Taking their cue from the Boy Scout's familiar motto, "Be prepared," citizens from Brown County and dignitaries from across the state turned out in force on Tuesday "prepared" to honor Calvin Fryar and J. Fred Perry as the 2011 Boy Scouts of America Texas Trails Council's Distinguished Citizens.
Some 450 dined on steak dinners in the coliseum where the brothers-in-law and business partners were teased a bit, but also, were shown appreciation for being, as emcee Dr. Don Newbury said in his introduction, "gentle and humble spirits, beloved corner posts in life's fence row ... capable and able to hold up more than their share."
In addition to the dual distinguished citizen awards, Perry and Fryar were presented medallions of a new higher honor created by Boy Scouts of America - the North Star Award for distinguished service to youth. Texas Trails Council President Steve Ellis said Perry and Fryar were the first recipients of the North Star award in the council and among the first in all of the U.S.
Both men grew up in Brown County and earned their college degrees here as well, Perry at Daniel Baker College and Fryar at Howard Payne. They married sisters and Newbury commented they surely ranked as the world's most agreeable brothers-in-law, adding they "never met a business they didn't think about buying."
But when the chance came to make their own remarks, Perry said in the more than 40 years he and Fryar were partners, he couldn't remember a time they didn't go home at the end of the day without things settled between them.
"We didn't want to face the sisters," he said.
And living up to his "humble" reputation, Perry said, "You haven't lived until you see your picture on a billboard along every main artery street in the city, see an article about yourself in the paper once or twice a week and hear something about this event almost daily on the radio.
"What I can say is we really appreciate this honor," Perry said. "We are thankful we are able to participate in this fund-raiser for the Boy Scouts. If Calvin and I really ever accomplished anything in this community, it was because of your support.
"You've allowed us to be a part in the many good things that have happened in this community."
Fryar followed Perry to the lectern, and told of how when he was dating his wife Mary Belle, J. Fred and Margaret Perry were already married. On Sundays, after church, the Perrys invited Fryar and Mary Belle to lunch where they dined on Margaret's "wonderful home cooking. That's how it started," Fryar said.
After the Fryars were married, Calvin and Perry partnered in several ventures, even before starting PF&E.
"One time J. Fred told me, Calvin, until I hooked up with you, I always had a savings account," Fryar said.
He also said what a pleasure it was for them to have been involved with the Boy Scouts for the project.
"We've been blessed with great partners, dedicated associates and wonderful families," Fryar said, then looking out to the crowd there to honor the two men, and in doing so raise money for the Boy Scouts, he added a note of thanks.
"The people of Brownwood and this area always do this," Fryar said. "Brownwood always supports a worthwhile project."