In Jackson County, he’s a man so famous that you only need to identify him by his first name.
While it took until Sunday for Arv Koontz to officially become a Hall of Fame sportswriter in Indiana, we already knew the impact he has made in the area.
When former Tribune editor Dan Davis introduced Arv onstage at Valle Vista in Greenwood, one part of his speech resonated above the rest.
“(Think of the) lives touched by (Arv’s) hard work and dedication to community journalism. That’s what our work is about,” he said.
Dan hit it on the nose.
In our line of work, in all reality, it doesn’t matter what outlet is in our byline.
You can work at The Tribune or The New York Times, but if you don’t make some kind of difference, it’s all for nothing.
Selflessness must take precedence over personal gain and egos.
As journalists, what matters most is that we leave a lasting, positive impact on our communities through our hard work.
Arv has done all of that and then some.
Think of all the senior focuses he has written at Seymour, Brownstown Central, Crothersville, Trinity Lutheran and Medora high schools.
He has done those articles for 10 years and has highlighted thousands of athletes. With the exception of the few Senior Focus stories I take on, Arv interviews and snaps photos of almost every single one of those kids.
It doesn’t matter if they’re a varsity starter or the last kid on the bench. Arv gives those kids a voice and makes sure they’re recognized.
That makes a difference to those kids and their families — big or small.
I would bet you still have your Senior Focus.
Two-and-a-half years go, I took on this job here at The Tribune.
Each day, no matter what challenges present themselves, I can always count on one thing: Arv will be there and put his best work forward no matter what.
Most nights, it’s just Arv and I here at the office scrambling to make our 9:30 p.m. deadline, typing up stories, boxscores and briefs for the next day’s paper.
Before and after our coverage, we always discuss the day’s events.
He doublechecks to make sure that we don’t miss anything and wants to know the results of each team at the day’s end.
On Fridays, we meet in the conference room to go over the upcoming week’s coverage.
We decipher the schedule — who is traveling to which events, what has been rescheduled and what needs to take priority each day.
When we conclude our meeting, we discuss story ideas, share rumors we’ve heard and talk a little about life.
While Arv has been one of my biggest mentors since getting into this business, he has more importantly been one of my biggest supporters and friends since I moved to Indiana.
He wants to see everyone succeed and will help in any way he can.
On Monday, the day after he received his honor from the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, Arv went back to his regular routine.
The hall of famer covered a regular-season softball game, continuing to build on what he has done for Jackson County.
Jordan Morey is sports editor for The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected] or call 812-523-7069.