August 2022

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Editor Stefanie Brazile is surrounded by a dozen of our region’s best cheerleaders who were “Loving LIFE” at the cover photo shoot on July 11 at Hendrix College. See story on page 20.

501's got spirit,

Yes We Do! D

id you know that how you like to eat your ice cream can reveal a lot about your personality? I read a study about that and have to admit that I’m a “waffle cone” kind of gal, which means I tend to be the host of the party, more traditional and a nurturing caregiver. Surprisingly, this matches up. Those who prefer a sugar cone are the life of the party and tend to be funny, edgy performers. And if you choose a bowl instead of a cone, you’re an analytical type who is responsible, dutiful, and family oriented. I was thinking about ice cream because Chef Don Bingham suggests an “Ice Cream Back-to-School Bash” as a great send-off for kids of any age in his Entertaining feature. August is the Back-to-School issue, and our cover demonstrates the enthusiasm that Central Arkansas cheerleaders are ready to share. On the day of our cover photo shoot, twelve spirited teenagers showed up before 8 a.m. with positive attitudes as they worked together for the first time. I want to extend my personal thanks to Katrina Jones, cheer coach from Maumelle High School, for her expertise and guidance. Two stories that touched the heart of this “nurturing caregiver” focus on the importance of family. Be sure to read how this magazine helped Tayshun Mattison’s two biological siblings reunite with him after they were placed in foster homes in Texas as children. Also, don’t miss the story of Quentin and Lindsey Rowe, whose love has seen them through major health crises on their journeys to becoming registered nurses. We also introduce you to two university presidents and offer a kids’ section where you’ll meet Archie, a standard poodle who is supporting teachers in the 501. It’s time for football y’all, and we’ve chosen the 12th annual 501 LIFE Football Team. The team features 29 student athletes — the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the field. Check them out on page 50 and in our annual 501 LIFE Football edition publishing this August. Ready, set, game on!

4 | 501 LIFE August 2022

PUBLISHER Jeremy Higginbotham EDITOR Stefanie W. Brazile FOUNDERS Donna Spears and Sonja Keith SPORTS AND DIGITAL DIRECTOR Levi Gilbert COPY EDITORS Andrea Lively and Andrea Miller BRAND AMBASSADORS Donald Brazile and Paulette Higginbotham PHOTO DIRECTOR Mike Kemp FINANCE DIRECTOR Debbie Flowers ADVERTISING SALES Donna Spears

CONTRIBUTORS Becky Bell Don Bingham Jessica Duff Lori Dunn Brittany Gilbert Laurie Green Dwain Hebda Linda Henderson Vivian Lawson Hogue

Tammy Keith Beth Jimmerson Susan Peterson Dr. Robert Reising Judy Riley Carol Rolf Donna Lampkin Stephens Rita Halter Thomas Morgan Zimmerman

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 Julie LaRue

Karl Lenser Monica Lieblong Lori Melton Kiera Oluokun Deanna Ott Pat Otto Jon Patrom Amy Reed Lori Ross Margaret Smith Jan Spann Kim Tyler Suzann Waggoner 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 Mike Parsons Brooke Pryor Carol Spears Kristi Thurmon

501 LIFE is published by Make the Jump Media, LLC (920 Locust Ave. Ste. 104, Conway, AR 72034, 501.327.1501) and is owned by Jeremy Higginbotham and Stefanie Brazile. 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. Advertisements are not necessarily endorsed by 501 LIFE.


2022 Volume 15 Issue 4

4 8 9 10 12 14 16

On the cover

Letter from the Editor Upcoming events Martin Luther King Jr. Square ribbon cutting Loving LIFE photos Conway Community Band's American Spectacular Sissy's Log Cabin opens in West Little Rock

A dozen Central Arkansas Cheerleaders gathered at the Hendrix College football field for our School Spirit edition of 501 LIFE covershoot. Photo by Mike Kemp

By Stefanie Brazile

Youth of the Month: Ka'Mya Tackett Miss Teen Arkansas

By Tammy Keith

20 22 24 28 32 34 36 38 40 42 44

Local cheerleaders discuss school spirit Couple of the Month: Dr. Mike and Lisa Williams of Harding University Foundation provides $300,000 to Renewal Ranch Entertaining: Ice Cream ‘Fundae‘ By Chef Don Bingham

Pet of the Month: Archibald - Teachers' Pet

By Becky Bell

Kid of the Month: Mia Palmer By Lori Dunn

Home is where the smart is

By Brittany Gilbert

Food for thought: Arkansas Farm to You School Safety Laws with Charles Finkenbinder PCSSD welcomes students back to school

By Jessica Duff


Unity Health awards grants to local elementary schools Central Arkansas libraries plan fall programs


My Life, Powered by Conway Corp


Celebrating 70 years of CBC


If I could save time in a bottle

56 58

Introducing the 501 LIFE Football Team Athletic Excellence: Greg Flesher


Morrilton celebrates golden reunion

64 66

By Carol Rolf

By Beth Jimmerson By Stefanie Brazile

By Vivian Lawson Hogue

By Dr. Robert Reising By Stefanie Brazile

Author of the Month: Adele Holmes

By Susan L. Peterson

Artist of the Month: Greg Mobley, Deejay/Animator By Dwain Hebda


Dirtwater and the secret ingredient


Childhoods spent with missing piece LIFE put them back together

By Laurie Green

By Rita Halter Thomas


Arkansas State Parks Grand Adventure


Caring is their calling at CRMC

78 80 82


By Judy Riley

By Linda Henderson By John Patton

UCA hosts International Trombone Festival

By Stefanie Brazile

Red, White and Wooster Person of the Month: Ellis Arnold of Hendrix University

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

Arkansas PBS, 31 Arkansas State University Beebe, 69


Bledsoe Chiropractic, 21

All the cool kids have 501 LIFE delivered directly to their home.

Do you?


Centennial Bank, 25 Conway Corp, 49 Conway Institute of Music, 35 Conway Regional Health System, 83 Conway Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, 52 Conway Symphony Orchestra Guild, 65


Diamond Pools, 44 DJM Orthodontics , 37


Edward Jones, 27


First Community Bank, 53 First Security Bank, 84 First Service Bank, 13 Freyaldenhoven Heating and Cooling, Inc., 76

SURE, 501 LIFE MAGAZINE IS LOCATED AT MORE THAN 700 LOCATIONS IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS FOR FREE, BUT ... For those who want good news placed right into their hands, you can get a subscription for only $20 a year! Home delivery ensures you never miss an issue! Visit or call 501.327.1501 to subscribe.


