Nicole Zempel's last column

After hundreds of columns of which this is my final one I wanted it to be special.  I thought perhaps something profound would come to me.  As of this moment, I am still waiting.  Possibly it hasn't totally registered with me as of yet.
    This week I have experienced a range of unexpected emotions as the reins are handed over to new Chamber Director Betsy Nielsen.  With full faith in Betsy's ability and excitement, I share in this with her.
    At the same time I am reminded of myself nearly six years ago as I came into the realization that I had an awesome job.  And each day since then I've considered myself lucky to have a job filled with such an overwhelming sense of purpose. This feeling is something I wish for our new Director.
    I've often mentioned because I resonated with it so, and put so much of myself into it – that it rarely felt like "work."  Each and every day I truly felt gifted to have a job which allowed for numerous opportunities personally and professionally as well as offered a platform from which to promote and further the interests of this community on so many different levels.
    In fact, I will go so far as to say that the work was as much "me" as I was it. One and the same, if that makes any sense.  In many ways it is because of my experience at the Chamber that I am able to recognize my own aspirations as I move on and move forward.
    I am now transitioning into what I call the great in-between. I am reminded of words spoken by Dave Ramsey, "You don't need to discover your dreams – you need to recover them."  And so, I will be in the process of doing that, while working and going back to school. But, I will always have this job and this community to thank – as I am convinced that my time here has furthered this desire to follow my heart and my dreams.
    I wish to thank the wonderful staff at the Advocate Tribune for being so enjoyable and so supportive all these years and also for allowing space for this column each week.  Many thanks to Dave, Scott, Bev, LeeAnn, Jeremy, Betty and Eric and Becki.  And it's been a joy getting to know the new folks that have come on board there more recently.
    This opportunity from the Chamber and the newspaper to write has been an absolute gift and a joy. Not to mention a fantastic outlet and platform in and of itself.  Still to this day I am amazed when someone mentions something to me about a column.  So, to all of you who have taken the time to read and comment on it – thank you to you as well.
    Many thanks to the City of Granite Falls – the EDA, City Council, and everyone working at City Hall for the tremendous support shown to the Chamber and on a personal note, for being a joy to work with and to learn from. I also want to extend my thanks to the Public Works Depart-ment – everyone has been so helpful and so fantastic all these years with the support and kindness that has been shown – as well as this willingness to always lend a hand, often going out of their way to do so.  To all these folks and entities I cannot thank you enough!
    Many thanks to the local businesses, community organizations, individuals, and dedicated volunteers for what has seemed like unyielding support shown to the chamber all these years.  Without you there would not be a Chamber of Commerce.  My greatest wish is that people understand and recognize all of these people and businesses for how incredibly much they give (in all ways) and continue to give.  I would urge everyone to return the gesture and support our local businesses and organizations.
    Many thanks to the roughly twenty-seven Chamber Board of Directors I have worked under in my time at the Chamber. These folks deserve our thanks for the time and energy they contribute in the name of service.
    And my time here would not have been as complete and fulfilling had it not been for the wonderful folks (personal and professional) both near and far that I have come to know because I was here. So many of these relationships have turned into wonderful friendships that I am forever grateful for. And, for all those special characters (I know you know who you are) that like to come in and shoot the breeze every so often, I will just say that I am only a hop, skip and jump across the footbridge.
    To everyone a massive thank you.  I remain in gratitude and appreciation for this entire experience and for all of you. And, best wishes to new Director Betsy. I believe you will love it as much as I have.  Enjoy!