2007 Award Winners
Announced June 22, 2007, at the 128th Summer Convention in San Antonio
Joseph Benham was born in the last century in Amarillo, and is a fourth generation Texan. His mother ’s family was in Texas at least as far back as 1846.
Benham married Verna Heaton Benham from the Black Hills of South Dakota and they were wed 39-plus years.
“We met and were married in South America, where our children were born. Stephanie and her husband are in the corporate world in suburban Houston; Navy Lt. David is stationed at Pacific Fleet HQ in Hawaii and his wife is completing a PhD in psychology, ” Benham said.
His career as a newsman dates to 1950 and news reporting took him all over the world from New York; the United Nations; Santiago, Chile; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“I’ve been shot-at, tear-gassed, jailed and cussed-out by all kinds of people, and I ’ve turned out more words in print and on the air than I could count. And I’m proud of every day of it!” Benham said.
Starting in Amarillo, Benham worked as a sportswriter, deskman and general news reporter for the Amarillo Times from May 1950-December 1951, when the Times and Globe-News merged, and through August 1953 he had the same jobs at the Amarillo Daily News, Amarillo Globe-Times and Amarillo Globe-News.
He worked at the Dallas Times Herald as a sportswriter and deskman from August 1953-May 1954, and as a sportswriter, news editor and reporter for the Associated Press in Dallas and Austin from May 1954 to August 1955 when he went into the Army.
“The Army discovered in September 1956 that I had newspaper experience and moved me from Infantry platoon sergeant to Air Defense Command public information supervisor, ” he said.
Benham retired on disability as a sergeant and was sent to the Kerrville VA Hospital for treatment.
He then came back to the AP in Austin in January 1959 and held the same jobs as before until May 1960, when he was made a San Antonio correspondent — covering everything from sports to storms to President Eisenhower’s visit to Mexico, as well as calling on AP member papers and broadcast outlets.
The AP moved him to New York in May 1962 as a general news desk editor, where he continued writing book reviews, which he began writing in Texas. He then went to the world desk in 1963, the United Nations Bureau in 1964, and Santiago, Chile, in January 1965 as bureau chief for Chile and Bolivia.
Major stories he covered included earthquakes, the rise of Marxism that led to Salvador Allende ’s becoming Chile’s president and the hunt for Che Guevara in Bolivia.
“I missed Che’s capture and execution. I was back in Santiago marrying Verna. I tell people that Che and I got zapped the same weekend — he got killed and I got married!” Benham said.
Benham also did part-time work for NBC Radio News while in Chile.
U.S. News & World Report hired him in October 1967 and he spent the next 13 1/2 years covering South America, based in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Major stories he covered included the return to power of Juan Peron, election and subsequent downfall of Allende, the rise of Marxist and Peronist terrorism (including a bomb that took out six windows in his apartment) and the surge of economic nationalism that saw billions of dollars in U.S. investments nationalized in Chile, Peru, Venezuela, etc.
“I was in Buenos Aires when I was invited to NY to receive the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for Distinguished Foreign Correspondence, awarded by the president of Columbia University at a special convocation, ” he said. “I still have the Tiffany-made medal and a picture of myself in cap-and-gown looking, according to some irreverent friends, like Henry VIII. The award is given for a body of work, not a specific story or series. ”
Benham came back to the States in July 1980 based in Houston as regional bureau chief for U.S. News, covering Southwestern states with occasional trips back to Latin America, until experiencing “corporate restructuring” after the sale of U.S. News.
“I had been writing about downsizing, layoffs, etc., as a result of corporate restructuring, and I found writing about it much more fun than experiencing it, ” he said.
“I free-lanced for most of the 1990s, writing articles for newspapers and trade journals and writing and editing a series of publications for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington. I was news editor and commentator for a news service serving cable TV systems in suburban Houston and columnist for two chains of weeklies in suburban Houston. ”
Since moving to the Hill Country in 1998, Benham has been writing editorial page columns and features for the Kerrville Daily Times and serving as volunteer publicist for a half-dozen non-profits in the area.
He has served as director of the Foreign Press Association of Argentina and Press Club of San Antonio.
His journalism awards include the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for “Distinguished Foreign Correspondence,” writing awards from The Associated Press Managing Editors and regional press organizations.
His service outside journalism includes president, American Community in Argentina; trustee, Lincoln Schools; president, South Woodland Hills Community Assn., Kingwood; vice chairman, Kingwood Volunteer Fire Dept; secretary and director, Harris County Utility District; secretary, Kingwood Public Safety Committee; secretary, Humble Independent School District Student Wellness Board; secretary, Kingwood High School Management Committee; trustee and secretary of the board, Kingwood United Methodist Church; former director, Kingwood Services Assn. and Hill Country Youth Orchestra.
He also has been a lay minister, Methodist and Scots churches; president, Symphony of the Hills Assn., Kerrville; president, Hill Country Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution; past president, Friends of the Kerrville Library; chairman, various committees of the Kerrville Rotary Club; member, Steering Committee of the Kerr County 105th Birthday Observance; member Citizens Committee on Tax Freeze for Kerrville; member citizens committee, Kerrville ISD bond elections.
His civic awards include Citizen of the Year from the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce, Admiral in the Texas Navy and Honorary Colonel on the Staff of the Governor of Texas, honorary firefighter, honorary constable and a Distinguished Service Award from the Kiwanis Club of Kingwood.
