It was a hot day in July 2009, and I was taking pictures of hand-crafted marionettes at the annual Harbor Days in Mattapoisett Shipyard Park. As I meandered the booths, I felt both excited and nervous – I was the News Editor of The Wanderer now! THE Wanderer! Having been both a Mattapoisett resident, and an English major, I was dazzled to be both recognized by a reputable publication, and to be actually working in my field.
Then I was humbled. An elderly man approached me – I wish I could tell you his name, but all these years later, I simply don’t remember – he looked at my fancy Canon camera and my freshly-minted Wanderer press badge and said, “You have big shoes to fill. Everyone loved Ken.”
He went on to tell me what a good person Ken Souza was, how he represented The Wanderer very well, and how he hoped I would continue the tradition of fair, unbiased, and honest reporting. In the weeks and months that followed, I would get more of the same appeals from the public. “Don’t go making a bunch of changes! We liked how Ken was reporting!” People would tell me how respectful Ken was, how kind he was, and how fair he was in his reporting style.
You see, I was the first News Editor of The Wanderer after Ken spent 17 years in the role. Spoiler alert: I did make some changes, mainly in the way of social media, but for the most part, I continued the tradition of Ken’s style, making sure The Wanderer reported the facts without sensationalism or muckraking.
Over the years, I would run into Ken, as we were residents of the same town. In 2017, I started coordinating an annual Fairhaven Police National Night Out, and Ken was kind enough to offer his (amazing) DJ services for the event, pro bono. He did it every year because he was kind, helpful, generous with his time and spirit, and a big community supporter. And he did it all in a quiet and unassuming way.
The world needs more Kens. It is truly a sad week for us all at The Wanderer.
By Anne O’Brien (formerly Anne Kakley)