Ettie Newlands

His praise shouldn’t be limited to Journalist of the Year.

Charles Perry could easily be Man of the Year. Friend of the Year. Husband, father, son, grandson and all-around guy of the year.

Recognized at the S.C. Press Association’s awards luncheon as Journalist of the Year, I’m telling you about it because he never will.

Piles of his previous awards gather dust in his office because putting them on the wall would be “showy.”

Working with him has been my most rewarding experience in the industry since I started writing news for KIMO-TV in Anchorage, Alaska as an unpaid intern in 1972.

Charles corrects without criticizing. He edits sparingly. He reports without judgment.

He rarely puts his name first in a shared byline.

Those things matter to the people he works with. And that’s another thing…Charles never says anyone works for him. He only says we work with him.

He went without sleep for days during Hurricane Florence, writing about and worrying about the community.

He wrote stories in the waiting room while his wife was in labor with their fifth child.

He works seven days and seven nights a week.

And I could tell you personal stories about the kind of man he is, but they’re…well, they’re personal.

I’ll just once again quote James Allen who observed that “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.”

I’ve seen Charles’ fury and his devastation, directed not at people, but at injustice and unfairness.

I’ve seen him go to bat for total strangers, just because it was the right thing to do.

I’ve seen Charles give up the whole pie just to make sure someone else got a big enough slice.

Oh yes, he has his faults. He can’t accept a compliment and he forgets to dump his voice mail.

He’s the editor of the Carolina Forest Chronicle. He’s the editor of the North Strand News. He’s the digital editor of myhorrynews.com.

I’ve been asked a time or two if I’ve put Charles Perry on a pedestal. I have not. His own actions have put him there.

The S.C. Press Association got it right.

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