Greenbrier Schools, 41


Harding University, 45 Hartman Animal Hospital, 33 Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA, 79 Heritage Living Center, 5


Julie’s Sweet Shoppe, 57


Catch 501 LIFE on KARK News with Hunter Hoagland each month!

welcome to the Writers’ Room

K2K Salon, 68 Kilwins Chocolate, 68


MSC Eye Associates, 75


Natural State Retrofoam, 39


Ott Insurance, 81


Patterson Eye, 57 Pulaski County Special School District, 42


Reynolds Performance Hall, 19 Rise Above Alcohol & Drugs, 18


Salem Place, 54 Sissy’s Log Cabin, 15 Shelter Insurance, 57 South Conway County Schools, 63 Superior Health & Rehab, 2


Unity Health, 3 University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton, 62 University of Central Arkansas, 43

Susan Peterson

holds a Ph.D. in secondary education and taught at UCA and Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. This former reading and language arts teacher loves sharing information about local authors, hoping their stories will inspire others. Now retired, she spends her time painting, making pottery and playing pickleball. Reach her at susanleepeterson@

Brittany Gilbert

is a former public high school teacher and UCA graduate. Brittany is now immersed in all things homeschooling. She is a director of a local homeschool community with an emphasis on classical education and also co-hosts a podcast called The Deeply Rooted Homeschool. She lives in Greenbrier with her husband, Levi, and their three kids. Contact Brittany at

Becky Bell

is an award-winning writer who spent most of her career as a newspaper reporter and in public relations. Now a freelance writer, she enjoys writing anything from human interest features to news stories. She received her graduate degree in public administration from SAU. Becky and her Papillon, Queenie Belle, live in Magnolia. Contact Becky at

August 2022 | 7

August Events Photo Expo 2022

Titan’s Obstacle Course 9 a.m. • Aug. 6 • Jacksonville

Aug. 4-6 • Little Rock

Join hundreds of photographers and meet world renowned keynote speakers, such as Nikon Ambassador Moose Peterson, Canon Explorer of Light David Bergman and 501 LIFE's very own Linda Henderson and many more! There will be classes, hands-on demonstrations, trade show booths and more. Bring your camera as there will be many unique photo opportunities. Register at

Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre 6:30 p.m. • Aug. 4-6 • Harding University

' This obstacle race for kids ages 6-15 is an end-of-summer adventure they won’t want to miss. Participants will navigate through fun and challenging obstacles including a mud run, slip n’ slide, tire run, balance beam walk, and many more! The Jacksonville Community Center will have groups starting every 30 minutes until noon. Participants will receive an official Titans Obstacle Course sweatband. Register at

Fifth Annual

Hot Springs Baseball Weekend Aug. 26-27 • Convention Center

Experience “The Play That Goes Wrong,” where Mayhem & Mirth meet their match. At the Hardly Drama Society’s newest production, “The Murder at Haversham Manor,” things quickly go from messy to pandemonium in this manic whodunit. Part Monty Python, part Sherlock Holmes. Tickets available at or call 501.279.5777.

Hot Springs Baseball Weekend is a celebration of the city’s status as the birthplace of Major League Baseball Spring Training, and all of the weekend’s activities are free and open to the public. The event kicks-off with a free screening of “Facing Nolan” and continues with appearances by major league legends Dale Murphy (Atlanta Braves), NY Yankees Chris Chambliss and Goose Gossage. Visit for a complete schedule of events.

Kids’ Triathlon

Paw Patrol Live!

6:30 a.m. • Aug. 6 • Conway

The First Security Conway Kids Triathlon is a great experience for kids ages 6-15. This event emphasizes health, self-esteem, self-confidence and fun in a safe, family-friendly environment. The athletes begin with a pool-swim in the UCA HPER Center, then take on a flat course with their bikes. The triathlon wraps with a flat out-and-back run to the spectators at the finish line! Register at 8 | 501 LIFE August 2022

11 a.m. and 3 p.m. • Aug. 27-28 • Little Rock

It’s Pirate Day in Adventure Bay, and Mayor Goodway is getting ready for a big celebration! But first, Ryder and his team of pirate pups must rescue Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. When they do, they also discover a secret pirate treasure map! The hit Nickelodeon TV show is now an action-packed, music-filled live stage show. Buy tickets at

The Time Is Always Right To Do What Is Right .

Martin Luther King Jr.

Theodis “Ted” Manley cut the ribbon to the new Martin Luther King Jr. Square.

Martin Luther King Jr. Square opens in Downtown Conway Photos by Paulette Higginbotham


he City of Conway dedicated a park at 1171 Markham St. as Martin Luther King Jr. Square (MLK Square) on July 14 in honor of the legacy of Dr. King and local African American heroes.

Theodis “Ted” Manley (holding 501 LIFE) and family. He is the son of Richard and Ruby Manley, who owned Deluxe Diner, a prominent business in Conway during the Jim Crow era and are recognized on the memorial walkway.

MLK Square is the newest site for a sustainable low-impact development park that provides the community a green space on a reclaimed brownfield site. By replacing pipes and concrete with living biological systems, parks like MLK Square offer an alternative on how cities can use soft engineering to better manage polluted stormwater runoff. MLK Square highlights the historic contributions of the African American community in Conway. Through large granite pavers woven into the park walkway, MLK Square tells the stories of people who made an impact on the local, state, and national level. Visit for educational videos that offer more information on the sustainable features and functions of MLK Square.

Addison (from left) and Easton Pence of Conway attended with their grandmother, Lynn Pence, a member of Foothills Arkansas Master Naturalists, who helped with the park.

Yejuanda Ogeto (from left), Ann Scott and Tyrone Scott.

August 2022 | 9

The Greenbrier Panthers Class of 1966 was “Loving LIFE” at their reunion. Clodean Cotton Scroggins (from left), Carolyn Rhodes Morgan, Tommy Edgemon, Rickey Watson, Pam Patton Jolley, David Baker, Jane Ann Langley Havens, Danny Mallett, Jammie Bailey Southerland, Sandra Harkrider Brakebill, Cissy Mahan Lieblong, Gene Whitley, Donna Lucas Graham, D.D. Henderson Matthews, Glendon Acre and Brenda Kirby Hawkins.

C.H. Turner was "Loving LIFE" when he stopped by the 501 LIFE office with delicious yellow and red meat watermelons. Talented saxophone player Saboor Salaam was “Loving LIFE” outside Krab Kingz Seafood in downtown Conway as he entertained passersby on a hot summer evening.

The Conway Public Schools Food Service staff were “Loving LIFE” at the 2022 School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference in Orlando, Fla.

The Conway Senior Citizen Tuesday Line Dance Class was “Loving LIFE” when they were invited to Blaze Pizza to dance for their supper.

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501 LIFE Contributor Susan Peterson was “Loving LIFE” while on vacation in Biarritz, France.

Hardy Mitchell celebrated his 94th birthday and wife Greta celebrated Mother’s Day with their family at the home of Dr. Stephen Deal in Greenbrier.

Toby Pedersen of Morrilton was “Loving LIFE” on the ferry Bastø Fosen, an electric ferry traveling between Horten and Moss in southern Norway. The Conway Morning Rotary Club was “Loving LIFE” at a recent meeting.


Headed out on a special trip? Have a special occasion or gettogether coming up? 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!

The Conway Community Band produces

An American Spectacular T

he third in a series of Conway Community Band Concerts was held Friday, July 1, at Simon Park. Several hundred people attended the “American Spectacular” concert to kick off the Fourth of July holiday weekend. About 70 talented current and former band members performed 11 patriotic arrangements. Justin Cook, a band director with the University of Central Arkansas, has overseen the summer concert series. The conductors for the evening were: Brantley Douglas, Jennifer Hawkinson, Daniel Severs and Paul Taylor. Taylor also emceed the event.

Al Hiegel, 95, stood for the Navy when the “Armed Forces Salute Medley” was played.

During the “Armed Forces Salute,” servicemen and women in the audience stood when their branch song was played. The eldest veteran present was 95-yearold Al Hiegel, who stood and gave those present a thumbs-up. Complimentary refreshments were provided by Andy’s Frozen Custard and 10 Box Cost-Plus. The media sponsor of the concert series was 501 LIFE Magazine, and the event was organized with Kim Williams and the Conway Downtown Partnership. Williams provided patrioticcolored pinwheels to the audience and a good time was had by all.

Avery Howard (from left), Ansley Harrell, Lennox Harrell and Colton Howard.

