Page 1

2 | 501 LIFE September 2019

BRAXTON MOBLEY Son Pediatric Patient T-ball player

MADISON MOBLEY Daughter Pediatric Patient Dancer


We are friends, neighbors and caregivers. Together, we share a common bond. September 2019 | 3 We love our community and those who make it what it is.

501 LIFE


OWNERS Donna Spears, Sonja J. Keith OFFICE MANAGER Tracey Wilkinson EDITOR Sonja J. Keith


ART DIRECTORS Jennifer Godwin and Nick Walker ASSOCIATE EDITOR Levi Gilbert PHOTO DIRECTOR Mike Kemp

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Tom Keith CONTRIBUTORS Donna Benton Don Bingham Kellie Bishop Adam Bledsoe Tanner Cangelosi Brittany Gilbert Laurie Green Linda Henderson Vivian Hogue Karl Lenser Mark McDonald Mark Oliver

Kiera Oluokun Todd Owens Bill Patterson John Patton Susan Peterson Dr. Robert Reising Robin Richards Jan Spann Donna Lampkin Stephens Callie Sterling Jaison Sterling Megan Stroud

FAULKNER COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD Johnny Adams Jack Bell Don Bingham RaeLynn Callaway Glenn Crockett Kay Dalton Beth Franks Russ Hancock Spencer Hawks Mathilda Hatfield Roe Henderson Jerry Hiegel Mike Kemp

Last chance ‘to soar’ With students and teachers headed back to school and the arrival of fall just around the corner, 501 LIFE is mindful of the many special events that are planned this time of year. Among those is the 12th Annual Soaring Wings Half Marathon & 10K scheduled Saturday, Oct. 19, in Conway. Sadly, this will be the last chance for participants to soar as Soaring Wings officials have decided this will be the final year for the half marathon and 10K. Race directors Amanda Castillo and Marla Watson – and their entire team – have put together an outstanding event, which raises money for the Christ-centered ministry that serves children who are in crisis through no fault of their own. The fundraiser has helped the ministry care for more than 300 kids. About 300 volunteers are involved in the event. “It has been a fantastic 12 years, and we appreciate the wonderful support we have received from the running community, our faithful sponsors and our hard-working volunteers,” said Marla. “Let’s make this year our best yet as we SOAR together one last time,” added Amanda. Thousands have participated in the event over the years. Unfortunately, with many new half marathons now in the state and surrounding area, numbers have declined in recent years, which prompted 4 | 501 LIFE September 2019

This will be the last year for the Annual Soaring Wings Half Marathon & 10K, which is scheduled Saturday, Oct. 19, in Conway. Slots are filling up and registration fees increase after Sunday, Sept. 1. For more information or to register, visit the decision to make 2019 the last year. If you haven’t already signed up, 501 LIFE wants to encourage you to participate and show your support for this important program. Better yet, sign up to be a Winged Warrior and earn a free entry to the Soaring Wings race of your choice by raising $200 or more. Additional prizes are available based on the amount raised. Transfers between events and between people will be allowed through Saturday, Sept. 7, for a $10 fee, in addition to any difference in the cost of events. For more information or to register, visit 501 LIFE has been happy and proud to lend a helping hand as the official media sponsor for the event. We are counting on the 501 community and its help. Until next month, here’s to “Loving LIFE” and the chance “to soar.”

Julie LaRue Karl Lenser Lori Melton Kiera Oluokun Deanna Ott Pat Otto Jon Patrom Amy Reed Lori Ross Margaret Smith Jan Spann Kim Tyler Jennifer Whitehead

CONWAY COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD Mary Clark Shelli Crowell Dr. Larry Davis Shawn Halbrook Alicia Hugen Alisha Koonce

Stephanie Lipsmeyer Stewart Nelson Kristi Strain Jim Taylor Morgan Zimmerman

WHITE COUNTY EDITORIAL BOARD Betsy Bailey Tara Cathey Cassandra Feltrop Phil Hays Natalie Horton Matt LaForce

Hannah Owens Mike Parsons Brooke Pryor Carol Spears Kristi Thurmon

To subscribe or order back issues, visit The subscription rate is $20 for one year (12 issues). 501 Advertising and Publishing 701 Chestnut St. Conway, Ark. 72032 501.327.1501 501 LIFE is published monthly by 501 Advertising and Publishing (701 Chestnut St., Conway, Ark. 72032, 501.327.1501). The contents of 501 LIFE are copyrighted and materials presented may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publishers. Articles should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Products and services advertised are not necessarily endorsed by 501 LIFE. 501 LIFE is produced on recycled paper.


September 2019 Volume 12 Issue 5

features&departments 22 Sports


The 501 LIFE staff is excited to announce the members of the 2019 edition of the 501 Football Team.

On the cover

501 LIFE is all about “Back to school” in this month’s edition, with a Neighbors feature on St. Joseph Elementary School Principal Courtney Pope (Page 30). She is pictured on the cover with some of her students, Lilah Scherrey (from left), Grayson Gunther, Savannah Scherrey, Abigail Rehm, Elijah Rehm and John Gregory West (back). (Mike Kemp photo)

34 Feature

The White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund will soon celebrate 20 years of changing lives and providing hope through education.

36 Feature

The City of Conway paid tribute to the late Candy Jones at a place that she loved and a location that she helped make possible.

68 Feature

When Maumelle’s firefighters get the call, there are two things they can always count on. One is their training. The second is Marty Newsom.


74 Sports

Jon Ross Henderson has a different idea than most about what makes for recreation.

neighbors 24 Couples

Diane and Denny Barrett are loving life in Searcy, where she is the school superintendent and both stay active with church and school activities.


74 regulars 4 8-9 10-14 52-59 82

26 Youth

Garrett Pendergraft has already earned a college degree, and he hasn’t even graduated high school.

28 Conway

Leona Walton is no stranger to giving back to her community.

82 Person of the month

UCA’s Dr. Stephanie H. McBrayer is all about helping students make the transition from high school to university.

LIFE pics 15-18

'501 KIDS' 501 LIFE contributors Kellie Bishop and Brittany Gilbert have great tips in the 501 Kids section (Pages 64-66). Have a story idea or a young person you would like to see featured? Send suggestions to info@501lifemag. com.

6 | 501 LIFE September 2019



Editor’s Note Calendar Loving LIFE Home Person of the month

501 LIFE would like to thank its advertising partners for their continued support and encourage our readers to support these businesses:

501 LIFE is you! /501lifemag

B Baptist Health Surgical & Specialty Clinic, 45 Bell & Co., 29 Bledsoe Chiropractic, 20 /501lifemag

C Central Arkansas Pediatrics, 65 Conway Corporation, 23 Conway Downtown, 21 Conway Institute of Music, 39 Conway Regional Health System, 83 Conway Regional Rehab, 67 Crain Automotive, 25

D DJM Orthodontics, 26

E Edward Jones, 53 EL Clinical Aethestics, 51

F First Security Bank, 84

Get “LIFE” at home! For a limited time, 501 LIFE is offering a special subscription rate for new subscribers - have the magazine delivered to your home for only $20 for one year, $40 for two years. While the magazine is distributed through more than 700 locations in Central Arkansas, copies go fast. Home delivery ensures readers they won’t miss a single issue. Readers can visit or call 501.327.1501 to subscribe.

Tune in at 12:30 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month to KARK Channel 4 for a segment on the current issue of 501 LIFE.

First Service Bank, 13 Freyaldenhoven Heating and Cooling Inc., 31

H Hartman Animal Hospital, 81

Writers’ Room

Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA, 49 Heritage Living Center, 5 Hiegel Supply, 33

L Luxury Pool & Spa, 55

M MSC Eye Associates, 37 Methodist Family Health, 69

O Ott Insurance, 35

P Patterson Eye Care, 33

S Saint Joseph Schools, 63 Salem Place Nursing and Rehab, 59 Shelter Insurance, 61 Soaring Wings, 73 Superior Nursing & Rehab, 2

T The Bridgeway Hospital, 61

U Unity Health, 3 University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton, 27 University of Central Arkansas, 41 UCA Reynolds Preformance Hall, 19

W Wilkinson’s Mall, 37

Vivian Lawson Hogue is among the rare “native” segment of pre-mid-20th century Conway residents still living where she was born in 1943. A graduate of Conway High School, Vivian attended Hendrix College for two years and graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor of science in education degree in art education. Vivian writes a regular column for 501 LIFE, oftentimes with an historical perspective. “Writing just slipped into my life by a happy accident.” To contact Vivian, email vhogue@

Donna Benton has lived in Greenbrier for nearly 25 years. She enjoys most the small town culture and community in the 501. “But most of all, my friends and family are here and that is what makes it home!” Most people probably don’t know that Donna was a rock climber, whitewater kayaker and a backpacking guide. To contact Donna, email donna@waterhousemarket. com. Check out her blog on and follow her on Instagram @ waterhousemarket and Facebook at WaterHouse Market.

Recognized throughout the state as an accomplished chef, Don Bingham has called the 501 his home for 47 years. “I enjoy most the people of the 501 – their heart and passion for life and for each other.” A graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Don has a bachelor’s degree in communications and is a certified chef. He and his wife, Nancy, have five married children and 12 grandchildren. His interests include music, interior design and event planning. He serves as the board chairman for Renewal Ranch and is a worship pastor. He can be reached at September 2019 | 7

NEWS/NOTES UCA Reynolds Performance Hall will kick off and celebrate its 20th season with a performance by country music artist Sara Evans at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20. For more information on the concert and the entire season, and to purchase tickets, visit reynolds.

September S
















10 11 12 13 14

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 The 17th Annual Mid-South Econoline Meet will be held Sunday, Sept. 1, at The Museum of Automobiles atop Petit Jean Mountain. For more information, contact Steve Holland at 501.278.7531. Fairfield Bay will host BayFest in the Park, a hometown family festival, on Saturday, Sept. 14. It will include PetFest, KidsFest and music. For more information, go to The Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce will present Bash on the Boulevard 2019 at noon Saturday, Sept. 14, in the Town Centre Shopping at 115 Audubon Drive. The free, family-friendly festival connects local businesses and residents in a fun and energetic atmosphere. It includes business vendors, arts and crafts, a kids zone, dog park, beer garden, vintage car showcase, Game Day TV sporting events, Miss Maumelle Pageant, food trucks, local and regional entertainment, games, and more. Proceeds support economic development and promote entrepreneurship opportunities in the area. For more information, visit 8 | 501 LIFE September 2019

The Conway Symphony Orchestra will kick off and celebrate its 35th anniversary season with A Concert In the Park at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, in Simon Park in Downtown Conway. Those attending are encouraged to bring folding chairs and/or a blanket to the free concert which highlights the upcoming season. Other performances in the upcoming season include: Echoes of Desire, Sunday, Nov 3; A Mad Russian’s Christmas, Saturday, Dec. 7; American Portrait: A Concert of Unity, Saturday, Feb. 15; Beauty and the Beast: In Concert, Saturday, March 7; and A Romantic Idyll, Saturday, April 25. The symphony is under the direction of Israel Getzov. For more information, visit Motormaids on the Mountain, women on motorcycles playing games from 10 a.m. to noon, will be held Saturday, Sept. 21, on the grounds of The Museum of Automobiles atop Petit Jean Mountain. For more information, contact Shelley Francis at 318.423.0192. The Fifth Annual Shine Your Ride Car Show will be held 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at 301 South Poplar St. in Searcy. Proceeds benefit the Sunshine School. The entry fee to compete is $20, with $10 for display only. There will be goodie bags for the first 100 registered for judging. There will be a raffle, door prizes food and music. The Yadaloo Music and Arts Festival will be held Sunday, Sept. 22, at the North Shore Riverwalk Park in North Little Rock. The all-day music and arts festival will feature national, regional and local Americana and Country Music acts and a variety of creative arts activities. Advance

tickets for $27.50 are available until Saturday, Sept. 21, and tickets purchased the day of the event are $35. Children ages 12 and younger are free. For more information, visit The Cabot Lions Club will host its Annual “Memorial” Golf Classic on Monday, Sept. 23, with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. at Cabot’s Rolling Hills Country Club (located on Mount Carmel Road/Highway 321). Entry forms for the four-person scramble can be obtained by emailing or by calling 501.920.2122. This year’s tournament is being held in loving memory of Lion Rick Meadows, who loyally served the Cabot community from 1984 to 2014. The 22nd Annual Petit Jean Fall Swap Meet will be held Wednesday, Sept. 25, through Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Museum of Automobiles at Petit Jean Mountain. There are 600 spaces available for rent for vendors to sell cars, parts and just about anything else. There will be an open car show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be a military rally from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For more information or to rent a space, go to or call 501.727.5427.

To submit a calendar item, please send information to To see a complete list of items, please go to

Jazz It Up planned Oct. 3 The Conway Symphony Orchestra Guild will host Jazz It Up, its annual community fundraising gala, from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Centennial Valley Country Club Event Center. This year’s theme is “Rockin That Jazz,” with music provided by the local classic rock band “Get Off My Lawn.” Kevin Bass heads the band, which will play classic rock tunes that will showcase some symphony players collaborating with the band. According to event chairman Pam Strassle, one exciting number will feature the Conway Symphony Orchestra’s Maestro Israel Getzov accompanying the band on violin. Tickets are available now and are $45 each in advance or $50 at the door. Partygoers will enjoy an assortment of heavy hors d’oeuvres, with a cash bar. There will be a variety of live and silent auction items. A new friend of the guild this year is Sissy’s Log Cabin. CEO Bill Jones and also Wyatt Jones will be in attendance to assist with their donation of an item for the live auction. Many other exclusive items will be auctioned, including art work that will be painted during the event for attendees to view and bid on. In addition, there will be a “Take A Chance” table to purchase tickets to take a chance of winning a prize, including jewelry, a Red Apple Inn package, an electronic item and a restaurant bouquet.


Thursday, October 3 6:00 p.m. Cash Bar/Silent Auction And Live Auctions Centennial Valley Event Center Music by Get Off My Lawn Advance Tickets $45 Contact Pam Strassle, Event Chair 501-827-2638 Bev Freiley, President 501-908-9855

Arlene Biebesheimer and Betty Cohen are coChairs for the auction committee. Many local businesses have sponsored this event, including The Hole In the Wall Cafe Catering And Events, Banister Dental, Dr. Mary Mosley Family, First Arkansas Bank and Trust, Margaret Palmer Family, Kim Tilmon Realtor, Baptist Health, Sav-On

Healthmart, Vinebrook Gallery and Arkansas Heart Hospital. Mike Binko is the sponsorship chairman. To purchase tickets, please call Pam Strassle at 501.827.2638 or Conway Symphony Orchestra Guild Board President Bev Freiley at 501.908.9855. Tickets may also be purchased through the Conway Symphony Orchestra Facebook page.

Fairfield Bay contest winner

Conway Institute of Music Executive Director James Skelton was awarded the Faith-Belief-Action Award by the Music Academy Success System (MASS) association for the sixth year in a row. The award recognizes the top performers in the Music Academy industry who are growing their business and leading their communities in music education.

Rebecca Sanders of Conway will be headed to Fairfield Bay as the winner of a vacation getaway contest. 501 LIFE and Fairfield Bay recently teamed up to treat a group of four to weekend accommodations valued at $680. “I am honored to win the trip to the Rebecca Sanders and her lovely Fairfield Bay,” said Rebecca. “501 husband, Brian. LIFE is a fabulous local magazine and I appreciate this opportunity to enjoy a get-away in our 501 area. Thanks, Fairfield Bay and 501 LIFE!” Fairfield Bay is one of the region’s premier family recreation destinations, offering swimming, sailing, fishing, camping and hiking. For more information on Fairfield Bay, go to September 2019 | 9


Sharing the 501 LIFE spirit

501 readers are enjoying LIFE and sharing their trips and special occasions with others. An overwhelming number of readers are submitting “Loving LIFE� photos for inclusion in the magazine, and every effort is being made to publish them as soon as possible. Headed out on a special trip? Pack a copy of 501 LIFE in your suitcase, snap a photo at your destination and send it to us for publication in a future issue. Have a special occasion or get-together coming up? Take 501 LIFE along, take a photo and send it to us. Photos can be submitted by email to or by mail to Reader Photos, c/o 501 LIFE, 701 Chestnut St., Conway, Ark. 72032. Please include the names of those in the photograph and their hometowns along with contact information. (Sorry, photos will not be returned by mail but can be picked up at the 501 office.) Here’s to “Loving LIFE.� – Sonja Keith

Conway High School graduates Malik Benton (from left), Roman Aaron, Deonta Bennett, Lucas Bernard, JeQuan Carter and Olivia Berumen were “Loving LIFE� at graduation in May.

Vilonia School District Board Member Tim Nolan (from left), Erin Nolan, Emily Farmer and Ashton Rappold were “Loving LIFE.� (Vilonia photos by Terina Atkins)

Junior ushers Nick Lewis and Landon Hill were “Loving LIFE� during graduation festivities at Vilonia High School.

Vilonia High School graduates Sagan Lewis (from left), Devin James, Caleb Barrow, Bradee Byrum and Marlie Smith were “Loving LIFE.�

Vilonia High School graduates Taylor Aldridge and Caleb Barrow were “Loving LIFE.� 10 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Jamie Higgins (from left), João Mendes, Ed Linck and Joan Shofner took 501 LIFE along to a meeting of the Morrilton Rotary Club, where João spoke about his experience as a Rotary Youth Exchange student. “We brought copies of 501 LIFE so the club could see his article in the July issue,” wrote Joan.

Paden Sharp and his parents, Carey and Gail, were “Loving LIFE” last spring in Bern, Switzerland, which included a stop at the medieval Zeitglockenturm clock tower. Paden was a cum laude graduate in May from the University of Central Arkansas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in musictrombone performance. He will be pursuing a master’s degree this fall at the Bern University of the Arts. Paden was featured in the February “A Heart for the Arts” edition of 501 LIFE.

Mariah Miller of Conway (right) was “Loving LIFE” with her host family, the Marcoux-Gauthier Family of Québec City, Québec, Canada, where Mariah studied French over the summer. Mariah is a 2011 graduate of Conway High School and a 2015 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. Mariah traveled abroad to Canada to improve her French language skills.

September 2019 | 11


Principal Amy Jones with race winners CeCe Frey, Martell Macon and Casey Salters.

‘Loving LIFE’ and Dino Dash For the third year in a row, students and faculty at Anne Watson Elementary School ended the school year with a special run on campus. This year’s event was called the “Dino Dash.� Throughout the year, students participate in a school running club. Activities culminate with an end-of-the-year one mile run. “The end of year run is only for running club participants,� said Anne Watson Elementary Principal Amy Jones. “It is a way to celebrate them and their achievement of sticking with running club for the entire year. The rest of the school comes and cheers them on to celebrate their last mile of the year. “We do an additional run in the fall semester that is open to the entire school.� The running club has been supported with teacher grants provided by the Conway Regional Women’s Council. There were nearly 40 students who participated in the final mile run in May. “Our participation was a little bit lower this year because we had to do the run during the last week of school due to scheduling issues,� Amy said. Winners were: First – Martel Macon Second -– Casey Salters Third – CeCe Frey “April Blackburn and Callie Quiroz had the idea of adding the inflatable dinosaurs to this year’s race, which was a big hit. The students, participants and staff all had a great time watching the dinosaurs,� said Amy. “The students racing were surprised and smiled as the dinosaurs chased them through their last mile. This will be a race they remember for many years to come.� 12 | 501 LIFE September 2019

“Loving LIFE� at the Dino Dash at Anne Watson Elementary School.

