Hollenbeck receives Chamber's Lifetime Achievement honor

A joyful Lynda Hollenbeck receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Benton Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, as her dear friend, Pat Stuckey, shares in her happiness. Presenting the award is former Chamber chairman Jeff Richardson. Also pictured is  current chairman Steve Brown. DANA GUTHRIE/The Saline Courier
Dana Guthrie
Staff Writer

The Benton Chamber of Commerce honored local legendary reporter Lynda Hollenbeck with its 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award during its annual awards luncheon Thursday at the Benton Event Center.

Chamber Chairman Steve Brown shared some of Saline Courier Editor Josh Briggs’ thoughts about Hollenbeck and her achievements:

“Lynda Hollenbeck became a household name among local news readers shortly after joining the staff of the then Benton Courier in the 1970s,” Briggs said. “A native of Cotton Plant, Arkansas, and a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, she has led a life of joy and happiness.”

While Hollenbeck’s passion has always been journalism, she is also a longtime supporter of the arts including being a charter member of the Royal Players.

“If she was not singing on stage or playing piano for a production, she could be found in the concession stand serving Coke and candy to showgoers (at the Royal Theatre),” Briggs said. “Even though she isn’t a Benton native, you cannot tell that she has not lived here her entire life. She is most definitely a Panther, and proud to be. Though not too much a sports fan, Lynda loved writing about the cheer squads, dance teams and Pep Steppers — ‘That’s two words, no hyphen, with an uppercase P and S,’” as she would often shout throughout the newsroom in her later years with the local publication.

The Arkansas Press Association recently awarded Hollenbeck with its highest honor — the Golden 50 award — for her five decades of service to the profession of journalism.

“As a minister’s wife for many years, Lynda lived by the word of God, giving her time and energy to her church every chance she could,” Briggs said. “A longtime member of Bryant Cumberland

Presbyterian Fellowship Church, Lynda served as the choir’s pianist and often sang before the congregation.”

She has also been a longtime supporter for the Humane Society of Saline County, sharing her love for animals through generous adoptions and donations since 1975.

Throughout her historic career, Hollenbeck has been able to experience things that most people can only dream about.

“Looking back on her career with the Courier, in a recent interview Lynda spoke of the era for which she traveled through journalism, hitting on topics such as Watergate,” Briggs said. “However, her fondest memories are when she would rub elbows with celebrities such as the Clintons, Burt Reynolds, Robert Goulet and Dr. Henry Heimlich. ‘Not too many people can say they learned how to do the Heimlich from the man himself,’ she often said. Lynda is one-of-a-kind.”