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Alma couple recognized at banquet

An Alma couple was honored May 16 for their service to the city at the Alma Education and Arts Foundation’s Senior Awards Banquet.

Alma Education and Arts Foundation presents an outstanding service award and an outstanding alumni award each year. Larry and Linda Ruth were this year’s recipients of the outstanding service award.

Larry Ruth represents the town of Alma annually at the Arkansas Tourism Convention promoting the Alma Performing Arts Center, the Alma School District and the entire Alma community. Linda Ruth serves the Alma School District as a substitute teacher at Alma High School.

Together, the couple have been volunteer ushers at the Alma Performing Arts Center since the opening of the facility in 2001.

“I cannot remember a time since we opened that Larry and Linda have not been here to help with a show,” said Teresa Schlabach, executive director for the Alma Performing Arts Center. “They are dedicated to serving our organization and the community as a whole.”

Larry and Linda Ruth are the first couple to receive the award, which has always been awarded to an individual in past years.

“Larry and Linda are a true team,” Schlabach said. “We couldn’t give the award to just one of them. They serve our community together, so we wanted to honor them together.”

This year’s recipient of the outstanding alumni Award is Dr. Steve Bryant, a 1969 graduate of Alma High School.

Bryant owns and runs Bryant’s Pharmacy in Batesville and is currently serving as the president of the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy and serves on the PACE Alliance Board, Medicaid Board and the Arkansas Pharmacists Services Company board of directors.

After completing his undergraduate studies at Arkansas State University in 1973, Bryant earned his pharmacy degree from the University of Arkansas Medical School College of Pharmacy in 1976. He served for 12 years on the Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield Pharmacy Therapeutics Committee and approximately 12 years as chairman of the Arkansas Pharmacists Political Action Committee.

Bryant has carved out a number of innovative directions in pharmacy by establishing a home I.V. practice, a home healthcare nursing agency, hospice, a kidney dialysis center and as a provider of immunosuppressive medications for kidney, liver and heart transplant patients.

Bryant also helped bring Smith Drug Co. and the PACE Alliance program to Arkansas. He is a member of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, the Independence County Pharmacist Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

Bryant and the Ruths sat with 122 high school seniors and their families at the Senior Awards Banquet, held in the Alma High School Student Union. The banquet is held annually to honor graduating seniors from Alma High School who have achieved an above average ACT score or All-State ranking in any activity.

All seniors recognized received a medal of achievement to wear with their graduation robes during the school’s commencement ceremony.

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