Helping You Reach Your Goals


We are... CONWAY | 501.932.5050 | CONWAY | 501-932-9700 CLINTON | 501.745.7200 | GREENBRIER | 501.679.7300 | LITTLE ROCK | 501.801.7402


Dr. Larry Pillow (from left), Sheila and Rep. Rick Beck were “Loving LIFE� at The Hope Alive Vision Casting Rally at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.

Pastor Kirk Hardy (from left), Morrilton Mayor Alan Lipsmeyer and Dr. Larry Pillow, founder of Renewal Ranch and the WeCan ministries, a network of facilities for addicts, were “Loving LIFE� at the Hope Alive Vision Casting Rally on May 6 at Mount Pleasant Baptist near Plumerville. More than 250 attended the rally.

Members of the WeCan leadership team were “Loving LIFE� at the Hope Alive Vision Casting Rally: Larry (from left) and Dana Ward, directors of The Harbor Home for women near Conway; Dr. Larry Pillow, founder of WeCan; Terry Webb, WeCan board member and director of Complete in Christ recovery ministry for men in Searcy; Jay Cupit, vice chairman of WeCan board and founder/director of The Other Side for men in Wilburn (Cleburne County); and Brooks Bright, startup director for Hope Alive, a facility for men struggling with addiction soon to open in Conway County. Dr. Larry Pillow with Marilyn Crawford (left) and Vicky Gray, two sisters who donated the home and store in Plumerville belonging to their late parents to help fund Hope Alive, a soon to open facility in Conway County for men struggling with addiction. The three were “Loving LIFE� at the Hope Alive Vision Casting Rally.

14 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Greenbrier chamber hosts teacher expo The Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its Annual Greenbrier Public Schools Back to School Breakfast and Expo. The event, held at the Greenbrier High School Panther Pavilion, honored the 400-plus teachers, administrators and district staff. Each business that participated donated a $25 door prize. 501 LIFE had a booth with the theme “501 Beauty Bar and Spa.” Eastside Elementary School teacher Amber Satterwhite was the winner of the door prize donated by 501 LIFE. For more information on the Greenbrier chamber, email or visit

See more photos on Pages 70-71.

First Security Bank associates Shawn Johnston (from left), Shonna Battles, Melissa Hamilton and Lacey O’Bannon.

Alexi Dather (from left), Heaven Winn and Marisa McNew.

Amber Satterwhite (left) and Jenna Barnhart.

Ashley Lane and Jamie Holley.

Becky Krisell (left) and Jordan Starkey.

Brandi Shinn (left) and Shannon Spainhour.

Cheryl Hartwick (seated, left), Pam McCammon; Robin Hall (back), LeAnn Livingston, Chris Rimmer and Allison Jones.

First Service Bank associates Christie Hensley (from left), Robin Hackett, Brittany Witham and Jon Patrom.

Allyson Walls (seated), Chelsea Smith; Tresse Glover (back), Shelby Oliver, Amber Sudduth and Kaity Haynes.

Ashley Wilson (from left), Miranda Mahan, Randi Lamons and Sarah Martin.

Misty Burgess (from left), Nikkina Porter and Micah Edwards. September 2019 | 15


Faith Wise (from left), Gracie Wise and Rachel Dawson.

Julie Wolfe (from left), Katie Cullum, Judy Glenn, Matilyn Thomas and Sara Wise.

Katie Cullum demonstrates a recipe.

Loryn McCaughan (from left), Delaney Vershum, and Lynette Shipp.

Healthy cooking class Story and photos by Megan Stroud

HealthyU, an associate wellness program available to all employees at Unity Health’s three campuses and numerous clinics in Arkansas, strives to improve the lives of medical center associates with a culture of wellness. “The mission of healthyU is to seek to decrease the health risks of our associates by improving our culture of wellness and by offering engaging programs, activities and events, which provide opportunities to practice and develop healthy behaviors,” said Judy Glenn, coordinator of healthyU at Unity Health. In addition to offering these events and programs for associates, healthy cooking classes hosted by healthyU are open and free to the community. On July 2, healthyU hosted a summer healthy 16 | 501 LIFE September 2019

cooking class with Katie Cullum, the county extension agent for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Around the theme of picnics, the class focused on keeping food fresh and safe in the hot summer temperatures. Recipes, including Frozen Peach Pie, Missouri Berry Fruit Salad, Gazpacho and Monterey Shrimp Salad, were demonstrated and shared with everyone in attendance. “The individuals who attend the healthy cooking classes gain knowledge in food preparation, safety and helpful tips,” Glenn said. “They also have the opportunity to try new foods and recipes, which opens up many possibilities.” Glenn, with the help of Director of Community Health Needs Scott Shaver and the healthyU wellness team, is working to constantly serve associates and expand the program that has been in place since August 2018. Other activities include walking

programs, health challenges, fitness challenges, stress challenges, coaching, wellness screenings and internal communication of information and individual recognition. “I believe that healthyU has helped raise awareness of the importance of things like healthy eating, drinking water, regular physical activity, sleep and stress management,” Glenn said. “I often have associates tell me how much a challenge, a class or coaching has helped them. I see people walking on their lunch breaks and looking for the healthyU stickers that identify healthier food options. Some of these are small changes, but these small changes can have a big impact. “Every journey begins with a single step and healthy living is no exception. If we can assist someone in taking that first step or help them continue along the journey, then we have done something good.”


Dazzle Daze plans announced

Grace Rains (from left), Aimee Prince, Ashley Mosley, Nicole Rappold and Stefanie Vann.

Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry and Santa.

MissE Newton (left) and Shelia Isby announce door prize winners.

Santa (Wayne Cox) with Dazzle Daze co-chairs MissE Newton (left) and Shelia Isby.

by Sonja J. Keith

It was “Christmas in July” as Dazzle DazeSM organizers recently kicked off plans for this year’s fundraising event. The Conway Regional Health Foundation and Women’s Council will present the 18th Annual Dazzle Daze with the Girls’ Nite Out preview party on Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds. The event continues Friday, Nov. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 23, with general shopping and other special activities. At the kickoff event, Conway Regional Health System President and CEO Matt Troup introduced this year’s event co-chairs, Shelia Isby and MissE Newton, who gave a brief history of the event and announced that this year’s Dazzle Daze proceeds will be used to help purchase 3D mammography equipment. In the 17-year history of Dazzle Daze, more than $760,000 has been contributed to help fund scholarships, purchase advanced equipment and provide patient and community programs.

The event co-chairs were assisted by Santa (Wayne Cox), who announced this year’s Dazzle Daze Raffle prizes: Grand Prize: A 14 Kt. yellow gold diamond tennis bracelet set with 5 carat total weight. Retail value: $9,000. From Lee Ann’s Fine Jewelry Second: A Spartan RT Pro 54” Zero Turn Mower from Moix ETC Third: Winner’s choice travel package – Costa Rica, Walt Disney World or Sonoma Wine tour, compliments of the Women’s Council Fourth: Louis Vuitton package from Braswell & Son Fifth: Traeger Wood-Fired Grill from Moix ETC Sixth – 10th: $200 cash “This year, we are offering new and different prizes, with something for everyone” said MissE. “Plus, there are more opportunities to win,” added Shelia. Raffle tickets are $100 each and only 500 tickets will be sold. Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry was on hand at the kickoff and purchased the first raffle ticket. He

expressed his appreciation to Conway Regional and the Women’s Council for its contributions to help the community. Also new this year is the Ultimate Girls’ Nite Out Ticket, which is $100 and has a $150 value. Only 100 of the tickets will be sold. The ticket includes: • Early admission to Girls’ Nite Out through a VIP entrance • Reserved Swag Bag – no waiting in line! • An exclusive gift – only for Ultimate GNO ticket holders • Reserved coupon book for Girls’ Nite Out • Friday and Saturday admission • 12 Reindeer Raffle tickets for a chance to win items each valued at $250 and more. Presenting sponsors for Dazzle Daze are 501 LIFE, Centennial Bank and the Conway Convention & Visitors Bureau. Additional Dazzle Daze sponsorships are available. For more information, visit or call 501.513.5938. September 2019 | 17


Participants in the Fourth Annual Eric Rob & Isaac Brand Camp were “Loving LIFE.”

Gabe Duvall (front, from left), Rebekah Faulkner; Hunter Moss (middle), Alexis Cox; and Emily Busby (back).

Fourth annual Brand Camp

Alivia Cox (from left), Sydney Madsen, Mathis Polk, Parker Armstrong and Max Huggins.

Caimbre Hess (from left), Siah McClurkin, Max Owen, Will Schlientz and Marco Ramirez.

Jeremiah Carey (left) and Cameron Foshee.

Kennedi Gunnells (from left), Addison Roth and Callie Roth.

Makyla Hillis (from left), Alyssa Winner and Greer Lenderman.

Guy Cochran (left) and Fisher Kravitz.

Sonja J. Keith photos

The Fourth Annual Eric Rob & Isaac Brand Camp was held, powered by the Conductor and University of Central Arkansas. For the last three years, the Conductor has provided the facility and camp counselors to administer the curriculum. UCA’s University Marketing and Communications Department also assists the 35 middle-school-age kids as they get hands-on experience with brand development, write and shoot their own TV commercial, design their own custom swag and more. “Brand Camp was originally Isaac’s idea, but the three of us developed it from there,” said Rob Bell, a principal of Eric Rob & Isaac. “We wanted to find a way that we could truly give back as an agency, and to our knowledge, there wasn’t anything like Brand Camp out there. Our primary goal is to serve a niche of future Arkansas creative leaders.” The camp is offered free, and it generally fills up the first day it is open to application. This year, the Brand Camp featured client was the Arkansas Travelers.

18 | 501 LIFE September 2019

September 2019 | 19

Make Me Over

First stop Conway Regional fitness center Tracy Martin and Vicki McCauley have taken the first steps in their 501 LIFE Make Me Over journey. 501 LIFE has teamed up with some amazing sponsors to offer Tracy and Vicki a unique makeover experience. The two were selected from entries submitted for the contest. Sponsors include Bledsoe Chiropractic, Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center, Daisy-A-Day Florist and Gifts, EL Clinical Esthetics, First Service Bank, Harrington and Company, Julie’s Sweet Shoppe and Rachel Deal General Dentist. Tracy and Vicki have reported to the Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center, where Amanda Castillo, marketing coordinator and group exercise coordinator, presented them with a six-month membership and gave them a tour. “It has just been remodeled and is wonderful,” said Vicki. “Group classes and trainers were discussed. I have the calendar of classes on the fridge! I was treated so well by everyone.” The two also met with Sarah Money, wellness coordinator and registered dietitian. “Sarah and Amanda assisted us in utilizing the InBody Analysis machine, which tells you what you are made of – body fat mass, skeletal muscle mass and percent body fat,” said Vicki. “It is able to measure segmental lean mass as well. “I will be measured on the machine again in six months. I am hoping for great improvement.” Sarah also discussed diet and nutrition with the makeover winners. “I think I have been on a diet for most of my life,” joked Vicki. “She suggested that I up the veggies and eat more healthy fat.” Vicki is working out three to four days a week at the fitness center. “I have discovered that I love group classes,” she said. “Water Aerobics and Water Zumba are my favorites. I have also enjoyed Zumba class and yoga. It is so much fun trying new things to see what I like. I plan to work with a trainer and perhaps try a spin class.” Vicki has several goals in mind during the Make Me Over experience, including weight loss. “Being healthy is the most important goal. I’m in my 50s and want to be around and keeping up with my family and friends for years.” Vicki said she is pleased with the first few weeks of the makeover. “I think things are going well but could get better. The fitness center has so many things to do. I have only tried a few and want to try others. They seem to have something for everyone.” Vicki described the makeover experience as “fantastic” and “exciting.” “Every one of the (Make Me Over) partners that I have spoken to has been supportive and happy for me,” Vicki said. 20 | 501 LIFE September 2019

501 LIFE Make Me Over winners Vicki McCauley (from left) and Tracy Martin met with Sarah Money, wellness coordinator and registered dietitian at the Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center. In the months ahead, 501 LIFE will work with the sponsors to provide updates on Tracy and Vicki on their Make Me Over journey. “We hope all of

our readers will join 501 LIFE and our sponsors in cheering Tracy and Vicki to the grand finale!” said 501 LIFE Publisher Donna Spears.

September 2019 | 21


Weston Amos Clinton

Brett Barbaree Fountain Lake

Ryan Barnard Greenbrier

Branden Benson Searcy

Brandon Bishop Central Arkansas Christian

Dylan Briggs Vilonia

Brock Duncan Cutter Morning Star

Parker Golden Harding Academy

Brick Gore Maumelle

Jake Harmon Magnet Cove

Devin Hill Hot Springs

Alex Holland Beebe

Reed Hughes Conway

Dallas Lewis Malvern

Adam Martin Heber Springs

Tayshun Mattison Mayflower

William Newton Haskell Harmony Grove

Braden Qualls Lake Hamilton

Ricardo Rangel Bigelow

Steven Rector Morrilton

Brendan Roberts Bald Knob

Spencer Sipes Quitman

Reid Standridge Perryville

Beau Stevenson Conway Christian

Graham Turner Cabot

Kadin Walker Bismarck

22 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Twenty-seven named to team The 501 LIFE staff is excited to announce the members of the 2019 edition of the 501 Football Team. The team features 27 student-athletes — the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the field. Every county in the 501 is represented. Sponsors for this year’s 501 Football Team are Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Conway Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Center. 2019 team members include: Weston Amos (Clinton), Brett Barbaree (Fountain Lake), Ryan Barnard (Greenbrier), Branden Benson (Searcy), Brandon Bishop (Central Arkansas Christian), Mason Brazeal (England), Dylan Briggs (Vilonia), Brock Duncan (Cutter Morning Star), Parker Golden (Harding Academy), Brick Gore (Maumelle), Jake Harmon (Magnet Cove), Devin Hill (Hot Springs), Alex Holland (Beebe), Reed Hughes (Conway), Dallas Lewis (Malvern), Adam Martin (Heber Springs), Tayshun Mattison (Mayflower), William Newton (Haskell Harmony Grove), Braden Qualls (Lake Hamilton), Ricardo Rangel (Bigelow), Steven Rector (Morrilton), Brendan Roberts (Bald Knob), Spencer Sipes (Quitman), Reid Standridge (Perryville), Beau Stevenson (Conway Christian), Graham Turner (Cabot) and Kadin Walker (Bismarck). Players were nominated by their respective coaches and selected by the 501 LIFE staff. Nominations were weighted equally between on- and off-the-field attributes. The team met at Conway Christian School’s field for a photo shoot. In addition to being recognized in this year’s edition of 501 LIFE’s football preview issue, 501 Football 2019, each player will be featured individually throughout the fall online at and in 501 Sports Extra, 501’s sports e-newsletter. (To sign up, visit or email info@501lifemag. com.) Player features will begin publishing weekly online and in 501 Sports Extra starting in mid-August before the kickoff of the 2019 high school football season.

Members of the 501 Football Team: (front, from left) Dallas Lewis (Malvern), Steven Rector (Morrilton), Alex Holland (Beebe), Spencer Sipes (Quitman), William Newton (Haskell Harmony Grove), Braden Qualls (Lake Hamilton); (second) Parker Golden (Harding Academy), Ricardo Rangel (Bigelow), Devin Hill (Hot Springs), Graham Turner (Cabot), Brick Gore (Maumelle), Adam Martin (Heber Springs); (third) Jake Harmon (Magnet Cove), Branden Benson (Searcy), Brock Duncan (Cutter Morning Star), Dylan Briggs (Vilonia), Brendan Roberts (Bald Knob), Brett Barbaree (Fountain Lake); (back) Tayshun Mattison (Mayflower), Kadin Walker (Bismarck), Reed Hughes (Conway), Brandon Bishop (Central Arkansas Christian), Ryan Barnard (Greenbrier) and Beau Stevenson (Conway Christian). Not pictured: Weston Amos (Clinton), Mason Brazeal (England) and Reid Standridge (Perryville). (501 LIFE would like to thank Conway Christian School for use of its football facilities for this year’s team photo shoot.) (Mike Kemp photo)


Just like you.

You don’t take a break from taking care of the ones who matter most. Our people can appreciate that. At Conway Corp, we never stop thinking about the families we serve throughout the community. We’re a part of the big moments, as well as the mundane. And the goal? Making sure you don’t have to think about us.


Powering Conway since 1929.


(501) 450-6000



September 2019 | 23



Denny Barrett

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: McGehee (Desha County). EDUCATION: I graduated from McGehee High School and attended college for three years at the University of Arkansas at Monticello before I decided to work for the railroad. JOB: I was a car inspector first for Missouri Pacific Railroad in McGehee and later Union Pacific Railroad in McGehee and North Little Rock. I retired after 38 years of service.

Denny and Diane Barrett are loving life in Searcy, where she is the school superintendent and he is retired. Both stay busy with school events and activities at St. Paul United Methodist Church. (Megan Stroud photo)


Diane Barrett

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: I grew up in various small towns in South Arkansas. EDUCATION: I received bachelor of arts and master of education degrees from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. I earned 30 additional hours above my master’s, mainly through Arkansas State University. JOB: I am the superintendent of the Searcy School District. I am in my 10th year of employment with the district.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VOCATION: My father was a longtime railroad employee, and I had worked summer jobs on the railroad while in college.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VOCATION: I “played school” from a young age. I have always loved learning and wanted to teach others to help them expand their possibilities in life.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: I like to attend various school activities with my wife.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: I am on the board of the Searcy Regional Chamber of Commerce and have served on the government and workforce development committees.

CHURCH ACTIVITIES: I am a member of the St. Paul United Methodist Church in Searcy and serve as an usher and a member of the finance committee. HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I enjoy hunting and reading westerns. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I am a laid back person for the most part. I consider myself to be kind and enjoy helping people. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: The people are friendly.

24 | 501 LIFE September 2019

CHURCH ACTIVITIES: I am a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Searcy and serve on the staff/parish relations committee. MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: I love sitting on the deck in my backyard in the early morning, drinking coffee, reading and watching the wildlife. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: I love that Searcy retains a small town atmosphere while being a thriving city. I also like the quick access to larger city amenities and attractions that living in the Central Arkansas area provides.


RESIDENTS OF: Searcy. HOW WE MET: We were set up by a friend in college and met at a basketball game, where we sort of looked each other over. THE PROPOSAL: He didn’t actually offer a formal proposal. He asked what I thought about getting married and several months later gave me an engagement ring for my birthday. WEDDING BELLS: We married on Aug. 10, 1974, at Timothy Methodist Church in Camden. CHILDREN: We have a daughter, Raegan. She and her husband, Brent, and our two grandchildren, Barrett and Ryleigh, live in San Antonio. Our son, Rane, and his wife, Whitney, live in Sherwood. PETS: We have an 11-year-old rescue dog that we think is a chiweenie. FAMILY ACTIVITIES ENJOYED TOGETHER: We enjoy going on vacations with our children and grandchildren to such places as the beach and Walt Disney World. We love to get together for the holidays, when we can. MORE INFORMATION: We have known so many wonderful people in the places we have lived. We have been blessed. September 2019 | 25


Degree before diploma High school student graduates UACCM

When he’s not studying or operating his lawn care business, Garrett Pendergraft enjoys working on old cars. (Mike Kemp photo)

26 | 501 LIFE September 2019

by Sonja J. Keith

Even though he is now only a high school senior, Garrett Pendergraft has already earned his first college degree. The 18-year-old homeschool student earned an associate of science in business degree last spring from the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton. He graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA. It’s no surprise that he scored a 33 on the ACT in April. Garrett began taking classes at UACCM when he was 15, the second semester of ninth grade. His mom, Kim, thought it would be good for him to be accountable to someone else besides her for his education. Plus, she knew UACCM would deliver a quality education and serve as a good transition from homeschool to college. She said UACCM made it easy for him to take concurrent classes. “UACCM is a really good school,” Garrett said. When he completes his high school education, Garrett will have 84 college hours. When he’s not studying, Garrett keeps busy with several hobbies and interests as well as his own lawn care business, which he purchased from his brother. He began working when he was 14, doing the yard work “people don’t really want to do.” Today, he has professional equipment and a trailer to transport it to maintain 20 yards. “I set my own schedule,” he said, adding that he also enjoys being outside. “You have to work hard,” he said of what he has learned by owning a business. “The American dream is working hard.” Garrett participates in the Conway High School orchestra and is in the select chamber orchestra. Orchestra is his favorite activity. When he was 8, Garrett began playing the violin. He takes lessons from Jon Westover. His orchestra instructor is Casey Buck. “I didn’t know what else to pick. I just liked it. It is an interesting instrument,” he said. “I gave it a shot and I still play it.” Garrett doesn’t plan to make music his career. “I want to keep it fun. Keep it something I can do,” he said. “I do plan to play a little in college with an orchestra. We’ll just see where it takes me.”

