Berry accepts TRC honor as Alumni of Yr.
The Tinnin Center was a hubbub of activity last night as community members dropped in to honor the Three Rivers College 2017 Distinguished Alumni of the Year, Stan Berry.
"It is truly inspiring to see the group of people who have come out to honor Stan," said TRC president, Dr. Wesley Payne. "He keeps in mind the importance of his family, his community and his friends."
Berry is the long-time editor of the Daily American Republic and a proud Poplar Bluffian. Typically not one to bask in the limelight, Berry thanked his friends, family and colleagues while expressing his sentiment toward TRC, which he said "has always had a special place in my heart."
"This is, without a doubt, the biggest honor I've ever had in my life," Berry said.
Started in 2016, the distinguished alumni award is a way to shine the light on the former students of Three Rivers College said TRC's Director of Development Michelle Reynolds.
"One thing that people don't realize is that you don't have to graduate from Three Rivers to be considered an alumni. We truly believe people get their start at Three Rivers," Reynolds said. "We also want to show our current students who has been in their shoes before them, and to show them the success they are able to accomplish."
Among the attendees were a few folks who have known Berry for years, some through work, others through play. However, they all reiterated the same message, which is, that Berry is a good guy, a good friend and a perfect representative of Three Rivers College.
John Stanard worked with Berry at the Daily American Republic for 25 years and said he made it a point to come out and honor his former colleague.
"I was a reporter on the paper when he was hired and he was a student," Stanard said. "He came in early in the morning and helped out with sports statistics and then started writing stories and later became the sports editor. Then he did features and photography. He took time out for some Vietnam service. He even left for a while to work on a river boat, but he was always welcome back."
Stanard said Berry's story is a classic example of someone who grew up locally and utilized Three Rivers College to get their start.
"Three Rivers was a perfect opportunity for him to get started. He was able to work and then go to Arkansas State to study journalism down there. He's a really nice story. Stan's a good guy. He's a fair and decent editor. He wants to treat people right and I think he achieves that," Stanard said.
Attorney Daniel Moore has been friends with Berry for 43 years. Off the record, Moore described lots of mischief the pair used to get into together, but on the record, said he can't imagine a better person to be TRC's Distinguished Alumni.
"I've known Stan since 1975," said Moore. "He's really the first person I met when I came to Poplar Bluff. He's just been a good friend for all that time, so that's why I'm out here. I don't know if there'd be anybody better than him for this. He's been a good friend to not just me but to a lot of people and I'm happy to be out here for him."
"There's not an ornery bone in his body," Moore added with a smile.
Another of Berry's friends, Steve Ray, echoed Stanard and Moore with compliments regarding Berry's integrity and overall character.
"I've been friends with Stan for probably about 20 years. Stan's a great person. He's an all around good guy and you couldn't ask for a better person to represent anything, especially the college," said Ray.
One man, Gary Rust, traveled from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to support Berry. Rust is chairman of Rust Communications, which owns several newspapers and media outlets in nine states.
"Stan's a special person. He's more than just a fine reporter, editor, he's a fine human being and that's why I came here to support him," Rust said.
Berry will serve as the keynote speaker during TRC's commencement ceremony, which will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at the Bess Activity Center on TRC's campus.
Reynold's said nominations for TRC's Distinguished Alumni can be submitted year-round by visiting trcc.edu/development.