Unsung hero

On Nov. 6 prior to Veterans Day, on the 11th, we published our annual Salute To Heroes special section honoring brave men and women who have faithfully served and are currently serving our nation.

This year’s edition featured more than 230 photos of current and past military personnel along with some very nice features.

That’s a part of being a newspaper. We bring you stories that matter in your community. The “We” includes not only reporters, and editors, but also advertising reps, press operators, classified and circulation personnel, newspaper carriers and bookkeepers.

Each person plays an integral part in the success of this newspaper. Like the teeth in a gear, we must work together and mesh to grind out the paper.

Most of us represent one tooth in the gear. Nora Hernandez was responsible for so many teeth in the gears of this newspaper that it almost came to a grinding halt with her passing on Wednesday of last week.

She is our unsung hero.

Nora kept the wheels turning and the gears lubed by being the cheerful, efficient, competent worker and friend any business person could hope for. When asked, she could supply you with the right answer. Whether it be a line out of the employee manual, what price you charged an advertiser in last year’s special section or a subscriber who got overlooked by a carrier, she had an answer. And she always did it with a bright smile and a “No Problem!”

Nora started working for the weekly Sunnyside Sun newspaper in 1979 right out of high school as a typesetter. She eventually worked into doing the bookkeeping for the Sun. When the Daily News and Sunnyside Sun merged in 1987 she became the bookkeeper for the Daily Sun News.

I remember when I took over as publisher when Tom Lanctot went to Hood River - he assured me that I had what was probably the best bookkeeper in the company. And he was right.

Over the years she has kept us on track with her excellent attention to detail and winning ways.

Short of actually running the printing press she had done every facet of the newspaper. She sold ads and classifieds, has written stories, typed obituaries, made collection calls, and planned parties.

Boy, could she plan parties!

Every time I went out of town or had a vacation I was assured there would be a party in my honor I’d miss out on. Whether it was a potluck, or just snacks, Nora would be sure and delegate who was bringing what. I always got off light with only providing the home popped popcorn which she loved.

So, we had a potluck today in her honor, because it would have been what Nora would have done if one of us had left for the day. We only wish that was the case with our Nora. And yes, I brought popcorn.

She is dearly missed. We will do our best to fill the position in some manner, but we will never be able to replace our friend, colleague, and unsung hero Nora.

Our HR director, and Nora’s buddy, Maureen Boynton sent out an email to other bookkeepers and publishers in the company informing them of Nora’s passing last week. The following is a part of that email. I couldn’t have said it better myself…

“Beautiful and warm both on the inside and outside, she was intelligent, capable, quick-witted and always ready with a delightful laugh!  She is loved and will be missed by so many of us who had the privilege of knowing her.”

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