Still a high school student, Garrett earned an associate of science in business degree last spring from the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton. He graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA. For three years, he swam with the CHS swim team. He was on the CHS cross country team for two years and went to state both years as a ninthand tenth-grader. He has also participated on a trap shooting team. Garrett took up swimming as part of the training to compete in triathlons. “It was fun while I did it,” he said of his decision to no longer swim. He also decided about two years ago to no longer compete in triathlons because of the time involved and there were no local teams for training. Garrett also enjoys mountain bike racing and has participated the last few years in the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), which has races throughout the state. He is the junior varsity state mountain bike champ. “I led with points most of the year, too,” he said. “I’ll do it another year and probably help coach.” In addition, Garrett also enjoys restoring older vehicles, which began when he was 15 with a Fiat he bought. Among his projects, he bought three trucks, with the idea he would build a “rat rod type vehicle” with parts from all three. He also bought a 1969

Pontiac, pulled the motor and rebuilt it. He recently got it running. “I just like it,” he said of working on old vehicles. “It’s hard to restore newer vehicles.” Jim Henderson “is a big role model” for Garrett, and he lets the teen use his shop for projects. Garrett enjoys going to car shows and talking to the owners. “I like seeing all the different variations people come up with,” he said. This fall, Garrett plans to take another semester of classes at UACCM to earn more credits that will transfer next fall to John Brown University, where he would like to pursue a construction management degree. He will also continue running his business for about another year before he makes the move to Northwest Arkansas. His goal is to return to Conway and work for Nabholz. “Eventually, I would like to own a construction management business,” he said, adding that he hopes to work for himself. All of that will, of course, be after he graduates high school.

HANDS-ON, HIGH-TECH TRAINING Earn a Career-Specific or Transfer Degree § Affordable Tuition § Financial Aid Options § Small Campus Atmosphere § Individual Attention WWW.UACCM.EDU | 501-977-2000

September 2019 | 27

 A servant’s heart NEIGHBORS conway

Walton enjoys helping others

Leona Walton cites the Pine Street School for keeping her rooted and grounded throughout the years. by Kiera Oluokun Mike Kemp photos

Leona Walton is no stranger to giving back to her community. Born and raised in the historic Pine Street neighborhood in Conway, Leona takes pride in being involved and preserving the values that were once instilled in her at a young age. Leona’s commitment and love for the Pine Street neighborhood derived from her upbringing and she credits the Pine Street School for keeping her rooted and grounded throughout the years. Leona started her first years of school in segregation. She attended Pine Street School until the sixth grade. She attended Conway High School and graduated in 1974. 28 | 501 LIFE September 2019

The Pine Street School now serves as a multipurpose facility as part of Pleasant Branch Baptist Church. It was while she was attending the Pine Street School that Leona learned the importance of loving and enjoying those around her. Although growing up during the time of segregation was difficult, Leona said that she always made the best of her situation. “The teachers at the Pine Street School cared about what happened to you. If you did something on Friday night or Saturday night, you were going to hear from your teachers,” Leona said. She remembered one teacher in particular who would take students to her house if they showed up unbathed or with dirty clothes on. “You are not going to see that as much now, and that is what children need.”

Leona remembers receiving love and learning discipline from her teachers during her time in school, something that she needed. She is still in contact with her 93-year-old former third-grade teacher, Ms. Rosemary Bryant-Woods. They speak once a month and Ms. Bryant-Woods even attended her recent housewarming. Leona is grateful to her late husband, Bobby Walton, for introducing her to some of the relationships that she still maintains today. “Because of his age and the era that he grew up in, as an adult I was able to have a lot of personal relationships with people in his era.” Leona is a lifelong member of Pleasant Branch Baptist Church in the Pine Street neighborhood. She recalled memories of attending church every Sunday with her grandmother. “There was no

discussion on where you were going on Sunday morning. You knew where you were going — to Sunday school and then to church.” In addition to being an active member and the secretary of her church for more than 20 years, her service to her community dates back to the early 1980s. She first served on the Faulkner County Concerned Citizens group, where she served as the secretary. Currently, she also plays an active role as co-founder of the Pine Street Backpack Program. Since 2007, Leona has assisted in providing backpacks filled with tailored school supplies to more than 1,000 students each year. “I love this program because I love helping people. The kids come in smiling and the parents are so appreciative of what we are able to do for them,” said Leona. “I also love how the community comes together for this program — it could not happen without the volunteers.” Leona considers herself more of a guide for those who need assistance on where to go or who to call for particular things. “I’ve always liked to be a part of things that have a positive impact on the community.” Over the years, Leona has served on the food pantry committee for her church; the Pine Street Community Development Inc. committee; treasurer of the Pine Street Free Clinic; and a volunteer at HOPE preschool at Pleasant Branch. Leona also serves on the Robinson Cemetery Board, which is in the heart of Pine Street. “After seeing how the past cemetery groundskeeper was not keeping the property in good shape, we decided that something had to be done. Our

I’ve always liked to be a part of things that have a positive impact on the community.

— Leona Walton

family members are buried there, and our committee wants to make sure that the cemetery is maintained properly.” Not only does Leona serve as an advocate for the Pine Street community, but she is also a lifelong resident. “Currently, I live four blocks from the house that I grew up in, where my mom still lives.” Leona has four siblings, two children and five grandchildren. She and her late husband were a part of the planning team that started the discussion of revitalizing and developing the Pine Street neighborhood. She remembers Bobby telling her that when they started building that he wanted “the house on the corner.” Sadly, Bobby passed away three years ago, prior to the development of the homes. Leona and Bobby shared 32 years together, which is why receiving their home on the corner meant so much. “Nevertheless, I kept on praying and asking God to give me that house on the corner because that was my house — me and Bobby picked it out.”

Leona’s new home on the corner is right where she wants to be — in the neighborhood she cares so deeply about. “I sit on the porch and cross my feet at the bottom and watch people walk by. I can’t wait until the fall when people are out and I sit on the porch and wave at people when they go by. I look forward to getting them to stop and talk — let’s just stop and talk to one another.”

YOU DIDN’T GO INTO BUSINESS TO BECOME AN ACCOUNTANT. WE DID. You’re in the business of helping your customers. We’re in the business of providing expert accounting and financial advice that helps your small business get bigger and more profitable. How can we put our 150 years of combined experience to work for you? Let’s start now. Call us today for a free consultation.

Sara DeStefano and Jennifer Bell

2490 Washington Avenue Conway, AR 72032 501-329-7021 September 2019 | 29


‘A hidden jewel’ St. Joseph principal ‘loves it every day’

St. Joseph Principal Courtney Pope with students Lilah Scherrey (front, from left), Elijah Rehm, Abigail Rehm, Grayson Gunther; Savannah Scherrey (back) and John Gregory West. (Mike Kemp photo) by Sonja J. Keith

St. Joseph Elementary School Principal Courtney Pope has a passion for kids and helping them learn. Courtney is starting her 17th year in education. She attended Bigelow High School, the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton and the University of Central Arkansas. “I taught first grade at Mayflower Elementary, Ida Burns Elementary and St. Joseph,” she said. This is Courtney’s third year as principal. “I absolutely love it every day,” she said. “I truly have the best students, staff and families. 30 | 501 LIFE September 2019

School administrators can have long, exhausting days, but they are so rewarding. Having the opportunity to serve at St. Joseph School is truly a blessing. “I never really even think about it being my ‘job.’ It’s just part of who I am and my passion.” Courtney knew at a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in education. “I think secretly every little girl played school when they were little, even if they didn’t choose education as their profession,” she said. “Of course, I did as well.” Growing up, Courtney got an idea of what would be involved in teaching. Her dad was a public school principal and administrator. “I always

knew I wanted to lead in some capacity in the school setting. I knew up front that the work day truly never ends, and I was up for the challenge.” At St. Joseph, Courtney enjoys most “having the opportunity to help families truly nurture and educate their children as true children of God, to truly value their preciousness and individuality through God’s eyes. “We take that work very seriously and know we’ve been entrusted with the most important task. We want their faith to become part of who they are, even when they leave our classrooms and schools.” A principal’s work is constant, according to

Back-toschool tips St. Joseph Elementary School Principal Courtney Pope has some tips for parents to help their child get the most out of a new school year: • Slow down and soak it all in. • Help your child find peace, joy and happiness in their new year. • Teach them to be good friends. • Laugh with your kids “and if you are like me, laughing at yourself often too.”

Courtney, with a lot of planning taking place a year in advance. “I’m always making notes of things to change, add or make better!” Summertime is also a busy time as the first day of classes approaches. “My husband always asks, ‘What could you actually be doing up there in the summer?’ Ha! As a building principal, the summer days are filled with textbook ordering, supervision of maintenance, cleaning, updating. The list goes on and on. “But in a great way, preparing for new students is so exciting! These days are definitely tennis shoe days! I like to poke my head in each of my teacher’s classroom and see this year’s ‘theme.’ I soak up their excitement for the new year!” Courtney and her husband, Brad, have three children. Spencer, 19, is a sophomore at the University of Central Arkansas. Luke, 15, and Bailey, 12, both attend St. Joseph High School. Courtney’s enthusiasm for St. Joseph is contagious and she welcomes opportunities to share information about the school with prospective parents. “When I first came to St. Joseph, Terri Seiter (former primary school principal) told me St. Joseph was truly the best kept secret in Conway, a little hidden jewel in the middle of town. I couldn’t agree more! “What an amazing Prek-12 education for children. St. Joseph truly offers a rigorous academic curriculum within a nurturing and safe family environment optimal for both growing and learning. I’d love to give you a tour of any of our campuses. Come see me today.” September 2019 | 31


Be Pro Be Proud Program supports, highlights skilled careers

A specially-equipped Be Pro Be Proud 18-wheeler (above) travels the state and provides hands-on demonstrations (below) of the skilled careers that are in demand. by Dwain Hebda

In 2016, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with various trade organizations, introduced Be Pro Be Proud, a public-private initiative to shine a bright light on the state’s skills gap. As part of this effort, they also unveiled at that time a specially-equipped 18-wheeler to travel the state and provide hands-on demonstrations of the skilled careers the state desperately needed. In 2019, the rig, like the program it promotes, is a runaway success. In fact, the original semi logged so many miles in its first three years that the Chamber has already set about the task of producing a newer, larger and more interactive rig to help fuel the movement to promote skilled careers to more young people. “Everybody needs talent,” said Andrew Parker, the chamber’s director of governmental affairs who directs the Be Pro Be Proud program. “We have done a good job of getting partners connected with the truck, the way that the students interact and how people see the value of these careers. “To this day, we’re still the only effort that exists that is really doing more than just talking about the problem, and I think that’s extremely compelling.” To say the Be Pro Be Proud semi is a sensation is a gross understatement. Dispatched to job fairs, community events and educational institutions from one end of Arkansas to the other, it draws standing room-only crowds and long lines wherever it goes. Once inside, young people participate with hands-on multi-media displays that give them a simulated taste of welding, plumbing and electrical tasks, among others. They are then sent home with follow-up 32 | 501 LIFE September 2019

information on career possibilities in a skilled field (what used to be known as the trades). As time has gone on, things have shown no sign of slowing down with requests for rig stops booked nearly a year in advance in some places. “I think we ended up doing about 165 stops during the 2018-2019 school year,” Parker said. “In 2018, we did 125 stops. In 2019, we’re going to hit closer to 170. We’ve really stepped up the efforts during the summer thanks to a great partnership with the Department of Workforce Services and making sure we hit job fairs.” With the dawn of a new school year, the chamber is doubling down on the program, hitting the road with a new, bigger semi, sporting significantly

more square footage to accommodate even more interactive displays. “We have 12 stations on board, and they are just light years ahead of the interaction that we had on the old truck,” Parker said. “Everything is augmented reality, virtual reality, a fully-functional CNC machine, a fully functioning ABB robotics arm. Tyson is donating us a double-jointed excavator simulator, a diesel driving simulator.” Not so long ago, in an America that sometimes feels far, far away, the ability to swing a hammer, weld a seam or wire a circuit were skills to be admired and a career to be prized. Given the infrastructural growth The Natural State has experienced for nearly a decade, one would think it still is. Sadly,

I think we ended up doing about 165 stops during the 2018-2019 school year. In 2018, we did 125 stops. In 2019, we’re going to hit closer to 170.

such is not the case, as any business owner related to construction or manufacturing will readily tell you. As the number of people entering skilled careers has dwindled over the past few decades, existing plumbers, electricians, mechanics and HVAC techs are getting long in the tooth. This situation, which is not unique to Arkansas, not only slows development and construction projects of today, but will only get worse as current skilled workers retire. But despite there being literally tens of thousands of skilled positions waiting to be filled in Arkansas – with starting pay and benefits that rival four-year degrees but without the four-year college time commitment or cost – many people are still unaware of the opportunities that exist. This fact is constantly reinforced to Parker and the Be Pro Be Proud team traveling the state, reminding them of the work that remains to be done. “We are the collective technical school and training recruiter, the recruiting arm for all these different things that has never existed before,” Parker said.

We’ve really stepped up the efforts during the summer, thanks to a great partnership with the Department of Workforce Services and making sure we hit job fairs.

— Andrew Parker, Be Pro Be Proud director “How well we communicate with those students, how we push information to them based on the interest that they have and telling them the truth about the opportunities that exist, all that work is critical. We’re looking to be the gold standard for how to help improve that process and grow that workforce. “It surprises me that people still don’t know about [skilled careers]. There are a lot of people that still just don’t know. Every time I think we’ve maybe hit a ceiling, I’m reminded that we are just getting started.” For more information, please visit

get f ra m e d at

Pa t t e r s o n E y e C a re

2505 Donaghey, Ste 102 • Conway, AR


September 2019 | 33


Celebrating 20 years

White County program helps single parents

Dan Newsom is the executive director of The White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund, which will soon celebrate 20 years of changing lives and providing hope through education. (Mike Kemp photo) by Katie Kemp

The White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund was founded in 1999 with a singular goal – to change lives and provide hope through education. In its first year, the organization was able to award a $200 scholarship to a single parent in White County, paving the way for her to continue her education and better provide for her family. But in the 20 years since, they’ve been able to multiply the impact a thousand times over. A branch of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, the organization quickly grew and was able to award more and more scholarships in its first few years. Word got out and families wanted to participate. In 2005, the WCSPSF earned its status as a private non-profit organization – one of just eight county organizations in Arkansas. By 2010, the organization had grown so much that its volunteer 34 | 501 LIFE September 2019

staff began to search for an executive director to give students the attention they deserve. Dan Newsom saw the position in a newspaper ad, and was immediately drawn to the mission. “It’s been a real blessing,” Newsom said. “I prayed that I would find something that would allow me to give back to the community… and it’s just as much of a blessing for me as it is for our students.” These scholarships are the first waves in a ripple effect of change the community has seen. With a postsecondary education, doors are opened for better jobs, higher income and provision for the families of single parents. “Hopefully, (their children) will see just how important education has been in the life of their parent, so they’ll want an education as well,” Newsom said. “That’s our ultimate goal; to help break the chain of poverty that exists among a lot of our single parent families.” Of the 3,500 single parent families in White

County, about half live at or below the poverty line. To date, the White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund has awarded 654 scholarships amounting to more than $392,000. On Tuesday, Oct. 15, the White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund will celebrate the legacy that has been built over the last 20 years, and add to it by awarding 20 more scholarships. Among those in attendance will be past scholarship recipients, including the very first person to receive a White County scholarship in 1999. They’re encouraged to bring their children so they can see firsthand the importance education has played in their lives. Those interested in applying for a scholarship through the White County Single Parents Scholarship Fund may do so at or by emailing While the organization has grown immensely in its 20 years, its goal has remained the same – providing hope and changing lives.

Donor reception held The White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund Inc. held its 2019 Spring Scholar/ Donor Reception in the Student Center of ASU Beebe. Twenty spring scholarships were awarded with a combined value of $18,750. Since its beginning in 1999, WCSPSF Inc. has awarded 654 scholarships with a combined value of $392, 554.00. For more information about the WCSPSF, contact Arkansas Department of Higher Education Scholars Jade executive director Dan Mershon (from left), Melissa Meyer, Alyssa Benton, Tanya Roberts Newsom at 501.230.2414 or and ADHE Representative Jonathan Coleman.

Kirk Manor Memorial Scholarship winner: Tiffany String with Dr. Dale Manor.

Hawley Family Foundation Scholars Margaret Armentrout (from left), Myia Dandredge, Nicole Reid, Mariah Caussey, Sha’Kyra Rall, Tanya Higgs, Edith Evans, WCSPSF Executive Director Dan Newsom,Theresa Wade and April Lackey.

Colton’s Steakhouse Scholars Tracy White (from left), Symone Allen, Demeshia Lockhart, Emaleigh Gee and WCSPSF Executive Director Dan Newsom.

First Electric Cooperative Scholar Don Boyd pictured with First Electric representatives David Copeland and Anthony Galloway.

September 2019 | 35

 A heart for others NEIGHBORS conway

City pays tribute to Candy Jones

City of Conway employees and good friends Jamie Brice (from left), the late Candy Jones, Felicia Rogers and Kiera Oluokun. by Sonja J. Keith

The City of Conway recently paid tribute to the late Candy Jones at a place that she loved and a location that she helped make possible – the splash pad at Laurel Park. Candy died on May 2 after a long, courageous battle with cancer. She was 57. Family, friends and co-workers gathered at the park for the ceremony that honored Candy with a special plaque at the splash pad. Candy served for about two and a half years as a grant administrator for the City of Conway. She was particularly close to three of her co-workers: Kiera Oluokun, assistant to the mayor for community development; Felicia Rogers, executive assistant to the mayor; and Jamie Brice, procurement manager. The four spent a lot of time together, working at

Jones continued on Page 38 36 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Members of Candy’s immediate family: son Archie Jones (from left), husband Dr. Arch Jones, daughter Caitlin Church and mother Robbie VonTungeln Morgan.

The Jones Family gathers around the marker that pays tribute to Candy.

Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry and Dr. Arch Jones, Candy’s husband, make comments before the plaque unveiling.

Conway city officials at the dedication: Alderman David Grimes (from left), Mayor Bart Castleberry, Alderman Mark Ledbetter and Alderman Mary Smith.

