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Gutknecht: Our vision is One Newton

I woke up Friday morning still in disbelief. 

If you get the paper in print, hopefully you noticed something a little extra in your Covington News today. That’s because our “Visions” magazine has officially hit the streets with 60 pages of stories and advertising about the best of Newton County. 

This year’s theme was “One Newton,” playing off the continued joint effort to better the community we call home. That effort spreads across our business community, community leadership and the people who work behind the scenes. 

The magazine features stories about education, business and industry, health care and the community in Newton County. The “Faces” section features leaders from our county, including the Community Spirit Award winner, Employer of the Year, Youth of the Year and three Unsung Heroes. 

Covington Police Officer Matt Cooper was an easy choice for this year’s Community Spirit Award honor. 

I learned about our honoree late last year. It was Labor Day and I got the call that no community journalist wants to receive. As a community that wraps its arms around its public safety officials, I knew this phone call would forever change Newton County as a whole. My experience was just one of thousands. 

When I sat down with Officer Matt Cooper and his wife, Kristen, last month, I heard their story. I heard the story of Assistant Chief Phillip Bradford walking up the driveway to meet Kristen as she was enjoying Labor Day with her children. I heard the story of a police officer remembering his EMS training and rolling to his side so he didn’t choke on his own blood. I heard the story of heroism. I heard the story of faith. I heard the story of Officer Matt Cooper.

You will have the opportunity to read Matt and Kristen’s story alongside our other honorees in this year’s magazine. Trust me, these are the best and brightest of Newton County. 

Visions is a project we began back in January. Our advertising team of Cynthia Blackshear-Warren and Sydney Chacon hit the streets of Newton County and beyond to talk with potential advertisers about getting out their message. The leading businesses in Newton and surrounding counties are in our magazine today. 

The editorial team of Gabriel Stovall, Kaylyn Hopper, Tory Bouchillon and Claire Beiter came up with story ideas and executed them. They’ve made an interesting magazine you’ll want to read, all while keeping up with the regular grind of the newspaper and website. 

Amanda Ellington and Lee Ann Avery worked together to plan a fantastic event Thursday night to honor and celebrate our honorees. All while keeping up with the regular duties of managing our office. 

I hope you’ll look through Visions, in print or online, and let me know what you think. My inbox is always open. And, I need to know: Who should receive these awards next year?

Jackie Gutknecht is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. Her email is Twitter: @jackieg1991