78th in a 2022 Series*
Hours before the scheduled “Retirement Toast & Roast for Allen J. Beermann,” tornado warnings, quarter-sized hail and powerful thunderstorms buzzed Kearney, NE, the site of this year’s Nebraska Press Association annual conference. Despite the bad weather, the celebration would go on — it had to go on! — to a packed house, casting aside the many delays caused by the stubborn pandemic. Beermann had announced his retirement in December 2019 and stepped down as NPA executive director on Jan. 31, 2020 — though, it was said several times, he never stopped coming to the office during an extended transition. The legend, who led the state press association for 24 years, and former longtime Nebraska secretary of state was due a big going-away party. The steady parade of tributes over three hours Friday night (April 29) did not disappoint. Beermann admitted afterward he was overwhelmed by what was orchestrated to craft a heartfelt honor, what was said by a long list of speakers, including other executive directors who sent video messages, and what was given — ranging from a scholarship fund in his name to a Nebraska license plate “NE RELIC” (a reference to the 80-plus-year-old Beermann being “the oldest living relic.”) Mark Thomas, executive director of the Oklahoma Press Association, kept the festivities flowing and jokes flying as emcee. When it was all over, Beermann finally received the sendoff fitting a king but more importantly the thanks for the many years of service devoted to advocating for Nebraska journalism and advancing its excellence. He can now wear that tie clip, a gift from his son, that proclaims “–30–“. Said Beermann, “You all know what that means.”
–Tom Silvestri, Executive Director, The Relevance Project
*ABOUT THE SERIES: Our goal is to share a Relevant Point of the Day (RPD) each weekday throughout 2022. Our target is at least 222. Thank you for supporting The Relevance Project. Your success is our focus.