September 2019 | 37

Jones continued from Page 36 City Hall and attending community events like ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings. “When Candy first started working for the City; we instantly clicked. It was if I had known her all my life,” said Felicia. “With the addition of Candy and Kiera, it seemed as if everything had aligned for myself, Jamie, Candy and Kiera to be fast friends and a great working team.” The three offered a few words to describe their friend and co-worker: strong, courageous, energetic, passionate and full of life. The three pointed out that Candy loved her community and that she was always evaluating the needs of the city and seeking out financial support to address those needs. Kiera said Candy had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, not only in Conway but throughout the state. “She knew everybody,” she said. “She was a wealth of knowledge about grants.” “Candy worked hard to ensure that she always assisted everyone, but especially me,” said Felicia. “It took me a minute to get used to her ‘I am going to help you, even if you don’t want it’ attitude, but over time I realized that I did need the help and I appreciated it. As a team, we go out of our way to help each other and Candy led that effort.” Candy was involved in grant-writing for “many” city projects, including the pedestrian overpass on Dave Ward Drive and the first grant for the city’s bike/walking trail. Jamie said the financial support that Candy generated for the city was “in the millions” of dollars. Mayor Bart Castleberry said Candy made a difference in many ways. “During our recent flood on the Arkansas River, I recalled the very first task that Candy tackled. Little did we know the impact it would have. “A property owner along the river contacted me in early 2017 during a high water event. Water was on the levee but the river had crested well below the top of the levee. However, after he called, I met with him and about 90 feet of property had washed into the river. As we were speaking, large old oak trees and large areas of dirt were falling in and washing away. The next day another 50 feet had washed out. “I asked Candy about the possibility of a grant to alleviate the problem. She said, “I have a contact at the Corps of Engineers; let me make a call.” The next day, her contact met us at the site and agreed there was a problem. The individual made the necessary calls, and rock was immediately brought in to shore the area up. “Had Candy not made this contact and asked for help, I am convinced that area of the levee would have washed out during our recent flood as it was above and in an area of higher concentration than the breach we did have. She had contacts for every cause and she loved being able to make a difference. Never wanted any acknowledgement, just wanted the job done. An exceptional lady.” Despite her illness, Candy worked tirelessly to help others and rarely missed work, unless she was in the hospital. “She lived her life in full speed,” said Kiera. Kiera said Candy never talked about her illness. “She never said she was sick and never felt sorry for 38 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Conway elected officials and city employees participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark completion of the city’s second splash pad at Fifth Avenue Park.

City dedicates 2nd splash pad Sonja J. Keith photos

The City of Conway recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the city’s second splash pad, located at Fifth Avenue Park. Elected officials and city employees participated in the ribbon-cutting, which signaled the opening of the splash pad, which is free and open to the public. Dozens of children were on hand to check out the facility and enjoy the water fun. The 5,500 square foot layout mirrors the splash pad at Laurel Park, which opened last summer. According to Conway Community Development Director Kiera Oluokun, the splash pad’s $330,000 price tag is funded through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Conway Advertising & Promotion funds. herself,” Kiera said. “She wanted everyone to act like everything was fine.” Jamie said Candy would not park in a handicapped space, even though walking became difficult. She added that Candy had to be in the hospital before she missed a day of work. Kiera added that Candy did not want to be a burden and she thinks Candy found comfort in her work. “Her work gave her a sense of normalcy.” Felicia said the four shared a special friendship. “We were more than co-workers, we were friends. I believe that all things happen for a reason and that God chose us to share these last 2 ½ years together with her. She was a great friend and she will be missed. Jamie pointed out that on a typical day, there are probably 100 or so young people enjoying the splash pad at Laurel Park or the city’s trail. Both are projects that Candy’s work made possible. “She drove by the splash pad every day to see those kids,” she said. The three are pleased that the city honored

City officials were “Loving LIFE” at the ribbon-cutting: Alderman Andy Hawkins (from left), City Attorney Chuck Clawson, Mayor Bart Castleberry, Alderman David Grimes and City Clerk/Treasurer Michael O. Garrett.

Conway Parks and Recreation Department employees: program/marketing manager Skylor Swope, director Steve Ibbotston and superintendent Trey Price. Candy and her legacy with the plaque at the splash pad for their co-worker and friend. “She will always have a lasting footprint,” Kiera said. “She loved Conway and loved her community. She was willing to work so hard to make it better,” said Jamie. Candy’s husband, Arch, expressed his appreciation to the city for the recognition. “This gesture deeply touches our family. We want to thank Mayor Castleberry, Candy’s work family at the City of Conway, and the Conway community for the love and support we have received during this difficult time. “Candy dedicated her life and career to improving the quality of life in her beloved Conway. She was always thrilled by the festive environment that the splash pad has created.”

It’s Back To School

MUSIC LESSON TIME! Conway’s Largest Music School

945 Carson Cove (next to Smoothie King) 501.450.2931

• Great parking for parents

• Full-time office staff

• 13 state-of-the-art teaching rooms • Lesson 6 days a week, morning until night • Security cameras in each room

• Lessons for children and adults

• Large glass windows on each door

• Unlimited make-up lessons

• No hidden recital fees

• Childrens play area’s for families

• Free trophies, achievement wristbands and certificates

• Device charging stations in lobby • Outdoor patio seating

Call 501.450.2931 now to get your spot or request more info online at GUITAR












Sign up for lessons and recieve a $35 registration & 1st lesson ($65 value)

FREE! $65.00 Expires 9/30/19

945 Carson Cove 501.450.2931

Limit one per household, one per customer. Can’t be combined with any other offer. Coupon must surrendered at time of original registration. Not valid for cash refunds.


The ‘Ralston Academy’ In that place in everyone’s life when they determine their future, some take the high road to get there. Timothy and Lindsey Ralston were fortunate to meet, marry and agree on their high road early in their adult lives. Although their upbringings were different, it was their resolve that combined to Vivian Lawson create the family life they now enjoy. Hogue Timothy grew up on A native of Conway, Vivian five acres with his parents Lawson Hogue graduated from the University of Central and brother in Hackett Arkansas with a degree in art (Sebastian County). His education. A retired teacher, she worked in the Conway School grandparents lived at District for 23 years. She can be the top of a hill, and the reached at vhogue@conwaycorp. net. street on which he lived was named for his grandfather. With horses and a pond on their land and relatives living on the same street, there was plenty of activity for a young boy. Lindsey grew up on a quiet street in Sherwood with an older sister and younger brother. They colored the street with chalk, rode bikes, camped and played in their backyard fort. Her memories are of lake campfires, swimming and fishing. Timothy and Lindsey graduated from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Timothy in 2007 with a degree in graphic design, and Lindsey in 2008 with a degree in early childhood education. Upon graduation, Timothy accepted a job at Little Rock Air Force Base. Lindsey began teaching first grade at Lonoke Primary School, living with her parents so she could use her paychecks to repay student loans. “During Christmas break of that year, God led me to believe that I should become a homemaker and homeschool my children when that day came,” Lindsey said. “Little did I know I would meet my husband a few months later.” Timothy was living in an inexpensive rental house in Jacksonville and saving to buy a house with cash. He discovered that Lindsey was attending a church in Little Rock and their paths crossed again when he arrived there one Sunday night. “In time, I found him to be a strong man and good leader and I knew I wanted to marry him,” she said. “It was soon time for teachers to sign contracts for the next year. Because I felt I should be a homemaker, I knew that IF we were going to get married, I couldn’t sign my contract!” Timothy settled the issue when he proposed three weeks later on his grandfather’s land with its beautiful bluff and view of the Sugar Loaf and Poteau mountains. Wanting a simple wedding, they married on Timothy’s parents’ land outside a cabin near the pond. They began living in Timothy’s rental house, 40 | 501 LIFE September 2019

The homeschool center at the Ralston home.

We get our children out of bed at night so they can watch an opossum outside or see a blood moon. We read living history books like the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series, then color butter with carrots and put it in a mold like Ma Ingalls did. We take them on cruises or go to the library and explore new books and other media.

— Lindsey Ralston but they soon decided to purchase a small house and invest their money in it instead of paying rent. With the help of a government first-time homebuyer’s tax incentive and the large down payment Timothy had saved, they aimed at paying off the mortgage in three years. “We purchased a small house, moved in and began crunching numbers,” said Lindsey. “I posted expense sheets on the refrigerator. We had pre-paid phone plans and no TV service,

and still don’t. I planned our meals frugally. We had pancakes for dinner twice a week because I estimated the entire meal to cost around 25 cents. Carbs weren’t the best way, but were cheap and not for a lifetime. We didn’t eat out or take trips. I would make homemade lunches and sell them to Timothy’s co-workers who always commented on the lunches I packed for him. We ended up paying the house off in 15 months!” The Ralstons had their first child while living in the first house. They sold it and used the cash and savings to purchase house No. 2 in 2013. The ultimate plan, however, was having a house with acreage. They eventually found five acres in Sherwood. After the long search, they felt the Lord had provided it. “I was pregnant with our second child who was born at home, attended by a mid-wife,” Lindsey said. “A few months later, we sold house No. 2 and had the cash to build our dream home. We contracted the house ourselves and I drew house plans on graph paper. We read books and got advice from acquaintances and my talented uncle, Tom Staggs. A year after moving in, we welcomed our third child, another daughter.” Their new home is also the site of “Ralston Academy.” “It is actually my homeschooling program which we all enjoy,” Lindsey said. “In designing our home, I made sure I carved out a space for all things school and art related.”

Ralston continued on Page 42

Timothy and Lindsey Ralston are loving life with their three children at their home in Sherwood.



he University of Central Arkansas equips undergrads with hands-on learning opportunities that prepare them for future success. The goal? Transforming students into professionals.

• Research • Internships • Study abroad

• Service-learning • Mentorship and networking • Professional organizations

Learn more at today.

September 2019 | 41

Two of the Ralston children lend a hand in the kitchen by preparing supper.

Ralston continued from Page 40 The slightly expanded laundry room adjoins the kitchen so the washer and dryer can be on one side with a small project table on the other side. The room is filled with shelves containing references, workbooks, art supplies, manipulatives and educational software. “Our daughter used the money she saved from birthdays and Christmas to purchase a non-Internet supported computer for educational purposes. “One small bookshelf is filled with children’s books. They can spread them on the rug to read or play with magnetic letters on the dryer. I have found that if you build a school room, ‘they will come!’ I can usually find either of the two older children there coloring, painting, reading, spelling with magnetic letters, or doing self-directed activities.” Not all “school” happens there, however. The Ralstons believe all of life has learning experiences, so they try to capture teachable mo42 | 501 LIFE September 2019

ments. They bake while discussing fractions, build snap circuits while explaining electricity, and have sat around their fire pit and discussed controlled burns in forests. They observe their woods and have conversations about seasons, the water cycle and woodland animals. “We get our children out of bed at night so they can watch an opossum outside or see a blood moon. We read living history books like the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series, then color butter with carrots and put it in a mold like Ma Ingalls did. We take them on cruises or go to the library and explore new books and other media. “Our 7-year-old has been to the Cayman Islands, where she rode in a submarine, touched turtles at a sea turtle farm, held star fish, swam with sting rays and sailed across the North Sound on a small yacht. She has had lunch with Jamaicans, played in the sand in Mexico, seen Mayan ruins and had fresh squeezed juice and homemade cookies from women in Roatan, Honduras. She helped make chocolate in

Cozumel, visited a sugar cane plantation in Jamaica and observed birds at the aviary. “It is important to note that we would not have made any of these trips had our house and amenities not been paid for first.” The Ralstons are avid readers, with the youngest pretending to sound words he sees. Lindsey finds it relaxing to make soap. No artificial ingredients there! If Timothy is not starting water gun fights, winter ping-pong games and Wii contests, he enjoys photography, kayaking and “off roading” in his UTV. “We have our dream home, three beautiful children and 10 years of marriage celebrated this summer. We see God’s faithfulness through it. Our story doesn’t end here, though, as there must be more the Lord has for us. We avoid getting too settled, and I have dreams of traveling the United States in an RV and collecting Junior Ranger badges while our children are young!” So stay tuned! In fact, you’re welcome at Lindsey’s blog at


Confessions of a procrastinator I love the fall in Arkansas. It is seriously one of my most favorite seasons. It’s probably due to the cooler temperatures that roll around, but I like to think it’s because the back-to-school routine makes me feel like I’ve hit the reset button. It’s funny because I no lonhave kids at home Laurie Green ger who are in school, A Greenbrier native, Laurie is the but there’s something wife of Will Green. The two share about walking through seven children, five grandchildren and a golden retriever named Walmart with all the Marlo. They own and operate rows of school supplies, a lawn care business and are members of New Life Church in calendars and planGreenbrier. Laurie can be ners that makes me reached at feel like it’s time to get organized. Seriously, I have an Erin Condren planner, my highlighters, stickers and the motivation; however, I am also a self-proclaimed professional procrastinator! A word of caution here to all of my “non-procrastinator” friends. You may have some trouble reading these next few lines, so plan accordingly. (See what I did there). After years of feeling ashamed for my lack of planning ahead, I have learned to embrace this part of my personality. To understand me, you need to know where this comes from. I am a daughter of Martha Roberts, the most renowned professional procrastinator of Greenbrier. I grew up in a home where my mother did everything the night before...from homemade prom dresses to school science projects. It was like she became a different person when it was “crunch time,” and her creativity and skills were enhanced by the rush of a deadline. And every single time, she came through, and it always appeared she spent months, not hours, doing the work. So it’s only natural that my siblings and I have developed this same sort of skill as I prefer to call it; but let’s be honest, procrastinators get a bad rap. For years, I felt like I had to apologize and feel bad because I wasn’t a plan-ahead kind of girl, but the truth is, God created each of us unique and special. I absolutely believe the world would be a terribly boring place if we were all the same. And while in all seriousness, this article is a lighthearted laugh at my procrastination, there is some truth to be seen throughout. In Romans 12:6 it says, “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well…” So when you hear me tease that procrastination is my gifting, well it just may be! And being a planner and a scheduler may just be something you’re gifted with. It’s perfectly acceptable for us to co-exist and embrace each other’s personality. The truth is, God has placed some really special

friendships in my life, Proverbs 27:17 (iron sharpening iron) type of friends. This is my core group who will call me out and correct me in a biblical way. And while each of us is totally different and skilled with different gifts and personalities, God has crafted a friendship bond that is strong, and we complement each other. I feel like these God-given friendships are where we are able to bloom and be exactly who we were called to be. I may be the worst at planning an event, but this is where my tribe of friends steps in. Fortunately, I have been blessed with friends who are the “plan for months in advance” type of people, and they fill in any gaps that I may have. And rest assured, I am there to remind them, when life gets crazy and plans fall through, of Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our own plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” It’s all about finding that sweet place in your relationship with Jesus, the place where you fi-

nally understand all the worry in the world won’t change a single thing, but where you realize that a moment in His presence can change everything! Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” I honestly get to decide as I wake up each day to have complete trust in Jesus and just relax in the comfort that if I choose to follow Him, He is going to make all things work together for my good. What may seem like a plan gone astray could possibly be a divine appointment by God if we choose to pay attention to the opportunity around us. It’s all about perspective. After all, God is ultimately at the center of every planner and procrastinator alike, and that gives me great comfort to accept who I am called to be. September 2019 | 43


Back to school

Renewal Ranch graduates seek higher education

Renewal Ranch graduates Brooks Walthall (from left), Chase Chism, Brad Cannon, Randy Craig, Bryce McGhee, Chase Moser and Russ Pervis at Central Baptist College, where each is seeking higher education or has earned a degree. (Mike Kemp photo) by Sonja J. Keith

Eleven men will be heading back to the classroom this fall, pursuing higher education that not too long ago was completely out of reach because of their drug and alcohol addiction. The men are graduates of Renewal Ranch, a Christcentered ministry that helps men overcome addiction. Eight of the 11 are pursuing or have earned degrees at Central Baptist College through a special program. “What I’m excited about as director of the ministry is we have 11 men who are pursuing higher education,” said Renewal Ranch Executive Director James Loy, adding that the ministry has an agreement with CBC to allow for a 25 percent discount on tuition. Brooks Walthall is the registrar at Central Baptist College and he oversees the PACE (Professional Adult College Education) program. Not too long ago, he was battling addiction and entered the Ranch. “A lot has happened in five short years. God’s good,” he said. “One of my master’s degrees is in higher education administration and I worked at UCA (University of Central Arkansas) for 16 years before my addiction really got terrible.” Brooks said the Renewal Ranch ministry helps men stop believing the “lies the world has told them.” “When they find out who they really are and what 44 | 501 LIFE September 2019

their purpose really is, everything starts to change,” he said. “The hope they get from that spills over into a whole different possibility of a future for them. They want to catch up, and that feeds into the possibility of higher education so they can move on and do things in a professional way. “It’s not for everybody, but it does give them sort of a new spark of ‘I can do this. I haven’t blown it. I haven’t missed my opportunity.’” James said the ministry takes a holistic approach, with a focus on the addictive behavior and what has driven the individual. “We also want to look at where he’s at educationally and vocationally, and try to help in those areas as well.” James said the graduates who are serving on the Ranch staff who are pursuing education are becoming better equipped to help more men through the ministry. “The equipping and the tooling that the guys get helps us organizationally, and it helps them minister to the other men who are coming behind them.” Brooks pointed out that in Phase I at the Ranch during the first six months, men receive 570 hours of classroom instruction from 15 pastors and teachers. He said many of the men have not been in a classroom environment in a long time. He said the confidence they gain during that time sparks an interest and desire for more learning. “We have guys that go from the Ranch

to find out more Biblical knowledge, and CBC in particular fits right in to that because we are a Christian, private college. “There are opportunities for them to not only learn more about God, but also vocationally,” he said. James said the classroom instruction provides a strong foundation for the men to springboard in to higher education and other learning opportunities. “We are so appreciative of all the pastors and teachers; 570 hours of class time in six months is an intensive discipleship program.” Brooks said the ministry had a big impact on his life. “Not only did it save my life physically, but I got saved while I was at the Ranch,” Brook said. “It positioned me to do what I do now at CBC. The Ranch was really the starting point for me to do what I was meant to do. I’m forever grateful for that opportunity.” In addition to the CBC program, the Ranch has partnered with vocational training programs, giving graduates an opportunity to become an electrician or welder. “From the Ranch’s perspective, we do everything we can to maximize the opportunities for success for our graduates,” Brooks said. Besides Renewal Ranch, CBC has partnered with 13 other groups to offer a tuition discount to their employees. Brooks said he would welcome an opportunity to

visit with other businesses and non-profits interested in becoming a partner. Through the program, CBC talks with employees about educational opportunities available at the college and the employees are eligible for the tuition discount. “It’s a win-win,” Brooks said, adding that building longterm relationships in the community is at the heart of the program. “Renewal Ranch is by far the one who has taken the most advantage of it,” Brooks said. “From our standpoint as an organization, we are very grateful that Central Baptist College had the foresight to develop this program,” James said. “I feel like God used me and moved me into that position to help other guys at the Ranch through CBC,” Brooks said of his job and the pride he has in working at CBC. “I feel blessed and it’s a real faith builder for me. It’s where I’m supposed to be and helping as many people as I can realize their dreams.” There are eight enrollment periods in the PACE program, with five-week classes, according to Brooks. Courses are offered in-person, online or a combination of the two. “It’s very conducive for those who work,” he said. Brooks said CBC President Terry Kimbrow and Ryan Johnson were instrumental in making the tuition discount program possible. “It’s really outside the box and they really took a chance on this,” he said. Renewal Ranch graduate Bryce McGhee was pursuing a bachelor’s degree at CBC, but paying the full cost of tuition when the partnership was created, and he became eligible for the discount. “The partnership was

Bryce McGhee (left) and James Loy celebrate Bryce’s graduation in May from CBC. huge for me because that was 25 percent off the top.” He graduated in May summa cum laude from CBC with a degree in leadership in ministry and plans to pursue a master’s degree. Bryce said he was appreciative of how helpful and available the staff and faculty were. “I have never worked at a place where faculty, staff and administrators care more about their students than CBC,” Brooks said. “It’s

remarkable and wonderful to see how far they will go to help a student.” For Bryce, the degree served a dual purpose. “It was a continuation of the relationship with Christ and learning about God, and it was a continuation of my higher education learning.” Renewal Ranch graduate Chase Moser, who is the Phase I supervisor for the ministry, is also pursuing a degree in leadership ministry through the PACE program at CBC. “I love it. It gives me a goal,” he said. “I plan to spend the rest of my life in some sort of ministry. This is a good way to be equipped for that.” Chase said his role at the Ranch is to “love the men and meet them at their point of need,” but also to help equip them for the next season of their life. “I’ll be able to pour into these guys more with this education.” James described the transformation and restoration of the men at the Ranch as “phenomenal.” He has witnessed men go from losing their job, their home and their freedom to reconciliation with family and a life lived with purpose. “To see where they are today is just amazing,” he said. “The Ranch loves these guys back to life.” Chase said he would not have pursued higher education had it not been for Brooks and CBC. “They have helped me every step of the way and seeing Bryce go before me and showing it is possible.” James and Brooks agree that the education the men are receiving will have an impact on the ministry. “They are re-investing in other men’s lives,” Brooks said. “It’s beautiful to watch as men get a hold of this and want to give back what they’ve been freely given.”

