Our Turn: Let’s talk about community involvement

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Previous coverage:
* Oct. 21: The numbers quantify the need
* Oct. 22: Supporting PeeDeePost.com is the ethical choice

Someone suggested the people behind The Pee Dee Post aren’t local. We’re happy to address that.

No, owner Kevin Spradlin is not native to Richmond County or even North Carolina. He was born in Wheaton,  Md., though distant relatives still reside in Morehead City. His wife, Stephanie, isn’t from here either. She was born in Louisiana, adopted at a young age and moved with her adoptive parents to Maryland. The two met in high school.

Cover1To say it was love at first sight is a bit of an exaggeration. In fact, it was anything but love, as Stephanie had to work hard as she, a high school freshman, pursued Kevin, a sophomore. They dated, but their relationship became complicated when Kevin moved from his mother’s home to live with his grandmother, moving him to a different school district.

Over time, Stephanie’s pursuit paid off. The two were married April 5, 1999. They welcomed their first child, Noah, later that year. In 2002, MacKenzie came along and, though somewhat of a surprise, the blessing that is Josiah David arrived seven years after that.

Over the years, the family has lived in central and western Maryland, Missouri, Oregon and Washington. As late as Sept. 1 2013, if you’d ever suggested the family would uproot from western Maryland — where they’d been since 2007 — to south-central North Carolina would have laughed.

After making the move, however, the family took the time to realized it wasn’t home they left — it was home they found.

“Richmond County has been unbelievably welcoming and open,” Kevin said. “The first eight months of my former job were a collective experience, but once the rest of the family moved down here in February … that’s when things really began to gel.”

Only six days after everyone else arrived behind a Uhaul truck, Kevin quit his job. The goal, he explained, was to build and operate a digital newspaper on the World Wide Web — one that would meet the community’s needs by timely and accurate reporting seven days a week and affordable rates for advertising, obituaries and classifieds.

“In short, I felt that many or most people seeking to be a part of Richmond County through the local paper were being marginalized,” Kevin said. “This wasn’t about one person or a small group of people, which would have been bad enough; this was true for just about every man, woman and child that choose to call Richmond County home.”

Thus The Pee Dee Post and PeeDeePost.com was born. And in less than six months, the staff of the Post have fulfilled many of their promises — a daily news source filled with timely and accurate original reporting, a hub for online discussions about the issues of the day and a place where people, businesses and nonprofit organizations with budgets large and small can depend on the only daily news source in Richmond County for affordable rates.”

Another part of what Kevin saw lacking in the traditional print newspaper was a connection with the community from a business that traces its Richmond County history back to Sept. 8, 1931.

“The lack of a connection, and commitment, to the people who live, work and play here was nearly nonexistent,” Kevin said. “A sound business plan for The Pee Dee Post offered the flexibility to get involved almost immediately.

The first story on PeeDeePost.com was published April 28, 2014. Just shy of hitting the six-month mark, the Post has already engaged the people of Richmond County and showed that as long as it’s here, it’s here to be a part of the community and not simply on the outside looking in.

The Post began a member of the group; specifically, it became business member of the Rockingham Downtown Corporation and the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce. But that was professional, business-oriented focus. There was something missing.

“So we went to where the young people of Richmond County are,” Kevin said. “The classrooms and ballfields where our boys and girls study and play.”

Along with top-notch, unique coverage of youth sports over the summer months, the Post also proudly joined the Richmond Raiders Marching Band as a corporate sponsor. Shortly after, the Post hopped on as sponsor of the Celebrate! Events Showcase — geared primarily for brides-to-be — as well as the Richmond Community Theatre, Norman Fest and the Holy Smoke BBQ Music Festival. In addition, the Post is a sponsor of the Allison Butler Memorial 5K and media sponsor of the Derby 50K.

“All this in less than six months — not too shabby,” Kevin said. “This is still a start-up; though the overwhelmingly positive feedback form readers and advertisers alike has been positive, we still have a long, long way to go to be where I want the Post to be.”

With your help, the Post can continue to meet the needs of Richmond County area readers.

This is the third in a series of editorials written to provide reasons to justify your financial support of this privately owned daily news operation. Contributions are not donations, a term generally saved for nonprofits and charities. Instead, your contribution is a voluntary choice to support a new business in downtown Rockingham that aims to provide a service to those with a  stake in the future of Richmond County and the surrounding areas.

 

Filed in: Business, Featured News, Latest Headlines, Opinion

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  • Randall Benton

    To the Editor,

    Kevin Spradlin is doing a great job. I met Kevin when he worked for the Daily Journal. Immediately I could tell he was a military veteran by the way he carried himself and the passion he displayed for what he was doing. Only after a minute or two I learned he served in the U.S. Army at the same time as I and we were in the same camp in Iraq at the same time even though we did not know it at the time.

    Good NCO’s are self motivated, independent, hard workers that work to standards, not to time. Many people do not understand this passion for excelling which many times puts the veteran at odds with his/her bosses and peers in the civilian work force. As a result, many veterans do just what Kevin is doing. They start their own business and excell at all they do.

    Kevin is doing a great job. I encourage everyone to support The Pee Dee Post and his family anyway you can. We need his type of local newspaper that is community focused and good for our community:-)

    Randy Benton, 1SG (Ret)
    Rockingham, N.C.

  • Howard Richardson

    Kevin Has been a friend to me and as Randall said an Army Veteran as I am we were able to talk to each other and know where each was coming from. Even from Maryland I would consider him a home town boy. I say “Boy” because he is a lot younger than I but say it as a good thing. Kevin dose what he says. And I belive he has the good of Richmond County at heart. Thanks my friend for giving of yourself to Richmond County.

  • Sunny

    Congratulations Mr. Spradlin on the successful start to the much needed and appreciated Pee Dee Post. I have been pleasantly surprised by the information that you are providing to the community. Up to date and current local news that is unbiased, is a huge asset to any community. The fact that you have not lived in the county for your entire life, but you chose Richmond County as your home out of thousands of areas and your interest in bringing a needed service to the county is beneficial to all of the citizens. Keep up the good work. Also, thank you for your service to our country during your time in the Military. I’m sure that The Pee Dee Post will grow and continue to be successful and have the support of the citizens as long as you don’t get too big for your britches.
    Rangers lead the way!
    Sunny

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