Sorry, Jeff Budlong, but the pictures I discovered in a manila envelope in your drawer were too tempting.

I’m glad I peeked. It showed a side of Terry Hersom I didn’t get a chance to always experience, a warmer look at a tireless worker who as of New Year’s Day, will no longer be sports editor of the Sioux City Journal.

There’s a photo of him taken at the press box of Kinnick Stadium covering an Iowa/Iowa State game. There are shots of him with more hair, some even with a mustache, some taken with family and friends, some with the awards he has received for his outstanding 38 years of sports coverage in Sioux City.

The photo of him and his pal, former Sioux City Explorers Manager Ed Nottle, is as priceless as the one of his golf swing because he’s with people and hobbies he loves. There are a few photos of him taken with current Sunday sports columnist Steve Allspach that are meaningful as well.

We, as the Journal’s sports staff, never thought we’d see the day when Terry, a colleague we liked to call “The Boss”, would retire. The two-paragraph memo he e-mailed on Nov. 16 was a shock and admittedly, made it hard to work that particular day. You could feel the emotion he poured out as he considered the dealings of the previous weekend.

How did he do it? How he could bounce from covering the state volleyball tournament where Western Christian won a 14th state championship on a Friday night and then take the trip up Interstate 380 to cover back-to-back state football semifinal games the next day involving Western Christian and Spirit Lake?

As short as the distance between Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls is, it’s still draining, readers. Sports writers keep their own statistics at semifinal games. How can he put off the thoughts of a game that just finished and then go to attacking another one? Especially at his age, which by the way, he never revealed.

Terry just did it. Demanding to work for, I think he demanded more from himself. No stone was left uncovered in his focused production of those two stories, as well as the back-to-back state championship football games he covered involving the same two schools on the Monday night of Thanksgiving week, two of the numerous state championship events he has covered in his dedication to Siouxland athletes and Journal readers.

Back at the office that championship Monday night, Jeff, Jason Cowley and I were producing the all-state football and volleyball team stories and accompanying all-state agate (smaller type). Barry Poe was writing about Joe Glenn’s retirement as South Dakota’s head football coach back at his comfortable den in Brunsville. That way, Terry could take a break before his next two projects, the coverage of Morningside College football’s annual playoff run and the upcoming NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championships.

Terry’s interview technique helped inspire all of us to be better gatherers of information. Nobody appreciated a strong command of the English language and demanded its proper usage in stories than Terry, who believe it or not, began as a music major at the University of Northern Iowa. He and Linda were married when he worked part-time at the Cedar Falls Record before continuing his career at the Ottumwa Courier.

Music was another one of Terry’s loves. Did you know that he sang the National Anthem at the Sioux City Explorers’ very first game? He once gave me a CD of folk songs that he sang while playing guitar. What a talent to be blessed with.

Many times at work, it was Terry’s way or the highway. Forgive and forget is what my late parents taught me. Cross words from him were hard to ignore in my 14 years, but I used it as motivation to work harder and learn from mistakes.

Terry told me once he wasn’t a great teacher, but I beg to differ. I often called him my coach. Now, I’m going to call him my friend and wish the best of luck in retirement. All of your long hours and research are done. Enjoy your family and your life!

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