October 11, 2022 Special Tribute
The Citizen is receiving declarations of praise and gratitude from all segments of the Bedford community regarding Julie McCay Turner’s decade of leadership, innovation, and devotion as managing editor.
Turner, a co-founder of The Citizen, retired this week after 10 years of nurturing the newspaper from concept to a flourishing enterprise – one that media scholar Prof. Dan Kennedy labeled, “one of the first and most successful hyperlocal websites in the Boston suburbs.”
Her vision was anchored by a resume of wide-ranging community involvement dating back to the late 1960s. Turner was honored as Bedford Citizen of the Year in 2016.
“Regardless of where you are in Bedford, if you overhear someone referring to ‘Julie,’ there is never a question or doubt as to the identity,” said Linda White, a longtime volunteer leader. “Even if you have somehow never been personally introduced, you know her and she probably knows you. Julie has been the ears, voice, photographer, and individual who routinely and daily chronicled anything you should know about in Bedford.”
Sarah Dorer, the town’s 2022 Citizen of the Year, wrote, “Julie has been ubiquitous all these years and has always had her fingers on the pulse of Bedford.”
Added Lois Pulliam, who with her husband Brown was 2021 Citizen of the Year, “She is just a marvel. There has never been a time when she hasn’t been involved. I have a hard time thinking of The Citizen without her – Bedford being without her would be terrible.”
The range of admirers is a reflection of Turner’s impact on all constituencies – government, education, clubs and organizations, sports and performing arts, programs for children, activities for the elderly, and the town’s religious institutions.
“Julie never limited her interest to one area,” White observed. “She was personally interested in everything happening in Bedford. That interest extended to our town government and many departments, town elections, every school, sports, cultural activity, human interest stories, ‘happenings,’ and most importantly the people of Bedford.”
“I can’t remember when or how I first met Julie, but it feels like she’s been a part of my life in Bedford forever,” said Emily Mitchell, chair of the Select Board. “We bonded over our shared Midwestern experience and our love of the arts, and I was honored when she asked me to be part of the founding board of The Bedford Citizen.”
“Through her seemingly limitless devotion, commitment, and concern for our town and the people who live here, Julie has made Bedford a better place,” added State Rep. Kenneth Gordon. “It is hard to provide meaningful reporting of one’s own community. As a former newspaper reporter, I know the pressures she faced. But she handled the challenges, The Citizen thrived, and we are all the better for it.”
“Julie is spectacular, the tip of the spear of a vibrant new local journalism that we desperately need,” agreed State Sen. Mike Barrett.
“I would like to thank Julie for all her work in the community and for sharing important insight on public safety,” wrote Bedford Police Detective Lt. Scott Jones. “She has been a valuable partner and I will certainly miss working with her.”
Bedford High School Principal Heather Galante said Turner was “constantly making sure the focus was on students and our community.”
“I have so many fond members of Julie, but one stands out,” Galante related. “When the pandemic forced our schools to abruptly shut down in March of 2020, the community worked together to celebrate the graduating class. Part of the many tributes included delivering graduation signs to the home of each senior. Julie followed me in her car from house to house capturing photographs for The Bedford Citizen.”
Turner hired and supervised Hanscom Air Force Base resident and then BHS student Ryan Doucette, now a sophomore at The Ohio State University, as he covered important local government meetings. Turner, he wrote, is “someone who epitomizes the greatness of my time spent in Bedford. As one of the first people I ever met in Bedford, Julie welcomed me with open arms and quickly put me to work for The Citizen.”
“Her mentorship and relentless support made my time at BHS a truly incredible experience,” he continued. “I know my experiences with Julie are just one of the countless examples of her dedication. The contributions of Julie McCay Turner go above and beyond what is ever expected.”
Retired School Superintendent Jon Sills wrote that he particularly appreciates Turner’s “readiness to publish the superintendent’s letters to the community. Giving the schools a voice during challenging times helped to keep our core values front and center.”
“Always ready with your camera in hand, you and your wonderful smile were welcome sights at innumerable events,” Sills remembered. “Your seeking out and covering events such as the Tenacity Challenge and Veterans Day celebrations kept the public informed of the many, many unique learning experiences that our students enjoyed.”
Galante agreed, noting, “She covered so many events for the high school and was always delighted to capture these important moments in photo and in print. Julie, you have an open invitation to our events as an honored guest.”
Sandy Couvee, who runs Chip-In Farm’s Farmers Helpers kids’ program, said that Turner’s “enthusiasm for everything and everyone is contagious! I can’t tell you how many ways she has impacted me and our 4H club. She is the type of person that makes you want to be a better person.”
“Julie’s love for Bedford is more than just a love for our traditions, history, and institutions — it’s a love for the people of this town.,” observed the Rev. Chris Wendell of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. “She has consistently sought to share stories of the myriad ways that Bedford thrives as a community, and some of the ways we struggle, too.
Added the Rev. John Gibbons, retired minister of First Parish Church on the Common, “Julie has been an exceptional cheerleader for Bedford! Omnipresent! Indefatigable! Always positive!”
Jan Van Steenwijk, who serves with Turner on the board of the Bedford Historical Society, said, “I don’t remember any event, small or big, where she wasn’t visible.”
“In my mind, The Citizen will be inexorably linked to Julie,” said Paula Gilarde. “She cares deeply about her work and is always striving to provide the best possible experience for readers. She’s always learning, observing, and constantly thinking of how to make things better. She’s funny, curious, thoughtful, and kind and I’m honored to call her a friend.”
“She has demonstrated her respect for all who participate in making Bedford flourish and thrive as a community. And for that, she has more than earned ours,” Wendell said.
“I admire Julie’s grace, her tenacity, her intelligence, her genuine kindness, and her sense of style, and I can’t wait to see what she does next,” Mitchell declared, adding, “I want to be Julie when I grow up.”