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Happy First Birthday, Montgomery Patch!

In celebration of this site hitting the one-year mark, I'll give free Patch stuff to the first five people who call and sing "Happy Birthday" to me (or my voice mail).

Hey, guess what? Today is Montgomery Patch’s first birthday.

I know, I can hardly believe it either. Pretty soon Montgomery Patch will be dating, and asking to borrow the car, and then before you know it it’s off to college, and “Here’s my laundry,” and, “Can I have some money?” They just grow up so fast. But I digress.

Yes, it was one year ago today that a very nervous former print journalist watched the site he’d worked on for a month finally go live. The was about another website that had just launched: the village of Montgomery’s Facebook page. That story got exactly one comment, from my friend Katie. (Thanks, Katie!)

I attached to that story, and asked whether the village should allow comments on its Facebook page. I got a whole three votes on that one, all in favor.

So yeah, it was a bit of a rocky start, but this site has grown from there, into something I’m proud of. More than 12,000 of you stopped by last month to read stories, post announcements, and leave comments. Montgomery Patch’s Facebook page now has 814 fans—more than the previously-mentioned village Facebook page.

And not a day goes by without emails and phone calls from you guys, which I appreciate more than I can tell you. Without you, this whole enterprise crashes to a halt. Without you, I wouldn’t have lasted a month, let alone a year.

I tried some things that worked, like Pat Torrance's always-delightful column. (There's a new one up tomorrow, and I'm excited to read it.) I tried some things that didn't, like .

And then there was , an idea I'm still proud of, even if the feature never found an audience. Kevin Trudo has been a part of Montgomery Patch since the beginning—I still get comments about the we did together—and I'm grateful.

I've had some wonderful contributors, from to to to our —Marissa, Amy Perry, Steph Motenko, Tiffany Prysmiki and Liz Spillane.

I was proud of the way we covered the April election, giving you with the village board candidates and a chance to have your questions answered. A lot of you supported me when I came up with the silly idea of shooting and editing 10 in 10 hours. (And if not for that pesky rainstorm, I'd have done it!)

And I was honored to have been there when a group of firefighters and ordinary folks jumped in to save a man's life. I still get the most comments about, the moment I keep turning to when asked to sum up my first year at Patch. I got to be there for a miracle. And I got to tell people about it.

There’s more. There’s always more. But I think what I want to say most right now is thank you. Thank you to everyone who has read the site this year, shared comments, given me news tips, and supported me as I tried to make this into something worthwhile for everyone. So yes, that means you. Thank you. 

Tomorrow, we start Year Two. I’m already pretty excited about it. I have a video I’m posting on Friday that I can’t wait for you all to see. It’s been an incredible year. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

And I'm serious about the singing thing. 630-414-5670. Bonus points if you sing "Birthday" by the Beatles.

Cari Barcas February 08, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Andre, it's hard to believe Montgomery Patch has only been up and running for 12 months based on the quality of the site and the strength of the online community you've created in such a short time. I can't wait to see all the great work you do in the next 365 days, and look forward to celebrating many more birthdays to come! Stella, to respond to your comment, we've been thrilled by the relationships developed and positive feedback received from advertisers and users alike. Montgomery has really welcomed us with open arms, and we couldn't be happier with the community's response to our site. You can sleep soundly, because we're not going anywhere!
Steven Jack February 08, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Congrats Andre! You're doing a great job. Keep up the awesome work!
Petras Barcas February 08, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Andre: keep on keepin' on. Good talk, see ya out there.
Steven Jack February 08, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Let's get after it!
Andre Salles February 09, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Thank you all, very much!

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