A broadcaster, a community organizer and an avid fundraiser for local causes, Bryan Broadcasting's Ben Downs is a hard man to stop. On top of all of that is a prolific career in radio that's still going strong after 40 years.
Now, he can add Jefferson Award Winner to the list of accomplishments he's accrued over the years.
Even if you haven't met Ben Downs in person, you're guaranteed to know his voice. Either on the radio or in church.
Ben's booming voice is the first thing many people notice, but those who know him notice his tireless work ethic. One that manifests in many ways.
One Sunday, Ben said his pastor told the congregation about how one lady was washing dishes after their Wednesday night dinners.
"That kinda hurt my feelings. I couldn't believe that we, as big a church as we are, we had one person washing dishes. So I learned that I could do that and I have some great skill at it as a matter of fact," said Downs.
His sense of humor and wit is constant.
"It's like I've always told my wife, if there's something that takes a lot of time and pays absolutely no money. I'm there! I want to be there for that."
All joking aside, he takes his commitment to the community seriously. Ben says that when he does things for the radio station, he wants it to be a nexus, where the community comes together for a common goal. Personally, when he sees that there aren't enough hands to help, he jumps in.
It's that feet first mentality that Ben Downs brings to every challenge, whether they're planned or not.
"We can kinda turn on a dime," says Downs of the radio industry. He's talking about the ability to rally behind a cause quickly. Bryan Broadcasting quickly put together a relief drive to aid the victims of a terrible tornado in Joplin, Missouri just days after it happened."
It's that desire of helping neighbors that Ben Downs says radio capitalizes on. Each year his stations raise money for local hospitals and Neo-natal Intensive care units through the Children's Miracle Network and making sure that children don't go with out during Christmas with Christmas Angels.
Sometimes that help comes in the form of a big, red suit.
"I don't really know how many years I've done it. It could be 30. It could 27, 28," recalls Downs.
The roll of Santa Claus is important to him.
"I love stuff like that. It's a need that needs to be filled and it just happens to be something that I enjoy doing a great deal. I was Santa Claus 8 times last year."
Ben's commitment doesn't stop or start at church, charity or Christmas.
He's been an active member and leader in the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce.
Through it all, there's one person by his side -- his wife Lilly.
"I am absolutely blessed to have a wife who shares this focus on community service with me. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a life partner who doesn't share your passion for things and I'm just really lucky that she does."
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