Addison (from left), Henry, Jillian and Rachel Wesson.

Cheryl Weldon (from left) with Jan Spann.

12 | 501 LIFE August 2022

August 2022 | 13

Sissy’s Log Cabin celebrated the grand opening of a new storefront in The Promenade at Chenal on July 8. Several team members attended the special event, including: Kim Adams, Robert Zooms, Sharri and Bill Jones, Sissy Jones, and Dawn and William Jones.


IN THE ROCK Sissy's Log Cabin expands to The Promenade at Chenal By Stefanie Brazile


he excitement was electric when Sissy’s Log Cabin hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening at a new storefront in The Promenade at Chenal on July 8. The West Little Rock location features state-of-the-art jewelry displays and a dedication to the “Sissy’s Experience” of quality jewelry and exceptional customer service. As a tangible demonstration of the Jones’ family commitment to customer satisfaction, a sign near the front door provides a manager’s phone number for anyone with a “jewelry emergency.” “Most of those calls are about forgetting a birthday or anniversary,” said Bill Jones, owner and CEO. “Whatever the problem, we’re here for the client. The more inconvenienced we are, the more ‘convenienced’ our customers are.” Elegantly lit cases fill 2,000 sq. ft. of the store, which is managed by Robert Dooms, a longtime Sissy’s Log Cabin expert. “He is a fine young man and a wonderful Christian,” Jones said. “As we did at the grand opening, we have a prayer in each store before we open up each day.” The company was founded 52 years ago by Sissy Jones in Pine Bluff, and the stores have always featured a log cabin look as a nod to her first location. This store's design is modernized, with large exterior windows, lighter colors and warm, natural hues that will be mimicked in the Memphis store whose construction will begin in September. “Next,

14 | 501 LIFE August 2022

we’re looking at Northwest Arkansas and Nashville,” Jones said. Representatives from the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and Moses Tucker Partners were in attendance. Founder Sissy Jones spoke, showing excitement about the expansion of her original vision. She extended an invitation to the standing-room-only crowd to shop items available at all price points and emphasized that they value all customers. Several other family members were present, including Bill’s wife Sharri, who is the event coordinator and an owner. Their son William is the vice president of operations and social media. “We are excited to join the rapid growth of West Little Rock and to take part in building its future,” William said. “Expanding our business in this flourishing area gives us the opportunity to meet and serve new clients and provide greater service to our current clients in Central Arkansas.” Jones was also in a celebratory mood because two days earlier he was appointed to be a Game & Fish Commissioner by Governor Asa Hutchinson until 2029. “I’m very honored and humbled to get that appointment. I was raised hunting and fishing all over the state and world. I see the future of Arkansas and it’s very important to preserve what we have.” The West Little Rock store joins brick-and-mortar locations in Pine Bluff, Little Rock Heights, Jonesboro, Conway and Memphis, as well as an e-commerce site.



By Tammy Keith

16 | 501 LIFE August 2022


verything Ka’Mya Tackett of Sherwood does — from being a varsity cheerleader to serving as Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen 2022 — is about inspiring positivity in others. The 15-year-old, a 10th-grader at Sylvan Hills High School this year, said her favorite part of cheerleading for the Bears is “being able to get the crowds riled up with flips and cheers and being the ultimate spirit of the school.” “The cheerleaders are the energy of the school. We get to uplift everybody. We kind of set the tone for what the games are going to be like, or the event, and having the band to back us up with the energy is awesome as well,” she said. “I feel like I’m a people person, so I know how to gauge a crowd and feel the vibe.” Ka’Mya, who also plays volleyball and runs track, said she discovered her love for cheerleading when she was only 3 years old. She started competitive cheerleading at 4 years old and said Cheer Time Revolution in Sherwood was her second home. “I was what they call a gym rat,” she said, laughing. She became a school cheerleader in seventh grade, and her thencoach and teacher, Janna Gibson, remembers Ka'Mya as “great academically and an overall great person.” “Ka’Mya is a natural leader, and she brought such a presence of responsibility and leadership to the team,” Gibson said. “She encouraged others to take initiative, and I really saw her grow in that role from seventh to eighth grade. She is fantastic. She is a wellrounded, great kid.” Varsity coach Tyler Phillips described Ka’Mya as “an amazing athlete who strives to be the all-round cheerleader.” “I love that she pushes herself to be a great ambassador and leader not only for her school, but also for her community,” he said. Ka’Mya was chosen as a Sherwood Junior Ambassador through the Chamber of Commerce. “It was one of the best things to happen during my freshman year, learning about businesses in Sherwood … and how they’re really influencing Sherwood,” she said. Cheerleading suits Ka’Mya’s outgoing personality, adding that she enjoys bonding with her team members in activities such as tie-dying T-shirts together or going bowling when they’re not practicing. “Cheerleading has helped me grow as a person and improved my personality … it’s given me a certain sense of confidence about myself. It’s an outlet to have fun and de-stress myself. It’s also given me an outlet to connect with younger children” through camps and community activities. Last year, she was nominated at cheerleading camp to become a National Cheerleaders Association All-American cheerleader, the cream of the crop. This year, she couldn’t attend the camp because she was a contestant in Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen. “I guess it worked out for me,” she said. As the state winner, Ka’Mya will compete for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen from Aug.10-12 in Dallas. A daughter of Tia Proctor-Tackett and Maurice Tackett, she grew up participating in pageants from the time her mother could carry her onstage. “I was never forced; I enjoyed it from the start,” she said. Ka’Mya was the reigning Miss Conway’s Outstanding Teen when she won Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen in June. “I was absolutely taken aback and super surprised, … because it’s not common for first-timers to win,” she said. She performed a lyrical dance for her talent and took home $9,200 In scholarships, which she plans to use for graduate school. Ka’Mya Tackett will compete for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen from Aug. 10-12 in Dallas. Photo by: Amber Nolan

In addition to the crown, she won several other awards during the pageant, including Overall Lifestyle and Wellness, Most Photogenic and the Overall Alpha Interview, which is the honor of which she’s most proud, she said. “I came out of the interview not thinking I did as well as I did,” she said. Ka’Mya said she saw the interview as a “back-andforth conversation,” and the teenager, whose dream is to be a neurosurgeon or physical therapist, said she liked that the judges focused on her intellect.

‘I never have a problem being a light in the room!’ - Ka’Mya Tackett Ka’Mya said her interest in neurosurgery stems in part from personal experience with a sibling who is on the autism spectrum. “Neurology is such an amazing part of science …. It’s a way to provide answers to people who wonder why their brains are like they are. The brain itself is so powerful and being able to learn about it and study it, I just love the idea of that.” She also has an interest in physical therapy because of the wonders her former therapist worked after the teenager suffered a shoulder injury, which later required surgery, from diving into a base during a softball game. The positive influence of her therapist has stayed with her, she said. Ka’Mya’s pageant social impact initiative is “Mental Gardening: Growing Positive Minds.” “The focus is that we’re making sure we’re instilling positivity in kids,” she said. “Why not focus on the children and make sure they’re instilling those habits early on instead of dealing with bad habits later?” She’s writing a children’s book, too. The premise is that “minds are like flowers. If you put your plants in sunlight; they grow. Put yourself in a positive environment, and it improves your mental well-being. If you give yourself positive affirmations, you grow,” she said. Ka’Mya said her mother is her role model. “She’s guided me through so much of life. We’ve had some hard times, but hard times are needed, because that’s when lessons are learned. Her being someone I can look up to has really been a privilege.” Ka’Mya wants to be that role model for others, too, whether it’s through cheerleading, pageants, or her dayto-day life. “I guess it’s just my nature. I never have a problem being a light in the room,” she said.

