STEPHEN HEMELT — New home, exciting times with The Orange Leader

Published 12:24 am Saturday, February 19, 2022

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It’s the only way anything meaningful gets accomplished.

It might be cool to call yourself a lone wolf, but as the phrase goes, the strength of the wolf is the pack.

I have been extremely lucky this week to join a super strong pack with The Orange Leader.

My first week as publisher has certainly been eventful, but the help of this team and community has made the effort a completely satisfying experience.

Stephen Hemelt

First, let’s start with Dawn Burleigh, our outgoing publisher. This dedicated community servant has helped me throughout this transition, answering dozens of questions in the week we worked together and about 1,000 more in the week after she “retired.”

Thankfully, Dawn said I can keep calling for help. Because we are going to need it.

We simply could not have published the last two editions if Dawn did not help us by leading me in the right direction.

Next comes the team which mans the building with me, including sports editor extraordinaire Van Wade and dedicated marketing consultant Amy Dansby.

Orange Leader readers have long grown used to Van’s work chronicling the successes of generations of Orange County athletes. We’ve enjoyed many conversations this week, and this man seems to know everyone. More than that, he knows the mom, dad and grandparents, too.

Local journalism, Orange Newsmedia and sports fans across Southeast Texas have something special in Van Wade.

Meeting and working with Amy for the first time this week has been a joy, as she makes clear what’s most important to her — the newspaper’s clients. It’s clear why Amy has found a home in marketing. Her commitment to the success of others is truly genuine.

What a wonderful community this is, and it’s sure nice to get started right when it becomes Mardi Gras season. My wife, Candace, and I have been married for 13 years and we have two children. Dominick is in eighth grade, and Mallory is in fifth grade.

You can bet these kiddos enjoy Mardi Gras parades, because that is how their parents raised them.

My wife is originally from Abita Springs, Louisiana, and I was born in New Orleans, so this is about the perfect time of year for us to get to town.

We look forward to getting to know as many people as possible and expanding the reach of The Orange Leader, and Orange Living Magazine. We currently have an opening for a fulltime position in our editorial department, so feel free to reach out if that interests you.

Stephen Hemelt is the publisher of The Orange Leader. He can he reached at