Andrew Riepe has joined the staff of the Vilonia Eagle.

Riepe is a graduate of Vilonia High School and holds a degree in journalism from Central Baptist College in Conway. He said he made the decision to "take the 14-mile leap" to CBC because, "just like in Vilonia," at CBC "they care about you like you are family."

Riepe said he has always dreamed of being a writer. While in college, he served as a reporter for the Tower Times covering a gamut of subjects and discovered he liked telling the story of other people. In 2013, he was named by CBC as an outstanding journalism student. His passion is sporting events and sports features, which he refers to as "the really good stuff."

One of his favorite assignments was a story on South African Nicholas Doyle who was hurt while playing soccer. He had a leg injury, Riepe recalled, that required many surgeries and rigorous hours of rehabilitation.

"I heard his story and I wanted him to succeed," Riepe said. Riepe was also involved with the college’s tornado coverage in Vilonia.

A good writer, Riepe said, should have a passion for writing about the subject that he is covering. Self-described, Riepe said he is a diamond in the rough with a passion for many things, especially those involving the residents of Vilonia. "This is the community that I love. I am driven to do a good job."

Also, a reporter, he said, should have a trademark. His is perhaps his white fedora that he wears most all of the time. He also said he is an old soul in a 22-year-old’s body. He loves music — especially Dean Martin and Bing Crosby and he doesn’t mind crooning a few lines.

Born with high functioning autism, Riepe said he is a better man for it. He said it inspires him to work harder and accomplish more.

"I am building off of every person in my life," he said. "Working for the Eagle, I will continue to work hard and I plan to be an effective journalist."