Dr. Guy Peeples, Dr. Bertrand Fonji and the staff at Baptist Health Surgical and Specialty ClinicConway provide comprehensive care when you need it most. They’re dedicated to keeping you amazing with surgical services including: • Gallbladder surgery

• Laparoscopic surgery

• Thyroid & parathyroid surgery

• Colonoscopy • Vascular access

• Hernia repair

• Trauma care

• Breast biopsy & surgery • Gastrointestinal & colorectal surgery • Upper & lower endoscopy

• Robotic surgery • Vascular & peritoneal dialysis access • And more

You’re born amazing.

And at Baptist Health, we want to keep you that way. Dr. Peeples 650 United Dr. Suite 240 Conway, AR 72032

Dr. Fonji

For more information or to request an appointment:

(501) 329-1415 or

September 2019 | 45

 Honoring service FEATURE

Ministry recognizes James and Laura Loy by Sonja J. Keith

About 300 people, many who have been touched by addiction, attended a special chapel service at Renewal Ranch to show their appreciation to James and Laura Loy for their vision and 10 years of service to the ministry. Renewal Ranch is a 12-month faith-based and Christ-centered program for men 21 years of age and older who are struggling with substance abuse issues. Six months are spent in Phase I and six months in Phase II. During this time, residents are given the opportunity to develop a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ. Through this relationship, they can find freedom from the chains of addiction, forgiveness from their past, and hope for their future. Don Bingham, chairman of the Renewal Ranch Board of Directors, welcomed those in attendance at the Restoration Center on the Ranch campus in Perry County. “We’re doing two things today. We’re celebrating an appreciation to James and Laura and giving an incredible honor and glory to God for what He has done and how magnificent He is to continue His presence and work to continue to proceed.” On behalf of the board, Don presented the couple with a week-long trip to Branson in appreciation of their service. Brooks Walthall, a Renewal Ranch graduate and now staff member, led the music at the chapel. He recognized James and Laura for stepping out in faith 10 years ago and being obedient to God’s call. He said hundreds of men and their families have been impacted by the ministry. “Thanks to you, I am no longer a slave to addiction. Thank you.” Those participating in the program and sharing comments were Brian Poppe, Marsha Rawls, Josh Kear, Debbie Allison, Bob Dailey and Neal Winstead. Brian said there were many things about his friendship that he could share with those in attendance, including shared interests and time spent together. He said there were also ups and downs in their relationship, including “the season of addiction James was in and the strain that it had on our relationship. I could share about the sweet reconciliation once he came out of that addiction.” Brian said James was the first person he called “when addiction entered my house.” “I could share about the love, support and encouragement he provided me and my family through those years, several years. He and Laura were always encouraging and lifting us up in prayer and knowing the right thing to say. How God put you in my house every time when I needed it most. It was amazing and what a God thing it was.” Brian also talked about James and his commitment to Renewal Ranch including former and current residents, and his admiration and respect for Laura. “You 46 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Laura and James Loy have been involved with the Renewal Ranch ministry for 10 years. (Mike Kemp photo)

Renewal Ranch board members and participants lay hands on Laura and James Loy during a special chapel service which celebrated the couple’s 10 years of service to the ministry. (Sonja J. Keith photo) married James and you married this ministry,” he said. “I’ve never told you how much I appreciate you and how much you mean to this ministry.” Brian thanked Renewal Ranch for its ministry, helping to bring about change in the lives of many. “I don’t know what else to say but thank you for accepting the call to this ministry and for the way you run it…You guys have been the main constant to this whole thing. God put the right man and woman in charge of this ministry.” Marsha said James and Laura’s willingness to step out in faith helped kick off the ministry. “They came without knowing if they would be paid or where they would live, but they had a heart to do what God was calling them to do.”

Others gathered at the service – including graduates of the Ranch – were also given an opportunity to share their thoughts. “You gave us back our son,” said one mother. “Your passion and love for this ministry is contagious,” said graduate Chase Moser, who is the Phase I supervisor. “Thank you for investing in this ministry.” At the end of the service, James said the only thing he has to offer the men at the Ranch is Jesus. “Somebody loved me and showed me a different way when I didn’t know a way of escape and I didn’t love myself. I have been blessed by God and all glory goes to God. He gave me an opportunity to serve out here at Renewal Ranch because it is the passion of my heart. My goal from the start has always been to serve the Lord and serve these men with excellence. And that will continue to be my goal.” James expressed his thanks to God, Laura and the members who have served on the board of directors. He also thanked the staff that has served throughout the years. “They are the soldiers on the ground, day in and day out. They are interacting and loving these men back to life.” He also expressed his appreciation to the teachers, pastors, prayer warriors, financial supporters and others who make the Ranch possible. “God is the head of Renewal Ranch and I want him to be the head of my life and our marriage. I’m just honored to be a part of God’s story in so many lives of men and their families…I just can’t wait to see what the Lord does in the future of this ministry.” For more information on Renewal Ranch, visit

 Miracle on Waikiki NEIGHBORS conway

Sisters administer CPR, save girl

The note that accompanied the cheese tray the hotel sent. by Sonja J. Keith

A 4-year-old girl and her family avoided tragedy when two sisters from the 501 who were vacationing in paradise jumped into action to save her life. Siblings Stacy Baker and Ashley Pitts, originally from Greenbrier but who now live in Conway, traveled with five other family members to Hawaii for vacation in late July. The trip was Normally, planned by their mother, Judy when I see Epperson, after people that look their stepfather’s like that, they death in March. “He (Denny don't make it Epperson) was back. a veteran and she wanted to — Stacy Baker take us to Pearl Harbor,” said Stacy. During one of their first few days in Honolulu, the two sisters decided to get some sun and relax at the hotel pool. “I was about to go back to the room, but my daughter brought my granddaughter down so I decided to stay a little longer,” said Stacy. The two commented that the pool area was very crowded, with a lot of children. Ashley had her feet in a kiddie pool and Stacy was sitting

Sisters Ashley Pitts (left) and Stacy Baker with Stacy’s granddaughter. in the water when Ashley noticed a commotion nearby. A girl had been pulled from another pool after someone noticed her face down. A bystander was attempting CPR, but Ashley said it appeared she did not know how to administer it. The two rushed to help, with Stacy slipping on the wet surface. When they reached the girl, they said she was turning blue and had no pulse. Stacy, who is a respiratory therapist at St. Vincent Morrilton and knows CPR, said the

little girl “was gone.” “Normally, when I see people who look like that, they don’t make it back.” Ashley, who has worked in the health care field, and Stacy put their CPR training to work. Stacy did compressions, and Ashley blew in the girl’s mouth. “I did compressions for three to five minutes, but it felt longer.”

Sisters continued on Page 79 September 2019 | 47


A Day of Caring Unity Health hosts annual mission

RN, Infection Prevention, Meghann Holmes (from left), physician resident Dr. Corissa McKenzie, Quality Improvement/Risk Management & Compliance Director Debbie Hare and Assistant Vice President of Finance Mary Kagen. by Taryn Brown

In any community, it is important to take care of one another, whether it be physically, mentally, spiritually or all the above. The community of Searcy strives to accomplish this through a medical mission called A Day of Caring. What started more than 20 years ago as a grassroots effort to provide those in need with shots and immunizations for children, has grown to offer much more for White County and the surrounding communities. Unity Health recently hosted the 23rd Annual A Day of Caring on July 27. A Day of Caring is a community-wide outreach program created to help uninsured and underinsured residents. Free medical, dental and eye screenings are provided; additional services 48 | 501 LIFE September 2019

offered include haircuts, pharmacy services and pap exams. Items such as school supplies, Bibles, children’s socks and shoes, underwear, diapers, groceries and personal care items are also distributed. Various health screenings and social service information is available to participants. In the beginning, Unity Health (known as White County Medical Center at the time), ASU-Searcy School of Nursing, Harding University College of Nursing, Junior Auxiliary of Searcy, Kiwanis Club, Optimist Club, Rotary Club and the White County Health Department saw the need to provide an option for immunizations to those who may not be able to afford it. Today, the amount of medical services, goods, volunteers and health education has grown substantially. “It takes a community to make A Day of Caring

possible,” said Unity Health Marketing Coordinator and A Day of Caring Coordinator Anna Brumfield. “This event would not be possible without the community coming together to help our friends and neighbors in need.” Unity Health partners with local businesses, organizations and churches, as well as physicians, physician residents, nurses, Unity Health associates, dentists, eye doctors and their staff and numerous community volunteers each year to make A Day of Caring possible. “A Day of Caring volunteers are there because they want to bless someone else and always end up receiving blessings in return,” Brumfield said. “A Day of Caring volunteers make a difference in the lives of those coming through, even if it is for a short time, and the smiling faces of those receiving help

Unity Health Graduate Medical Education residents volunteer at A Day of Caring each year to help serve their community. make it all worth it.” This year, 1,150 participants received assistance from 450 volunteers during A Day of Caring, which was held at the Ganus Activities Complex at Harding University. The White County Health Department also opens with special hours on the event day each year to provide those same immunizations that started A Day of Caring. “This is our 23rd year for this event and we are still amazed at the incredible turnout we have of volunteers, sponsors and participants,” said Unity Health Marketing Director Brooke Pryor. “Our volunteers, sponsors and donors know we could not pull off an event of this magnitude without their support. We are incredibly proud to be part of a community that cares for its neighbors, and we cannot say ‘thank you’ enough.” Participants are able to go through a medical section where they have the choice to receive medical, dental and eye exams. If they need to be seen further, the appropriate provider will refer them to the correct facility for little to no cost. A number of community booths are also set up to distribute health education as well as school supplies, clothing and groceries. “This year was another great success thanks to everyone who participated and volunteered,” Brumfield said. “We are blessed to live in this community that supports and cares for one another, and we look forward to next year!”

The Alliance Family of Companies Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA is in the business of helping individuals and businesses achieve their financial goals with accounting, insurance and retirement strategies. From tax returns and retirement to business and personal insurance – and so much more - our firm is committed to providing the best in personal service with a “total client service” approach. Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA (HOF) Certified Public Accountants

Tax return preparation/planning Financial statement preparation Consulting Services And many more...

Alliance Insurance Group of Arkansas, Inc (AIGA)

Independent Insurance Agency

Business and personal, Health and life policies, Employee benefits

John S. Harwood,


Alliance Financial Group, LLC (AFG)

Retirement Strategies

Retirement plan analysis both business and individual

L. Tray Ott,


Connie Cody Fisher,


Junior Auxiliary of Searcy members prepare lunch for participants and volunteers. September 2019 | 49


Health Foundation awards scholarships

Conway Regional President and CEO Matt Troup (back, fourth from left) and Chief Development Officer Lori Ross (back, first from left) with the 2019-2020 Conway Regional Health Foundation scholarship recipients and physicians: Haydon King (from left), Lori Ross, Meredith Hammontree, Dr. Bill Roberts, Lisa Speer, Dr. William Furlow, Makya McMillion, Matt Troup, Amber Ledbetter, Nicolas Maynard, Jennifer Miceli, Ryan Kordsmeier, Carissa Ansel, Daniel Whitehead, Scarlett Acklin, Jessaca Hope and Nicholas Max. The Conway Regional Health Foundation has presented 13 scholarships, valued at $22,500, to area students pursuing a degree in a health related field. The first scholarship established was in honor of the late James Garrison, MD, in 1996 upon his retirement. Decades later, there are many organizations and individuals who contribute to health care scholarships overseen by the Conway Regional Health Foundation. “Contributing to a health foundation scholarship is a great investment in the community, since many of our recipients return to Conway to practice in their chosen profession,” said Conway Regional Health System President and CEO Matt Troup. “We are very thankful for the time and efforts of our scholarship selection committee. There were several difficult decisions because of the competitiveness of the applicants.” Of the recipients of 2019 scholarships, eight are pursuing nursing degrees and five are seeking medical degrees. They represent Conway, Vilonia, Greenbrier, Morrilton, Bryant and Beebe high schools. Nine are already working in the health care field at Conway Regional. Donations from Conway Regional medical staff and proceeds from the Conway Regional Women’s Council’s annual Dazzle Daze event funded five scholarships. Recipients are: Ryan Kordsmeier of Morrilton is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Central Arkansas. He is a graduate of Morrilton High School. Nicholas Max is attending the University of 50 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Arkansas in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. He is a graduate of Vilonia High school. Jennifer Miceli is a Conway graduate who has been accepted into the UCA School of Nursing. Haydon King is a graduate of Conway Christian High School and will be pursuing a degree in biology/pre-medicine at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Makya McMillion, a Conway High School graduate, is planning to attend Arkansas Tech University and pursue a degree in psychology. The Dr. Bill and Betty Roberts Medical Staff scholarship was established in honor of Bill Roberts. MD, a retired Internal Medicine physician, who made numerous contributions to health care in Faulkner County, including helping establish the Critical Care Unit at Conway Regional. This year’s scholarship recipient is Carissa Ansel of Conway, a pre-medicine major at UCA. She works at the Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center while completing her studies at UCA. Another scholarship recognizing the achievements of a longtime Conway physician is the Dr. William Furlow Scholarship. Furlow, who is now retired from his Internal Medicine practice, joined Roberts in helping to establish the Conway Regional CCU and is known for numerous achievements in medicine in Conway. This year’s William Furlow scholarship recipient is Daniel Whitehead, a registered nurse and house supervisor at Conway Regional, who is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing through Walden University. The Conway Regional Nursing Scholarship, which is established to aid a Conway Regional

employee or family member in pursuit of a nursing career, was awarded to Meredith Hammontree, a Greenbrier High School graduate who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing from UAMS. Nurses from the Oncology unit at Conway Regional raised money to endow the Eleanor Duncan Scholarship in memory of a beloved nurse. It is intended to help a Conway Regional employee pursue a career in Oncology. This year’s recipient is Scarlett Acklin, who holds a bachelor of science degree from the U of A and plans to pursue a career in radiation medicine. A nursing scholarship was established to recognize Clemmie Cook who spent 60 years in nursing. It assists a Conway Regional employee or family member who is pursuing an advanced degree in nursing. This year’s scholarship was awarded to Amber Ledbetter, a registered nurse in Labor and Delivery, who is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix. The Janice and John Robbins Scholarship was awarded to Lisa Speer, a registered nurse in Labor and Delivery who is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing at UCA. The scholarship was presented by Conway Regional Women’s Council President Mathilda Hatfield in honor of former Conway Regional President and CEO John Robbins and Janice, his wife. Jessica Hope and Nicolas Maynard have received the Dr. James S. Garrison scholarship which recognizes Conway’s first radiologist. Maynard is in medical school at UAMS and plans to become an Interventional Neurologist. Hope is a registered nurse who is seeking a master’s degree in nursing from UAMS.


Something new and ‘perky’ in the world of skincare We’re excited to offer this easy on your wallet, on-the-go treatment at EL Clinical. Perk is the newest device from Edge Systems, the manufacturer of the multiple awardwinning HydraFacial MD system. Perk was voted one of the top six new products to hit the market at the InternaSusan Isom tional Spa Association Susan Isom has acquired Conference. considerable experience in Perk is the world’s the world of skin care and has received numerous awards first hybrid facial and special recognition during procedure that combines her career. She has deservedly earned an excellent reputation cutting-edge technology in Arkansas for her skincare with proven effective expertise. She writes monthly skincare articles for state and local ingredients to exfoliate, publications. She partners with nourish and revive skin cosmetic surgeon Dr. Michael Devlin of Little Rock. in as little as 10 minutes with no downtime and instant visible results. It is the first treatment of its kind that merges an in-office treatment with take-home products to achieve radiant, youthfullooking skin. The system is simple, yet the effects are immediate and long lasting. Whether you are in the mood to plump lips, invigorate the eye area or give your face an instant glow, Perk is a quick, non-irritating and effective way to reveal a fresh new you. With three customized treatments, Perk gives you the freedom to mix ‘n match service options. Perk can be used as an addition to a traditional facial, HydraFacial MD treatment or as a stand-alone, express service, so you can give your skin a boost wherever and whenever it’s needed most.

The perks Perk’s unique hybrid skincare system combines liquid exfoliation with patented roller ball technology to loosen dirt, oil and dead skin cells through gentle exfoliation while suctioning and flushing away those impurities. Pores are opened as the roller ball embeds nutrients, ensuring absorption and revealing a fresh new you. The best part? You receive the same applicator used in your treatment, so you take that refreshing serum with you wherever you go. The take-home products give your skin and makeup application an extra boost for up to 30 days. Lip service: Get perfectly primed and lightly plumped lips. Treatment locks in moisture to reveal a perfect pout. Key ingredients include peppermint oil and peony extract. In addition to the roller ball Lip Revitalizing Serum, the lip service also includes the additional take-home Hydrating Lip Balm with SPF 30. Eye service: Brightens and awakens the delicate eye area with energizing green tea extract and citric acid. Includes the take-home roller ball Eye Replenishing Serum and two Soothing Eye Mask sets to battle the appearance of dark circles. Face service: Gently exfoliates and deeply nourishes new skin with potent antioxidants for a bright, luminous glow. It includes a take-home roller ball full of the Antioxidant Renewal Serum, packed with key vitamins and nutrients to energize skin each day. Perk is a great option for time-crunched patients who want to boost skin health and restore a youthful glow to specific areas, but who are not quite ready for more invasive treatments. If you have more heavy-duty concerns, such as deep wrinkles, acne scars or dark spots, one session alone may not be enough to satisfy. Consider a series of HydraFacial MD treatments, or look into the benefits of laser resurfacing and chemical peels. September 2019 | 51


Back to school comfort food

As students and teachers head back to school, a homemade cookie hits the spot in a sack lunch or for a snack. (Mike Kemp photo) It’s that time again for many of us – “back to school!” Schedules become more routine with disciplined evenings and controlled weekday activities. A time change is looming in the future and the natural flow of life returns to structure. Somehow, for some of Don Bingham us, that sounds a little depressing! As I watch Recognized throughout the our grandchildren prestate as an accomplished chef, pare for school lunches Don Bingham has authored cookbooks, presented television with questions such as programs and planned elaborate “Will I take my lunch events. today or eat in the cafeteria?” and Mom’s dilemma, “Do I have time 52 | 501 LIFE September 2019

to run to the grocery for the only two things my child will carry in a lunch pail?” my thought is just maybe we could ease into the abrupt change in civilization that happens every year by enjoying “comfort food” while working into the stark reality that the summer is over. Nutritionists and you (thin) people will have to shake your head in dismay and pray for the rest of us to quickly return to a “lifestyle” diet as soon as possible. All that having been said, why not prepare our favorite cookies, placing one a day in the lunch sack? At our home, we have become accustomed to doing the cookie dough in double recipes, placing the dough in the freezer and pulling out only what is needed for the occasion and baking. We always have great choices available. The frozen dough lasts, on the average, for about a month before we have to create dough again. When we run out of dough and are in despera-

tion, there are wonderful cookie resources within blocks of everyone! And what child or adult does not like to have macaroni and cheese after a challenging day at school or work? For me, this summer has been a mixed bag of disciplined eating (you know what I mean – vegetables, grilled meats, no sugars or breads, etc.) and the undisciplined diet of Krispy Kreme stops, the Shorty’s burger stop, Julie’s Sweet Shoppe, etc., and the result has been catastrophic. I agree with all my counselors; it’s time to put an end to such frivolity and self-indulgence, so I am going to slowly return to that wonderful life of rigidity and no-fun-allowed focus of a healthy lifestyle. I’ve included a Creamy Macaroni and Cheese recipe, along with some of our all-time favorite cookie recipes. If conscience allows, enjoy! Welcome back to school – to September – to focus – to discipline!

