K.C. at Bat: Heroes and angels among us


“Oh, I believe there are angels among us. Sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me, in our darkest hours. To show us how to live, to teach us how to give, to guide us with the light of love.” –Alabama

The same applies to heroes among us. Enter Ruth Heide.

As a newspaper manager for over 40 years, I always believed that NO ONE is irreplaceable. Enter Ruth Heide.

Impossible.

An era ends, and I can only hope and pray another begins.

How do you replace 33 years of dedication and love for the San Luis Valley in documenting where we are, where we have been and where we’re headed?

Impossible.

There are three people left from 30-plus years ago that have dedicated their lives to bringing you the daily news of the SLV; Ruth, Deb Sowards-Cerny and Vernon Trujillo, and we couldn’t have survived without them. Especially Ruth.

As the tributes and well wishes continues to flow, Ruth’s battle with pancreatic cancer is really just beginning. Her faith and the support of this community will undoubtedly help her through this whatever the final outcome.

The sheer attention and love poured out in events here at the Courier on Friday and again Sunday at the senior center again demonstrated how this community pulls together in times of need.

It is our commitment to continue Ruth’s legacy going forward, but we also ask for your patience as we try to replace the irreplaceable.

In the words of former, longtime Courier sports editor Lloyd Engen. . . Ruth Heide. . . she’s all the hero we ALL need.

More tributes to Ruth pour in

“There are so many great memories of my time working with Ruth at the Courier that it is hard to choose a single occasion or incident to recount.

“What I would say about Ruth is that she is the consummate community journalist. For over 30 years, she chronicled the lives and events of the San Luis Valley. She did so with thoroughness, accuracy, and compassion – she never forgot that, ultimately, the story was about people.

“I feel very fortunate to have spent six-and-a-half years working with Ruth; she is one of my dearest friends. I will never forget that she loves chocolate and hates spiders.”

Hew Hallock, former Courier editor

The years that I have put into law enforcement has sometimes jaded me when working with the press when it came to covering cases we were involved in.

“Ruth Heide changed all that for me. She always listened to both sides, always being fair and truthful. Her gentle persistence always paid off when it came to getting the complete story.

“She has set the law enforcement/press relationship bar far above anything we could hope for. She is professional but compassionate and caring. She would never do anything that would compromise her values. 

“I loved to sit in meetings and watch her take notes in shorthand. Amazed that they always appeared accurately in the paper!

“Our hearts break that she is leaving her position at the Valley Courier and we wish her God speed in her battle. She won’t be alone in this fight!”

Her friend,

Alamosa County Sheriff Robert Jackson

“The news... At times it’s good, at times it’s not, and sometimes it will just plain break your heart.

“That is the trouble with the news business; as Sony and Cher would sing, and the “beat goes on.” Who knows that better than Ruth Heide?

“One day she is out at the Dunes to cover a brush fire, the next day she is reporting on a city council meeting. Day after day her stories mount up.

“Ruth is an editor’s editor; the best proof reader that I have ever known. She takes the tough stuff head on. In my thirteen years working for the Courier I never failed to see her smile and greet people (and dogs) in a friendly way.

“Some people just come in the office to get a hug from Ruth and to say “Ruthie, look whose here?” Ruthie would give out a big smile and welcome them with love from the heart, just as she would give words of comfort to those in distress.

“Certainly, I have seen her angry, but for good reason. Ruth will never tolerate injustice or cruelty.

“There is nothing more fun than taking Ruth out to dinner at Calvillos. Her laughter rings loudly over the stories she tells or hears and then it is always back to work for her.

“There is a popular TV series Named “God Friended Me.”  I think the show should be named “Ruth Friended Me.” Because that’s what Ruth does, and no one does it better!”

Love to you Ruth,

Lloyd Engen

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