Graphic by Tim Bobko

Each year, the American Business Media organization singles out an editor whose work “displays courage, integrity and passion.”

Named after the longtime editor of Billboard magazine, The Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity is one of the highest honors an editor and a magazine can receive.

This year, the name on this prestigious award was mine. The magazine also was up for an unprecedented four Jesse H. Neal Awards from the ABM — including a Grand Neal award. We took home one of those awards in Best Single Article category

A few days ago, I was in New York, thanking a crowd of my journalistic peers for the honor as well as my talented staff and always-supportive publisher, Dick Coleman.

All of those people are worthy of as much credit for this award as I am.

But the person I want to single out today for a much-deserved thanks is you.

Since I became editor of Aquatics International in 2003, I’ve been struck by the courage, integrity and passion of aquatics professionals. Every week, I get calls, emails or, more recently, Tweets or posts on AI Connect, LinkedIn or Facebook that remind me how devoted you all are to your profession. I’m honored to be part of an industry that has, at its heart, the noble calling to improve and save lives. That calling takes on many forms, from lifeguarding to aquatic therapy.

Regardless of their disciplines, aquatics professionals are some of the most caring and devoted people I’ve ever met.

Every time I interact with them — with you — I’m reminded of the solemn responsibility that the magazine and I shoulder in providing the information needed to move aquatics forward and, perhaps, help improve or save lives.

Going forward, I hope you’ll continue to challenge and push us to take on the difficult topics and issues that the industry still must address. I know you will, just as you have in years past. And when it comes to this latest honor, I also know something equally important: Though my name will be on the award, the real winner is you.