Yo, Vin, say it ain't so! You're retiring?!
Well, it is true. And Bradenton banter may never be the same. Vin Mannix retired from the Herald on Friday, amid much fanfare and well wishes from his coworkers and community pals alike.
Vin has been writing about the people and politics of our community since he arrived here on Dec. 9, 1997, from our then-sister newspaper in Boca Raton.
A year later, when I moved here, Vin was one of the first faces I met from the Bradenton Herald -- remember those huge billboards? There was Vin Mannix, towering over the roads of Bradenton.
And Vin has continued to rule this town with his mighty pen ever since. From gently skewering the wayward politician, to etching graceful memorials for deserving veterans, Vin has written about hundreds of people in profiles, tributaries and news features.
And he has dropped literally thousands of names in his columns. There aren't many refrigerators in town without a clipping from "Mannix about Manatee."
We never thought he'd retire (just like we never thought he'd get married -- thank you, Sherri!).
He has been a huge part of our newsroom through thick and thin, and over the years became our veteran reporter and columnist.
When a newsroom staffer moves on, it's a long-standing tradition in newsrooms across the country to put together a front page that pays tribute to the departing compadre -- complete with touches of newsroom humor. We asked some of Vin's friends, former cohorts and community contacts to contribute, too. We're sharing some of those here, and hope you'll add your thoughts in the next few days.
Most of you know Vin for his vast wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts, colorful Crocs and hearty laugh. What you might not realize is how much time Vin invests in every one of his stories and columns. He cares deeply about each word, each phrase that he weaves into a tender insight or pivotal opinion piece.
Many of his stories have made us chuckle or shed a tear over the years. Many of his columns have helped provoke much-needed change in this community. Even if you didn't agree with him, Vin's writing will get you going.
What will I miss most, besides Vin's vast institutional knowledge of Manatee County? His hearty sense of humor, and that keen sense of camaraderie that has often been the glue of the newsroom.
So, Vin, here's a toast to you and your bride:
May the luck of the Irish
Lead to happiest heights
And the highway you travel
Be lined with green lights.
Joan Krauter, Herald executive editor, can be reached at 941-745-7070. Follow her on Twitter @JEKrauter