For many years, Donnis Baggett has been welcomed in to homes all around the area and many have enjoyed his whit, charm and insight when they're read all about his escapades and interests in The Eagle newspaper. Though people read his articles, most of his readers and fans have never met him, so this is a rare glimpse into his life and believe it or not, this newspaper man does have other interests other than writing.
Donnis Baggett says, "I try to write columns that are either reflective about who we are and how we got here or funny. I try to write lighter hearted things because let's face it, there's so much bad news out there it's fun to just kick back and read something that just makes you chuckle every now and then."
Some days his articles may make you laugh other times they may make you reflect on life but always, Donnis Baggett is thinking about his next story and it's been that ability to stay one step ahead that's made him a successful and recognized journalist. All you have to do is look around his office and you'll see the many awards he's received for his dedication to his craft.
"He's got his finger on the pulse of this community about as well as anybody," says longtime friend, Tom Jackson.
While many events have molded his career, there are some that have stood out in his mind.
"My proudest moment was this community's saddest moment and that was our coverage of the bonfire collapse. This newsroom come together and played way over its head and did some spectacular journalism," says Baggett.
Naturally, on that tragic day and the days that followed, when our community was in mourning, Donnis grieved along with the rest of us, but he had a paper to run and he lead by example, he worked alongside his reporters and like a true and loyal companion, he carefully guided and consoled his readers.
Local rancher Sammy Catalina says, "He's a great friend, he's a great friend of mine, he's a great friend of Bryan/College Station and the community."
When not working at the newspaper, Donnis Baggett is working at his ranch and there you'll find his favorite bison, Reagan. The rest of his free time he spends with his wife, Beverly and she loves Reagan and the ranch just as much, if not more than Donnis.
In fact, when Reagan was born, Beverly had to bottle feed her and even spent the first few months of her life in the backyard. Of course, that now means she's spoiled and just maybe the most pampered bison around.
Donnis has always been a rancher, but before meeting his wife, he was a cattle ranch, now he doesn't even own any cattle. These days, the couple is committed to their herd of bison and together they work towards saving and preserving this beautiful breed of animals.
Donnis says, " There were fewer than a thousand of them left in the whole continent when all the buffalo hunts cam to an end in the late 1800's and the only reason they were preserved was because of private ranchers."
"When I think of Donnis Baggett, I think of a cowboy, a rancher, a Buffalo Man and a published writer," says Catalina.
Whatever hat he decides to wear, his friends and co-workers know the hat's going to fit and he's going to be comfortable wearing it.
"It's no insult to me to be called a cowboy. I think that the cowboy way is based on the best ethics and the best of intentions and I try to live my life that way," says Baggett.
And for a man who began his newspaper career making $120 a week and says he was glad to get that, he's come a long way and says to this day he continues to learn new things especially since advances in technology continue to bring changes to the paper, but there are some thing's Donnis refuses to change. For example, believe it or not, he still uses an old fashioned Rolodex and pocket calendar and jokingly says, if the building were burning down, he'd make sure he'd save his useful relics from the past before grabbing anything else. While he pauses to reflect, Donnis thinks about what he wants his own life to mean and says, "I want to be remembered as a guy that made a difference, a positive difference in the quality of this community," Donnis says proudly.