Lynn Brisendine, publisher of The Brownfield News and Seminole Sentinel, recently celebrated 50 years in the newspaper business.
Brisendine, 60, is a past president of Texas Press Association (2000-01), West Texas Press Association (1985) and Panhandle Press Association (1979).
Born in Amarillo, he grew up in Hereford, graduating from Hereford High School in 1965. He was a longtime newspaper carrier, throwing a Hereford Brand route from 1957 to 1965. He also serviced an Amarillo Globe-News route for four years and was awarded a Master Carrier certificate during those years.
After high school he began his career at the Hereford Brand where he took a job as an apprentice printer. Pouring pigs, sweeping the floor and killing out pages turned into a job as a back shop floorman and eventually a Linotype operator.
In 1969 he began as an advertising salesman at the Brand. In 1971 he took over as the advertising manager of the Lamesa Press Reporter. Two years later he returned to Hereford and served as the advertising manager until he moved to Brownfield, purchased stock in and took over the Brownfield News as publisher and president on April Fool’s Day 1977.
Brisendine is the secretary of the board of South Plains Printing in Lamesa. He has been an associate of the Roberts Publishing group for more than 30 years.
Brisendine has been a member of Lions International for 38 years where he has been on the board of directors and served as an officer in three clubs, Hereford, Lamesa and Brownfield. He was president of the Brownfield club in 1985. He also has been a Mason for almost 40 years.
He has served on the boards of and been president of the Brownfield Development Foundation and the Brownfield Industrial Development Corporation. He also is a past director of BID Corp. and former chairman of the board for Kendrick Memorial Library in Brownfield.
He has served on the board of the Terry County United Way. He served on the formation committee and later the board of the DFYIT (Drug Free Youth in Texas) organization in Brownfield.
Brisendine was Terry County’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 1991.
The Brownfield News is a semiweekly publication with a circulation of 3,000. The paper has won numerous awards during Brisendine ’s 30-year tenure, including nine consecutive Texas State Teacher Association School Bell awards. He also has won several awards for his Paper ‘n Ink column he pens twice weekly.
The Seminole Sentinel also is a semiweekly publication with a circulation of 2,000. Both newspapers are completely paginated operations.
Brisendine is married to Linda, who has worked 28 years for the Texas Department of Human Services as a social worker with the aged and disabled. On press nights, she proofreads for the papers.
They have three children and by the end of 2007 will have nine grandchildren.
Becky Stephens, who is married to Brian Stephens, is a Texas Tech University graduate and works for Incode software company in Lubbock. The couple have a 5-year-old daughter, Hayleigh, and are expecting triplets in September.
Barbie Taylor, also a TTU graduate, is married to Alan Taylor, and works at Frontrange Solutions in Colorado Springs, Colo. The couple have a 3-year-old son, Logan, and a newborn son, Landon.
Brian Brisendine, a graduate of West Texas A&M University, is publisher of the Hereford Brand and president of sister company North Plains Printing. Brian is on the boards of West Texas and Texas press associations and is immediate past president and chairman of the board of Panhandle Press Association. He and his wife, Susan, have two sons, Thomas, 3, and Blake, 1, and the couple is expecting their third child in September.
Brisendine enjoys playing with his grandchildren, working on his backyard ponds, traveling, golf, reading and watching the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros.
Beverly Daughtry is publisher of the Elgin Courier, where she started working there at age 16 in 1957 as a typesetter. She has been managing the paper since 1967.
She graduated from Elgin High School in 1960.
Beverly’s entire newspaper career has been at the Elgin Courier, which has been in business since 1890.
While in high school, she worked after class for the Elgin Courier doing newspaper and commercial ad layout. She was hired to insert newspapers, but was soon tasked with setting type and laying out advertising, a skill that was largely self-taught.
After graduation, she started full-time, working for publisher Bob Bredlow setting type and laying out the commercial grocery ads and newspaper ads. Working for and through a succession of owners and publishers, Beverly learned from each one, while continuing to upgrade the quality of the newspaper.
After Bredlow came Bob Barton, then Bob Mosier, then ownership returned to Barton, who sold the Courier to Charlie Schulz, who, ultimately, sold it to Granite Publishing in 1994.
Throughout the years, Beverly has held various offices with many organizations, including the Elgin Chamber of Commerce, Envision Elgin, Cattlemen For Cancer Research, and the Elgin Education Foundation.
At the present time, she serves as a member on the Envision Elgin Board of Directors, the M.D. Anderson Cattlemen for Cancer Research Board ’s Advisory Committee, the Elgin Independent School District’s Education Foundation of Directors, the Elgin Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Board and its Board of directors, and, most recently, was named a director of Elgin ’s new Frontier Bank of Texas (proposed). She also is one of the bank’s organizers.
In 2001 she was named Elgin’s Most Worthy Citizen, and she continues to work hard every day at managing the same paper that she has worked at for five decades.
Beverly is married to Ken Daughtry, a Realtor and former mayor and school board president of Elgin.
She has two daughters and sons-in-law, Kim and Ray Lerche, and Tammy and Scott Martin. She also has a stepdaughter and stepson-in-law, Shannon and Tommy Lollar, and a stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Damon and Terri Daughtry.
She has six grandchildren, Katelyn Lollar, Ashton Lollar, Ty Lerche, Lane Lerche, Will Martin and Jenna Martin.