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Photo by Rebecca Miller

August 2022 | 19

On July 11, Ka’Mya Tackett joined 11 other Central Arkansas Cheerleaders to help 501 LIFE Magazine shoot our Celebrating School Spirit cover. The students appeared on the cover in the following order: Back row: Gabby Berkemeyer of Sacred Heart Catholic (from left), Ka’Mya Tackett of Sylvan Hills, Ayani Criswell of Morrilton High School, and Jordan Bush of Maumelle. Middle row: Brooke Dunn of Harding Academy, Aaron Pena of Cabot, Catherine Rayburn of Quitman, Maddie Dudley of Searcy, Mady Windham of Conway, and G.G. Baker of Baptist Preparatory. Front row: Emma Reynolds of Greenbrier and Embry Young of Jacksonville. During the photoshoot, we were able to speak to some of the talented young athletes on what representing school spirit means to them.

Aaron Pena Cabot Panthers

As part of a 30-member squad that won the 2022 Game Day Co-Ed Large Varsity National Championship, Aaron believes the best way to model school spirit is by expressing yourself and encouraging others to be happier and more excited at games. For the past three years, he has prepared for being a base and doing lifts at games by “staying in decent shape, eating healthy, and drinking a lot of water.”

Brooke Dunn Harding Academy Wildcats

I’ve been leading my school in school spirit since eighth grade, and it’s more than just about the sports season each year. It’s about everyone being happy and cheering up and that’s something that God would like for us to do . I think that means a lot and it is really important to make everyone feel appreciated and that they are welcome.

Emma Reynolds Greenbrier Panthers

I show school spirit by making people feel comfortable, by making them feel like they don’t have to act like somebody else, and keeping everyone positive. I’ve been a cheerleader for two years, and I love the team and how everyone is comfortable with each other and how well we get along.

Catherine Rayburn Quitman Bulldogs

I keep my school spirit up by being positive and always encouraging others in their times of need. This is my sixth year of cheering and I enjoy it because it’s a very positive thing, and I love spending time with my cheer team, encouraging the school, and being a part of all the activities.

Ka’Mya Tackett Sylvan Hills Bears

Being able to say you encourage school spirit on and off the field is something not everyone can say. You ultimately make school events more enjoyable and get to be the entertainment and energy that people are looking for! I think that is the best thing about it and makes cheerleading so much more than a sport or hobby! It makes it meaningful!

20 | 501 LIFE August 2022

Photos by Mike Kemp

August 2022 | 21

‘We are humbled and inspired to walk with college students during their defining decade. During this consequential moment, we affirm them and provoke them to use their God-given talents to restore the world to what God intended from the beginning.’ - Dr. Mike and Lisa Williams

Photo by Mike Kemp

22 | 501 LIFE August 2022




HER STORY: WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: I grew up on a mountaintop in West


EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education, both from Harding University. JOB TITLE: I was part of the frontier for distance learning in the K-12 arena in Arkansas for 12 years. My previous experiences were teaching in a brickand-mortar setting for five years. PARENTS: Richard and Betty Runyan, West Virginia. COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: In Alabama, I served on the following

boards: Alabama Charter School Commission, Montgomery Education Foundation, HEAL United and Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority.

CHURCH ACTIVITIES: I’ve taught Bible classes of multiple ages,

hosted Bible studies in our home, served in benevolent centers, and participated in prayer groups.

HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: Not to sound cliche, but I like to

learn new things. I especially enjoy interior design and cooking. My heart seeks to create a more inclusive culture for individuals with special needs. I am an advocate for research and assistance for those on the autism spectrum. I care about health and wellness of all and work towards this goal daily.


Dr. Mike Williams became the sixth president of Harding University in Searcy on June 1. Mike and Lisa are coming home to the 501 after living in Montgomery, Ala., where Mike served as president of Faulkner University since 2015. WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Ohio. EDUCATION: Bachelor of Business Administration and

Master of Business Administration, both from Harding University. Doctor of Education from University of Pennsylvania.

JOB TITLE: President, Harding University. PARENTS: Dave and Sally Williams of Zanesville, Ohio. Both

are deceased.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: In Alabama, I was a member of the Montgomery Committee of 100 and the Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Circle and served as campaign chairman for River Region United Way. CHURCH ACTIVITIES: Speaker, teacher, small group



spontaneous events. I’m a 7 wing 8 on the Enneagram.

led, passionate, and grateful.

WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: I think an ideal job would be singing the songs in

WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: Most people are surprised to find out I am

children’s movies such as “That’s What Friends Are For” from “The Jungle Book.”

MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Spending time with family while hiking, cooking, watching movies, and just talking. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: Time will tell. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501:

The people in the 501 are first-class individuals. People in the 501 love their neighbors. It shows through acts of kindness and putting others first in various ways. 501-ers are always seeking to be and do better, and it makes us all want to be and do better.



an introvert. I deeply love people and desire relationships, but many days, I surpass my word count early in the day!

MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Golf. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: My favorite word is “chazown.”

It’s a Hebrew word that means vision. The Bible says, “People without vision, perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: The people of Central Arkansas have a deep sense

of community and family. They exemplify the fundamental values of faith, love and compassion.

HOW WE MET: Essentially a blind date! THE PROPOSAL: December 1986. Christmas time. Lisa thought she was getting

a TV. I surprised her with a ring and asked “if she would marry Santa Claus.” WEDDING BELLS: Nov. 28, 1987. CHILDREN: Quentin, Cade and daughter-in-law Cailin. PETS: Copper, a golden retriever blend, and Zoe, a corgi, who is our angel puppy now after 14 years in our family. FAMILY ACTIVITIES ENJOYED TOGETHER: Walks, coffee and rich conversation.

August 2022 | 23

Photos by Donna Evans Front Row: David House (from left), Dr. Larry White, Matt Barnhardt, James A. Loy, Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock Jr. and Miles Smith. Back Row: J.D. Gray (from left), Arthur Reid, Jack Engelkes and Bryce McGhee at the site of the future 42-bed apartment complex.

“a historic landmark” Adcock Family Foundation gifts Renewal Ranch $300,000 By Donna Lampkin Stephens


he largest gift in the history of the Adcock Family Foundation will help Renewal Ranch Restoration Center continue its “radical intervention” in the lives of men suffering from addiction for years to come.

Bible study, work opportunities, and community service. Phase 1 is a six-month, on-site program that includes classes and community service. After a Transition Phase, Phase 2 includes full-time work or ministry.

About 20 supporters gathered at the 116-acre ranch in Perry County near Conway on July 7 for the announcement of the $300,000 donation, part of the quiet phase of a $10 million comprehensive capital campaign that will go toward a new 42-bed apartment complex to house men in Phase 2 of the program. The nonprofit has raised $2.1 million in nine months of fundraising.

The new apartments will replace a rented complex in Conway that has been used for Phase 2.

