Sometimes in this business you get an opportunity to tell great stories.
Over the course of nearly two decades of sharing the lives of those around me through print, I've had my fair share of excellent encounters.
Two of those have occurred in the past week-and-a-half.
Tom Manley, Spencer's 2012 Citizen of the Year, is without a doubt one of the most likable and reliable people I've ever met. His generally pleasant disposition is second to none, and amazing ability to change his face to various shades of reds and purples as he's recognized for his various accomplishments, astounds even the most visually challenged.
Manley is dedicated to the people in-and-around Spencer and demonstrates that dedication through his many active volunteer endeavors.
What impressed me the most about Manley on Thursday, as he was honored repeatedly throughout the day, culminating in a large gathering to recognize him as Citizen of the Year at Iowa Lakes Community College late that afternoon, was his incredible ability to re-hydrate.
I don't know how any man can lose that much water weight from tears and continue to move about without falling over from dehydration.
He truly is an iron man.
Being able to celebrate with him Thursday made it a great day.
Adding to my list of friends, you can never have too many, I met Julie Wurr.
Wurr is the owner of Heart N' Home in Laurens, and her efforts, along with those of her son, a close friend and many dedicated supporters, put the small town business on the national map.
The community of 1,200 launched Heart N' Home into the top 10 of a national retail competition, pitting her against competition from much larger businesses located in highly populated metropolitan areas.
The Spencer High School alum shocked many, including several of her competitors, as she proved a "formidable adversary" without surrendering any of her hometown sensibilities or integrity along the way.
Sure, she wanted to win, there were some pretty big bucks involved for the top three finishers, but she was able to hold her head high knowing she was a voice for the small, main street rural business and she never sacrificed her dignity to do it.
The interview was a lot of fun, but just visiting with her about Laurens and her start from a hobby businessperson to a full-blown national retail power (okay, a bit exaggerated perhaps) was refreshing.
Should you talk to either one, take a moment to congratulate them on representing northwest Iowa so well. It's people like them who make living in this area such a joy.