Mike Caldwell, the newest contributor to WinCity
Mike Caldwell, the newest con­trib­u­tor to WinCity

Here’s hop­ing that Thomas Wolfe had it wrong. 

The American nov­el­ist penned the book You Can’t Go Home Again, a metaphor­ic title about the often deceiv­ing pow­er of nostalgia. 

“Home” (this word is going to come up so much you could turn it into a drink­ing game), for me, has always been com­mu­ni­ty jour­nal­ism and telling stories.

For as long as I can remem­ber, I want­ed to work at a news­pa­per; at first it didn’t even mat­ter what role. I just want­ed to be there!

My dad taught me to read on 1960s com­ic books where news orga­ni­za­tions like the Daily Bugle and the Daily Planet were basi­cal­ly char­ac­ters unto them­selves and every­one who worked there was super cool. 

That emo­tion­al con­nec­tion always stuck with me. Journalism became an inter­est, then a col­lege major and, ulti­mate­ly, a career. (Sadly, it didn’t make me any cooler!)

I worked as a reporter, edi­tor, pub­lish­er, head jan­i­tor; pret­ty much what­ev­er was needed. 

Along the way, I fell in love with sto­ry­telling and the idea that every per­son has one to tell. I was blessed to help share thou­sands of sto­ries and meet amaz­ing peo­ple who do spec­tac­u­lar things in sev­er­al awe­some communities. 

But, after near­ly two decades, I decid­ed it was time for a change. 

I gave my notice about a week before the pan­dem­ic (clear­ly my tim­ing stinks and I picked the worst time in the his­to­ry of the world to change careers.)

I wrote in my farewell col­umn that there’s some­thing to be said about know­ing when to say good­bye to some­thing you love before it becomes some­thing you don’t. Fast-for­ward two and a half years. 

After a short pit­stop at the University of Kentucky, I’ve found my new pro­fes­sion­al home with Shriners Children’s in Lexington and Dayton. It’s an amaz­ing orga­ni­za­tion with a mis­sion that con­nect­ed with my soul: to pro­vide world-class health­care regard­less of a family’s abil­i­ty to pay. 

I love going to work every day! 

In my role as region­al direc­tor of mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions I get to help tell the sto­ries of our amaz­ing patients and the impact our med­ical cen­ters make on their lives. 

But I am still drawn “home.” 

That is where WinCity News and Views comes in. I’ve long admired what Pete, Chuck, and the rest of the team have been able to accom­plish. Hands-down they were among the best com­mu­ni­ty colum­nists I ever had the plea­sure of work­ing with. So for it to come full cir­cle and me to be on the oth­er side of the table as a con­tribut­ing writer is an hon­or and tru­ly humbling.

The oppor­tu­ni­ty to tell sto­ries from the com­mu­ni­ty I call home is excit­ing but it is also encour­ag­ing to be a part of some­thing greater than myself. The core val­ues of WinCity and its mis­sion to cel­e­brate cre­ativ­i­ty, fos­ter informed con­ver­sa­tion, and build com­mu­ni­ty con­nec­tions res­onate with me in so many ways. 

What can you expect from me? Frequent con­tri­bu­tions built on con­cepts of hon­esty, truth, trans­paren­cy, and the desire to cel­e­brate Winchester and Clark County. 

(Deadlines ruled my life with an iron fist for a long time so the best fre­quen­cy com­mit­ment I can offer is “as often as possible.”)

Some arti­cles may be com­men­tary and oth­er sub­mis­sions will be human inter­est sto­ries. I love going beyond the sur­face and find­ing those unsung heroes who are the fab­ric of our com­mu­ni­ty. If that sounds like some­one you know, don’t hes­i­tate to shoot me an email to offer a suggestion.

I hope by return­ing to my prover­bial home I can help cel­e­brate our lit­er­al one.

There’s that word again. Raise your glass to Mr. Wolfe. 

  • Mike Caldwell is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist with near­ly two decades of expe­ri­ence cre­at­ing con­tent and lead­ing com­mu­ni­ty news orga­ni­za­tions. He and his wife, Rae, live in Winchester with their two teenage daugh­ters. Feel to reach out to him at gmacaldwell@gmail.com.