The gift followed a $750,000 donation for the apartments by BancorpSouth in the spring. “As we look around the community, we try to find things that will make a difference and benefit the community, and we feel like [Renewal Ranch] does that,” said Matthew Barnhardt, president of the board of the Adcock Family Foundation. “That’s why we made the commitment. We see how important it is to the community and the lives of the people in the community.” Renewal Ranch is faith-based residential addiction recovery program for men 21 and over. The year-long program includes counseling, 600 hours of classroom instruction,

24 | 501 LIFE August 2022

Executive Director James A. Loy called the gift “a historic landmark” in the ranch’s 11-year ministry. “Two buildings will go up on the ridge and allow us to centralize all phases of our program in one location,” he said. “It will allow us to provide new state-of-the-art facilities. This gift is critical to what we’re trying to accomplish as we move forward in the ministry. “I promise it’s going to impact our community for years to come.” Current capacity is for 66 men, but Loy said the organization was on its way to a target of 100. “We’re in a front-line battle for the souls of these men, and we’re very excited about our successes,” he said. “Over the last 11 years, we have touched 600 men and their families, with over 400 graduates, and more than 60% staying clean and sober.” Continued on pages 26-27


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August 2022 | 25

Kyle Sharpe (from left) and Clayton Johnson.

Matt Barnhardt, President of the Adcock Family Foundation Board of Directors (from left); Miles Smith, Adcock Family Foundation Board of Directors; David House. Chairman of the Renewal Ranch Board of Directors; Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock Jr., Adcock Family Board Foundation; Jack Engelkes, Renewal Ranch Board of Directors; James A. Loy, Executive Director of Renewal Ranch; Dr. Larry White, Renewal Ranch Board of Directors; Arthur Reid, Renewal Ranch Board of Directors and J.D. Gray, Adcock Family Board of Directors.

Arthur Reid shakes hands with Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock Jr.

26 | 501 LIFE August 2022

Bryce McGhee (from left), Raegan McGhee and James A. Loy.

Continued from page 24

One of those graduates is Sam Welborn, now the ranch’s Phase 2 Supervisor. He entered the program in 2018 “broken and lost.” “Through six months of being here, I got tore down, lost everything, and God gave me a new life and a new heart,” he said. “This vessel of Renewal Ranch radically changed my life through radical intervention from our Lord and savior.” His older brother also went through the program. “By the mercy and grace of God through this program, we are walking free,” Welborn said. The Adcock Family Foundation was founded in 2014 by Bunny Adcock, a Conway businessman, and his wife, Carol. Barnhardt said Adcock had “a tremendous heart for people and his community” and set up the foundation to focus mainly on Faulkner County entities. “Most non-profits can find the funds for day-to-day operations, but a lot of times, they don’t have the funds for capital improvements,” Barnhardt said. An earlier $50,000 gift from the foundation went toward the ranch’s Restoration Center, completed in 2020, which included a multi-purpose center, chapel, commercial kitchen,

conference room, classrooms, and housing for 22 men in the Phase 1 program. Adcock said he became a supporter of Renewal Ranch about 10 years ago after being asked to come to the campus to tell his life story — and realizing that the men in the program were largely from the 501 area. “They knew my kids,” he said. “I left here pretty much shaken up. They’re not strangers from far, far away.” The master plan’s facilities vision includes the addition of staff housing, a picnic shelter, basketball court, softball field, walking trail, amphitheater, workout facility and Phase 1 bunk houses. Loy said he expected construction on the Phase 2 apartments to begin in mid-July, with a planned completion date by October 2023. David House, chair of the Renewal Ranch Board of Directors, said in his retirement he decided to shift his attention to eternal things. “The ranch is an eternal investment,” House said. “We can either spend money trying to help people recover and heal here, or we can spend more money on more jails, more social services, more broken families. I believe the Adcock Family Foundation is making an investment. The work is not done.”

August 2022 | 27

Jackson Williams (from left), Mary Helen Faulkner, Ellie Bingham and Lane Bingham

The "Back-to-School Pledge": I will not yell in class. I will not throw things in class. I will not have a temper tantrum. I will always be good, Because I am the Teacher! 28 | 501 LIFE August 2022

Fundae! Ice Cream

By Chef Don Bingham Photos by Mike Kemp

There's no sweeter party than a Bingham's Back-To-School Bash


oing back to school after the summer vacation presents students, parents and teachers alike, with mixed emotions. You know it is time to go back to school when you hear parents singing, "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" It's time to raise a glass of juice to "cheers to the first day of a new school year and the beginning of the Thanksgiving break countdown!" The first week of school: sandwich cut in a cute shape, sliced fruit, encouraging note. Last week of school: handful of croutons wrapped in foil. One of the delightful decisions Mom must make is what type of wine goes well with Back-to-School? Well, some things have changed through the years, but

the love for ICE CREAM remains constant, consistent and considerably cool! 501 Life Entertaining suggests the Ice Cream "Back-toSchool" Bash as the en vogue celebration for a great sendoff for kids of any age. The celebrants in the photo above are enjoying the Peach Cobbler Ice Cream, a simple but delicious combination of summer fruits with Teddy Grahams added for the delectable flavors of peach cobbler. This and some other favorite homemade ice cream recipes follow on the next page in case you should be in such a state of exhilaration that school is starting that you want to start an ice cream buffet. Continued on page 30

August 2022 | 29

Peach Cobbler Ice Cream Blend six to eight ripe peaches into three cups of sugar and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Add one can of evaporated milk and one pint whipping cream. Mix in roughly chopped Teddy Graham Cookies, approximately two cups. Fill freezer (canister) with this mixture, and fill to top with whole milk. Freeze and enjoy!

Orange Sherbet 2 cans Eagle Brand Milk 1 can crushed pineapple 6 bottles of Orange Crush Soda

Rum Raisin Ice Cream

Mix and freeze in the ice cream freezer.

1 cup raisins 1 cup dark rum 3/4 cup sugar 6 egg yolks

Vanilla Ice Cream

Place raisins and rum in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until raisins soften and absorb rum, at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain, reserving 2 Tbsps. rum, and set raisins and rum aside.

3 beaten eggs 3 cups of milk 2 1/2 cups sugar Vanilla to taste

Place in saucepan: Cook until just before mixture begins to boil. Cool. Add milk to top of freezer (canister), mix, freeze and enjoy.

Fudge Sauce 1/2 cup cocoa 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup light corn syrup 4 Tbsps. butter or margarine 4 Tbsps. light cream A Dash of salt Vanilla to taste

Mix the first five ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to boil, boiling for three minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add salt and vanilla. Cool. All steps may be done before needed for serving and may be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

30 | 501 LIFE August 2022

2 cups milk 2 cups heavy cream 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Place sugar and yolks in a 4-quart saucepan, and whisk until pale yellow and lightened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add milk, and stir until smooth. Place over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about ten minutes. Pour through a sein strainer or sieve into a large bowl. Whisk in drained raisins along with reserved rum, cream and vanilla; cover custard with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface of the custard, and refrigerate until chilled. Pour custard into an ice cream maker, and process according to manufacturer's instructions until churned and thick. Transfer to an airtight container and seal. Freeze until set before serving, at least 4 hours. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Weekdays at 8:30 a.m. through august 12

Boost summer learning with curriculumfocused lessons led by Arkansas teachers, virtual field trips throughout the state and music videos for K-5 students – right on your TV and streaming! Visit our website to watch or download learning resources like our Power Packets. All resources will become available for teachers to use in the classroom this school year. (English) (Español) August 2022 | 31

Photos by Mike Kemp During a professional development event for educators at the Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative in Plumerville, Archie did what he does best — visited with educators and gave them extra love and puppy dog eyes. A retention and recruitment specialist for Arch Ford, Bethany Hill oversees Archie’s training and plays the role of “mom.”


Archie supports new educators who need help with their conduct By Becky Bell


rchibald Ford is technically a standard poodle, but as far as what his role will be with the teachers in school districts he is beginning to serve, he is anything but typical.

