The 10th annual Newport Alumni Hall of Fame banquet was held last Thursday at the Newport Country Club. The annual event recognizes nominees for their success in their career field and their dedication to their communities. Local officials, dignitaries and sponsors attended the banquet along with current students who participated in the festivities.
John Pennington, Class of 1969, served as the emcee for the night. The Color Guard was presented by the Newport High School JROTC. Nathan May, Class of 2019, played the National Anthem on trumpet and Erica Lore, Class of 2021, presented the invocation.
Along with presentation of the selected nominees, the event highlights the work of the Newport Special School District Charitable Foundation Board. Friends of the Foundation donate funds to help send students to school functions as well as other charitable events.
The 2018 inductees include Col. Chester Coltharp, Class of 1936, Jerry Carlew, Class of 1951, Joseph Anders, Class of 1976, and Henry Boyce, Class of 1982.
Robert Craig, Class of 1980, conducted the Coltharp presentation. Col. Coltharp commanded several aviation squadrons, including the 498th “Falcon” Squadron of the 345th Bombardment Group in the Pacific. His unit earned a Presidential Citation, and Col. Coltharp earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. The 345th participated in eight campaigns. Col. Coltharp played an integral part in a rescue event which saved the lives of six downed airmen floating in the sea. Under extreme adverse conditions, Coltharp protected another plane which rescued the men. Because of his efforts, Coltharp was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Class of 1978 representative Kathy Swan presented the award to Jerry Carlew. Carlew served as Jackson County Judge for 16 years and as secretary/treasurer for the County Judge’s Association for 10 years. During his time as county judge, the dilapidated 100 year old courthouse was rewired, the landfill was saved from closure and all wooden bridges in the county were replaced or had plans for replacement. Carlew has remained very active in the community since retirement, serving on the White River Planning and Development Board, Health Resources of Arkansas and Jackson County Council on Tourism. He serves as an elder at Midway Church of Christ and teaches weekly Bible classes at a recovery center. He is currently president of the Newport Kiwanis Club and Keep Newport Beautiful. “My goal is to stay active as long as I can and to help people,” he said.
Charles Balentine, Class of 1981, had the privilege of honoring Coach Joseph Anders. Anders’ coaching career has spanned more than 30 years. In his first full season as head coach at Sacramento State, Anders guided the Hornets to one of the best years in the school’s history, advancing them to the 1988 NCAA Division II Tournament and finishing eighth in the nation. The coach was named Northern California Coach of the Year and was nominated for regional coach of year. Throughout his career, Anders has been associated with teams that have won 557 games. “Clearly, I have had the privilege of working with some amazing young people during my career.”
Boyce was introduced by 1969 class representative Terry Dillon. Boyce’s greatest passion has been the promotion of live music and the preservation of Jackson County’s rich musical history. A sixth generation Jackson County native, Boyce developed the Depot Days Festival in 2000, an event that has been recognized by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for its unique focus on preserving the early history of Rock and Roll. Boyce was also instrumental in promoting the effort to convince the State Legislature and Governor of Arkansas to officially designate old Highway 67 as “Rock and Roll Highway 67” in 2009. Boyce developed a local museum in downtown Newport, which stands today as an international tourist destination drawing music buffs and historians to Newport to appreciate the role Jackson County played in the evolution of popular music.