4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese or Velveeta cheese cubes 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked 3/4 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs 1 tablespoon butter, melted Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour. Cook for 4 minutes to form a light roux, stirring constantly. Add the cayenne pepper, salt and white pepper. Whisk the egg yolks into the hot milk. Stir into the roux gradually. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese. Cook until the cheese melts. Pour over the hot cooked macaroni in a large bowl and mix well. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the remaining cheese in a buttered 8-inch by 11-inch baking dish. Layer half of the macaroni mixture, 1/2 cup of the remaining cheese, remaining macaroni mixture and remaining cheese in the prepared dish. Pour the cream over the layers. Sprinkle a mixture of bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter over the top. Place in a larger pan of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

CREAMY MACARONI AND CHEESE 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 2 egg yolks 3 1/4 cups hot milk

DON’S FAVORITE OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE Mix dry ingredients in bowl: 1 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar 1 cup oats 1 cup chocolate chips 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts Cream together 1/2 cup butter, 1 egg, 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add the dry ingredients. Mix well. Drop by spoonful on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Do not overbake.

JILL AND NANCY’S FUDGE ECSTASY COOKIES 1 cup butter, softened 3/4 cup white sugar 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 eggs 4 tablespoons cocoa 1/2 cup sugar (mix together with cocoa) 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 12 ounces chocolate chips Cream butter, 3/4 cup white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in cocoa/sugar mixture. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool slightly. Makes approximately 6 dozen. The secret is to not overbake the cookies. A fudgy center makes for “one more” terrific cookie!

September 2019 | 53

An armload of justpicked tomatoes in so many varieties. (Makenzie Evans photos)

54 | 501 LIFE September 2019

 Roots and Refuge HOME

Garden talk with a local celebrity homesteader

Donna Benton Donna Benton is a maker of custom home furnishings and specializes in classic painted finishes for antique and vintage furniture. You can see her work at

There is a moment late in the season, after you have given in to the Arkansas summer swelter, that you feel it. That first trickle of crisp autumn air. It’s not just a cool breeze. It’s dry and still and it has a certain smell that evokes ideas of sweaters and football games and backyard campfires. You know it’s early, and there are certainly more sweaty days to come, but it is a reminder that summer is winding down and fall is on its

way. I was walking through the garden with Jessica Sowards of Roots and Refuge Farm, between rows of towering trellised late season tomatoes, when I felt that first hint of fall. A late summer rain had fallen earlier in the day and behind the rain was a little blast of crisp fall air. It seemed appropriate as we were harvesting a basket full of some of the season’s last tomatoes, a kaleidoscope of reds, greens, yellows and purples. Jessica and her husband, Jeremiah, are modern-day homesteaders. They moved out to their little patch of land in the hills just outside of Vilonia a few years ago and set out to create a place where the land would provide for their

Jessica and Jeremiah are homesteading to give their family a place to put down roots. family and their kids could have a connection to the land. Jessica has the giant, happy smile and unbridled giggle of someone who is exactly where she wants to be. As we stroll past a bushy branch leaning out over the edge of a raised bed, Jessica leans down and grabs a handful of tiny yellowish fruits. “Ground cherries,” she says. I pop one in my mouth, expecting a tiny burst of tomato but

instead there is an explosion of fruity sweetness like I have never tasted. She gives me a handful of the tiny fruits along with instructions for collecting and planting the seeds for myself, but I never made it out of the garden with them. Jessica stops at a tomato plant that has been stripped down to its sticks, plucks a fat green

Garden continued on Page 56



2665 Donaghey Ave, Ste 103 Conway AR • (501) 327-1772 September 2019 | 55

The whole gang takes part in a late season tomato harvest.

The farm is bustling with action, including bees.

Garden continued from Page 55 tomato worm and squishes it. We walk beneath a trellised vine full of little melons that are just turning ripe, and past a row of tomato plants, some green and filled with fruit and others starting to yellow and wither, having given their all. Jessica points out that gardening is full of victories and defeats. A gardener can do their best to nurture and grow, but ultimately nature has its way. Jessica and Jeremiah have developed quite a wealth of gardening and farming knowledge and they share their experience on their YouTube Channel named Roots and Refuge Farm. Jessica chronicles the whole experience from seed to harvest, with lots of helpful hints, weekly garden tours and lots and lots of tomato talk. Her fallible and happy, infectious nature make for great viewing, whether you care about aphids or not. With more than 12 million views, the YouTube channel has catapulted Jessica into celebrity homesteader status. “I honestly think it comes down to passion and authenticity,” she said when I asked about her success on the web. “We are just regular people doing what a lot of people dream about and we love it. We love sharing it, and decided that in the process of doing so, we would be honest about it. That means sharing our faith, showing our failures and being transparent with our dreams.” I first discovered Jessica after my son, Joseph, and his girlfriend, Debbie, announced that they had some plans for the family garden, which, up until now was a few raised beds of hit-and-miss tomatoes and some herbs that refuse to die no matter how I neglect them. Of course, I was all in on this garden takeover. Before long my kitchen was afire with the warm glow of a grow light, and we were watching seedlings sprout from a spread of little Dixie cups across my dining table. I was surprised by the advanced garden talk

Sowards continued on Page 59 56 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Alpacas are soft and sweet, and they will spit if given the opportunity.

Jessica and Ben hang out in the greenhouse.

Toby grabs a tasty snack right off the vine.

Maliah hunts for a handful of ground cherries.


Understanding water conservation Summer vacation might be coming to an end, but summer temperatures will be around for a little longer. We all know ways to conserve electricity on a hot day, but air conditioners aren’t the only thing affecting our utility bills this season. During warmer temperatures, our water Beth consumption rises as well. In fact, we use Jimmerson almost four times as A long-time Conway resident, Beth McCullough Jimmerson is much water in the sumthe manager for marketing and mer than the rest of the communications for Conway Corp. She has a bachelor’s degree year. Some homes can from the University of Central even use 3,000 gallons Arkansas and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. of water on a peak day, She can be reached at beth. which is the equivalent of leaving a garden hose running for eight hours straight. That’s a lot of water. The good news is a few small changes can add up to big savings. Try a few of these water conservation tips so you can save water while still enjoying your favorite summer activities.

Lawns Don’t over-water your lawn. To see if your lawn needs water, walk on the grass. If it springs back, no need to water. If it leaves footprints, go ahead and set up the sprinklers. As a general rule, lawns only need one inch of water every five to seven days. Try placing a small empty tuna can near your sprinkler system to help you determine when to turn off the sprinkler. When the can is full, you have watered approximately one inch. It’s best to water early in the morning or late at night when temperatures and wind speeds are lowest. This can save as much as 30 percent of water lost to evaporation. You can also set your lawn mower blades one notch higher because longer grass is more drought tolerant, which means less water evaporation.

Gardens Most flower and vegetable gardens require watering to stay productive, but far more plants die from over-watering than under-watering. For many garden plants, the best way is to let your finger be the guide. Dig down several inches near the base of the plant. If the soil is dry, that’s an indication you need to water. Most well-established trees and shrubs can withstand a prolonged period without rain or watering, and mulching can help retain additional moisture in the soil and around the roots. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer necessary to yards and plants as they increase water consumption.

Rain barrels Place rain barrels or buckets beneath your gutters

or downspouts. For every 1,000 square feet of roof surface, you will collect 420 gallons of water during every inch of rainfall. You can use the rainwater for outdoor plants or to wash your car. Channel storm water across lawns and into garden beds away from your house.

Swimming pools Uncovered backyard pools lose hundreds of gallons of water each month from evaporation. Using a pool cover and keeping it covered when not in use will reduce evaporation of water and chemicals by nearly 70 percent. Check your pool for leaks often, and always consult a professional with pool maintenance to reduce your risk of structural failure like a cracked shell that would waste thousands of gallons of water.

Inside the home The easiest way to conserve water is turning off the faucet. It sounds silly, but it’s easy to use water when we don’t really need to. Running dishwashers and washing machines when they are full rather than every day can save more than 1,000 gallons of water

each month. Consider a short shower over a bath. A bath can use up to 70 gallons of water, while a shower uses between 10 and 20 gallons. Keep your shower to less than 5 minutes, and you’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month. Save another eight gallons of water a day each time you turn the water off when brushing your teeth or shaving. Conway Corp customers don’t have to worry about water. We pour ourselves into serving Conway, and our investment in advanced facilities, innovative water treatments and a local water source means safe, reliable water for our customers at some of the lowest rates in the nation. Still, we all want to save money and do our part to protect future generations. We’re committed to helping you balance the increasing demand for water with our responsibility of providing affordable rates, and when it comes to conserving water, small adjustments like these can have a big impact. To learn more about Conway Corp’s efficiency programs, call 501.450.6000 or visit ConwayCorp. com/EnergySmart.


HGTV stars

Trio discusses hometown revitalization

Josh Nowell (from left) and Mallorie and Jim Rasberry, regulars on the “Home Town” show on HGTV, recently made a presentation in Conway.

Donna Benton Donna Benton is a maker of custom home furnishings and specializes in classic painted finishes for antique and vintage furniture. You can see her work at

The University of Central Arkansas Center for Community and Economic Development recently hosted an event that included a presentation and discussion led by stars of the hit HGTV series “Home Town.” Jim and Mallorie Rasberry and Josh Nowell are regulars on the show, which centers on the revitalization of historic homes and businesses around their hometown of Laurel, Miss. The Rasberrys and Nowell acknowledged

58 | 501 LIFE September 2019

that the popularity of the show has contributed to the success of their revitalization efforts in Laurel, but their work started long before the show came to be. In fact, the revitalization work was one of the factors that caught the interest of HGTV creators. Together, the Rasberrys and Nowell, along with their partners, have restored and redeveloped more than 60,000 square feet of commercial space in Downtown Laurel and more than 40 homes in the historic neighborhoods around town. They have been instrumental in attracting or retaining more than 25 new and existing businesses in the downtown area. They are having lots of fun with the success of the show, which is in its fourth season, but they are quick to point out that their main goal is continuing their work to revitalize their hometown of Laurel. The three were excited to share their experiences and tips with the crowd, which included locals involved in economic development and in revitaliza-

tion of the downtown business district and historic neighborhoods around Conway. Their main emphasis was to encourage individuals to take on small revitalization projects. They gave an example of an inexpensive lighting project in Downtown Laurel that helped bring crowds into the downtown area after hours. While the Rasberrys and Nowell were in town, they stayed in a newly restored cottage in one of Conway’s historic neighborhoods and enjoyed downtown restaurants. The Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) is part of the Division of Outreach and Community Engagement at UCA. CCED’s mission is to have a positive impact on communities by equipping leaders with economic tools and resources, building consensus to achieve community goals and bringing UCA resources and communities together.

Sowards continued from Page 56 coming from these kids, whose prior interest in the garden began at the plucking stage. Their gardening strategy was to simply do whatever Jessica was doing each day in her garden just down the road. Would you believe that we actually used a ladder to harvest tomatoes this year? I asked Jessica how it feels to hear stories of people who are inspired by her work. “It’s very humbling to hear stories like these,” she said. “It fuels me tremendously. For so long, I had these big dreams and desires and I looked everywhere for someone to tell me I could do it. Unfortunately, I often left sources feeling too dumb or too poor or just too little to make those dreams happen. Hearing that people found encouragement in my story and success brings me to tears. I genuinely love the garden, and to know that people made a choice to try because of that is such a huge reward for me.” On my first visit to Roots and Refuge Farm, I expected a serene walkthrough like the weekly garden tours that Jessica posts on her channel. Instead the farm was bustling with action. The kids were all out, each wanting to show off their favorite part of the farm or give you a taste of a string bean or a snap pea. There was chicken chasing, dog petting, alpaca wrangling, bee watching (not too close), more sampling and lots of cheerful fun. They even had their own kids garden, where they were in charge. (Quite frankly, I think they had the best cucumbers!) It is clear that Jessica and Jeremiah’s plan to build a legacy for the kids is firmly taking root. As summer winds down and that first hint of fall blows in, when I start hearing talk of “back to school” or when I eat that last garden fresh tomato, I always feel a little bit of sadness for the end of the season. I imagine that this feeling must be overwhelming when your life and livelihood centers around the growing season. Jessica assures me that there is life in the garden after summer. “Fall gardening is so often neglected because retail stores aren’t pushing it,” she said. “Fall gardening, especially in our moderate zone, is just as fruitful as spring and summer gardening.” When the summer plants finish up, she starts transitioning to her fall garden where she plants brassicas like kale, cabbage and broccoli and a second plantings of squash and beans along with root vegetables like radishes, beets, carrots and turnips, which do best through September and October. “They don’t mind a little frost. In fact, they get even sweeter once they’ve been frost kissed.” Homestead farming is not easy. There are successes and failures, but one day builds on top of another and something beautiful, amazing and worthwhile takes shape. “Roots and Refuge Farm is really about our legacy,” said Jessica. “All of this is to give our children strong roots so they can produce good fruit in their lives. It’s about creating a place of refuge for them which they can always come home to.” Farm fresh eggs and red ripe tomatoes are great, but as I watch Jessica and Jeremiah surrounded by their family, all engaged in the business of growing things, the true value and purpose of it all becomes very clear. September 2019 | 59


Daffodil Daze Art contest winners recognized Winners in this year’s Daffodil Daze Art Contest were recognized during a reception in their honor at Conway Regional Medical Center. The contest is sponsored by First Security Bank, Conway Regional Health System and 501 LIFE. “Art is such an important element of our culture and our society,” said Daffodil Daze Chairman Donna Evans. “And so are daffodil flowers in our parks and along our trails! Both lend beauty and creativity to the world of Conway. I’m so excited that Daffodil Daze offers our students an opportunity to display their talents in this unique contest.” This year’s contest generated nearly 300 entries. Dr. Jeff Young, professor of art education at the University of Central Arkansas, and Angie Longing, chief nursing officer at Conway Regional, served as this year’s judges. Each winner received a certificate and a First Security bag with FSB prizes and items donated by Conway Regional. The division winners: Elementary: First – Raina Scroggins, Greenbrier Eastside Elementary; teacher Crystal Gordon. Second – Aubree Kelley, Greenbrier Eastside; teacher Crystal Gordon. Third – Greyson Linville, Greenbrier Eastside; teacher Crystal Gordon. Middle school: First – Maria Brown, Simon Middle School in Conway; teacher William Fisher. Second – Sarah Beth Bradley, Greenbrier Middle School; teacher Marion Sibert. Third – Brenna Christian, Simon Middle School; teacher William Fisher. Junior high/high school First – Jessica Cole, Vilonia High School; teacher Sandy Ragland. Second – Kyra Goodwin, Vilonia High school, teacher Sandy Ragland. Third – Sara McGee, Greenbrier High School; teacher Karen Hall. College First – Lauren McHenry, University of Central Arkansas. School winners: Conway High School – Maggie Risley. Ellen Smith Elementary – Sarah Chesshir, teacher Kay Barlow. Frank Mitchell Intermediate – Lucy Schichtl. Greenbrier Eastside – Raina Scroggins, teacher Crystal Gordon. Greenbrier High School – Sara McGee, teacher Karen Hall. Greenbrier Middle School – Olivia Uekman, teacher Marion Sibert. Homeschool – Annabella McJunkins. Simon Middle School – Shea Schafer, teacher William Fisher. Vilonia High school – Jessica Cole, teacher Sandy Ragland. 60 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Conway Regional’s Alaina Meares (from left), Dot Welch and Angie Longing (far right) with Daffodil Daze Committee Chairman Donna Evans (back, yellow shirt) and UCA art professor Dr. Jeff Young (right) with Daffodil Daze Art Contest grade division winners: Raina Scroggins (front, from left), Aubree Kelley, Greyson Linville, Maria Brown, Sarah Beth Bradley, Brenna Christian; Jessica Cole (back), Kyra Goodwin and Sara McGee.

Conway Regional’s Alaina Meares (from left), Dot Welch and Angie Longing (far right) with Daffodil Daze Committee Chairman Donna Evans (back, yellow shirt) and UCA art professor Dr. Jeff Young (right) with Daffodil Daze Art Contest school winners: Annabella McJunkins (front, from left), Sarah Chesshir, Lucy Schichtl, Shea Schafer, Olivia Uekman; Maggie Risley (back), Raina Scroggins, Sara McGee, Jessica Cole and Lauren McHenry.

Maggie Risley

Lucy Schichtl

Jessica Cole

Raina Scroggins

A Winning Combination!

. . l E L a e SSIB R s i e O l P g s i g Y u R r E t The Snd RECOV a

In Arkansas, mental health issues are affecting people of all ages and the suicide rate across all ages is at an all-time high. But there is hope. The BridgeWay provides a continuum of care that is safe, secure and serene. Just as each patient is different, so too are our programs. The BridgeWay is the only psychiatric hospital in Arkansas with distinct programs for seniors 55 and older, adults 18 and older, adolescents, ages 13-17, and children, ages 4-12. Whether it is for mood, thought or substance abuse disorders, we provide separate units for each population.

At Shelter Insurance® we pride ourselves on helping folks like you get the right auto insurance coverage at our best rate possible. Call me today to see how you can take advantage of this winning combination from Shelter!

Roe Henderson

1416 Prince St. Conway. AR 72034 501-327-3888

21 BridgeWay Road, North Little Rock, AR 72113 1-800-BRIDGEWAY |

We’re your Shield. We’re your Shelter.



