Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Writer returns to fold after journey through the Valley

Tim O’Leary

Special to the Village News

Hello, dear reader. It is wonderful, yet a bit daunting, to walk again in your midst. The good Lord has carried me through the Valley of the Shadow, and now I am back, either to your pleasure or your chagrin.

A few of you may remember me from Temecula’s glory days. That was when a growth-choked and traffic-snarled burg in southwest Riverside County was anchored by a cadre of volunteers who latched onto a huge parcel of developer-donated land.

Those hearty souls – with just their tractors, wheelbarrows and shovels – soon carved out a glorious sports park. That park still serves the community and it is now topped by an amazing library that is named after one of Temecula’s most dedicated, deceased public servants.

Along the way, those young pioneers coalesced their far-flung unincorporated community into a shining, model city.

Most of you have never heard my name. Some of you may curse it.

Thus, it is with my deepest humility and thanks that I again sit in front of my computer to write something other than terse and barely understandable emails.

My return to the chaotic and confusing world of community journalism has now forced me to relearn many of my profession’s guiding truths.

I must be transparent, clear and honest in all that I say and all that I do. I must disclose any and all potential conflicts of interest. I must listen and not speak. I must use the dictionary rather than spell-check. I must use short words rather than long ones. I must use the period instead of the comma. I must be pleasant, kind and courteous instead of being obnoxious or aggressive. I must honor and respect everyone regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, personal beliefs or political preferences. I must be trustworthy and responsive.

I desire to reach out to you and ask that you do the same to me.

I have worked in this crazy but beautiful industry for 42 years now and have written for six newspapers, several magazines and won a couple of mid-level professional awards. At one paper I was picked as its employee of the year and my former spouse and I won an all-expense-paid trip to Maui.

I have been married twice for a total of 45 years, and I have a son who lives in Nashville. Since my arrival in Southern California, I first lived in Quail Valley and now I live in Fallbrook. My second wife took me to 57 countries, including some of those places several times and on one sojourn that turned into a trip around the world in one hop.

I was the last president of Fallbrook’s Reche Club, which over an eight-decade span played an instrumental role in protecting and preserving Fallbrook’s historic one-room schoolhouse. I have served on the boards of the Fallbrook Senior Center and the Fallbrook Historical Society. I served two stints – one long and one short – on the Rainbow Municipal Water District’s Communications Committee. I have served as a deacon at one church, a trustee at another and a key usher in three Christian congregations.

The last decade I have spent as a spousal caregiver to a beautiful, talented woman who is battling cruel dementia and recently moved to a care facility in Boston, where she is near her large, loving family. I will visit her regularly as long as she can recognize my face or remember my name or my voice.

I shall continue to heal from a total health collapse that landed me in an ICU room for eight days and on a medical/surgical floor for another two.

Finally, I pray that you will welcome me back to these pages. Now it’s time for me to roll up my sleeves and get to work again. Let’s have some fun, dear readers. And together let’s learn about and from each other and our amazing communities. May we all enjoy the ride.


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