Reichert: writer, chicken feeder and friend

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By Nathan L. McBroom

Walt Reichert has left his post here as the editor of The Sentinel-News to sit on a bucket and feed chickens.

Some may call it retirement, but Walt would say it's a promotion - a reward for his many years as a teacher, writer and journalist.

Enjoy it, sir. You've earned it.

When I came to work here at the paper over four years ago, Walt was already dreaming of the day that he could forsake the daily grind and spend more time tending to the chickens, ducks, cows, and vegetables on his hobby farm near Simpsonville.

A year from his retirement date, the rusty old codger started counting down the months until he was gone. And when he started counting down weeks, the old coot was as giddy as a school boy.

It wasn't that Walt didn't like his job or enjoy serving the community, it was just that he would rather be walking through his watermelon patch or checking in on his prize winning roosters than sitting in front of a computer screen moving documents from point A to point B.

Walt's love of the agrarian lifestyle is not only what compelled him to retire, but it is also a large part of what makes him such a great writer.

Walt has an in depth understanding of agricultural issues, and his ability to use words to describe the natural world is amazing.

His garden columns and articles on agriculture are some of the most well written and enjoyed pieces in our paper.

Every time that Walt would offer free seeds in one of his columns we would have a stream of folks lining up hours after the article went to press.

Thankfully for the paper, and for the community, Walt is going to stick around and continue covering farm news part time.

This will ensure that the community will continue receiving quality farm coverage, and I won't have to bone up on the many different breeds of cows, goats and pigs.

But, even more than his understanding of agriculture, what makes Walt a great writer is his ability to listen and understand people. His kind and unpretentious nature causes people to feel at ease.

In our newsroom, which is full of deadline and stress, Walt could always be counted on to relieve tensions and help bear burdens.

And in the rest of the community, he is known for his way with people.

From my desk I have listened to a myriad of folks talk to Walt about an endless range of topics.

Some wanted to suggest story ideas.

Others just wanted to complain.

But all were heard.

As the editor of a community newspaper, Walt had the wonderful job of balancing being a part of the community and reporting the news.

I, along with the entire community, have benefited from having him as the editor of the paper.

Thank you, Mr. Reichert. Enjoy your chickens.