The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 6, 2001 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 6, 2001
Page:
Page 12
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B4 SUNDAY, MAY 6, 2001 GREAT PLAIIMS THE SALINA JOURNAL T CELEBRITY SEEKER Missouri man knows lifestyles of rich and famous From Sophia Loren to Lou Holtz, Stroup's pen proves powerful By LONNIETHIEUE Daily Aiiwricait liqiubUc ; POPLAR BLUFF. Mo. — He's on a first-name basis with Lou Holtz. He says he's on Sophia Loren's mailing list and has talked with her on the telephone. He corresponded with Princess Diana during her divorce. He has had prayer with Charlie Daniels. He has even had Regis Philbin tell him, "You sure do get around." Kenny Stroup, 41, of Advance calls what he does a ministry of caring. He sends out 10 or more letters a week to celebrities, and he estimates between 20 and 30 percent of them respond. Stroup has more than 2,500 signed photographs of Hollywood actors and actresses. Some are displayed around the house, others ai-e stored in boxes. A lot of what Stroup has accumulated has been collected by T KC SCHOOLS KG mayor steps into school fray KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Kay Barnes says she'll convene a group of business and community leaders to help the troubled Kansas City School District. Barnes also said she would recommend that the group develop a national teacher recruitment effort. Her comments came during the State of the City address Thursday The state stripped the district of its accreditation last year. The district has until June 2002 before the state would assume control of the schools if they do not adequately improve. Barnes reminded people that the mayor has no jurisdictional authority over schools. But she said her involvement was driven by her concerns "that the issues surrounding this district have become increasingly racially divisive." thousands of autograph seekers. But what makes Stroup's collection unique is that he whites to celebrities, sometimes long letters, and they send back hand-written notes. "If I write anybody, it's in my own handwriting," Stroup said. "I enjoy reaching out to people. I enjoy giving out nice compliments to people." Stroup got Holtz's attention in 1988 when he Approached Holtz on the Notfe Diime campus and said, "To rfte, you 're the greatest college football coach ever." At the time, \{6\tz was the Notre Dame football coach. Stroup said Holtz replied, "I'm just doing my job, young man." Later, Stroup wrote Holtz a letter and Holtz responded. "I've got 37 letters from Lou Holtz," he said. "I saw him at practice one day and 1 told him I thought he was looking bad. Two weeks later, he was at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. 1 just felt like I was supposed to talk to him. I'm a fan, but he responds to my letters." Stroup said he last saw Holtz two years ago when Holtz, now coach at South Carolina, made a speech at Notre Dame. "He said, 'Kenny, what are you doing way up here?' I told him I came up to see him." Stroup said Holtz then chuckled and gave him a hug. Stroup first wrote Sophia Loren in 1993. "She leads a very private life, plus her husband got sick. Part of my plan is just to reach out in a caring way," he said. "1 sent her a letter and the next thing 1 knew 1 got a response from her. I've gotten six responses. "In 1994 or 1995, she gave me her phone number. I've had two brief conversations with her on the phone. Her voice matches with her voice on television." Stroup said he received an unsolicited signed photograph from Loren two weeks ago. "I've already written her back," he said. Stroup wqrks in a buy-and-sell merchandizing business with his parents. The work allows him to take time off to attend concerts and baseball games where he meets a lot of famous people. 1-800-569-5653 BENNETT AUTOPLEX, INC. 651S. Ohio/Salina/785-823-6372/www.bennettautoplex.coin One Agent - One Company for all your insurance. 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