On the Corner

Going “’round the Bend”

by Robert Docter – 

Sue Warner, executive editor, chief organizer and supreme whip-cracker at New Frontier left town this week. It seems, you see, that she has gone “’round the Bend.”

I’m pretty sure I’m not to blame.

Going ’round the bend, though, is pretty serious. It is, after all, slang for “insanity.” I’m not sure, however, that going ’round the bend of the Deschutes River means exactly the same thing—although it might in the minds of some.

No, I don’t think I could have caused this catastrophic event, although she has been working closely with me for the past 15 years on this project called New Frontier, and some would argue that my interpersonal skills are not completely fine-tuned. (By the way, I think I’m very easy to work with.) She did, after all, stick around all those years—more than a decade longer than any of her predecessors. Also, we almost never talked politics—even though, I guess, she did have to listen to a few outbursts of mine.

I feel confident in my conclusion that I’m not to blame because there’s not an insane bone in her body nor an insane speck of gray matter in or on her head. She’s about the sanest person I know, and if I had to blame somebody, it would be all those drivers on the Los Angeles freeways—all those toxic fumes—all those gun-carrying crazies who have spent way too much time in the southern California sun.

But she has slipped away, floated down the river, drifted out of sight—but not out of mind—here, but not here. Her seat at the table for our Monday morning news/budget sessions is now a voice from a speaker-phone.

Oh—I suppose I should tell you that Sue moved to Bend, Oregon this week with her husband, Rich.

We’ll see her one week a month and if I know her, we’ll talk to her daily. She’s all hooked up for telecommuting and has now become our Senior Editor/Editor at Large. My guess is she’ll be doing a lot more in-depth writing, which will be very good for us.

Do you know how hard it is to find someone both rigorously organized and supremely creative?

Those characteristics can rarely be found in the same person—but they certainly appear in her.

Over the past 15 years—and continuing into the future in a slightly different way—we have been a tight team—operating as one. I’m the wild thinker and she’s the quiet implementer—raising crucial questions in a timely fashion. Together, we have been able to make New Frontier a significant contributor to Army communication in the West; developed Caring into an important tool in reminding us all that this Army—the largest Army in the world, is committed to both spiritual and social redemption together; and initiated Nuevas Fronteras, a Spanish language paper for the fastest growing segment of Army soldiers in the West. We’ve hired five outstanding people to work with us on these projects, and with nothing else to do, tried our hand at book publishing. (Have you got your copy yet of Lyssa Lamb, written by Lt. Colonel Debora Bell with great art work by Major Ronda Gilger?)

Sue has written a number of important stories for us—some of which have turned into entire issues. She brought us stories on the AIDS epidemic in Africa by being there first hand. She went to Russia and several neighboring states and told the story of Army work in those places just as it was getting underway. She’s a great traveler and a fantastic problem solver. She went to Haiti and introduced us to the Army’s work there. She traveled to Bosnia before the rifle barrels had completely cooled, and I think she got to Cuba on a passport out of some place like Panama. It’s great to know she’s still working for us—and that includes God and the whole Salvation Army.

Well, Sue, they’re celebrating a centennial in Bend this year—average snowfall about 35 inches—annual temperature variation from the low 20’s to the mid 90’s. In the last 50 years, the population has grown to about 50,000 people. You better watch out for freeways soon—and, by the way—the traffic safety committee is looking for applicants.

P.S. You can still catch Sue at: Let her know if you’ve got a story for us. She’d like to hear from you.

Sharing is caring!