Archie, was sparked when Hill and her team reviewed new teachers’ progress about six weeks into school. What they found were teachers who needed support.

Bethany Hill, Archibald’s handler, says most people know her dog as Archie, and even though he is still a growing 40-pound puppy, he is already making an impression on those he has encountered as an up-and-coming service dog for teachers.

“We were overwhelmed by the amount of stress and worry and where they were in their first few weeks of school,” Hill said. “But that is the state of education right now with kids and educators.”

Hill is a Retention and Recruitment Specialist for the Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative, which includes 27 districts in Central Arkansas, River Valley, and North Little Rock. Part of her job involves collaborating with new teachers to make sure they have what they need for success in the first three years of their career, including more professional development. The idea to get a dog, who ended up being

32 | 501 LIFE August 2022

So, the group began brainstorming and found an idea they all liked. “We said wouldn’t it be great to have a dog at work, so we can pet it when we were stressed,” Hill said. “We had played with the idea in the past, but we started looking deeply into it. Maybe there were grants out there. Buying the dog was our biggest concern.” But before they could research how the dog would be paid

for, they had to first get it approved by the main administrator. Hill said he took four days to consider it and then came back with a resounding yes. The educators decided that a poodle would be the best to consider because it would be the most hypoallergenic and they have hair, not fur, so shedding would not be a problem. Hill had a friend who is a breeder of poodles and doodles and has a business called Copperhead Puppies in Austin, Ark. When her friend heard about the group’s intent to make a poodle a source of support for educators, she donated the dog to Hill with her best wishes for the project. Archie was 8 weeks old when he was picked up around Christmas, and Hill’s family fell in instant love with him, as well as all the schools in the Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative who got to meet Archie on Facebook Live. Well, OK, technically, not everyone in Hill’s family was an instant fan of Archie. “We have a Yorkie named Baxter who is 9 years old, and we have a rescue we adopted named Zoey. She is a boxer pointer mix. So those are Archie’s siblings,” Hill said. “At first it was a big transition because Baxter was extremely comfortable being one of the only two dogs in the house. And he was grumpy because he is the alpha. He is the littlest, but he has the biggest bark.” But eventually, Baxter realized Archie was in fact his sibling and accepted him. Archie’s training as an emotional support dog is ongoing, but his initial training began when he was only 11 weeks old. He began with obedience training for puppies, which included learning how to sit and lie down and to walk on a leash. Next, he went into canine good citizen training where he learned social graces in public, Hill said. Now he is in public access training, where he will learn how to go into restaurants and stores and learn how to remain patient while Hill shops or when he is around food.

Jennifer Park is a gifted and talented specialist who enjoys interacting with Archie.

He will then move into educational dog training in which he will become acclimated to the sounds of schools, such as the buses and the bells. The purpose of this training will be to make him feel comfortable on his visits to schools. Though his training is not complete, Archie has already made an impression when meeting teachers and some older students in special activities. And as far as Hill knows, there are few emotional support dogs out there for teachers, so he is unique. “It’s really neat to see how he changes the mood in the room,” Hill said. “It’s neat to see how people melt when they are around him. Teachers want to get on the floor and cuddle with him. And he has the kind of sense about him that a lot of dogs do as he almost knows who needs him.”

Two educators enjoyed petting Archie while at a professional learning event.

August 2022 | 33


MIA PALMER “I’m fun to be around!”


By Lori Dunn

ia Palmer is a confident firecracker of a girl who is as equally comfortable talking about her voice lessons as she is her love of professional wrestling. Her parents are Shane and Ashley Palmer of Conway. She turns 8 this month and is about to start second grade at Jim Stone Elementary School in Conway. But she is already preparing for high school by playing “teenager” with her friends. Mia loves to sing and dress up. She likes to wear high heel shoes during dress-up but thinks “they hurt too much” to wear them all the time. But she also plays soccer, enjoys finding cicada shells outside in the yard, and can quickly rattle off the names of the professional wrestlers she enjoys watching with her dad. Mia takes voice lessons at Conway Institute of Music. She has been taking music classes for about four years.“I think in December I’m going to do a music recital. I’m going to sing ‘Fight Song,’ and my teacher is going to play piano,” Mia said. She loves singing Katy Perry music, including “Fight Song” and “Roar.” Sometimes when her friends stay over, they put on shows for Mia’s parents. They have microphones to sing into and put a lot of work into each production. Her grandparents live seven houses down from her and often pick her up from school. Her “pop pop” is musical also and used to play rock and roll, Mia said. Mia is musical and athletic. She plays soccer for Arkansas United Soccer Club. She inherited her soccer talent from her

34 | 501 LIFE August 2022

dad. “My dad has been playing soccer since he was 8 or 9. He still likes to kick the ball around,” Mia said. Mia also swims with the Aqua Kids team at Hendrix College. She enjoys swimming in her grandmother’s pool during down time. Watching wrestling with her dad is one of Mia’s favorite things to do. “We went to Smackdown in Little Rock,” she said. WWE Friday Night Smackdown at Simmons Bank Arena featured Women’s Champion Rowdy Ronda Rousey and WWE Champion Roman Reigns, along with wrestlers Cody Rhodes and Kevin Owens. Mia, who likes Rousey the best, was shown on TV wearing her wrestling belt. At school, Mia enjoys P.E. class along with music and art. “And lunch!” she said. “They have good food at my school.” At home, she enjoys eating pizza and steak cooked on the grill. Mia grew up with a dog named Dexter, but he has sadly passed away. A puppy named Luna recently joined her family and brought a lot of joy to them. “Luna is so cute!” Mia said. “She is a border collie mix. She is brownish gray with white socks.” Her favorite toy is her stuffed lamb “Lamby,” who has been with her since she was a baby. When she has time, Mia enjoys planting flowers and vegetables in the family’s garden. Another one of her favorite things to do is visit Gulf Shores, Ala., and swim in the Gulf. It might be a good idea to remember Mia’s name. Odds are she will have a future on stage or on the soccer field. Either way, she will probably be having a lot of fun.

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August 2022 | 35

smart is Home is where the

Author describes homeschooling options By Brittany Gilbert


omeschool is in more demand than ever before. The past few years especially have prompted families to seek information for schooling at home. I want to encourage families that pandemic schooling isn’t the same as homeschooling. If you feel like you can’t homeschool because of your experience with virtual public school, that isn’t at all what the typical homeschool student experiences. However, if you find yourself interested in learning what homeschool is all about and maybe some different methods or programs to check out, I hope to answer a lot of those questions here. One of the first and most popular questions I am asked as a homeschool mom is, “What curriculum do you use?” or “What curriculum should I get?” These questions are important, but they are not the most important. In fact, they’re pretty far down the list. The first question you should ask yourself is what you want out of your homeschool. This includes the values that your family has for your homeschool and even what method you want to pursue. The freedom to choose how you want your kids to learn is one of the very best things about homeschool. If you are looking for a “school at home” style, the traditional method may be best. This means you find a curriculum for each subject you may find in a public-school setting. If you’re wanting support from the public school system, ARVA (Arkansas Virtual Academy) is powered by K12 and is an online public-school program. ARVA functions like its own school district, but work is completed entirely online. The program sends materials, and even electronic devices like laptops, to its students. There is standardized testing, and students are able to sign up for different classes, depending on grade level and interests. If you’re wanting a traditional method of homeschool but you want to be the lead teacher and provide a curriculum outside of the public school system, there are many curricula available to purchase. You’ll want to consider whether or not your family wants to join a local co-op. In the 501 area, there are many co-ops, which are groups of families that meet together to achieve common goals. There are recreational co-ops, and there are educational ones. The parents volunteer to teach based on their strengths or interests, and students are learning the same material in a class of peers. The parents choose from the hundreds of curricula that are out there and act as a teacher to their class. Again, each co-op may operate a little differently, so visiting and understanding how each works will be important in your decision making. The first thing to know, however, is what you want your kids to get out of it. Also, in this traditional co-op, parents are usually required to teach or assist. Another option is the classical method. According to the Classical Academic Press, “Classical education is like a very large museum with many beautiful, wonder-filled rooms

