South Alabamian

Editor’s leaving brings out compliments, best wishes

Rick Couch touched many with his newspaper work

Mayor Paul South presented Couch with a proclamation at Tuesday’s reception.

Mayor Paul South presented Couch with a proclamation at Tuesday’s reception.

Sometimes you never know what kind of an impact an individual has on other people or a place until they’re gone.

Such is the case with Rick Couch, editor of The South Alabamian.

No, he hasn’t “gone” in that kind of “gone” but he is leaving Jackson, headed for a new job with the state of Alabama in Montgomery.

Even so, in his typical, dry-witted manner, he did confide privately, “This is kind of like getting to attend my own funeral.”

He was referring to all of the praises and best wishes he’s received in the last several days.

Some of those came Tuesday afternoon at a reception held in his honor at the Kimbell House.

Mayor Paul South led with the compliments followed by many others.

“It is a sad day for the city of Jackson,” South said. “We’re losing one of the best editor’s we’ve ever had.” South added that he was more than the local newspaper editor. “He’s family.”

South proclaimed May 1 “Rick Couch Day” and read a proclamation. Couch was born in Grove Hill in 1976 (his mother is from the Helwestern community) and grew up in the Rojohn community of Choctaw County. He worked for newspapers around the South for over 19 years before landing in Jackson four and a half years ago where he quickly became a part of the community.

“Rick is loved by all of his friends and the community,” South said, his voice choking. He later said Couch was very close to he and his wife, Jan.

Many Jackson residents complimented Couch and thanked him for helping them promote or cover their organization or event.

One person said, “He was everywhere. You’d go to a ball game and he was there. At a school or a breaking hard news story, you’d always see Rick.”

Commissioner Tyrone Moye tried to entice him not to leave. “We’ll buy you a car if you will stay.”

But he’s already moved some items and his new job as communications specialist with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation starts Thursday, May 3. He’ll be traveling the state writing stories about people the agency serves. He’ll likely be back to Jackson as there is an office in town, just across the street from The South Alabamian.

Couch offered only brief public comments at the reception. “I’ve had fun,” he said. But he talked at length with many people individually and hugged a lot of necks.

And everyone hugged back.

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