Anyone who has worked for The Olympian in the last 30 years is familiar with this scenario:
You meet someone and when they realize where you work, the first thing they say is “Do you know John Dodge?” or “Tell John Dodge I said hello!”
People in South Sound either know John or wish they did. He’s as close as we get to our own celebrity.
That’s because not only did he grow up and go to school here, he’s worked at the newspaper 31 years, quietly earning the respect of his peers, his sources and his readers as one of the most knowledgable environmental reporters in the business.
In fact, he’s really helped to define environmentalism and its issues, and scooped up a boatload of awards for it along the way. And lucky for us, he’s been there to explain the science behind the eruption of Mount St. Helens and its rise from its own ashes; pollution Superfund sites; Capitol Lake and the campaign to return it to an estuary; earthquakes; wetland mitigation; and myriad other issues that have faced this community.
But now it’s time for us to say goodbye. John has decided it’s time to retire, although he won’t be giving up writing or letting all that knowledge go to waste. He’s going to be finishing up a book about the 1962 Columbus Day storm that devastated the region. There’s no doubt all those folks who are already his fans will be eager to grab their first-edition copies.
It’s the book world’s gain and The Olympian’s loss. We’ll miss John and his column, now frequently covering other icons who have made big marks on this community.
But before he packs up his desk, we want to invite all of you to come to The Olympian to wish John well. We’ll be hosting a public reception for him from 4-6 p.m. Thursday (May 28) in the newspaper’s Community Room at 111 Bethel St. NE, Olympia. This is your opportunity to meet him, if you haven’t already, and to tell him hello and best wishes yourself, if you’ve been lucky enough to call him friend.
He will be missed.