What made Byron Scott a great township trustee, also made him noteworthy ‘Examiner’ photographer

NateSmith 2013


To value newspapers in this social media age is to harbor a fond appreciation for history and those who’ve come before.

Today, long after Byron Scott’s retirement as an Examiner photographer, his influence remains. He worked 37 years at this newspaper and his work sets a high bar for those of us carrying the banner today.

He was honored during a surprise gathering staged by his family and peers Tuesday ahead of what was his last meeting following a 28-year stint as trustee in Lake Township.

Mr. Scott was told no one gathered had ever before seen such a show of love and appreciation for a retiring township trustee.

“Me neither,” he told his family, friends and fellow township trustees.

A unique send-off for a one-of-a-kind public servant, to be sure.

Those in attendance shared stories about their relationship with Mr. Scott and the time spent working with him, and soon a theme emerged: His dedication to Lake Township.

“You won’t find anyone more committed to Lake Township than Scotty,” said fellow trustee Jim Wish, invoking Mr. Scott’s long-held nickname.

People were taken aback when Mr. Scott — the guest of honor — was told to get up first to be served his slice of retirement-themed cake, and instead served everyone else in the room first.

The same commitment to community that drove him to contribute as a township trustee for nearly 30 years is also what made Mr. Scott a great photographer and information gatherer.

He was dedicated to sharing the stories of those with whom he lived and worked. As a trustee he worked to help make those same folks’ lot in life a little easier, whether by clearing snow- and ice- covered roads or picking up litter in the township.

There have been journalists who worked at the Examiner for a time and then advanced to larger markets.

Mr. Scott was born and raised here and dedicated his professional life to giving back to this community.

I knew of Mr. Scott long before I ever had the good fortune of crossing paths with him. No history of this publication is complete without mentioning his 37-year tenure between 1960 and 1997, capturing all the goings on in Bellefontaine and Logan County.

Mr. Scott has an interesting sense of humor, and is usually good for at least one chuckle-worthy anecdote per visit. There’s no shortage of stories to tell on the heels of a 28-year career as township trustee and 37 years in the news business.

What I appreciate most in the times I’ve happened upon one of his photographs is how that sense of humor prevails in the photos he took, as he always had a way of finding just the right angle to offer the reader a slightly different perspective.

The Examiner commemorated its 122nd birthday Dec. 14.

There was a newspaper yesterday; there’s one today; and — unless it’s Sunday — there’ll be one tomorrow.

The work turned in by Mr. Scott helped make this newspaper what it is today, and I really do seek each day to do his work justice.

Mr. Scott demonstrated that effort starts with a commitment of service to the community.

Nate Smith is an Examiner staff writer with a healthy respect for the work of the many writers and photographers who built this newspaper. He can be reached at nsmith@examiner.org.