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Courier-Times Publisher Tina West to retire

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Courier-Times Publisher Tina West, a 41-year veteran of the newspaper industry, is retiring Feb. 15. She is shown with one of her favorite achievements, starting a local women’s magazine. She displays the first and the current issues along with a copy of the daily paper. The community is invited to an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, in her honor.
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Tina’s newspaper ID from the Anderson Herald.

By DONNA CRONK - dcronk@thecouriertimes.com

Tina West didn’t set out to spend her career in the newspaper industry. But it worked out that way and she would do it again. 

West, a graduate of Anderson Highland High School, attended Ball State University to major in elementary education. Then came a summer job with the Anderson Herald delivering advertising proofs to businesses.

A promotion came quickly to the classified department. In less than a year, she was promoted to the business office. 

“In a short time I had done payroll, accounts payable, sales, accounts receivable and saw different sides of the newspaper,” recalls West. “I loved every department I was in so I just decided this was the career for me. Forty-one years later, it has been a great career. I would choose it all over again.”

When she started out in the industry, most publishers and editors were male.

“For some reason, I did not see that as a hurdle to keep me from climbing a ladder,” West recalls. “My thoughts were ‘yes, I am a woman but I can multi-task with the best of them.’”

Being a mom prepared her to wear many hats. “My advice to young women starting a career is just to work hard and respect yourself. If you do that, others will start respecting you and see your potential.”

West has always found faith and family extremely important.

“My faith is absolutely the most important thing to me,” she says. “I am just an average woman with an amazing God. He’s pretty good at what He does and He gave me some skills.”

She stresses that she did not get anywhere on her own and has never taken jobs, promotions, awards and paychecks for granted.

“I am really not that smart,” says West. “He just gives me wisdom and love for people. Both of those characteristics are very important in the workplace.”

When asked which achievements and memories leading The Courier-Times mean the most to her, West finds it an emotional question.

“So many memories,” she says. “Obviously the memories will be meeting and working with so many wonderful people.”

West founded her magazine for women, a specialty publication the paper launched in 2011, and says she is proud of that. She credits staff and columnists with their work on the periodical.

“Every time it is published, it is like holding a newborn baby in my hands,” says West. “Women tell me all the time about how much they love it and can’t wait for the next edition.”

She said on Super Bowl Sunday, the day the current issue came out, she got a text from a friend in Florida who had friends from New Castle already texting her about an article in it.

“Anything that brings joy to people, brings smiles and fun in their lives, is good,” West says. “It was a blessing to be a part of it.”

Memorable prank

When recalling stories from her work here, West remembers one from 1996 when the Colts played the Steelers in a championship game. Those who know West are aware that she is a huge fan of the Indianapolis Colts.

“My two least favorite teams are Patriots and Steelers (in that order),” says West. “Anyway, my boss and his partner in crime (my neighbor) thought it would be funny to have me drive all over town with a Steelers license plate on my car.”

She continues. “I think I drove it for a few days before I walked out of Kroger and saw a car like mine with the Steelers plate on the front of it. Knowing that it was not my car, I kept walking around the parking lot, again and again. Finally, I went over and looked in the car and realized it was my car. I went back to work. I walked straight into my office and grabbed a screwdriver to remove the plate. My boss laughed for days. By the way, the Steelers won 20-16.”

With 41 years under her belt in the news business, West decided at age 62 to make a change and retire.

“I want to spend time with my family,” she says. “Also, my daughter and I just released a book called ‘Be Still: Memoirs of a Motherless Daughter.’ I want to do more in women’s ministry.”

Specifically, she plans to watch Hallmark movies, read books, spoil her children and grandkids more and pursue speaking opportunities in women’s ministry. She’s also writing a second book.

Tina’s children are: Lyndie (husband Taylor) Metz of Pendleton. Their children are Emerson, Tennor and Beckham; Amy (husband Kevin) Westfall of Melbourne, Florida, whose daughter is Abby; Michael (wife Rachel) West of Batesville, parents of Coleman and Lucy, and Mallory (husband Sean) Finley of Fishers.

“I would just like to thank all of the employees at The Courier-Times and people I have worked with at other newspapers,” says the newspaper veteran. “I have made some awesome friends. Also, my boss David Holgate and Paxton Media Group have been nothing but great to me. Thank you for that.”

Community friends, colleagues, advertisers and readers are welcome to visit with West during a retirement open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the newspaper, 201 S. 14th St.

West will be available to chat with those who attend the come-and-go event. There will be a basket for cards and light refreshments will be available.

‘A joy to work for’

Courier-Times Advertising Director Marka Sonoga said that when she heard West would be her boss, she was delighted. 

“I think she will be missed by the staff and by the community,” says Sonoga. “She was a great representative for our newspaper. She’s been good to work with. I hate to see her go but she’ll have fun.”

Sonoga, who will become interim publisher, admires all that West does inside and outside the newspaper. For example, she said West plans to remain involved with her “little buddy” in a New Castle school program organized by Believe and Achieve Mentoring (B.A.M.) She also mentions how West is a hard worker who is not afraid to lead by doing and rolling up her sleeves and getting to work on a task.

That comment is affirmed by Courier-Times veteran reporter Darrel Radford. He admires how he would see West quietly at work on maintenance-type issues around the plant during off hours and assuming such tasks as leaf and snow removal.

Sonoga sums up how she feels about West. “She’s been a joy to work for.”

Longtime friend Beverly Matthews, president of the Henry County Community Foundation, said that on rare occasions, you meet someone in life who helps you fill a larger part of yourself.

“One of those people in my life is Tina West and she makes me a better person,” Matthews says. “As a friend, she encourages me; as a professional, she mentors me; and as a Christian, she influences me with her solid faith.”

She is thrilled that West gets to retire from her beloved career and “fulfill her passion of writing, speaking and sharing her life experiences to bring help to others and glory to God.”

Matthews continues, “She’s not finished yet and I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures with Tina.”

You're invited to an open house

Community friends, colleagues, advertisers and readers are welcome to visit with West during a retirement open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the newspaper, 201 S. 14th St.

West will be available to chat with those who attend the come-and-go event. There will be a basket for cards and light refreshments will be provided.