This week the Wallowa County Chieftain will reluctantly bid farewell to one of its most faithful and long-standing employees, Rocky Wilson. He and his wife, Karola, are moving on to new jobs and new lives in Spokane, Wash., with all our best wishes.

Rocky has worked as a reporter for the Chieftain for the last eight years, covering stories of Wallowa County life ranging from land use, school boards, police, city and county government stories to human interest features about local triumphs and tragedies.

He brings to his news writing objectivity, accuracy and engaging prose, and in his features he delivers to readers a special insight into what is unique about the places and people of Wallowa County.

That insight is no accident. Rocky grew up here, and through the years has contributed many talents to the community. As long-time residents know, he was the Wallowa High School quarterback who led his team to a state championship in 1967. He's also involved in the performing arts, starring in a community production of "Damn Yankees" in the 1980s and more recently Rocky was hilarious in the MidValley Theatre comic melodrama "Desperate Ambrose" this last spring.

Rocky worked for the first time at the Chieftain as a high school student, and has returned at different stages of his life. He's always professional and always ready to go the extra mile to make the Chieftain a better paper.

His life has already taken him many places, from college in Northern California to a plantation in Hawaii. He owned and managed his own newspaper in Condon; delivered sermons and been active in his church; and helped raise a stepson who is now in the U.S. Air Force.

Now, Rocky's on to Spokane and new adventures. His name describes him very well, for he has been a rock for the Chieftain, as well as a friend, and we will miss him. Bon voyage, Rocky - may you fare well while afar and always remember the path back home.

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