September 2019 | 61

Brenna Christian

Sara McGee

Greyson Linville

Lauren McHenry

Shea Schafer

Sarah Beth Bradley

62 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Kyra Goodwin

Aubree Kelley

Sarah Chesshir

Annabella McJunkins

Maria Brown

Olivia Uekman

September 2019 | 63


501 kids


Promote reading early and often

As everyone adjusts to being back in school, we are reminded of the importance of education. Your children likely just started the new school year in a new classroom with teachers who will spend the next several months teaching them as much as they can about many different subjects. Kellie While the teachers are Bishop there to guide your child’s education and Kellie Bishop is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Central Arkansas promote their academic Pediatrics in Conway. She lives development, they get in Plumerville with her husband, Greg, and two dogs. She obtained limited time with your her bachelor’s degree in nursing child. Education begins at the University of Central Arkansas and her master’s and at home and requires doctorate degrees in pediatric work by parents and primary care at UAMS. teachers alike. One of the most important things we can do as parents is to encourage and foster early literacy, or the ability to read and write. If your child develops literacy skills early, he or she is more likely to enjoy and perform well in 64 | 501 LIFE September 2019

school. Whether your child is school age or still in the baby and preschool phase, there are ways you can promote literacy at home and set the tone for their educational experience at school. You can begin promoting early literacy for your child during infancy. Reading to your newborn or infant helps develop their language skills, and they become attuned to your voice and the various tones of voice as you speak. Board books with pictures of common things, such as faces, animals, and common objects, but with few words allow your baby to identify common things around them without being lost in all the words they do not yet understand. You can turn reading a simple board book into an interactive experience by describing the sound the animal makes or talking about the colors of various objects pictured in the book. As your child grows into a toddler and preschool aged child, they will enjoy more complex books with rhyming language and longer stories. You can also encourage interaction while reading these books by asking what they think will happen next or encouraging them to make their own ending to the story. Reading to your child regularly from a young age helps support language development and reading comprehension. As your children get older and are able to read themselves, you can take them to a local library to pick out books that they want to read. You can also encour-

age your child to tell you about what they have read or write their own stories. Many families use meal times as an opportunity to encourage their children to talk about their day or tell stories, which encourages creativity and language development. You can also include older children in common activities at home that require literacy skills, such as making shopping lists or writing in cards. If you are making a shopping list, completing Christmas cards, or addressing envelopes, include your child and ask them to help you with these tasks as it will help develop their literacy and promote independence. Finally, for adolescent aged children, you can make literacy a game. Adolescents love competition and like to feel as if they are in control, so encouraging literacy through a book challenge is a great way to keep them engaged in reading and writing. You can develop incentives for reading more books or writing short stories, which will promote their education while also allowing them to exert independence and feel accomplished. Education begins at home and you have the ability to promote healthy educational habits for your children by encouraging early literacy through talking and reading to your child regularly. Using these tips and developing your own activities for reading and writing from a young age will allow your child to develop literacy skills early, making their educational journey through all subjects in school more enjoyable and successful.


   Lailah Berry AGE: 6. CITY: Conway. SCHOOL: First grade at Conway Christian School. FAVORITE SUBJECT: Science and art. MUSIC INSTRUMENT PLAYED: Electric guitar. FAMILY: Parents, Sharllette and Murphy Berry; and siblings, Alaysia Berry, Jaiden Andrews-

Berry, Murphy Berry Jr. and Myles Berry. FAVORITE MEAL OR SNACK: Broccoli and cheddar soup from Panera Bread. MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION: Pen and paper for drawing (she takes it everywhere she goes) and her stuffed animal Skye from PAW Patrol. MORE INFORMATION: Lailah won third place in Conway Corp’s 2018-2019 art contest. She also placed as second runner-up in the 2019 Toad Suck Pageant.

Throughout the summer, 501 LIFE and the Arkansas Travelers are presenting the 501 Kid of the Month with a family four pack to enjoy a day at the ballpark.

September 2019 | 65


501 kids


Barefoot Together ‘Look what kids can do’ The Conway Crocs, a summer swim team, made some big waves this summer. In its 10th year, Conway Crocs is the youth swim team for children ages 5-18 sponsored by Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center. The program is designed as a fun way for children Brittany to be involved in a comGilbert petitive swim team, learn good sportsmanship and Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. to work toward a goal. It She and her husband, Levi, also provides an opporhave three children and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at tunity for team members to have fun over the summer as they compete against other swim teams in Central Arkansas. Club members pride themselves on unity and a family-like atmosphere, no matter how big the group has grown. This year, they showed up in a huge way for families in their community that needed support while walking through the hardest battle. This team has already lost two family members to cancer, and now two more are in the thick of it, and these kids aren’t just standing by. The team has formed a booster club, and the coach had one request — a swim-a-thon to help these families. The Barefoot Together campaign was formed, and approximately 80 swimmers participated. “Each swimmer swam as many laps as possible in 30 minutes,” said Aimee Dyson, a mother of children who participated. “There were four 30-minute sessions.” The swimmers raised money by getting donations and pledges for each lap they swam. There were also incentives for the kids who raised money. For every $10 raised, kids would receive a strip of duct tape to aid in taping their coach, Chris Brynell, to a wall. The swimmer with the most money raised got to paint assistant coach Tori Hill’s hair green. This reward went to a 9-year old who raised $707. Lastly, the five kids who showed the most spirit during the event were rewarded with the chance to paint their assistant coach, Darby Harmon. The total amount raised, $8,000, was 66 | 501 LIFE September 2019

The five kids who showed the most spirit were rewarded with the chance to paint assistant coach Darby Harmon. announced, and rewards were given at the end of the season party on July 21. An emotional conversation occurred between Aimee and me as she told me about what this group has been able to accomplish. She spoke of the battles these families have faced and how as a team, they knew they had to do something. She told me all about the event and how they were expecting around $2,000 to be raised and how they were floored to realize that they had raised far beyond that amount. “Look what kids can do,” she said. These families are raising children with compassion and giving hearts. Too often, we hear about entitled youth, but this story gives so much hope. When we give our kids an opportunity to help others, we might be surprised at how well they show up. “The booster club hopes to make this an annual event to help other Croc families that may have needs that arise throughout the year,” Aimee said. “All of the proceeds go directly to the families.” For more information on the Conway Crocs, please call 501.450.9292 or visit conwayregionalhfc. org/aquatics-program.

Conway Crocs swim team coaches: Tori Hill (from left), Chris Brynell and Darby Harmon.

Swimmers paint assistant coach Tori Hill’s hair.


Arkansas native pens book In 2010, Arkansas native Cash Lambert volunteered with Surfers for Autism, an organization that introduces children with autism or other developmental delays to the sport of surfing. Little did he know then how the experience would change his life. Cash is the author of the newly released Susan book “Waves of Healing: Peterson How Surfing Changes the Lives of Children Susan Peterson holds a PhD in education and taught with Autism,” published at the University of Central by Hatherleigh Press in Arkansas and Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. She partnership with Penguin retired in 2004 and now spends Random House. her time doing artwork (painting and pottery). She is the executive Cash describes the secretary of the Arkansas Reading time he spent with Association, a professional organization for educators Surfers for Autism as an that has about 800 members “overwhelming experistatewide. ence.” For over a decade, the organization has traveled to cities across Florida to help children with autism experience the therapeutic nature of surfing and the ocean. At these events, it’s no ordinary day at the beach. For many of the participants, the act of reaching for a hand, spontaneously laughing or expressing curiosity may be a milestone. Children with autism have said their first words at events, and others have surfed their first wave. Cash observed these events for years — mothers in tears, grateful for having a child show joy, ask a question or accomplish a task. He documented these

moments and published several articles telling how children and families were transformed. Cash knew firsthand how the program changed the lives of the participants, and he felt the need to publish a book in order to reach a broader audience. Writing is not a new endeavor for Cash. While attending Little Rock’s Catholic High School for Boys, he interned with ESPN Outdoors and the Outdoor Channel in Downtown Little Rock. After graduating in 2010, he attended Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach,

Fla., where he majored in journalism. After graduating in 2014, he moved to Oahu, Hawaii, and became the editor of Hawaii’s Freesurf Magazine. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines, including Surfing Magazine, Eastern Surf Magazine, Surfline, Flux, Autism Parenting Magazine and more. Currently living in Haleiwa, Hawaii, Cash works as the managing editor for WealthFit, a website that explores investing and entrepreneurship. He is also pursuing other nonfiction book projects. “Waves of Healing” has been hailed as “a deeply eloquent and honest account.” One reviewer wrote that “Surfers and water-lovers have long talked about the mysterious healing power of the sea. With empathy, attention to detail and skillful storytelling, Cash Lambert shows how real that healing power is, taking us deep into the struggles of living with autism, deep into the joyful stories of children literally paddling and riding their way to greater health and happiness. This is such a hopeful and potentially life-changing read.” It is a must-read for parents of autistic children and for educators. The stories he tells truly relate the impact that autism can have on family dynamics. Since the book’s publication, Cash has appeared on an international TV segment and held book signings. His first booksigning was at the site of a “Surfers for Autism” event in April. Cash, who volunteered with the group for four years, knows that the program can positively affect those who volunteer by giving many of them a meaningful volunteer experience that may even change their life’s path. “Waves of Healing” is available for purchase internationally from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Target and others. For more information about Surfers for Autism, visit

September 2019 | 67

PMS 286

Reflex blue


A rare breed Maumelle volunteer firefighter recognized

The Maumelle Fire Department recognized Marty Newsom for his service with the Volunteer Firefighter of the Year Award. Story and photos by Dwain Hebda

When Maumelle’s firefighters get the call, there are two things they can always count on. One is their training. The second is Marty Newsom. Newsom doesn’t have to be here. A husband and father of two, he has plenty of family obligations to fill his time other than firefighting. Frankly, at 48 years of age, his body doesn’t need the punishment of the job either. And he certainly doesn’t do it for the money, which is a good thing because it wouldn’t get him very far. Newsom is that rare breed of individual who volunteers to put himself in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of neighbor 68 | 501 LIFE September 2019

and stranger alike. “The career guys, they’ve always been very welcoming,” he said. “They love the volunteers because when there is a structure fire or they’re short-staffed or have several calls at one time and everybody gets spread out, extra bodies are helpful. ‘Hey, go throw a ladder around the backside, hook this hose up over here, take this over there, pack up and go in and relieve so and so.’ “On a fire scene, it’s just so crazy and chaotic sometimes, that extra hands come in handy. Even if I may not know how to do everything, I know how to do enough to help.” Newsom got the idea to join the ranks of firefighters in 2016. A co-worker, a longtime Maumelle

volunteer firefighter, would revel him with stories and one day mentioned a class was opening up for those interested in joining the volunteer ranks. It sounded to Newsom like something worth checking out. It wasn’t long before he realized how demanding this newfound activity would be. “I started with, I think there were 17 in our class,” he said. “By the time we finished, there were four of us left.” Newsom trained for months both in the classroom and in live fire exercises in order to get to where he could function with his comrades. Even today, he trains twice a month with the squad to stay sharp. “As far as passing enough of the emergency

medical responder classes, the stuff that would allow me to start participating, it was probably eight or nine months, something like that,” he said. “You’re never really finished; even the career guys train every day.” The training is understandably rigorous, given that volunteer firefighters aren’t mere bystanders at the scene of an emergency. They are allowed to go and do everything career fire fighters do, limited only by certain medical certifications and specialized training. The longer Newsom and his classmates lasted, the harder the instructors pushed them, especially during the live training events. “The structure fire class I went through was up in Conway,” he said. “It was four weekends, starting Friday night and running all day Saturday. It involved going through structure fires on multiple levels, multiple fires, multiple victims, basement crawls. They put you in some pretty tough situations. “It’s all monitored; there’s instructors there, so in a way you’re kind of at ease because if you get in trouble, you know they’re there. But they push you and put you into some intense situations where you can’t see anything, you don’t know how much air you’ve got left and you’re trying to drag somebody out of there.” As for being at an age where he could pass for some of his fellow firefighters’ father, Newsom’s determination and drive earned him the respect of his colleagues. “Well, I’ve always been pretty active,” he said. “I mean I’m not going to say I’ve always been in tip-top shape, but I’m probably in better shape now than I have been in a long time, just trying to keep up with

Marty Newsom got the idea to join the ranks of Maumelle firefighters in 2016. “I started with, I think there were 17 in our class,” he said. “By the time we finished, there were four of us left.” those guys.” Newsom did more than hold his own. Linked to the station’s dispatch via a smartphone app, he became a regular responder to emergency alarms. So much so, in fact, he was recently recognized by the Maumelle Fire Department as Volunteer Firefighter of the Year. He also received the Ready and Reliable Award, denoting the volunteer responding to the most calls that year.

And just how many calls did Newsom answer? Even he doesn’t know for sure, but he’ll tell you one thing; there’s more where that came from. “It’s pretty intense, but I enjoy it,” he said. “I’d like to do it as long as I’m healthy enough to pull my own weight. Once I start becoming a burden or a liability on a fire scene, I think it’ll be time to step down. But as long as I can be an asset, I’d like to do it as long as I can.”

Rebuilding the Lives of Central Arkansas's Children and Families The state's only complete continuum of care for children who are abandoned, abused, neglected or struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues. Find healing, hope and stability for your child and family at Methodist Family Health.

Central Arkansas Locations: Benton Heber Springs Hot Springs Little Rock

Maumelle Searcy Van Buren County Vilonia

Contact Us 501-661-0720

Services Include:

Methodist Behavioral Hospital, the state's ONLY nonprofit behavioral hospital for children An emergency shelter Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES) Kaleidoscope Grief Center Two psychiatric residential treatment facilities Two therapeutic day treatment programs Eight therapeutic group homes Eight outpatient counseling clinics Nine school- and community-based counseling clinics September 2019 | 69

Greenbrier teacher expo Continued from Page 15

Desiree Brown (left) and Shawna Bridgeman.

Susan Harmon (from left), Jennifer Spears and Jessica Brakebill.

Ronda Smith (from left), Sarah Catlett and Megan Aitchison.

Maggie Lyra (seated, left), Angie Swann; Lindsey Boots (back), Addie Pittman, Natalie Reynolds, Victoria Wilkins and Jodi Riggin.

Eastside Elementary School teachers: Raegan Gentry (front, from left), Elisha Strick, Crystal Gordon, Natalie DeVorak, Sara Graham; Jamie Spellerberg (back), Tyler Fletcher, Stacia Williams, Rebecca Henney, Kaylon Reed and Jaime Dublin.

Julia Laymon (seated, from left), Penney Gilliland; Leslie VanPelt (back) and Callie Miller.

Gina Grider (seated, from left), Rebecca Barnard; Erin Lewter (back) and Joanna Sibert.

70 | 501 LIFE September 2019

Melissa West (left) and Ashley Hammett.

Jessica Brakebill (from left), Jennifer Spears and Julia Thompson.

Kim Hebel (from left), Cassie Page and Millie Engler.

Conway Regional Women’s Council members Julie Staudinger (from left), Keri Yarbrough and Mathilda Hatfield.

Sara Berley (seated, left), Ellie McLarty; Caroline Baker (back) and Kathryn Crymes.

Shannon Spainhour (left) and Karen Luck.

Alex Glenn (seated), Marlo Medina; Ashley Caldwell (back), Kaleigh Sigrist and Danielle Carpenter.

Teresa Golden (left) and Kim Welter.

Cassie Wilcox (seated, left), Teresa Jackson; Sarah Burrows (back), Angie Miller and Teri Beth Stevens.

Aimee Prince and her daughter, Karson.

September 2019 | 71


Faulkner County: Vance Strange New Orleans’ loss was Conway’s gain. When a California-born, four-sport high school athlete transferred from Tulane University to Hendrix College in the spring of 1960, he launched more than half-a-century of diverse contributions to athletics that continue to enjoy impact in and beyond Dr. Robert the Faulkner County Reising city. Dr. Robert Reising retired The first of those from the University of Central contributions, howArkansas in 2013 after holding a variety of teaching, coaching and ever, came three years administrative posts during more later than Vance Strange than a half-century in education. His doctoral dissertation at Duke expected. Nor was he treated literature and sports. ever to play in an athletic contest for the Warriors. After spending his season of transfer ineligibility preparing to be Hendrix’s next football quarterback, the teenager learned that the College would no longer field an intercollegiate team; thus, he was forced to transfer a second time to play out his gridiron eligibility at Southwestern College before returning to Hendrix to complete his degree in accounting and economics in 1963. Immediately thereafter he plunged into Conway coaching and teaching, first at Conway High, later at his alma mater, and, finally, at the University of Central Arkansas (then known as Arkansas State Teachers College). By 1971, he had also earned two master’s degrees from UCA, one in political science and the other in health and physical education. During those eight years, 1963-71, he had coached five sports and — thanks to Hendrix’s legendary athletic director Bob Courtway — launched his lifelong service to the internationally significant Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Four years away from Conway followed. Financially attractive and professionally challenging opportunities, first at Henderson State University and later at Austin College, lured Vance from the city he had come to call “home.” Only a key spot on Head Coach Ken Stephens’ football staff, coupled with a chance to continue coaching swimming and track and to assist the AAU, returned him to UCA and Conway in 1975. An opportunity outside education suddenly invited his consideration three years later, and it proved irresistible. His credentials, academic and athletic, prepared him well for a 25-year career with 72 | 501 LIFE September 2019

A transfer to Hendrix College to play football brought Vance Strange to the 501. Unfortunately, before he could play, Hendrix decided to no longer field an intercollegiate team, which sent Strange to Southwestern College. Little-Rock-based J.A. Riggs Tractor Company, the Caterpillar dealer for Arkansas. Residing always in Conway, Vance eventually advanced to the position of vice president for corporate development for Riggs while also continuing his assistance to the AAU in a variety of posts, including four years as president of the Arkansas chapter of the AAU. In 1983, he was appointed charter president of the Arkansas Chapter of the Athletic Congress of the United States, now the governing body of the nation’s Olympic Track and Field participation. Vance’s retirement would be brief. In May 2003, just months after leaving Riggs, he became UCA’s eighth director of athletics, charged with shepherding University athletics during the first three years of a five-year transition from NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference to NCAA Division I and the Southland Conference. The task was formidable and 15 athletic teams were involved. Months

501 LIFE is once again profiling noteworthy athletes, men and women who were born outside of Central Arkansas but who made their mark in the 501. The “Celebrating athletic excellence” series will feature one from each of the 11 counties in the 501. of demanding work fell to dozens of professionals from across the campus who looked to Vance for guidance, coordination and leadership. An acceptable strategic plan, one especially sensitive to NCAA regulations, emerged to be completed a few years later under the supervision of Dr. Brad Teague, UCA’s current athletic director. The University fielded its first “D 1” teams in the Southland in 2006. Today, UCA stands as one of its most competitive, committed members. As his UCA responsibilities ended, Vance continued to reject an inactive retirement. Again, a Conway institution benefited: his beloved baccalaureate-granting institution. With Cliff Garrison, once the college’s athletic director, Vance embarked on assisting Hendrix’s fundraising efforts as it prepared to reintroduce football, the sport it had dropped in 1960, the year he moved to Conway. The tandem of retired ADs enjoyed uncommon success. On Sept. 7, 2013, Hendrix played — and

won — its first gridiron contest in 53 years, a 46 to 44 thriller over visiting Westminster College, which was decided by a last-second field goal. The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame was another beneficiary of Vance’s labors. His responsibilities with the Little Rock-headquartered organization included a seat on its board of directors and, later, the presidency of the hall. Simultaneously, he accepted leadership roles on the adult board of Conway’s Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and with Hendrix’s “Warrior Booster Club.”

The 11 are representatives of the quality of athletes found throughout Central Arkansas and are not meant to be the best or the most noteworthy. This is the third installment in the third “Celebrating athletic excellence” series. Vance’s aid to athletics at every level has not gone unnoticed. In recent years, he has earned induction into Hendrix College’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, and the Buddy Sutton Award from the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Unquestionably, Faulkner County and the 501 are proud that Vance Strange relocated to their soil.

