MONTGOMERY – On Feb. 25, longtime Clay Times-Journal employee, as well as Ashland Progress/Lineville Tribune, staff member Ray Stansell received the Alabama Press Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his 47+ years with the paper.
Stansell was presented with this award at the awards luncheon at the 151st Alabama Press Association Media Summit event held at Embassy Suites Hotel of Montgomery. APA President K.A. Turner’s introductory speech reiterated the glowing remarks from the nomination letters submitted by the CTJ staff members. “Most of the time, these awards are given to a publisher/editor; however, there are many, such as Ray, who are the backbone of the newspaper and never really get the recognition they should, so we are excited to honor him today for his many years of loyal service and dedication to the Clay Times-Journal. He is one of the most hardest working newspaper men we know for over 47 years and counting.”
The CTJ staff was present to see their colleague receive this award, which included, publisher/editor David Proctor and wife, Connie; and staff members Tammy Andrews and Breanna Minter. Ray was also accompanied by his wife of 38 years, Jeannie, who was thrilled to see her husband honored in such a great way.
Ray’s acceptance speech talked about how he came to be a part of the Clay Times-Journal (or Lineville Tribune, at the time) back in 1974. He spoke about how David came to him about the company having some new printing equipment and they needed someone who was good in spelling and grammar to work there, so he talked to David’s father, Lester Proctor, and took the job.
Ray thanked his coworkers for the nomination and the Press Association for naming him as the recipient. He went on and reminded everyone that the award is a result of teamwork with everyone he has worked with. “It’s not a one-person show,” he said in his closing remarks.
Ray came fully on board in November 1974 and has been there ever since writing stories, taking pictures, building ads, doing some sales, covering sports, etc. He also operated a small printing press that did letterheads, flyers, business cards, envelopes, etc. in a day when many small newspapers supplemented their income with job printing. That work was discontinued in the early 1990s when David felt it was time for the newspaper to be a full-time venture, and it has been going strong ever since.
The entire staff takes pride in the fact this is the newspaper’s second Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Lester Proctor was posthumously given the award on Oct. 24, 1998, with David doing the honors for the Times-Journal.
It was a great day for everyone as all of the staff was able to fellowship for a few minutes with people they normally speak to only by phone, and another highlight was meeting the Emerging Journalist Award winner, Katie Bohannon, news editor of the Gadsden Messenger. Katie is a shining star in her profession and very deserving of this award. She is a testament to not only the Alabama Press Association, but the newspaper industry as well.