Managing Editor retires after 25 years with the National Rifle Association
Fairfax, Virginia - After gracing the halls of the National Rifle Association for 25 years, America’s First Freedom Editor Gina Schmidt has decided to call it quits. With plans to retire to the soothing confines of South Carolina, Schmidt made one last appearance as a few hundred employees gathered to bid her farewell. Doug Hamlin, executive director of NRA Publications, reflected on the state of affairs when Gina first joined the NRA.
“Tom Selleck was in the 8th year as the star of Magnum, pi … our president was George Herbert Walker Bush, and 25 minutes before game 3 of the 1998 World Series we had a 7.1 earthquake up in San Francisco. The Dow Jones closed at 2700 and a gallon of gasoline was 97 cents.”
Starting in the NRA’s General Counsel Office, Schmidt made the move to publications as an editorial assistant for The American Guardian (which morphed into America’s First Freedom) in 1997. Journalism was calling.
Continuing his theme, Hamlin provided an portrait of America in 1997.
“Titanic won 11 Oscars, Mike Tyson was hungry and bit off a portion of Evander Holyfield’s ear, and gas had risen to $1.22 a gallon.”
Holding titles such as Assistant Editor, Associate Editor, Managing Editor and Editor at Large in her Publications tenure, Schmidt’s work was recognized over the years with a number of awards including Outstanding Editor, Outstanding Editorial Services and an Outstanding Achievement Award.
But it hasn’t always been an easy route to navigate.
“I think Gina had one of the most challenging assignments in our division,” said Hamlin. “(H)er Editor in Chief Mark Chesnut is out of Oklahoma, our Creative Director Clay Turner is out of the state of Colorado, and there is so much coordination with the sixth floor. Through it all Gina has been very professional, stayed the course and we’re very, very proud of her.”
Donned with rounds of applause and parting gifts, Schmidt finally took to the mike and addressed the crowd.
“I can’t believe 25 years has rolled by so fast. I just very grateful to the NRA. The difference between a career and a job is that you look forward to coming to work every day. And I really looked forward to coming to work with all of you. I’ve never before worked with a group of more professional people who were dedicated to what they do.
“When I first interviewed for the job back in 1989, the headhunter who sent me said, it’s a family organization. Everybody I send there just stays and stays. You’re going to love it.”
After 25 years, it’s safe to say that the headhunter was right.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank Mrs. Schmidt for her continued guidance as I stumble through my role as Editor of NRAblog. Always quick with a word of advice and push in the right direction, I know we never would have accomplished as much as we did without her guidance.
So thank you and farewell Mrs. Schmidt. With any luck we’ll be able to wield a smidgen of the insight and influence you brought to the National Rifle Association every day.