OPINION

Working with an old friend…

Marvin Baker

Once in a while a person stands out and when that happens, I try to write about that individual as a sort of recognition for going above and beyond.

Over the years I’ve written about Kent Meidinger, a young man from Edgeley who revolutioned FM radio in car stereo. There was Irvin Drath, a grain elevator employee in Hazen who personified Hazen, the grain elevator industry and farmers across western North Dakota.

I’ve written about Marc Bluestone, who is retired now. He was the school superintendent in New Town who stayed after school on a regular basis to have extra classes for failed students so they could graduate from high school.

Most recently, it was Al Schmidt of Berthold, who as chief of police there. He has taken some of the most dangerous criminals off the street.

He’s made numerous, high profile drug busts, he arrested the most notorious outlaw from the state of Arizona and he took a Minot Air Force Base captain into custody for operating a prostitution ring in Minot.

These are  the individual people I’ve written about. This time it’s to honor friend and former co-worker Larry Stokke of Langdon.

Larry has been a good friend for a long time, but more importantly, it’s what he does for his community that’s key here.

He’s a photographer for the sports teams and the Cavalier County Republican. He is also employed at D&B Motors, the GM dealership in Langdon.

Larry was at the State Class B Girls Basketball Tournament to capture the action of the Langdon Cardinals who took fifth in a win over Kenmare.

I was working the tournament as a reporter for The Kenmare News and Larry was there on behalf of the Republican.

It reminded me of how well we worked together when I was operating the Republican in Langdon in the late 1990s. We went to numerous tournaments and other events together and that first weekend in March in Minot was a reminder of better days that have gone by.

So, in effect, Larry and I got to work together again, even if it was only for two hours.

And after all these years, he is still as good as he was in 1997. His photos are creative, crisp and clear, they show action, they show emotion, they show determination as well as euphoria and sorrow.

When I talked to Larry on Saturday, he had arrived in the Minot State University Dome just before game time. He told me that he was at the tournament Thursday when the Langdon Cardinals played the Carrington Cardinals.

He left after the game, drove back to Langdon so he could be at a state hockey tournament on Friday. He shot that venue, then turned around and headed back to Minot for the fifth-place game.

That’s dedication folks. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, because that’s exactly how he was when we worked together week to week at the Langdon newspaper.

It’s also the same dedication for the players and the team he had when the 2018 Langdon Cardinals volleyball team played Kenmare in the state Class B volleyball tournament.

You just don’t meet people like Larry every day. Perhaps that’s why he is only the fifth specific person I’ve written about in the past seven years.

People like Larry Stokke are rare. All the kids in Langdon know him because he’s always at their sporting events taking photos.

Consider this. I’ve known him for 25 years and I know he was doing photography prior to 1996. That’s a long time to be going to Tuesday night games in Bottineau or Grand Forks. It’s a long time to be carrying camera equipment around the northeastern part of the state, from rodeo to baseball.

But, as mentioned earlier, that’s dedication to his job. Not only does he do it well, he’s consistent at it and the quality of his work shows  in many of the photos you see weekly in the Republican.

And Larry never wavered in the four years we worked together. If I had assignments, he always carried them out, almost to a T. He’s obviously the kind of person you want to have on your staff because of productivity as well, another quality not mentioned earlier.

As former editor of the Republican, I was always happy to work with Larry on any assignment.

And that’s how it was in Minot. I told my wife that because Langdon and Kenmare were both in the state tournament, there was a possibility the teams could meet and we could work together again. They did and we did!

But our relationship is more than work related. I’m also proud to call Larry Stokke a good friend.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

Be sure to follow Devils Lake Journal on our twitter page, @devilslakenews, and like us on Facebook!