Courier-Post sports editor Kevin Graeler bids farewell to Hannibal after 2 1/2 years. His final day is Friday, Oct. 19.

Sometimes life takes you in unexpected directions.

This fact is relevant to how a city dweller moved to this town of population 17,000 some 2 ½ years ago with no clue what to expect. It also applies to Friday, Oct. 19 — my final day at the Courier-Post.

The next season of my journey keeps me in the Show-Me State. I've accepted a position as an editor at the Columbia Daily Tribune.

This transition is what my wife, Laura, and I feel is best for the two of us going forward. But that doesn't make the move easy. Our experiences in Hannibal will always be part of the fabric of who we are, and we cherish the time we've had here. It absolutely has been the right place at the right time.

I want to extend my gratitude to all those who welcomed me as sports editor here. Originally from St. Louis before graduating from Mizzou, all I knew of Hannibal before my arrival was its Samuel Clemens connection. Now I know much more — particularly about the people who make the athletic community in Northeast Missouri so special.

I have been privileged to write thousands of words and hundreds of stories about athletes and teams in this area ranging from Hannibal-LaGrange University to the Hannibal Hoots of the Prospect League to high schools including Hannibal, Palmyra, Monroe City, Mark Twain and Marion County.

I have been honored to develop relationships with coaches and administrators who cooperated with interviews and helped me shine as bright a spotlight as I could on the achievements of the rising generation.

My office has been a front-row seat on the sidelines, and that's hard to beat — especially during the annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament, an event like no other that I fully intend to come back and play in someday.

Any admirable aspects of the sports coverage during my tenure here are primarily a reflection of the network of help I have had. This special team includes my colleagues in the newsroom as well as contributors in the community who sacrificed their time and abilities in pursuit of recognizing local athletes.

I don't expect to be remembered from my relatively short amount of time here. However, I hope some of the work that's been done will be.

If you would like to contact me in the days ahead, I leave you with my personal email address: kevingraeler@gmail.com. I am glad to keep this open line of communication for any questions or comments you may have.

There are so many people, moments and lessons from my time here that I will be very hard-pressed to forget. I carry it all with me into this upcoming stage of life.

Thank you for your role in making Hannibal a special place for me to get my start.