Bob Mitchell: Little things do count

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August has arrived, and it’s as good a time as any to give some recognitions that have come my way as a result of the recently received professional journalism organizations’ honors.

First of these efforts has to go to the guy that signs the checks at the Cassville Democrat, Jacob Brower. Chosen by the ownership to be publisher, this McDonald County native has family roots that go back far enough in the former “McDonald Territory” to have knowledge of the southwest corner of Missouri.

A member of the Missouri Press Association’s board of directors, Jacob knows his way around the newspaper world and is a definite asset to the Cassville community and Barry County.

Under his leadership, there is no doubt the Cassville Democrat will continue to be a true newspaper with a direction to serve the readers and the best interests of all our communities.

For the reason of not being guilty of omitting anyone who has expressed congratulations, with one exception, names are not going to be used any further, but information will be sufficient for them to recognize who the thanks is directed toward.

R-4 music past

The most eloquent of the responders came all the way from Florida University and Russell Robinson, an emeritus director of music at the prestigious university who got his start on the Cassville R-4 campus. In fact, he was a part of a string of outstanding music people on the R-4 campus. To remind you of these people they were John Knight, Bob Merideth and Rusty.

Combined over their tenures, they virtually dominated music competition in this region, always battling Lebanon whose director, Jerry Hoover, is now head of Missouri State University’s band.

The three Cassville directors were especially successful with their stage bands that were sought after for special occasions throughout the region. I actually think we might have worn out a couple of automobiles during a three-year period following their appearances.

If you missed Rusty’s comments in his letter to the editor in the Cassville Democrat on July 19, you missed a real jewel!

Photo depicts them

Our interest in this particular group was our daughter Shelley, who sat in the front row with her tenor saxophone. This outstanding group also included: Carolyn Nations, Janette Cowherd, Roberta Painter, Mike Timmons, Dennis Ledgerwood, Nolan McNeill, Tom Moss, Danny Seely, Frank Campbell, Mike Casteel, Catherine Hollingsworth, Wendell Stacy, Greg Roark, Jerry Beuterbaugh, Randy Kingrey, Steven Vaughan, Karen Pottebaum, Jamie Bowers, Sally Blythe, Rocky Mills, Barbara Williams, Ronnie Hall, Marilyn Stringer, Doug Hart and Jill Stephens.

Now for the others

Coming from a Cassville High School graduate who was one of the best football linebackers in the conference. More than once, his efforts contributed greatly toward a Wildcat victory. His life was directed in the correct way for him, when he turned his religious efforts toward becoming pastor of one of the county’s most respected congregations.

There was one from a nurse who once commented to others of her staff, “he took lots of pictures of me when in school.”

An educator reflected on his first arrival on the R-4 campus, and the background he received from this editor.

Then there was the long-time friend who stopped in the middle of Cassville’s Main Street, rolled down her window, and expressed congratulations, ignoring those honking their horns behind her. She just had to make her comments while we were eye-to-eye.

Several of those who have worn the Black and Gold of the Cassville Wildcats have expressed their pleasure of those recognitions as being “justified”, if for no other reason, for the job the Cassville Democrat did for the school teams, through both the rough years and the successful years.

From a banker came the feeling that the honors were well deserved and long overdue.

A longtime Rotarian in Cassville acknowledged the awards with the comment, “those Hall of Fame honors should have happened a long time ago.”

I was surprised when a politician, with an obvious difference in thinking, went overboard to express his pleasure at the awards — which was not only somewhat of a shock, but appreciated.

The first one to communicate was an industry CEO, with an appreciated note that expressed his agreement with the recognitions from Missouri Southern State University and the Missouri Press Association.

A longtime friend, fishing partner and quail hunting partner provided his approval, which was among the most revered of those received.

All comments and congratulations, from near and far, are much respected and appreciated.

By the way, both Knight and Robinson, who were in R-4 classrooms in that order, continued into successful careers — Knight in Ohio and Robinson in the southeast. Merideth’s life was cut short, mostly by his own doing and lifestyle — a sad, sad happening.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.