36 | 501 LIFE August 2022

that could be studied over a lifetime. It is a long tradition of education that has emphasized the seeking after of truth, goodness and beauty.” Classical education teaches children how to learn and how to think. It focuses on the trivium, which are the learning stages in which a child learns and grows. These stages are grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. To explain this process, think about the alphabet. A toddler learns the ABC’s by singing the song. They don’t know that each letter has a purpose, but they can easily memorize the song and recite it for a few years before doing anything else with it (the grammar stage). Eventually though, they build on that foundational memorization and learn that each letter makes a sound. They can’t read yet, but they have the tools to start putting it together by asking questions and digging deeper (dialectic stage). Eventually, the sounds come together, and this dialectic stage turns into the rhetoric stage, where they are reading longer and more challenging books and can even teach this process to someone else. These three stages are used in classical education in all areas of learning. Also, in classical education, most of the subjects are woven together. You usually see fewer curricula and there are local communities that learn together using this method as well. Another method of homeschool to consider is the unschool method. Unschooling is based on a child’s individual personality and interests. This method emphasizes that learning happens everywhere, not just in designated spaces or with specific curricula. Not every homeschool is alike, no matter what method you choose, so while some unschoolers choose curricula based on their child’s interests, many do not. The idea is that children will learn whenever they are ready, and they will learn more and it will be much easier whenever they are interested, invested and even in charge of what they learn. Whether or not you choose to be part of a community or co-op, the important piece is community. Most homeschoolers I know will tell you that socialization is not a problem. In fact, most of us find that we have way too much socialization and have to make goals to stay at home more. There are so many opportunities available, and if you aren’t careful, you will overcrowd your days with play dates and activities. You can join a local co-op or classical community, or you can simply meet other homeschool families and have playdates. I’m not sure how other coops work, but I know one of the biggest benefits of our homeschool community is that our kids are socializing with kids and adults of all ages rather than just with kids their age. It’s such a highlight of the homeschool world to witness your kids carry on conversations with people of all ages. I cannot emphasize enough that whenever you choose to homeschool, socialization is not nearly as big of a problem as it can be made out to be. If you have more questions about homeschooling, please check out my podcast, "The Deeply Rooted Homeschool.”

The author of the article has three children who participate in a homeschool community. Last year, the students conducted science experiments (top left and top right) and imitated great artists, like Michelangelo, in fine arts (bottom left). The students enjoyed field trips (center), and created a living wax museum to teach friends and family about historical figures (bottom center). They enjoyed learning together (bottom right) and being part of a homeschool community (top center).

August 2022 | 37


By Judy Riley

Central Arkansas students beef up agriculture and nutritional knowledge “T

his was the best day ever,” commented several secondgrade students who recently participated in the Farm to You exhibit at Sidney Deener Elementary in Searcy. Teaching kids about local foods and the value of those foods for their bodies is the purpose of this traveling display available to Arkansas schools through the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture (UADA-CES). Created in 2013, Arkansas Farm to You is an interactive exhibit, giving students an opportunity to explore. The 10 stations begin with an introduction to many foods produced in Central Arkansas. “People care about the food they eat but may not always know how it is grown. When we can make the connection from farm to table, we value our food even more,” according to farmer Dana Stewart, who led the first exhibit, Farmer Dale’s Farm. Students then make their way through various adventures, including Milk Processing Plant, Market, Café, and on to the Mouth, Stomach, Small intestine, Muscle, Bone, and Skin. At each station, students spend about six minutes participating in activities and learning about the connections between agriculture, food, and health. Katie Cullum, White County extension agent for Family and Consumer Sciences at UADA-CES, worked with school personnel on scheduling, curriculum, setup, and reporting. Teachers and school administrators work with the community to provide at least 10 volunteers to lead discussions. Cullum often recommends using high school students involved in Family and Consumer Sciences classes as volunteers. Younger students often relate better to teens than adults. Brittany Holeyfield and Lindsay Wilson, who work at Sidney Deener Elementary, coordinated getting all Searcy secondgraders involved. Holeyfield said, “It is a great resource for enriching students’ understanding of healthy food choices, farming, and specifically Arkansas foods. The activity heavily correlates with the literacy curriculum that is widely used in many Arkansas schools." She said she and other teachers originally thought this would be a typical exhibit, one with

38 | 501 LIFE August 2022

some posters, handouts, and folks explaining things, but they soon discovered Farm to You is different. The students actually interact with the props, everything from selecting the vegetables they will eat to examining a drawing of a skeleton to see where milk calcium is stored. According to Arkansas Farm to You Coordinator Angie Stewart, the exhibit reinforces the “Serving Up My Plate” (developed by the United States Department of Agriculture) classroom curriculum provided to the UADA-CES. Overall, the goal of Farm to You is for students to learn: that farms provide food for good health, about foods grown in Arkansas, about how to make healthy food choices, that food is broken down into nutrients, and that physical activity and personal hygiene are important for good health. It’s really a journey, a journey of discovery, and the students love it! The messages delivered through Farm to You utilize research-based information and incorporate the missions of the collaborating partners. The UADA-CES makes the exhibit available to all schools in Arkansas. Schools that are 50% or more free and reduced-price lunch are eligible to participate in the UADA-CES Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) program and can receive the exhibit free of charge as part of the program. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, only 3,000 students participated last school year, but in previous years, the total was well over 13,000, according to Stewart. She adds that to reserve a time for your school’s participation, the best pathway is for the school administrator to contact the family and consumer science agent in their local Cooperative Extension Office. Arrangements can be made for volunteer support as well as payment, if required. Contacts for each county office are available through Arkansas Extension County Offices/Cooperative Extension Offices in Arkansas. Visit From the farm product in the field to the food on our table, Farm to You is quite a story, and one that needs to be told. And what a clever, concise, and interactive way to tell it! Farm to You is available to all schools in Arkansas.

August 2022 | 39

Charles Finkenbinder, Conway City Attorney has an important message for all 501 travelers:

THE SAFETY OF OUR KIDS STARTS WITH YOU! BUS PASSING LAWS School bus passing laws apply everywhere throughout the state of Arkansas - the same rules and the same penalties. Drivers on all lanes of the highway should remember it is the flashing red lights that trigger the duty to stop, not the stop sign.

Each weekday morning and afternoon, you’ll find him volunteering as a school crossing guard and at bus stops. “Instead of seeing an approaching bus or kids at a crosswalk as a delay, see it as an opportunity to show these children that their safety is important to us, that they are valuable, that they matter." The attorney says stopping for a school bus or for kids at a crosswalk is a chance to do an important public service. "When it comes to school bus safety - know the law," Finkenbinder said. When a school bus has stopped with its flashing red lights on, all vehicles must come to a complete stop in every direction until the flashing lights are turned off. Violators face a jail sentence of up to 90 days, a fine of $ 1,000, community work service, and a driver's license suspension.

