“For the first time in almost 20 years, there will not be a Volz at the Nashville News, as today marks my last day. Dad started here in 1996, and I came aboard in 2007. During almost nine years with the paper, I’ve made some great friends and been welcomed into this great community. I’ve always taken my job seriously and have worked hard to help keep people informed about what is happening in the area. I want to thank everyone for always making me feel welcome here. You will still see me around town, but now I will just be a regular guy. I’m not sure what I will do next, but I plan to take a couple of weeks to relax and catch up on my honey-do list (Monday deadlines mean I haven’t had a full week off since I started). Thanks to everyone I’ve worked with, interviewed, covered, bothered for a quote, or whatever. Its been a fun ride.”
– Travis Volz’s Facebook post on Friday, April 29, his last day at The Nashville News.
As the headline says, today, (Monday, May 2) is the end of an era, or the beginning of a new one. Travis Volz was first a sports reporter when the Tomaszewskis still owned the paper, then the sports editor, and most recently, he was The Nashville News’ marketing manager.
I am excited for Travis and all of the possibilities that the future may bring. I, and everyone else here at the paper, wish him and his family, Shannon, Will and Gwen, well.
While I am happy for Travis though, I can’t say that I am personally excited that he is gone. I say personally, because this is a job, and at any place of employment, people will come and people will go. You just have to make it work. However, without Travis here, I feel like I am losing out on one of the job’s best fringe benefits: getting to work with Travis.
I’ve been here for (nearly) four years now, and through a time of tumultuous change at The Nashville News, Travis has been an anchor, the one person here that whole time. That isn’t to talk down about any of my current coworkers, because as Travis said when he announced to us that he was leaving, “this is one of the best crews that we have had.” He wasn’t lying, and I agree with him. The issue I have is, with him now gone, I am now the most senior employee here, which is a bit frightening.
When I started, I wasn’t really sure how Travis was going to react to me. Dave (his father) had just died, and here I was, coming into a job that Travis himself had been doing in the interim, taking up his father’s position at the paper. In addition, I am younger than Travis and technically, was his boss.
What I am trying to say is, while Travis was obligated to work with me, he was never obligated to be friendly with me, and I would have understood it if he weren’t.
That was never really an issue though. Despite my own anxiety about working next to the son of the man whose job I filled, I hit it off pretty quickly with Travis and we discovered that we shared a lot of interests: Marvel comics and movies, Neil Gaiman books, firearms, and most importantly, A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones, for the TV show).
Other things in common include both Travis and I being familiar with parts of northwest Illinois, he with Amboy, where his father owned a paper, and me with Sterling, about 20 miles west of there, where my father’s side of the family comes from. Our grandfathers both spent time at Fort Knox in Kentucky during WWII as well. This came up when he noted a model Sherman tank I pulled out when decorating my work area shortly after starting at the paper.
So what will I do without Travis here? I’ll probably talk less at the office for one. I’ll have to catch up with Travis on various Sunday evening television shows some other time and place than at the office at the very start of work on Mondays.
Most importantly to the paper though, I will try to keep Travis’ mindset and attitude about the community of Nashville in my mind as I do this job, and I will encourage my coworkers to do the same.
Travis loves being a part of this town, and he always has tried to treat the residents of this town and the surrounding area with respect. I believe that Travis took the paper, and people’s perception of the paper personally. The Nashville News was more than just a job to Travis and it colored his interaction with his sources, our customers, and those of us who worked with him.
Travis Volz will be missed here at The Nashville News, but he will not be missed around Nashville, Hoyleton, and the rest of Washington County.
He might not be working for the paper anymore, but Travis is still Travis. While he probably won’t be writing quotes for a story or selling an ad, I don’t doubt that he will treat this community and the people in it the way he always has. Which is good for us, and good for the community too.
Travis, we’ll miss you. Best of luck.
–Alex Haglund, Managing Editor