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Volume 24, Number 8 — August 2017

Barter honors two Abingdon leaders on Walk of Fame

June 27, 2017

Barter Theatre, Abingdon, Virginia, honored community leaders Howard McElroy and Ben Jennings for their achievements and impact on Barter Theatre and the community with stones placed in the Barter Theatre Walk of Fame.

McElroy served as president of the Board of Trustees from 1996-2000 and has remained a vital part of Barter Theatre since, including his work assisting in developing new bylaws for the board and writing governing documents still used by the organization.

"During my 24 plus years at Barter Theatre, Howard has been one of the true constants of Barter. He could always be relied upon, was always willing to help both within and outside of his comfort zone, and who has, in my opinion, singularly more influence on what Barter is today than any other member of the Barter family," said Producing Artistic Director Richard Rose. "Howard has done this service with grace, humility and an intelligence and foresight that I don't even know how to properly appreciate. He has been a true rock for me, and his advice has been of the utmost benefit to Barter's success." McElroy is an attorney in Abingdon.

Jennings was honored for his years of support of both Barter Theatre and the arts in the region. He has served as president of William King Museum of Art, president of Virginia Highlands Festival, co-chair of A! Magazine for the Arts, board member of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire and as the committee chair for Friends of The Washington County Library's meet the authors' programming, Sunday with Friends. He was also the visionary responsible for the Arts Array, sponsored by Virginia Highlands Community College, in partnership with other organizations in the area.

"Ben is truly the epitome of a community leader, who has shaped the culture of what it means to live in Abingdon and be part of the broad cultural experience of our region," said Rose. "If you want to meet or make contact with an author — any author — Ben Jennings is your man." Jennings recently retired after years of teaching English and film appreciation at Virginia Highlands Community College.