Reynolds feted at Chamber After Hours

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 16, 2005

Thursday night’s &uot;Chamber After Hours&uot;, held at the newly remodeled offices of The Greenville Advocate, proved a successful event – one that honored some special members of the community.

Advocate Managing Editor Jay Thomas welcomed those in attendance, thanking them for &uot;being here and sharing in the renovation of this magnificent building.&uot;

&uot;All great things start as a dream. The realization of dreams requires the combined effort of many hearts and hands,&uot; said Thomas.

The 2005 Greenville Advocate Citizen of the Year, Joan Reynolds, along with husband Paul, was on hand for a special presentation on her behalf.

&uot;This is a special moment for us here at the Advocate for we get to publicly recognize and thank our Citizen of the Year, Mrs. Joan Reynolds,&uot; Thomas said. &uot;Joan Reynolds is a person who can do anything because she is a determined lady…she has been at the forefront of the battle [against cancer] with her work with the Butler County Unit of the American Cancer Society.

&uot;Those who know her will also tell you she is a devout woman of faith in God. She is not the type to sit back and think ‘poor me’ for she knows her successes and failures rest solely with her,&uot; said Thomas. He went on to describe Reynolds, the second recipient of this award which honors the community’s unsung heroes, as &uot;civic perfection.&uot;

Reynolds was presented with one of the actual press plates from the printing of the 2005 Horizons edition, featuring Reynolds’ debut story as Citizen of the Year.

&uot;I truly do appreciate this – it’s such a nice remembrance of the occasion,&uot; a smiling Reynolds said. &uot;I have to be honest, I really thought it was a joke at first when Jay called me about this. I do have a real passion for this cause; cancer has hit my life. My mother died of cancer and so did my five-year-old niece.&uot;

&uot;When Bernice Shirley contacted me 15 years ago about being the ‘biggest rat in town’, she had to first explain what it was all about, raising funds for the fight against cancer…ever since then, I have been involved with the American Cancer Society.

&uot;I have learned anything you can do in this fight against cancer is important – and it really is more blessed to give than to receive,&uot; she added.

While Reynolds is retiring from her position with Alfa Insurance, the local ACS chairman stressed she is not giving up her volunteer work.

&uot;Even though I am retiring from my other job, I will continue to work with the Cancer Society and Relay,&uot; she said. &uot;I truly feel humbled and honored to receive this recognition,&uot; Reynolds told her audience.

Publisher Dennis Palmer agrees the newspaper’s reader advisory committee made the right choice with Reynolds.

&uot;Our readers and reader advisory committee were very insightful in their choice of Joan Reynolds as The Greenville Advocate Citizen of the Year,&uot; Palmer said. &uot;Anyone who has attended a Relay For Life in Butler County or had a friend or relative affected by cancer knows why Joan was the right choice. Her drive to help fund research to find a cure for cancer is unparalleled in our community.&uot;

Thomas also noted the contribution made by the Hardin and Stanley families for establishing and maintaining the dream of a community newspaper.

&uot;I know I speak on behalf of everyone here at The Advocate who believes that one of our greatest assets is Gene and Nonnie Hardin,&uot; he said. &uot;Their life’s work is our life’s work…when I’m faced with an editorial question, I will often ask what would Mr. Hardin do? I know that I stand in the footsteps of a journalistic giant.&uot;

Thomas went on to announce the dedication of the office’s new community conference room as the Stanley-Hardin Conference Room.

Gene Hardin, former editor of the newspaper and a known jokester, proceeded to quip, &uot;Y’all have really loused up my building!&uot; a comment which brought much laughter from the crowd.

Hardin then added, &uot;I appreciate all you have done for me, your kind remarks, and overall, what you’ve done for me and my family.&uot;

Nina and Colin &uot;Big C&uot; MacGuire, the widow and son of C.H. &uot;Buster&uot; MacGuire, were also on hand for a special dedication in the late journalist’s honor.

Thomas reminisced about the plainspoken newspaperman.

&uot;When I walked into the Advocate as its new editor, one of the first people to greet me that morning was…Buster MacGuire…[Buster] simply chuckled and said, ‘Come back to finish the job, have you?&uot; He was referring to my first job here seven years before.

&uot;In just a few short months, Buster left us. Not one of us who works here will ever forget the morning we learned he was gone.

But Buster did not go easy into that good night. His spirit still lingers here in this building…

&uot;When the plans for the renovation began to take shape we learned Buster’s little office would no longer be here. Dennis quickly let it be known he too believed Buster’s spirit remains with us and decided to do something about it,&uot; said Thomas.

He went on to announce the new editorial conference room was named for C.H. Buster MacGuire so &uot;journalists who come after us will always know they work in the shadow of a true giant of the newspaper industry.&uot;

Concerning the conference room dedications, Palmer said, &uot;Anyone who knew Buster MacGuire and knows the Hardins understand why we did this. Every day we come to work we do so with the thought that we need to continue the tradition the Stanleys began in 1865 and that the Hardins continued until Mr. Hardin’s retirement in 1995. I can still hear Buster’s boisterous laugh in my memories and I think of him often.&uot;

The entire Advocate staff was on hand on Thursday night to meet and greet their guests for the evening.

The large number of Chamber members who stopped in got to see the new look the newspaper office has taken on as they enjoyed the lavish array of refreshments and beverages coordinated by Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Lee and her able assistant Annie Glenn Branum.

A number of door prizes were also given away that evening.

&uot;I want to thank everyone who attended, and especially our valued business partners, for making this event successful,&uot; said Palmer.

&uot;Carol Lee and Annie Glenn Branum did an excellent job of putting the event together for us, which shows how important the Chamber is in helping businesses in Greenville display what they have to offer.&uot;