Photo Takes Long Way Home to Van Buren

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Sometimes, a photograph can do more than capture a moment in time.

Sometimes, a photograph can take on a life of its own.

Such was the case for an image taken during the 2004 Arkansas Tech University Homecoming parade. It shows Brad Reeves, James Palmer, Landon Hight and Brad Daugherty dutifully playing their trombones as members of the Arkansas Tech marching band, known far and wide as “Arkansas’ Band of Distinction.”

The photo could have been filed away with hundreds of others captured during that Homecoming weekend more than a dozen years ago, but it was destined for something greater. It was selected to be enlarged, placed on poster board and displayed along with many other images depicting life at Arkansas Tech inside the Doc Bryan Student Services Center.

As those images were rotated out in favor of new ones, the photo of Reeves, Palmer, Hight and Daugherty was taken down in approximately 2009. Reeves’ wife, ATU alumna Crystal Reeves, took note that the photograph was no longer there and asked about its destination.

“She asked office workers about the picture, and they told her that it was just going to be displayed in another office,” said Brad Reeves, who today teaches and assists in the direction of bands in the Van Buren School District. “Fearing one day that it might be tossed, she asked to put a post-it note on the back with our contact information.”

Years passed, and the photo remained on display at Arkansas Tech. Then, one day during the fall 2016 semester, Brad and Crystal both received a text message letting them know the photograph had completed its service and asking if they would like to have it.

“We were completely shocked that the post-it note was still there and someone was willing to contact us,” said Brad Reeves. “We texted a former student of ours who is currently at ATU, and he was able to go get that for us.”

Today, the oversized print is enjoying a second life on display in the Van Buren High School band room. It so happens that three of the musicians in the photo — Reeves, Hight and Daugherty — are not only alumni of Arkansas Tech. The are also alumni of Van Buren High School.

“It definitely brings back great memories of a very rainy performance,” said Reeves. “Our students enjoy hearing us re-tell our stories. We are so glad to have it for display.”

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