Frans Eykel

More than 100 Wahkiakum County residents lined Main Street in Cathlamet on Monday to greet Rick Nelson, Publisher and Editor of the Wahkiakum County Eagle, as he traveled home from OHSU to spend his final days surrounded by family and friends. The campaign was entirely community driven, as neighbors and friends excitedly shared the plan with each other, with only one rule: they would stay off social media as long as possible in order to keep Nelson from finding out about it.

My father's father came from Sweden. He passed on some cultural traits that my father passed to me. One very important trait is that one should Never act as if one is special. At least that's how the lore came to me.

And so, here comes Monday, May 1. Sheriff Mark Howie and yet unknown people conspired to create a community welcome as I came home to go into hospice care.

We followed Sheriff Howie down Columbia Street and on to Main Street.

What a sight on Main. People were lined up from one end to the other, shouting greetings, waving, smiling so warmly. I saw high school classmates, co-workers, my godson, good friends, the families that have provided me lunch for so many years and, in general, everyone around the area pouring out the positive energy that makes our county work.


Ian Brandon

People lined both sides of the street to welcome Rick Nelson home on Monday.

The sheriff next led us to the high school where students lined the sidewalk. They had heard I play flamenco guitar and they were playing some--how personal! (To editorialize, support our schools and public education!)

Topping it off, Mayor Olson issued a proclamation declaring May 1 as Rick Nelson Day. How's that for avoiding being special?

I'm happy that people recognize the role my 44 years at The Eagle have played in our community. It was a way of life and a privilege to contribute to our community.

Finally, here's the word I've used so many times in the past two weeks that it has almost become cliche with me, and that word is "Thanks!"

I mean it.

P.S. We are working hard to ensure the future of The Eagle. The response of the community has been overwhelming, and we're having some promising conversations about how we can build a sustainable future together. Stay tuned.


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