Manila senior awarded first Brian Stallings Memorial Scholarship

Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Pictured from left, are: Ryan Fletcher with NEA Sports; Manila Senior Caleb Reinhart, recipient of the first Brian Stallings Memorial Scholarship; and Kenny Stallings of Caraway, Brian's father. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Ryan Fletcher with NEA Sports attended the Manila Sports Banquet Tuesday, May 26, presenting the first Brian Stallings Memorial Scholarship Award to Manila senior Caleb Reinhart.

Fletcher started a business called NEA Sports in the fall and expressed his appreciation to the Manila School District.

"I continue to be impressed by the community, the coaching staff, and the great players here in Manila," he said. "Most importantly, you guys continue to do things the right way and as a fan that is something I appreciate."

Also present for the award was Stallings' dad, Kenny Stallings, of Caraway.

Fletcher said his business had allowed him to cover some of the great teams and athletes across Northeast Arkansas.

"With that, I wanted to give back to the student/athletes in our local area," Fletcher said. "I set up a scholarship that would not only recognize a tremendous athlete in our area, but it would also honor a great friend of mine, Brian Stallings. Brian and I were college roommates. Brian passed away several years ago from a terrible disease known as Cystic Fibrosis. While his time here on earth was short, he touched the lives of many people. He was a passionate sports fan and had a specific knowledge for the game of basketball. He sat on the sideline and helped lead Riverside to many victories. That, however wasn't what made Brian so special. Because he knew his time here on earth was most likely going to be shorter than the rest of us are fortunate to have, he made the most of every single moment. He touched the lives of many throughout Northeast Arkansas and not just those in Caraway or Lake City. He married a girl from right here in Manila and had strong ties to the Buffalo Island and EPC communities as well.

"I knew all along from a business standpoint I would hand out a yearly scholarship but I wanted it to carry a specific meaning. I am personally a huge baseball fan. In just about everything I do, I often reference the game of baseball as a way in which I think. Since 1972, Major League baseball annually has presented an award which recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. That is what the Brian Stallings' Memorial Scholarship is about. It doesn't just honor a great athlete, but it also honors the person and what that person stands for. We had multiple applications turned in from various schools across the area. Of those multiple applications, I asked a committee to make the decision of deciding who they felt was most deserving of this award.

"Tonight, on behalf of the Stallings family and NEA Sports, I am naming Caleb Reinhart the first ever Brian Stallings Memorial Scholarship winner and awarding him an amount of $1,000 that will go to further his ongoing education in college."

He went on to say the first Brian Stallings Memorial Scholarship recipient has set the bar high.

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