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Working alongside Hannah (literally, we sat two feet apart) at KUNM was such a gift. Every single day, we would point out amusing memes or tweets to each other on our monitors and giggle together. We were both public health reporters and often collaborated on stories or sources. And she was a hell of a person to collaborate with; her ideas were always so inspired. We’d often share our snacks too. I still recall the taste of the spicy sprouts she shared with me during lunch one day. She was so happy that I liked them. I’m a big sprout fan now. Thanks for that, Hannah.

We were also close friends outside the office; it was a natural bond that formed very quickly. Whether it was catching drinks at Bosque or dancing at a music show, it was always better with Hannah around. She asked me to do her makeup for her first live performance and I was honored. She was so nervous before they called her up, but she got out there and, of course, she rocked it. She had such a beautiful voice.

Hannah was the first person I told when I received an offer from my current workplace in Colorado, and we both silently understood it would mean we wouldn’t see each other again for a long while. We cried together on my last day at KUNM, and we saw each other once more before I moved away. I promised her I’d come back to visit and that she’d be at the top of my list. But the pandemic came shortly after.

I miss her so much. It hurts my heart to think of what she was going through, and what could’ve been. But it helps to remember what already was. She brought so much love and kindness to this world and such thoughtfulness to journalism.

I could go on endlessly about how Hannah had a great eye for the small things in life that might otherwise go unnoticed; or how her unique way of thinking broadened my own thoughts; or how watching her doodle as she listened to public meetings was mesmerizing.

She taught me something every day, whether she meant to or not, and I was always grateful. Hannah Colton is irreplaceable. I will never meet anybody like her again. We need more Hannahs. The world would be better for it. I love you Hannah. Thank you for being such a wonderful person in every way.

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