Eighteen years ago when we purchased The Progress Review, we brought with us a strong desire to make a positive difference in our community and four years of the best journalism instruction taught by Jan Rutledge and Art Saldaña at Linn-Mar High School. Even so, with the challenge of operating a community newspaper before us, we knew we needed help. With that in mind, the first call we made was to Mary Bauer. It was the best decision we’ve ever made at The Progress Review.

Initially, Mary was hired as an office manager, someone who could answer the phones and greet and serve walk-in customers. But that was just the beginning. Over the years, as the needs of the newspaper changed, the best person we ever could have hired took it upon herself to do whatever she could to support the business. In the early days, it was Mary who rounded up the support of Rachael, Lauren and Rick to help with especially labor-intensive print jobs like school calendars. Need a photographer? Mary was there with her camera to take award-winning photographs of the local landscape and Union High School sports. Need someone to layout the newspaper, design signs, greeting cards and other printed products? There was Mary, taking it upon herself to learn advanced skills using sophisticated software to produce high quality finished products that really wowed the customers. And on the days when we were out of town, Mary was the first one to volunteer to come in on her day off to make sure that the newspapers were safely secured and ready for processing.

Simply put, for eighteen years Mary Bauer has been the very essence of the kind of service we hoped to devote to our community. She is a Renaissance woman, someone who does so many different things, all of them well. And the sum of her talents and skills are exceeded only by the size of her heart. In Mary Bauer, we were blessed to have someone who cared just as much about our business and serving the people of La Porte City as we did. All business owners should be as lucky to have such a loyal and special friend working in their shops.

I write these words because they are true, knowing however, that like any good photographer, Mary prefers to be behind the camera, not in front of it. Before our run as publishers of The Progress Review comes to a close with the September 30, 2020 edition, though, it is important to acknowledge that any success we have had along the way is due, in large part, to Mary’s efforts.

To thank her for her years of service to the community, we will host an open house on Friday, September 25 from 1-4 PM. I invite our readers to take the opportunity to stop by and offer their best wishes to Mary as our nearly two decades of producing news, features and entertainment for the LPC community comes to an end. Refreshments will be served and free copies of a reproduction of the very first front page of The Progress Review will be available as souvenirs. For those not able to attend, we’ll make sure that any cards sent to Mary at The Progress Review (213 Main Street, La Porte City, IA 50651) get forwarded to the guest of honor.

Thank you, Mary, for eighteen wonderful years and all you have done for the community we love.