Alex Hayes has been awarded the Gettysburg Connection Outstanding Community Contributor award for his positive outlook, his community outreach, his journalistic productivity, and his devotion to the lives of people in Adams County.
Alex moved to Gettysburg in 2005 to take a position at the Gettysburg Times and stayed there for 16 years, working as a reporter and editor, until he retired this year. He brought extensive journalistic skills with him including a stint at his high school newspaper, a degree in journalism and mass communications from Lockhaven University, and a childhood paper route.
In addition to writing and editing, Hayes’ work at the Times involved extensive multi-tasking, including hiring, coordinating, and paying stringers, assigning them to stories, and making sure they got them in on time. Alex accomplished all of that as well as the even bigger job of community outreach required of a newspaper editor.
Hayes will continue as Fund Development Director at the YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County and will continue as a Times reporter as time permits. “I’m working on a few stories; people are still going to see my byline out there,” he said.
Hayes thanked the community for his success at the Times. “The community accepted me,” he said. Hayes said he retired because he needed a break from the newspaper grind. “The last 2 years of Covid have seemed like 6 years,” he said.
“Alex has a gift for connecting with people. Whenever I’ve walked into a crowded room with him, he has seemed to know practically everybody. His ability to connect with individuals is matched by his commitment to serving the community as a whole. Adams County is lucky to have him,” said Times reporter Jim Hale.
“Roughly six years ago, Alex Hayes gave an eager young college student the chance to intern for the Gettysburg Times, then hired me for my first journalism job,” said former Times reporter Mary Grace Keller. “He patiently endured my mistakes, taught me how to improve, and showed me what it meant to be a community journalist. His love for Adams County was obvious in every hour he put into this paper. Not all editors are like that.”
“Alex worked hard,” said Hayes’ friend Jake Schindel. “He was working all the time, often at night.”
“He’s on a first name basis with everyone,” said Schindel. “He’s selfless and always willing to help out. I can call him at any time and he’ll drop everything he’s doing and come help me. He’ll do that for anybody.”
Schindel noted Hayes’ involvement in local community organizations including the Rotary Club.
“He took a lot of shots on Facebook,” said Schindel, “but no one who knows him would ever say anything bad about Alex.”
“Alex is a true asset to the community and was a huge asset to the paper from the day I got here. He gives his life and heart to the community,” said Times publisher Harry Hartman.
“As an editor, Alex was concerned about representing everyone. I don’t think there’s a better person to do that,” said long-time Times colleague and friend Adam Michael. “He wants to be as down the middle as he can. He had great relationships with every staff member, but he can also get pretty boisterous; he’s not afraid to let it fly.”
“Alex is always concerned about everyone else and very rarely concerned about himself,” said Michael. “The first thing he says to me in the morning is ‘how’s Adam Michael?’ It humbled me.”
“He’s a really sweet guy; he’ll bring you a case of beer on your birthday.”
Featured image: Alex Hayes (r.) with his colleague and friend Adam Michael.