Nearly nine years ago, Angie Callahan offered me a position designing graphics for the Daily Press.

Less than a year later, I transitioned to the newsroom, writing obituaries, running simple office operations and offering the occasional input on news stories. As time went on, I was given the enormous opportunity to be the editor of six weekly publications and I’ve been trusted with my knowledge of our local history and my experience in reporting and editing local news stories.

Nearly nine years later, I’m officially stepping away from my duties at the Daily Press as I’ve accepted a position working in the personnel services department at the Victor Elementary School District.

I’m proud of the work I’ve accomplished since I’ve been here. We’ve unquestionably grown our product and improved local coverage of news, happenings and people in the Victor Valley.

I’ve learned so much, it would take years to tell you.

I’ll let the Daily Press continue to tell you about local news. It’s the most trustworthy and professional outlet telling you, our loyal readers, what is going on in your community.

But I want to tell you about the people I’ve met here and the things I’ve learned over the last nearly nine years.

It was here that I met my wife. When Angie hired me in 2007, it was actually to temporarily cover for Anne Cole, a graphic artist in the DP’s advertising department. Eventually, Anne came back but the Daily Press chose to hire me full time. At some point, I met Nicole, Anne’s daughter.

In 2015, Nicole took the ultimate plunge and vowed to be my wife.

It was at the Daily Press that I met Brooke Edwards Staggs. She was a reporter who covered the city of Victorville and occasionally other beats, and became our city editor — the person who oversees our reporters. She also became one of my best friends in this world, someone who I still talk to multiple times during the week.

One of the first people I met at the Daily Press — in fact, on my first day — was Shelly Slocomb. She, too, has become one of my best friends. I’ve been blessed to see her through her pregnancies and have the incredible honor of watching her two young daughters, Leila and Emma, grow up.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many talented people. My goodness, if I tried to name them all, that alone would take up all of the space this column allows.

Natasha Lindstrom taught me about understanding people and the human importance of reporting human news. David Keck showed me how to be a rebel within the system. Angie has reminded nearly every day that the world is my oyster. Steve Hunt, our current editor, brought professionalism but also an air of relaxation and positive environment to the newsroom.

Matthew Cabe and Shea Johnson are without a doubt two people who will make immeasurable marks on journalism. I respect them both dearly.

Paola Baker, Charity Lindsey and Monica Solano do an amazing job of covering so many stories, big and small, and they’ve made me proud in the last couple of years to be a part of the Daily Press staff.

Rene Ray De La Cruz has given me so much personal advice — I’ve known him for 23 years, no joke — I couldn’t possibly begin to explain it in just one column.

And then there are the people who aren’t on staff at the Daily Press, but have impacted my life more than they probably realize.

As I write this, I’m reflective, emotional and happy that I’ve done and worked where I have since Oct. 3, 2007. It’s made me who I am, but more importantly — and I believe this is the most critical and basic idea we could ever write in the stories we cover — the people have made me who I am today.

I plan to continue reading the Daily Press. Again, I believe in the quality of journalism the staff produces and I believe it’s the best choice for local Victor Valley news.

I can only hope what I’ve delivered over the last nearly nine years has affected even just a few readers. If it has, I’ve done my job.

And if I have, then I can say assuredly that I’m proud.

I’m proud of the work Kevin Trudgeon has done since taking over as city editor of the Daily Press newsroom last fall. He's been a fun addition to our staff and he keeps our mission of serving the community in mind while letting us all be a little silly and have fun here and there.

And I'm proud of the person who is taking over the majority of my duties, Bryan Kawasaki. I firmly believe he’ll do a solid job guiding our weekly publications and serving readers.

I offer a thank you to all who’ve changed me and helped me grow, and to all who’ve contributed to my work.

Sincerely, I couldn’t have done any of it without you.

I’m excited to move on to this new journey and I hope I can continue to affect lives in a different way than I have in the last several years.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

— Martial David Haprov