Here at RockinghamNow, hearts are heavy.

Journalist, news editor and photographer Joe Dexter, recently left the organization to focus on his wife and two daughters as well as other professional endeavors.

Personally, his departure has been a tough pill to swallow.

He called to tell me he was leaving the company on the morning of June 8, and it took a whole day to process the loss of not only a dedicated community journalist, but a person I’ve come to call a friend.

During his tenure, Joe became a multi-time North Carolina Press Association award winner.

Joe and I first became acquainted several years ago when I put out an ad looking for a free-lance sports writer – and this guy, from Upper Peninsula Michigan of all places – landed in Reidsville. He had an impressive background as a writer, extensive experience in radio, and was a social media aficionado.

As the sports editor in the community for going on six years, let me tell you, it’s hard to find a reliable person as a freelance writer.

From day one, Joe fit the bill and then some. He could cover any sport and was always dependable, reliable and delivered quality stories.

The funny thing is he worked as a free-lance writer for more than six months before we ever met face-to-face.

From the start, Joe used his blue-collar work-ethic and nose-to-the grindstone approach to a white-collar job – and he never stopped until it was done, and done right.

After several months as a freelance writer in the sports department, a position became available as a news reporter at our publication, and thankfully for this community, he got the job.

Throughout his tenure at RockinghamNow, Dexter constantly sought to improve his craft – and whether it was covering controversial court cases, politics, crime or a story about an up-and-coming guitar player, he always wrote the truth, from the heart, and gave it his all.

Over the years, Joe covered state championships in sports, local scandals – as well as natural disasters – and although I feel confident we will remain friends, selfishly, I will miss you brother! I’m sure I’m not alone.

Contact Jim Sands at 336-314-1058 or on Twitter @jimsandsRCN.  

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