Larry, you asked me to write for the Hope Star-Journal after retiring in 2010 from Hope Elementary and suggested education articles. I responded that I had written enough education letters to legislators and was convinced letters from parents, grandparents, and students would be better received, that I would prefer writing about a variety of topics. You accepted my proposal. While brainstorming with my wife, we came up with a column title, and Duck Ponderings continues today, nine years later.

Then, without warning, you died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 50 in 2014. What would Hope do without you? Larry Simpson was such a believer in our small community of just over 2,000 people having a local media source and more. I still have your lengthy email response to my very brief email about the importance of our college students continuing a connection with Hope through the Hope Star-Journal. You agreed and then went on to discuss the challenges of a small-town newspaper.

Like you, we refused to allow the long tradition of having a newspaper in Hope end. Your former friend and now HSJ Online team member, Bud Herron, got us in contact with someone you would like a lot, David McChesney, CEO of 1up! in Kokomo. David encouraged us to look at the website his company could provide and at a price that he felt confident we could find funding sources. Recently, he shared with us how well we were doing and stressed the specialness and uniqueness of HSJ Online.

As a not-for-profit under the umbrella of Heritage of Hope, we have accomplished a lot with some impressive numbers: over 3,000 articles published, over one million pages viewed, and presently 1,451 Facebook likes. It would not be possible without a supportive community you so dearly loved, and you would be so very proud. Tim Andrews was the first to take a major chance on us in providing a $10,000 matching grant which was quickly matched due to the generosity of the Hawcreek-Flat Rock Area Endowment Fund through the Heritage Fund and the Town of Hope through the EDIT Fund and several individuals. Since 2015, fifty-eight individuals have now contributed, some from other states.

John Clark, who cherished working with you for a short period of time, has been instrumental in our success as our content coordinator. Then, there is Stephanie Shoaf who was always there for you and is always there for us as our business coordinator. Terri Young was always there for you too and is on our team and uses her creativity in posting a community calendar each month.

Michael Dean, as CEO of Heritage of Hope, shared the building with you, and the conversations the two of you had about your love for Hope and journalism inspired Michael to be a part of our team. You did not know two of our other team members, Don Hewitt and Howard Zachariah, but you would appreciate their passion for HSJ Online. Tim Shoaf capably led us in the beginning while providing much insight.

We recently changed to a newer version of the website which enables us to post more pictures and videos which was encouraged while working with IU Kelley students, one being a former Hauser graduate. You would be quite impressed with all the Google stats that come our way. We know where people are when reading, their gender, their age, and what they are reading. Our readers can receive a weekly email reminder when signing up under About Us. A mobile app is available with directions on the Home Page. Donations can be submitted electronically by going to About Us. And, physical copies can be read at the Hope Library as well as Reflections, thanks to the Hope Library staff.

What does the future look like for a media source in Hope? None of us can be sure just like you expressed uncertainty within your email. Then again, Larry Simpson always found a way; I suspect we will do the same. In the meantime, we can't thank you enough, the Biggs family before you, and on and on!

The caring and devoted people of Hope will keep the town's pages turning and will continue to want to read stories about their town as they have since the Watchman in 1867. It is the Way of Hope!