Sokol says farewell to Camp Lejeune - Camp Lejeune Globe: Sports

Sokol says farewell to Camp Lejeune

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  • Sokol says farewell to Camp Lejeune

    Matthew Sokol (third from left) poses with some Globe team members: Christopher Dewitt, Ena Sellers, and Kenbasa Harrell, March 9, 2018 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 11:21 am

It was 13 months ago when I joined the Globe in February of 2018. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was a recent college graduate out of Campbell University and my former managing editor, Ena Sellers, gave me a chance. I am so thankful that she did and for everything she taught me about the business.

The reason I mention this is that I have accepted a position within GateHouse Media as a copy editor where I will be working in downtown Wilmington for the North Carolina Coastal Media Group.

As this is my final Sportside with Sokol column, I wanted to pass along my thanks to just some of the people who have helped me during the last 13 months.

I wanted to start by thanking my friend Cpl. Seth Cohen with 2nd Tanks Battalion. I didn’t make too many friends at Camp Lejeune. However, meeting him at the Camp Lejeune synagogue started what could potentially be the start to a lifelong friendship.

I want to thank Globe Managing Editor Ken Buday and Globe General Manager Bobby Stone for teaching me and guiding me through my first year. They provided me with the skills to help me succeed at my job.

I made a lot of friends reporting this year. Chris Miller, sports editor with the Jacksonville Daily News, was great with helping me out when he could and vice versa. Kai Jones, Johnstonian News sports editor, has become a great friend in the business, too.

To my civilian colleagues past and present — Natasha Jackson, Kenbasa Harrell, Chris Dewitt, Pat Gruner, Shelley Padgett and Nick Gualtieri — working with you guys was amazing and we shared so many laughs. If it wasn’t for your help in the office, the sports section wouldn’t have been what it is.

To Mr. Nat Fahy, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Communications, Strategy and Operations director, working in your office was an honor. Learning the tricks and trades of the public affairs side of the business was intriguing. Victoria Long and Sanders Hall always provided me help when I asked for it. Thanks to both of you for making my job a better one.

And let me tell you about the Marines that I worked with in the COMMSTRAT office. They are some of the most talented and hardest working service members out there. I will miss working with each one of you. If I ever made a mistake on a page, trust me, they caught it and made sure I knew it. However, they knew I could handle the constructive criticism. I did grow very close with 1st Lt. Andrew Martino, media and digital engagement officer in charge, Marine Corps Installations East.

Covering adult and youth sports was always fun, so thank you to Antonio Warner, Chris Miller, Chris Williams, Brooke Snell, Tammie Shermeyer and Jolyne Agramonte for all that you do every day for these Marines, Sailors and their families.

The Camp Lejeune Basketball and 910 Vengeance teams toward the end of my time here made for great coverage. Thank you to Sgt. Austin Brown, Sgt. Dejuan Isaiah, Master Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey Gibson and Gunnery Sgt. Jelani Nix from the Camp Lejeune basketball team for working with me on getting the story done.

The Semper Fit group exercise program always made for a unique story. Working with their staff was amazing and I could always count on Marcia McLaurin for providing information. Laura Koene helped me greatly when I had interviews that needed to get done. During Grand Prix Series runs, Mary Troja, Brian Williams and Dennis Yedo were always willing to help me. Tina Brooks and her husband always were there right by my side taking photos.

2nd Lt. Terrence Zaleski, public affairs officer for the All-Marine Wrestling Team, always made sure interviews got set up and photos were provided. Jason Loukides as head coach of the All-Marine Wrestling Team, was always a great interview. The whole team is comprised of great athletes and Marines.

Everett Vaughn, Ralph Lewter and Melissa Kenward with Marine Corps Community Service Marketing were a class act. They answered each email and question that I had about event coverage.

The entire High Intensity Tactical Training staff is a class act. The stories they had for me were some of the best to cover. I will miss covering their events.

I wanted to end with the Devil Pups. I didn’t just cover Marines here. I covered their children’s athletic success. Writing this last part makes me sad because they made coverage so easy. I want to thank the parents of the Devil Pups who helped me immensely to make my job easier.

I always told Lejeune High School principal Eric Steimel this: You have a class act for coaches. Lejeune High’s Jim Gardiner, Bronwyn Schwend, Michael Phillips, Charles Teegarden, Debra Bryant, Karen Walzer, Edison Vega, Brett Becklund, Dante Johnson, Samantha Kay and Blake Peek were amazing coaches for whom everyone should be thankful.

And finally, thank you Camp Lejeune and thank you to the Marines and Sailors who protect our country.

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