To the editor:
In November 2006, I had the opportunity to cover a story about a group of women lucky enough to go to Oprah and each receive $1,000 to do good deeds in their community. The whole intent of the talk show was to demonstrate the greatest gift we can give ourselves is helping others.
At the time, Pete Hussmann was my editor at the Newton Daily News. I was so excited to 1) go to Chicago; 2) go see Oprah; and 3) share the story of how easily we can all have an impact on the world around us. When I called Pete to get permission to go with the group I am not sure who was more excited.
It was evident he was excited for me and this opportunity. It is one of many fond memories I have from my time with Pete in the newsroom, and one I hold very near and dear for the lesson of how important it is to pay it forward.
Sadly, Pete left this world all too soon in January at just 55. I hate that. In fact I’m a little ticked that there are so many stories to be covered, so many life moments left to be shared with Julie and his boys, and so many lives left to be impacted with his warmth, humor, writing and giving heart.
While his work may have been unfinished the example Pete set each and every Christmas stays with me. Oprah may have had a show about “pay it forward” but Pete lived it. He was one of the founding members of the St. Nick’s Christmas Club that served more than 600 children each Christmas.
On March 28, a group of friends, colleagues and community members are putting together an event to help pay for medical bills and funeral costs left for the family after Pete’s passing. The event is an opportunity to not only say thank you for all Pete did for the community, it also serves as an opportunity to Pay It Forward!
The event is from 5 p.m. until we shut the place down on Friday, March 28, at the Elks Lodge in Newton. The event will feature food, music, auction items, prizes, and a time of fellowship and community for one of Newton’s finest.
I ask you to please, please, please come and support the Hussmann family and honor Pete’s memory.
While he is probably most remembered as the editor of the Newton Daily News and Newton Independent, I think I will always remember Pete for being the Santa Claus to so many children who will never know his name, and for being a mentor and friend to so many aspiring reporters.
Pete Hussmann was a good boss, a heck of a newspaper man and a great community servant. Please come and honor his memory on March 28 by Paying It Forward For Pete.