September 2019 | 73


Warrior spirit Conway man enjoys ‘fun’ recreation

Jon Ross Henderson enjoys a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including bicycling. (Mike Kemp photo) by Dwain Hebda

Jon Ross Henderson has a different idea than most about what makes for recreation. To the First Security Bank commercial lender, “fun” includes navigating barbed wire, climbing over walls and dragging weighted sleds, all while running miles and miles over the countryside. If that sounds like hardcore military training, it’s meant to, but it doesn’t have anything to do with today’s Armed Forces. What gets Henderson and people just like him out early on Saturday mornings all over the country are obstacle races. Competitors race over distances from three miles to 80 miles or more, studded with obstacles like spear throwing, carrying heavy objects, flipping monster truck tires and crawling under the aforementioned barbed wire. 74 | 501 LIFE September 2019

“I think it’s exciting to see just what all we’re capable of,” said Henderson, 36. “It’s exciting seeing your training plan put into action and seeing the results. God gave you a body that’s capable of a whole lot of things, and I think it’s really exciting to see that.” Arguably the best-known organizing body for these races, Spartan has become synonymous with the activity itself, and it’s here that Henderson was first lured into the sport six years ago. Since then, he’s completed 20 of the grueling events all over the United States, including twice qualifying for the organization’s World Championships. “I played sports growing up and played some intramural sports in college, just for fun,” he said. “I actually picked up endurance sports a little bit later in life. I want to say I was 28 or 29 the first time I ran the Soaring Wings Half Marathon [in Conway].

That was my first longer distance running event, and I have continued to do other things.” Not surprisingly, Henderson’s training for Spartan races is unrelenting, as the crowd of runners and onlookers witnessed firsthand during this year’s Toad Suck Daze in Conway. He breezed to a win in the 10K road race (no obstacles), then less than two hours after crossing the finish line, mounted up to ride in Tour de Toad, the festival’s cycling event. The double dip of racing earned him the coveted Iron Toad medal. “[The cycling] distance was 40 miles officially, but I think it ended up being like 42 or 43,” he said. “The bike race was more of a fundraiser. We had a group that kind of ran competitive in it. That made it somewhat competitive, but there are no results to look up for that. “It was a full day, but it was a lot of fun.”

Jon Ross has participated in various Spartan competitions over the years.

It takes a certain kind of individual to bike or run farther in a few hours than most people drive in their car on any given day. In Henderson’s case, it wasn’t just the urge to test his limits that captured his attention; it was also the chance to train with his wife, Lindsay, who also competed in Spartan races up to the birth of the couple’s first child nine months ago. “My wife has the same athletic habits I do, so pre-kids it worked out really well for us,” he said. “We always made this part of our vacation, and we’ve actually raced some really cool places. We raced in Vermont; that was really cool. West Virginia, surprisingly, was one of my favorites; just a natural beauty, a really pretty area and an area I’d never been to and probably wouldn’t have gone if I hadn’t had a race to do there. Raced outside of Chicago a few times, and we’ve done a few around the Dallas area.” In true Spartan fashion, Henderson is constantly searching for that next adventure and that next challenge. Having already done races up to ultra-marathon distance (50K or 31 miles), he’s picked something completely different for the next chapter of his competitive story, something that’s infused new energy into his standard 10- to 12-hour weekly training regimen. “A goal for later this year – and this is new territory for me and something I’ve not done a lot of in the past – I’m doing a half Ironman event in Augusta, Ga., at the end of September,” he said. “I do have to work on the swimming part, but that’s part of branching out. I am excited about it.” September 2019 | 75


Country mornings in the 501 Story and photos by Linda Henderson

Linda Henderson Jim and Linda Henderson are lifelong residents of the 501. During the week, Jim has a construction business and Linda is a registered nurse at the Conway Human Development Center. On the weekends, they travel the 501 and other areas of Arkansas. Jim drives and hauls equipment. Linda takes photographs of Arkansas. During their travels, they have gained appreciation and love for The Natural State. They have found the 501 has so much to offer for weekend fun and beauty to photograph.

I love waking early in the morning when we are at our country home. With a cup of coffee with sugar and milk, I venture out to the porch with a blanket. I am greeted by the soft sounds of doves as they sing to announce that morning is about to unfold. I find a comfy spot on the porch swing to watch nature’s show. The sun is just topping the big oak trees that line the perimeter of the property. Sunlight falls on the tops of the waist-high native grass. The leaves on the trees are backlit with golden glowing illumination. Dew on the fresh cut grass looks like a sparkling, expensive diamond ring. The old gray barn is still in deep dark shadow awaiting morning’s brightness. The ancient water tower is at first only a dark gloomy structure, but within a few minutes, the sunlight hits the sides, and it shines like a new coin. Peace and quiet in the country sounds like birds calling for their mates, or maybe they are singing to announce that God has given us another day. Without any sound, a giant barred owl swoops down into the high grass and flies off with a field mouse. My eyes and ears are drawn to the songbirds whose songs reverberate across the valley. The abundance of trees that surround the property provide a bushy habitat for many of Arkansas’ native song birds. Crows soar high through the valley. Mockingbirds chirp and imitate the robin that just landed on the high wire. I can hear blue jays with their sharp and harsh call of jay-jay. Sparrows abound,

76 | 501 LIFE September 2019

singing a whistling, buzzing song. In the distance I can hear a woodpecker as it taps noisily on the hollow old tree across the road. The drumming sounds the woodpecker echo across the mountain. Momma bluebird pops out her head from the bluebird box that Mimi hung on the maple tree years ago. She takes flight and returns quickly with an insect for eager offspring. She turns her head to look at me and I guess finds me non-threating, for all I have in my hands is my favorite coffee cup. When the sun becomes too intense to observe the morning looking to the east, I turn to watch the morning come alive from another view. In the morning sun, the butterflies become active in

September 2019 | 77

the field where the wildflowers bloom. They flutter from flower to flower in their silent quest to gather nectar. The peaceful sounds are interrupted by a metallic clatter. It sounds like something is running on a tin roof. I suspect the source of all the noise is a squirrel. The racket stops long enough for crazy Mr. Squirrel to look over the edge of the roof to see what the strange creature in the swing is doing. He finds I am only armed with pen and paper. In his frenzy to get away he falls to the ground with such a loud thump, his antics disturb momma bluebird and she flies away to find a quieter spot or maybe another insect for her hungry crew. The catalpa tree is giving blooms that are falling fast. The old tree provides worms for fishing down in the pond. A fishing pole can always be found in the barn, and there is nothing better than fresh fish for supper. Sunning on a rock is Mr. King Snake. He is harmless and serves a useful purpose of mice and harmful snake eliminator, but he can give you quite a fright if you come upon him unexpectedly. Flowers planted from seed in the early spring now provide a bit of color to the early morning view. Their blooms will grace our country home’s table ’til winter’s first frost. As I listen closely to the sounds of morning, I hear noises of movement from down in the holler. Is it a bear, a deer, a wild turkey, the red fox or a wild hog? Nope, it is just that crazy squirrel with his jaws filled with fallen acorns. He can hardly run for the bounty he has gathered. People say they wish for the quiet of the country, but if you listen, the country life is loud with the sounds of nature. If you are still and quiet, I am always surprised at how curious God’s creatures are about the one sitting on the porch. The birds fly close and perch at a safe distance. They look and observe to determine what you are and if you are a threat before flying off to find another meal. The sun is well up, and I am hearing movement in the house. That means more coffee to brew, bacon to fry, biscuits to bake and sausage gravy to make. Only at our country home do we consume such a calorie-laden breakfast, but that is part of the charm. 78 | 501 LIFE September 2019

The family at a luau in Hawaii: Ashley Pitts, Kacey Baker, Jenna Baker, BJ Baker holding Adalynn, Judy Epperson and Stacy Baker.

Sisters continued from Page 47 “She was back before the ambulance got there,” Ashley said, adding that after the second breath the girl had a pulse. After the third, she was responsive. “I knew she would come back. I just knew it.” Stacy said the little girl squeezed her hand and “wouldn’t let go.” The two were told the girl’s name but couldn’t understand it, so they called her “Baby.” Ashley said she and Stacy were yelling at the girl, “Come on, Baby!” Afterward, the sisters pieced together that the little girl and her twin sister had gone to the pool with their grandmother and aunt. They said the aunt and the twin sister stood nearby and watched as CPR was administered. “She saw everything,” Stacy said of the twin sister. The girl’s mother was contacted and arrived at the pool shortly later. Ashley said the woman was hysterical and yelling at them to get away from her daughter. Ashley said the girl’s grandmother was in tears and told the sisters that they never took the CPR class that they were urged to take.

saved her life. “WeWefought the angel of

death and won. I was so glad that I was in the right place at the right time.

— Stacy Baker

“Everybody needs to know CPR,” said Stacy. Stacy and Ashley said while some of the family members hugged and thanked them for saving the girls life, they never heard anything from the parents. The hotel staff told them that the girl was kept at the hospital overnight for observation. The next day, she was released and the family packed up and checked out of the hotel. Ashley said the two were not looking for anything from the family, but it felt weird that

they did not reach out to them. “It was obvious they didn’t want attention brought to them,” Stacy added. The hotel expressed its appreciation with a complimentary cheese tray and a note thanking them for their heroic measures. Stacy and Ashley said there was no lifeguard on duty, even though the pool was packed with kids and there were employees handing out towels. “There were so many kids,” Stacy said, adding that a drowning can happen in seconds. They expressed concern that the hotel staff did not appear to know CPR. “Everybody needs to be trained because you never know when you will need it,” said Stacy. “If we hadn’t been there, would they have just watched her die?” Back in the 501, the sisters have fond memories of snorkeling and other fun activities they enjoyed while in Hawaii. They also wonder about the girl they brought back to life. “We saved her life,” Stacy wrote on social media, asking for prayer for the girl and her family. “We fought the angel of death and won. I was so glad that I was in the right place at the right time.” September 2019 | 79

NEIGHBORS special friends

Dog’s best friend ‘I wish I could take more’ by Donna Lampkin Stephens Mike Kemp photos

Kathy Burton of Conway can’t remember when there weren’t dogs in her life. Her current pack includes golden retrievers Cooper, 8, and JJ, 7; chiweenie Tux, 3; and lab/ heeler mix Coco, 2. But there have been many, many more in her life. And it’s a safe bet there will be many, many more to come. “They’re a lot of comfort,” Burton said. “They’re each different. They all bring something different to you.” Since 2017, she has volunteered with the Conway chapter of the rescue group Last Chance Arkansas. She has fostered dozens — litters of puppies, singles, adults. Why? “Because of the joy that the dogs give back to you,” she said. “The love, the joy — it’s just pure happiness on their part. They don’t ask for anything but what you do for them. “You can see the relief on their face. You can see the happiness come — ‘I’ve been three or four different places; you’re not going to kick me; you’re not going to hit me; you’re going to feed me and let me inside.’ “It’s just — it’s something I want to do. I’m at a point in my life where I can do it. I work from home, so that gives me a little bit of an edge.” Burton grew up around Fort Smith. “We lived in Greenwood, and dogs were dropped off, and we took them in,” she remembered, adding that a little terrier mix they called Spotty “took care of all of us kids.” “I think what really drew me to the dogs was if we had a sand bur in one of our socks or our feet, (Spotty) would pull it out,” she said. “That was intriguing to me. My mom always had Chihuahuas. They were always my buddy in the morning — they’d come get in bed with me.” As a teenager in Fort Smith, she had a German shepherd named Caesar. “Somebody had to take him for walks at night,” she said. “We’d go out walking in Downtown Fort Smith at 9 or 10 at night. It was amazing how he’d protect me. He’d put himself between me and anyone he thought he needed to.” After graduating from Northside High School in 1972, she started her career in medical records. Jobs took her, her dogs and her daughter, Sandra, all over the state — Lake Village, Dermott, Pine Bluff, Heber Springs, Hope, Jonesboro and, finally, to Conway in 2013. 80 | 501 LIFE September 2019

One of the pups that has found a home with Kathy Burton.

In Jonesboro, Sadie was her first on-her-own rescue. The lab/chow mix had obviously had a litter of puppies and was lost or thrown out. “She lived out in the field by my apartment in Jonesboro for more than a week before she would let me catch her,” Burton remembered. “She became my daughter’s baby — two peas in a pod. They were soul mates.” Eventually, she added Scarlet, a white lab/pit mix, to her pack. “She was a very sweet girl and loved her family,” Burton said. “She was found with her sister, running the streets of Little Rock. Her sister was adopted, but although the black dogs have issues getting adopted, so do solid white dogs.” Also in Jonesboro, she got her first golden. Reagan was about to be put down when she saved him. “He’d been inside since he was a baby, but when the family had a child, he got pushed outside,” Burton said. “He was very bitter. They’d beaten him or had taken a broom to him. He was not the typical golden. It was my first experience with a frustrated dog who was ready to say, ‘To hell with the human race.’” Reagan ruled the roost — and her Jeep — for the rest of his life. Roxie, a golden/Great Pyrenees mix, joined the crew from a northeast Arkansas Humane Society. “She could scale a six-foot privacy fence, and pizza was her favorite food,” Burton remembered. “She would come home with pizza boxes.” Cooper came from another northeast Arkansas Humane Society in 2012. About a year old, he was found stuck in mud in a field, heartworm positive. Her pack became unofficial greeters at Jonesboro’s Hollywood Feed store. After Burton, who began working from home in the health information management field in 2005, moved to Conway, she found JJ, about 6 months old, roaming her street. After going house to house in the neighborhood and failing to find his family, she welcomed him into hers. In 2016, she was fostering for Out of the Woods Rescue. Tux came to her only a few weeks old, and after his adoption by one of her friends didn’t work out, he returned to the Burton pack. “He became mine a week after he got here,” she said.

Her crew has been regulars at Conway’s dog park since it opened. She is a big fan. “It’s a great place for everybody to run, and it’s big enough you don’t have everybody on top of each other,” she said. “If you’ve got somebody that’s a little scared, since they have the big side and the small side, you can always use the other side for separation.” The dog park was where she met a Last Chance Arkansas volunteer in 2017. Since then, she has rarely been without a foster. “I have no idea how many there have been,” she said. “Some were here for a few days, some for a few weeks and some for months.” Coco is perhaps the most special of them all. Burton fostered him and some of his litter mates in the summer of 2017. Eventually, all of his siblings were adopted and left for their new homes in New England. “Just the way he looks at you,” she said of their bond. “He just had a look — ‘You’re mine.’ I can’t even describe it. I just fell in love with him, but I had my three others, and financially, it’s difficult, because

I’m going to make sure they go to the vet, that they have all their shots and heartworm prevention and flea and tick prevention, plus I’m not going to feed them cheap food.” Just before Christmas 2017, Coco was adopted by a family in Pennsylvania. Burton had a difficult time putting him on Alpha Dog Transport, but she sent him to his new home. By New Year’s Eve, though, it was apparent the adoption wasn’t working out. “I said, ‘Send him back; here’s the money,’” said Burton, who reunited forever with her newest baby on his return trip a few days into 2018. “He’s grown up so much since then. He has to hug me. He puts his legs on my shoulders and hugs me.” There have been other special ones — Polly Parrot and Suri from last summer; Davey Crockett this summer. Davey was in her lap during the interview for this story, just a few days away from his own journey to New England and his forever home. “It’s just pure love,” she said. “We give them a secure place, a safe place. I wish I had a bigger place. I wish I could take more.”

Animaal l Hospit Dr. Greg Hartman

Dr. Greg Hartman

| 385 Hogan Lane | Conway, AR 72034 | (501) 450-6444


Dr. JoAnna Roath

General Veterinary Medicine • Complete Diagnostic Services Companion Animal Medicine & Surgery • Full Service Boarding

September 2019 | 81

NEIGHBORS person of the month

CITY: Conway. WORK: University of Central Arkansas, director of

Dr. Stephanie H. McBrayer

housing and residence life and BearCard; 15 years at UCA.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO EDUCATION: While at Arkansas State University, I had the opportunity to work as a Resident Assistant (RA) and it was my first exposure to student affairs and higher education as a career field. When I went to UCA to pursue my master’s, I decided to continue my path in counseling, but I also met all of the requirements for the college student personnel degree. During that time, I served as the hall director for Carmichael Hall. I was learning about student development in the classroom and putting it into practice with my position in the residence hall. That is when it clicked for me! I wanted to work with college students and help them have an impactful experience like I was afforded. I have been working on a college campus ever since!

CHURCH ACTIVITIES: New Life Church – Conway;

greeter team.

FAMILY: Husband, Todd McBrayer, safety director for Enterprise Products; two children, Luke McBrayer, 25, and Kati McBrayer, 21; and Camryn Joy, 6 months, our new baby – a mini Goldendoodle.

EDUCATION: Doctor of education, higher education administration, University of Arkansas Little Rock; master of science, counseling and college student personnel, University of Central Arkansas; bachelor of science, psychology with a minor in criminology, Arkansas State University. MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION: If you’re talking material possession, it has to be my iPhone because it has my life on it including my calendar, email, notes, etc., but most importantly more than 15,000 pictures of my family, puppy, friends, and travel that I would not want to lose! MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Friday

“date night” with my husband and spending time with my puppy, Camryn!

FAVORITE QUOTE: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Gandhi Dr. Stephanie H. McBrayer is director of housing and residence life and BearCard at the University of Central Arkansas. “Finding meaningful ways to help students make the transition from high school to university, connect to the campus community, make new friends and thrive outside of the classroom is where I found my passion,” she said. “The on campus housing experience can contribute to and extend that learning and development in a unique way because we provide the students’ home away from home. The experience of living on campus is so much more than a place to sleep. I feel blessed to be a part of the team that has the responsibility to shape those on campus experiences at UCA!” (Mike Kemp photo) 82 | 501 LIFE September 2019

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: I have found my home in the City of Colleges.

This community is the perfect size with all the great shopping and restaurants and easy access to Little Rock, Fayetteville and Memphis. I love the diversity and energy that the college students bring and how friendly and welcoming we have found everyone to be.

Helping You Get Back in the Game Conway Regional has partnered with local physicians to create the Conway Regional Comprehensive Sports Outreach Program — providing on-site athletic training, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. From the sidelines during a game to your athlete’s side after an injury, our athletic trainers are there when you need them.

Conway Regional Comprehensive Sports Outreach Program

Tom Roberts, MD Medical Director Orthopaedics

Grant Bennett, MD Orthopaedics

Tim Freyaldenhoven, MD Neurology

Thad Hardin, MD Family Practice

James Howell, MD Orthopaedics

Lew McColgan, MD General Surgery

Greg Kendrick, MD Hospitalist

David Naylor, MD Family Practice

Donald Steely, MD Cardiology

Brad Tilley, MD Family Practice

Jason Carruth, MS, MAT, LAT, ATC Supervisor — Athletic Training Services

Griffin Hawthorne, MAT, ATC Athletic Trainer — Greenbrier High School

Brooke Meins, MEd, LAT, ATC Athletic Trainer — Conway High School

Jacob Walton-Conner MS, LAT, ATC Athletic Trainer — Conway High School

Anna Rogers, LAT, ATC Athletic Trainer — Conway Christian High School

One Team. One Promise.

Learn more at

Local Readers poll

Voted Best Bank in Faulkner County for 12 years Your future plans need a financial partner. First Security is committed to individuals, families and businesses right here in our community – with consistent quality service for years to come. What’s your better? Get there with us. Member FDIC

Profile for 501 LIFE

September 2019  

501 LIFE is all about “Back to school” in this month’s edition, with a Neighbors feature on St. Joseph Elementary School Principal Courtney...

September 2019  

501 LIFE is all about “Back to school” in this month’s edition, with a Neighbors feature on St. Joseph Elementary School Principal Courtney...