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Farewell, Bel Air; From: Your Editor

Bel Air Patch's first editor steps aside Monday to take on a new challenge at Patch.com.

On May 18, 1999—my 12th birthday—my parents gave me two tickets to the PGA Tour’s Kemper Open, held later that month in Potomac. It’s still the best birthday present I ever received.

I had been to more than a dozen Orioles games and other major sporting events, but never professional golf. My dad kept up as I ran from hole to hole looking for my favorite players, and begging them for autographs before and after their rounds.

Pretty soon, though, lightning chased everyone from the . My dad and I took shelter in the pressroom.

Everywhere I looked there were TVs, laptops and free ice cream. We watched reporters interview players, write and eat until the storm cleared.

, I thought. That is, if playing on tour myself didn’t work out.

Almost 10 years later I sat in my off-campus apartment at Mount St. Mary’s University. Grad school was coming to a close, my Division I golf career was ending in a couple weeks, and I didn’t have a job.

I sent emails to editors from Orlando to Albany, Flagstaff to Chico, and even somewhere in Idaho. In the decade since fate trapped me in that Potomac pressroom, I never wavered from wanting to be a sports reporter. (Spoiler alert: professional golf wasn’t in the cards.)

Then, one afternoon in that spring of 2010, I got an email from “Christine” about Local Editor positions with Patch.com. I marked it as spam.

A few days later, a college classmate emailed me to tell me how much he liked working for this “Patch,” and thought I would, too. So the next time I heard from Christine, who turned out to be a recruiter, I gave her a shot.

Two phone conversations later, I had a third interview scheduled in Washington, DC. But what started as the most prepared morning of my life turned disastrous in a hurry. Although I arrived at 9:10 a.m.—20 minutes early—I had been given the wrong address. Four phone calls, three parking garages, two sprints and one taxi later, I showed up about 50 minutes late for the biggest appointment of my life.

All things considered, the interview still went pretty well. I told them I wanted to work in Annapolis, Columbia, Towson, Westminster or Bel Air.

They offered me Havre de Grace.

Nothing against the “City by the Bay,” but I told Christine if I was going to be in Harford County, it had to be Bel Air. Fortunately, she gave in.

By July I moved into a apartment. On , Harford County’s first full-time community website was born.

What began as a last-resort job, viewed mostly as a steppingstone, has become the reason I wake up every morning. But after 16 months and three days with Bel Air Patch, I’m handing over the reins.

Stepping in will be Kirsten Dize, a name familiar to most of you from her days with The Aegis. I’m excited to finally see Kirsten’s talents set free. Although she starts today, you’ll hear more from her Tuesday.

As for me, I’m proud to say I’m still working for Patch, but in a different capacity. In fact, I’ll likely relocate out of state within the next few months. But I certainly won’t forget the things that made this the best first job I could have imagined.

stabbing, shooting, , tornadoes and were not on the list of things I expected to cover, but I did my best to keep you informed. And though I never met Joey d’Entremont, I still feel like I on Sept. 17, 2010.

I did enjoy covering a coffee spill that caused a car crash—with no injuries—over a mini-cliff, hosting a , attending just about any sports event I could find and keeping everyone up-to-date on the Boulevard at Box Hill. (You all are about Wegmans.)

But Bel Air Patch is more than a website—it’s a community. It’s the reason I’ll miss chicken Parmesan pizza at , coffee at and a cold beer at . Somehow I think I’ll long to cover town, County Council and Board of Education meetings again, too.

I’ll look back on the Facebook page—with more fans than any of the other 870-plus Patch sites—and wish it was still me providing the updates.

I guess I’ll miss just about everything. Most importantly, though, I’ll miss you, my neighbors.

The way you accepted a Pylesville native into the heart of Harford County was overwhelming. Good feedback or bad, fans or foes, I appreciate everyone. Even as local “media” continue to ignore Patch’s existence, you made Bel Air Patch the most-read Harford County website within six months, and it hasn’t stopped growing.

I guess that’s the important thing here: that it was never about me. I was just the host of Harford County’s biggest party. All I ask now is that you keep it rocking. 

