Reflections on 100 Issues

Editor

Jack Houvouras

Jack Houvouras

The magazine you’re reading right now marks the 100th edition of HQ. It reflects years of hard work, thousands of pages, file cabinets filled with photos and, of course, a million memories. Looking back, I decided to share my 10 favorite memories from the last 100 issues. As you will see, my fondest recollections invariably come down to the remarkable people I’ve met along the way. The following are in no particular order:  

  1. Seeing Mark McVey in Les Miserables on Broadway. Originally planned as a small feature in HQ in 1991, I was so blown away by the Huntington native’s performance that I decided to put him on the cover. I will never forget that trip or his amazing voice.
  2. Meeting John Drinko. I wrote a cover story about the Marshall alumnus and nationally renowned attorney in 1992. My effort must have pleased Drinko, because he ordered 500 copies of the magazine. It also forged a 16-year friendship. In that time, he shared with me his desire to see Marshall build a world-class library. I relayed that information to then-President Wade Gilley, and a short time later work began on the Drinko Library, thanks in part to a $2 million gift from its namesake.
  3. Getting a call from Paul Newman. In 1993 I wrote a letter to the iconic actor hoping to interview him about his visit to Huntington in 1966 to prepare for his role in the film Cool Hand Luke. A few weeks passed and I gave up on hearing back from him. Then one day I answered the phone and a cool voice said, “Houvouras? Newman here.” Thinking one of my friends was pranking me, I replied, “Yeah right, who the hell is this?”
  4. Receiving a letter from my hero Chuck Yeager. In 1998 I penned a cover story about the aviation legend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of him breaking the sound barrier. He then wrote me a letter saying a lot had been written about him that year, but that my piece was “the best article” he had read.
  5. Writing about my late father, Andrew J. Houvouras. In 2005 I decided to share my father’s life story with the readers of HQ. It was one of the most difficult and deeply personal things I’ve ever done, but in the end, it helped quell much of my grief over his loss.
  6. The excitement of We Are Marshall. When Hollywood came to town to tell the story of the 1970 Marshall plane crash, we decided to put out a 140-page edition of the magazine to commemorate the event. There was an electricity in the air for several months, the likes of which I have never seen before or since.
  7. Featuring local charities. Doing so has been our way of trying to make a real difference in the lives of others. Our cover story on Little Victories Animal Rescue in 2008 led me to become active in the no-kill shelter. I served as president of the board for three years and am still involved today. Helping these abandoned or abused animals find loving homes has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.
  8. Remembering the life of Paul Ambrose, the Huntington native who was taken from us on Sept. 11, 2001. On the 10th anniversary of that tragic day, I felt compelled to write the story of this visionary young physician who dedicated much of his life to public health. On track to become the youngest U.S. Surgeon General in history, his passing was a great loss not only for Huntington, but the entire nation.
  9. Flying the friendly skies. Profiling the region’s most accomplished individuals often means hopping a plane to some pretty cool places. Whether it was a big hit on Broadway, Fashion Week in New York, a film star in Hollywood, a tech titan in Silicon Valley, a supersonic pilot in Las Vegas or a Hall of Fame football player in Minnesota, I’ve seen a lot.
  10. Working with talented people. Publishing 100 issues has given me the chance to collaborate with some very creative minds, and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge a few of them. The photography in HQ has often been praised thanks to the talents of David Fattaleh and Rick Lee. Two managing editors stand out in my mind as being the absolute best at their job — Leesa Edwards and Katherine Pyles. Writers I greatly respect include Matthew DeBord, Jim Casto, Carter Taylor Seaton and the late Ernie Salvatore. And last but not least, I have been blessed to work with an array of gifted graphic designers, and there are simply too many to name in this short space.

 

While reaching 100 editions is something I am proud of, I’m reminded of something my father often said about his success: “I have been very lucky.” I used to think he was just being modest, but today I realize that he was spot on.

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