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story.lead_photo.caption Dean and LaCrecia Barry are the recipients of the 2018 C.E. Palmer Award at a Friday evening ceremony in Texarkana. (Photo by Kaitlyn Gordon)

Dean and LaCrecia Barry are this year's recipients of the C.E. Palmer Award for outstanding community service.

"It goes without saying, we love Texarkana. I can't think of another place I'd rather live," Dean Barry said in accepting the award, adding that he is optimistic about Texarkana's economic future.

"Good things are going to happen for Texarkana in industrial development," he said.

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A 1958 Texas High School graduate, Barry attended Texarkana College for two years as a civil engineering student, according to previous Gazette reports. He then transferred to Southern Methodist University and changed his major to banking and finance. In 1962, he returned to Texarkana and started his insurance business.

Many Texarkanians remember a popular advertising jingle for the agency: "I love Barry Insurance—they're cheap, cheap, cheap."

Barry has served as board president of the St. Michael Foundation and a member of the Texarkana College Board of Trustees, and he has been active with United Way of Greater Texarkana and Runnin' WJ Ranch.

In 2015, he bought naming rights for the Live United Bowl, an NCAA Division II football game played in Texarkana annually since 2013 with proceeds supporting United Way. For the past three years, the game has been known as the Agent Barry Live United Bowl.

The couple married in Texarkana in 1960. LaCrecia Barry operates a ministry in which she buys high-quality wigs and sells them at wholesale prices to cancer patients who have lost hair because of treatment.

Established in 1941 and named for a longtime publisher of the Gazette, the C.E. Palmer award is Texarkana's most prestigious honor for public service, recognizing a lifetime of altruism.

Palmer Hussman, C.E. Palmer's great-grandson, traveled from Little Rock with his sister and father, current Gazette publisher Walter E. Hussman Jr., to present the award during Texarkana Chamber of Commerce's annual celebration.

The event also featured a silent auction to raise funds for Chamber of Commerce economic development programs and member services.

On Twitter: @RealKarlRichter

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