Hollee Sifford November 01, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Brad good luck on your new endeavor and Welcome Cristine..I am a fan of the patch as you know so I will miss you and sending the "ALERTS" thru Sean...lol Good luck my friend:)
J November 01, 2011 at 10:36 AM
Brad you've done a great job with the Patch. I always enjoyed your articles. Best of luck with your new endeavor.
pamh November 01, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Best of luck to you Brad. Please keep us posted as to where you 'land' with the Patch - the town that you relocate to will see how lucky they are to have you! BBQ Bash won't be the same next year - who's booth will we hang out in? Take care.
kathy kelly November 01, 2011 at 11:12 AM
Can you tell us where you're going? I'm guessing somewhere to cover golf, maybe with the PGA? Good luck in all you do!
Scott Walker November 01, 2011 at 11:16 AM
What can I say? Bel Air will miss you and is grateful for all of your hard work. The Alliance will also miss you and I am extremely thankful for your commitment to the local community. Congrats to you and I hope you don't forget us "little folks" when you're making it big in NYC! Ha! Thank you Brad and best of luck!!!
Dale Thomas November 01, 2011 at 11:24 AM
Brad, you'll be missed good luck on your new job and re-locating. Hopefully you'll post something so your hometown can see how far you fly (both literally and figuratively),
Rebecca November 01, 2011 at 12:07 PM
You will be missed. Good luck.
Bel Air Native November 01, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Good luck, Brad! You're a fantastic writer and you'll do well wherever you go.
Samantha November 01, 2011 at 12:50 PM
Good Luck! I've enjoyed reading Patch because it helped to introduce me to the area after moving here. I've learned so much from reading your articles about Bel Air and Harford County in general. It really has made the move to Maryland more interesting, because now I feel like I can truly know more about the town I chose to live in and the people too. I love reading your event announcements and the coverage of local high school sports has been so interesting that I even went to my first local high school football game! Thanks for making such a wonderful site and best of luck in your future endeavors :)
Renee' 2060 November 01, 2011 at 12:53 PM
You have done an excellent job with Patch! Very sorry to see you go. Good luck with your new position, I know you will do great!!
Annie November 01, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Brad, good luck in all your future endeavors. You have done a great job! You will be missed.
Brad Gerick November 01, 2011 at 01:43 PM
Thanks, everyone! Your comments are really flattering and make the move even more bittersweet. I'm working out of Patch headquarters in Manhattan for the rest of the year, and might make a permanent move up here by next year, but we shall see. I'm sure I'll return to Bel Air plenty of times since my parents still live in Pylesville. In fact, I'll be at town hall tomorrow night for our candidate forum: http://patch.com/A-nsL8. Please say hi if you stop by. Otherwise, I'll check in on the site when I can. Give Kirsten a warm welcome—I'm sure you'll love her. Your Bel Air Patch isn't going anywhere! Thanks again for everything. This was truly an awesome experience that opened a lot of doors for me. I hope you enjoyed our time together as much as I did.
Deskboy in Miami November 01, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Good luck in your future endeavors. I live in Miami, but I used to live in Homestead Village in the late '60's. You are an excellent writer, you will do well. Tell the next writer to cover John Carroll Sports, please....
GMan November 01, 2011 at 03:45 PM
Brad...you did a remarkable job getting the BA Patch up and running. Your accomplishments and talents have obviously been duly noted by your corporate affiliation and leadership. You have certainly left your mark on this town, and our first full time community web site. Congratulations and enjoy the Big Apple. And, please go visit the 911 Memorial when you have the opportunity.
Ginny Ostheimer November 01, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Brad, I'm a new fan of BelAirPatch, although we have lived in Bel Air for over 42 years!! I love the format and the very current information. Thanks for your service to our community. I am also a BIG fan of Kirsten Dize, so I expect the good stuff to continue! Enjoy your new challenges!
GMan November 01, 2011 at 03:51 PM
To Rob, Ditto Nick's comment to you. And, just in case you missed my remark to you yesterday.....You are a major butthole!
Wende Peddicord November 01, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Best of luck. I know you will be a great sucess! My son in law got me hooked on the patch and I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed every story and love how fast you have notices out on situations! Thanks for your dedication.
Deskboy in Miami November 01, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Hey Brad, Does Manhattan have a Patch, too? :-) and Rob, what's the matter, did Brad get the girl that you had hopes for?
Robert Armstrong November 01, 2011 at 07:59 PM
I heard there is cheap room and board in Zucotti Park.
Janet Hester Thomas November 01, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Best wishes to you Brad! I will miss you and your news. Good luck to where ever the wind may blow you.....our loss, their gain!!
Carl November 01, 2011 at 08:47 PM
You did a great job here, so I'm sure you'll succeed in the future. So good luck. Appreciate the way you always got back to people in such a timely manner
Wilmer Joby November 01, 2011 at 11:10 PM
hey brad just wanted to dorp in and say i think u did a great job as a editor you're articles were always so though out and yo did a great job catching hackers and data thieves thanks
Michael Gira November 01, 2011 at 11:14 PM
one person leaves another person comes along nothing matters
Grus Simpson November 01, 2011 at 11:16 PM
hey brad lemme know if you ever want to hit the green for a round of GOLF hahaHAHA you will be missed
Bertrand Mitchup November 01, 2011 at 11:17 PM
hello brad i am very sorry to hear that you are leaving the patch, your articles always lifted me up especially after my wife left me thank you brad very much for your contrubutions
Bertrand Mitchup November 01, 2011 at 11:19 PM
thanks so much brad
Bertrand Mitchup November 01, 2011 at 11:20 PM
thank you
703 November 02, 2011 at 01:36 AM
Brad, Hit'em long and hard. Godspeed!
Cora November 02, 2011 at 04:22 AM
Thanks for the great work you did for the Bel Air community, Brad. You made The Bel Air Patch my source for all area news and all of your work was much appreciated. Many future successes to you!
Ahmad0001 December 18, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Will miss you and your great coverage of Bel Air. All the best and more! http://www.onlinedatastoragesite.com/information-technology/the-actual-role-associated-with-information-technology-running-a-business.html

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