Remembering How These Two Lake Charles Media Giants Put Community First
Yesterday we heard the unfortunate news that our good friend Ben Terry passed away after his battle with cancer. That got me thinking about how since the first of the year, we have lost two of the most dedicated media personalities who would eat, breathe and sleep and do anything for Southwest Louisiana and were willing to work many days straight to pass along vital information to keep us all safe.
Of course, The other media personality I am talking about is Russ Conrad, known as "Your Buddy Russ" who was on the radio at Gator 99.5 FM in Lake Charles. Russ passed away earlier this year in March after his battle with cancer just three days shy of his 40th birthday. Russ was just 39 years old. Russ was born and raised in Lake Charles while Ben came to the area in 2011 by way of Mississippi.
Both were shown love by Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana as we were quick to make both of them our own!
Here is why I wanted to write this piece about these two gentlemen. First, I want to make it clear that although I knew Ben, I will be the first to admit that we didn't get to hang out much. We would run into each other at events and have conversations about work-related things as well as about his cancer. He knew we were going through the same thing with Russ here at the radio station and I think that brought us closer together because we could relate to what each was going through, meaning him with his cancer and us trying to help support Russ with his fight with his cancer.
The beautiful thing is even after the tragic news that both Ben and Russ received when they heard the words "You Have Cancer," it just made both of these guys even stronger. Russ and Ben became close after that and had many conversations about what they were going through as well as being a cheerleader for each other. They would also check on each other and the progress each had made in their journey.
Here is Ben on his radio show paying tribute to Russ after he passed away.
Even though they were both going through the fight, they remained positive the entire time. Here is Ben when he was featured on national television on The Today Show.
Russ also decided to go public with his fight and shot this video after he went into remission the first time but unfortunately, the cancer came back.
Not only were Russ and Ben media personalities, but they were also very active in our community. I remember when I first met Ben, he was part of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program serving as a Big Brother. I remember seeing him at a McNeese football game with his little pal. Russ would volunteer for countless charities and would emcee and Dj events whenever asked. Both Ben and Russ were very active in our community and always were willing to donate their time to help.
I guess what I am trying to get to here is that they weren't just on the radio and television, they were part of our community and wanted to make a difference and help wherever they could. They could have just done a television program or a radio show, but NOT these boys. They wanted more for you and for Southwest Louisiana and even if you would have asked them if they were celebrities, they would tell you no but they used their "celebrity" to do good for others.
That is what I want you all to remember about these guys who you heard on the radio or saw on TV. They were our friends, Lake Charles & SWLA. They loved you all and wanted to be here for our community just like you were there for them in their time of need when they got sick. You showed up when benefits were done for both guys and you definitely made a difference.
We love and miss you both guys, Geaux rock the TV and radio airwaves in Heaven and keep a watch of beautiful Southwest Louisiana and the awesome people who live here. You both will be forever in our hearts.