Oct. 12—Behind the scenes and with his cameras in tow, local residents can usually find Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star reporter Bill Bengtson at any community event.
For 25 years, Bengtson has worked in the community to cover any and all events from sports to dog days at the pool.
Bengtson was recognized during the North Augusta Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony Oct. 9 for his reporting and his work ethic with the Bob Bolton Award.
"That was a completely successful sneak attack. We like to do that in the media a lot, but this is probably the first time that I have been at the center of something like that," Bengtson said during the ceremony. "All I can say is thank you so much. I have enjoyed helping chronicle y'all's lives over the past quarter century; wow, and I am kind of blown away."
Bengtson grew up in Florence, Alabama, and was raised an Auburn fan. He attended the University of Georgia and after leaving Athens, he worked at the Fort Gordon News, Protestant Radio and Television Center at Emory University, and Greenwood's Index-Journal before finding his home in Aiken County in 1996.
Bengtson got into journalism after being told by family and friends that he was a good storyteller, and he consistently works to generate community coverage.
He was shocked when he found out he would receive the award.
"I had no idea. It was a real pleasant surprise," Bengtson said. "They started reading off the biographical information, and they mentioned Alabama and the prison ministry; and I thought, well, that is probably nobody else in this room, and it became pretty clear; and I thought what a happy little surprise."
Rob Freitas, an athletic figure in North Augusta, spoke highly of Bengtson.
"This year's awardee is a man I've gotten to meet many many times over the years. A lot of you know him, one of the most recognizable people in North Augusta with an incredible work ethic," Freitas said. "Kind of a challenge that we run into tonight is that it's kind of difficult to find someone to take his place in what he does and to report tonight's presentation, and I am very thankful to have gotten to know him as much as I have over the years."
Bengtson wants to continue to make people happy with his coverage.
"Once in a while you run into a story that's really interesting one way or another, and it can be fun to share that story with other people," Bengtson said. "Somebody may have a story to tell that can be really encouraging."
Samantha Winn covers the city of North Augusta, with a focus on government and community oriented business. Follow her on Twitter: @samanthamwinn and on Facebook and Instagram: @swinnnews.