I’m really excited.

Starting Monday, July 26th I’ll be a regional editor at Portjefferson.patch.com responsible for all reporting of news, events, service-type pieces, profiles, directory listings and much more for the Port Jefferson, NY version of Patch.com. I’ll hire some freelancers to do writing for the website but for the most part – as I understand it – it’s my baby. I have a Managing Editor who will oversee my work on the website and crack the whip as often is necessary to bring me in line.

The Up Side.

The first positive is that I will hold a position that I have long wanted: Editor of a news or magazine website. I always felt the desire to write and report but much more than that to prove that I can successfully run a website’s content from soup to nuts and bring in enough of a readership to support the venture. I’m not sure of the traffic goals yet but I’m sure I will find out soon enough. In the meantime I have personal goals and measures in mind, which is a percentage of the population of the town I will be covering. All of that aside I want to publish the most relevant, interesting and well-written content I can produce.

The second positive is that I will be very, very, very close to home. (Did I mention Port Jefferson is really, really, really close to my house?) No more commuting four hours per day! That’s right. For the past two years I have been enduring the drudgery of a two-hour commute each way to and from work. It’s mind numbing to try to understand what it’s like. The delays, the hot trains, the early, early mornings, getting home way passed dinnertime and the sheer physical toll it takes on a person.

Not to say that I won’t be getting up early or missing the occasional dinner ever again. I expect that I will. I just don’t expect to be sitting on a delayed train on a Friday night after trying to leave work early and end up getting home way passed the time I should have been home on an average night. Not to mention the cost. It’s about five grand per year. It’s a grueling way to eek out an existence and I will be very happy to leave that behind.

The Down Side.

Now for the downside. I’m sad to leave The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter as a full time employee. When I first arrived at the organization I had no idea how much the people who work there and the patients we care for would become so much a part of my life. The ALS Association is a terrific non-profit. They put people first. They truly care about quality of life of ALS patients.

Props To The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter.

The patient services department provides medical services at our three local certified ALS clinics, monthly support groups, education, bereavement, grants, equipment lending and more all for free. The department is staffed by dedicated individuals and high-quality professionals.

The Walk to Defeat ALS department is also staffed by a crew of very caring individuals who do their best to ensure that every single one of our six (working on seven) area walks go off without a hitch. The planning and execution of these events is so tremendously complicated yet when the day comes people arrive ready to rally, have fun and support our cause never knowing how much work the staff has done all with happy, smiling faces.

The chapter also has a back-office staff that keeps things humming along so that everyone else can do their jobs so well. The administrative staff at the Greater New York Chapter is committed to even the most mundane details of the job.

Development and Advocacy people have to do some amazing things to get the grants and donations the chapter needs to keep going as well as traveling to the legislatures at the state and national level to advance the needs of ALS patients in government. Some terrific victories, including full service-connected assumption for any ALS patient who was in the U.S. military and a national ALS registry to track patients over time that will be rolled out over the course of the coming year. Both of these have been hard fought and won by our representatives at the national ALS Association and through our local chapter.

You can see why I’d be hard pressed to leave this organization. Being able to contribute in some small way to the work at The ALS Association Greater New York chapter has been personally and professionally gratifying. It’s nice to go to work everyday and do a good job. It’s better to go to work everyday and know that you have made a difference in the lives of people who really need it. I’m lucky in that I believe that this is the first job I’ve ever had at which I gotten more from working there than I could ever have contributed to the bottom line. It’s been good for the mind and for the soul.

Bringing Patch To PJ.

I really don’t know what will happen in my time at Patch.com. That’s the way it is when you start a new job. You have all these hopes and expectations yet reality is never very much as what we imagine. It’ll be hard work to be sure but I have a good feeling about it. It have a million ideas in mind and I’m formulating a plan of action. It’s going to be good to contribute to the community and hopefully do some good. I believe in the business model that AOL has invested in with Patch.com and I think it will be a great success. I hope to contribute in my little way to that success. It’s very exciting.

Port Jefferson is a town that has been a big part of my experience growing up on Long Island. My mother used to take my sister and me to Port Jefferson on sunny days for ice cream and to look at the boats in the harbor. As I grew up I learned to love the life of a town by the sea with so much to offer from a long and varied history to great places to eat and of course “down port” at night was just an awesome place to party and hang out when I came of age. I now live one town away from Port Jefferson and frequently go down port for events, dinner, bars, hanging out, shopping, etc. I do some fishing and boating right out of Port Jefferson Harbor (Buoy 11) and go into town more than ever before. My school district doesn’t have its own library (too small I guess) so given the choice of surrounding libraries, I decided to join Port Jefferson Library. When I was a total freelance writer a couple of years ago I spent a lot of time in that library and other places around town (yes, the Starbucks on Main Street!) doing my writing. I have always loved this area and I’ll be proud to manage the Patch.com presence there.

And the commute will be a cakewalk.