18-year law enforcement career — a path he started later in life thanks to the encouragement of his son, Sheriff Danny Morrison — on his 74th birthday.

And an area staple, Missouri State Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Clay Meyer, ended tour for the last time on Aug. 1 after dedicating 28 years to serving Polk and surrounding counties.

And that’s just to name a few.

And as summer draws to a close, we at the Bolivar Herald-Free Press find we too are not immune to the changing seasons. Retirement, it seems, will soon claim one of our own.

Aside from saying longtime publisher Dave Berry’s departure Sept. 30 will mark the end of an era, we’ll spare him — and you — further inadequate cliches, at least for now, and let him speak to his decision in his own words. All 832, which can’t be missed in today’s edition.

Granting him a little extra real estate in today’s edition seems but a meager effort to honor his 41 years of service to Polk County community journalism — with extra emphasis on community.

But if he had it his way — and he often does — we’d spend the bulk of this editorial getting on with looking ahead to the promise of what comes next. We’d embrace the forward-thinking optimism of the late Sen. John McCain, whose posthumously shared words of wisdom also appear on this page.

After all, the changing of seasons is only natural. And it’s true: We have much to look forward to — not just as a newspaper, but as community members and Americans.

But we at the BH-FP know tomorrow’s harvest owes much to yesterday’s labor. And — like the other local organizations that this summer have modeled that same farewell philosophy and those across the nation who this week seek to honor the legacy of a true statesman and patriot — we won’t easily forget it.

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