When we launched the Free Press nearly 181⁄2 years ago, we made our reason for existence known from the start: “Our mission is to contribute to a stronger and more vibrant community by practicing and promoting the highest standards of journalism for the benefit of our readers and advertisers.” We haven’t waivered from that mission, but we also know we haven’t always achieved that goal. At the same time, we can honestly say our Marion County community has made our mission more achievable simply because we are not alone in this endeavor. Far from it, in fact.

Most issues of the Free Press highlight the rich spirit of community we enjoy here. We don’t back away from the relevant and sometimes contentious issues that surface in every place from time to time. But we don’t apologize for the numerous stories that highlight cooperation between citizens, cities and the business community to meet human needs, to improve our shared assets and to provide a tremendous environment for youth and children.

Big cities have their appeal, but nothing builds servant character better than small communities like Marion County. —DR

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