CROSSWALK SAFETY Vehicles must yield and stop for pedestrians crossing a road at a crosswalk. Most schools have crosswalks that are also equipped with lighted signs that flash yellow.

40 | 501 LIFE August 2022

In Central Arkansas, many school busses are equipped with video cameras. The cameras face front and back, meaning there is no way to get away with illegally passing a school

bus. The video of every car illegally passing a bus is sent to the authorities for charges to be filed. In Arkansas, the owner of the vehicle is presumed to be the driver, and in many cases, the video camera records the face of the violator, which can then be shown to the judge at trial. Finkenbinder also reminds drivers that crosswalk safety is equally important. Vehicles must yield and stop for pedestrians crossing a road at a crosswalk. Most schools have crosswalks that are also equipped with lighted signs that flash yellow. "When driving through school zones, slow down and watch for children. Be a hero and help keep them safe," he said.

To learn more about school safety laws and what your community can do, contact Charles Finkenbinder, Conway City Attorney, at 501.450.6193 or email at charles.finkenbinder@

August 2022 | 41

It's Almost Time! Back to School 2022 By Jessica Duff


he Pulaski County Special School District boasts many dedicated educators and administrators from 26 schools across Central Arkansas, which includes the DRIVEN Virtual Academy. These educators have dedicated their careers to investing in young people. With a new school year beginning, here are some tips from Maumelle High principal Jason Young and first year Principal Lisa Smith at Crystal Hill Elementary.

What are you looking forward to as a new year begins? Mrs. Smith: I'm looking forward to continuing the awesome work that we started last school year and reconnecting with students and families as we work towards restructuring what a school family and family involvement looks like at Crystal Hill as well as doing the hard work of motivating students to love school. I'm excited about the opportunity to lead the staff and watch them grow as instructional leaders. Mr. Young: In the upcoming year, I am looking forward to continuing the building of relationships with my scholars, staff, and community in the city of Maumelle and Maumelle High School.

What can families do to prepare for the first day of school as the weeks of summer wind down? Mrs. Smith: Families can READ, READ and READ some more to prepare for the year. One of the challenges that we hope to overcome this school year is dispelling the notion that reading isn't fun. We would also like for parents to work with students to develop good work habits by setting aside 20-30 minutes each morning and afternoon to focus on a skill that they struggled with last year. Encourage students to stay focused and do their best during work sessions. Fostering a spirit of resilience and grit is important to academic success.

What can families and students expect from Maumelle High when school begins? Mr. Young: Our scholars and parents can expect Maumelle High School to take a giant step forward post-pandemic in our expectations and level of rigor. The families of Maumelle can expect the administration and teachers to hold themselves to those same expectations. Principal Lisa Smith at Crystal Hill Elementary


42 | 501 LIFE August 2022

back to school

What are your goals for the 2022-2023 school year? Mrs. Smith: My goals for next year are both academic and social-emotional in nature. I plan to pick up where we left off with increasing student achievement by including the following school wide goals:

• Foster positive connections to our school by increasing opportunities for parent participation and community involvement.

• Promote social-emotional wellness by creating a safe environment for learning through growth mindset concepts.

• Increase reading engagement through book clubs and high-interest text. • Create a positive online presence for Crystal Hill via our social media outlets. Mr. Young: My goal for the 2022-2023 school year is to create a learning environment that is safe, fun, rigorous, and relevant.

Maumelle High principal Jason Young

About PCSSD Pulaski County Special School District spans more than 600 square miles in Central Arkansas and requires highly skilled and passionate personnel to adapt educational policies and personalization to 26 schools. Every school is accredited by the Arkansas State Board of Education. PCSSD has served schools across Pulaski County since July 1927. PCSSD is committed to creating a nationally recognized school district that assures that all students achieve at their maximum potential through collaborative, supportive and continuous efforts of all stakeholders.




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August 2022 | 43

Unity Health awarded 16 elementary schools in six school districts grants totaling $46,500 for completing the Unity Kids program T

he program is designed to provide young children with the tools they need to make healthy choices for a lifetime. The schools can use these grant funds to promote the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of students in the school environment. The Unity Kids program consists of a fun and easy 26week lesson plan designed to teach healthy habits to third grade students in a brief session each week. Every student in each third-grade class within the school participates and completes a brief essay at the end of the program describing what they have learned. Each student receives a Unity Kids T-shirt.

“Unity Health is excited to continue offering the Unity Kids program to local elementary schools. We have received great feedback from participating schools who enjoy the program and use the funds to promote a healthy environment for students within the schools,” explains Brooke Pryor, Unity Health Marketing Director. Beebe Elementary School, Cabot Elementary Schools, Newport Elementary School, Pangburn Elementary School, White County Central School and Searcy Elementary Schools were awarded Unity Kids Grants for 2021 - 2022.








Members of school systems throughout Central Arkansas pose with checks that display their portion of the 16 Kids Grants donated by Unity Health. The grants, totaling $ 46,500, were given to these schools: Beebe Elementary, Cabot Elementary, Newport Elementary, Pangburn Elementary, White County Central and Searcy Elementary.

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pursue your meaning & purpose August 2022 | 45

Many Central Arkansas Systems plan spirited adult programs this fall By Carol Rolf


one are the days when patrons might walk into a library and be greeted by a stern librarian warning, “Shhh.” Sounds of all sorts may be heard in today’s library — music from small, live concerts, laughter from adults and children watching movies, instructions of “knit one, purl two” and even instructions from tai chi or yoga masters. Library systems in Central Arkansas are winding down their summer programs for children as students prepare to return to school mid-month. Adults may be looking to take on a new hobby or read a good book and area libraries can be just the right places to find these activities. Following is a brief look at three library systems in the 501 area.

White County Regional Library System The White County Regional Library System operates libraries in Bald Knob, Beebe, Bradford, El Paso, Judsonia, Pangburn, and Searcy, with the headquarters in Searcy. Darla Ino is the library director. Ino said she believes the purpose of the library system is “still to be a source of information. The internet did not take away from the library … it added a whole new world of services,” she said. “We embrace technology. We fill a

46 | 501 LIFE August 2022

gap in what is still a digital divide. Not everyone has access to the internet, and even if they do, they may come upon a roadblock of some kind … we can help … we are happy to do that. We do it every day. “We print things for people … we provide online access to credible sources,” she said. “We provide access to a resume program for people looking for jobs. We have excellent genealogy resources. And this is all free.” A sampling of adult programs offered are: • Searcy Public Library: Knitting and crochet class, Dungeons and Dragons for patrons 18 and older; wreath making (one program each season), and a basic computer skills class. • Lyda Miller Public Library in Bald Knob: Sew & So Needlework Program. • Goff Public Library in Beebe and Pangburn Public Library: adult book clubs. • El Paso Community Library: adult book club and knitting club. Ino said the Searcy Public Library has outgrown its location and plans are well underway for a new facility.

Faulkner-Van Buren Regional Library System The Faulkner-Van Buren Regional Library System is headquartered in Conway, and also serves locations in Greenbrier, Mayflower, Mount Vernon, Twin Groves, and Vilonia in Faulkner County and Clinton and Damascus in Van Buren County. John McGraw is director of the twocounty system.

and in the garden. We had more than 500 people attend last year.” Beritiech said she believes the purpose of the local library is “to be a community resource center. Our job is to recognize what’s needed in the community and do our best to provide that.”

Conway County Library

“So many people are unaware of what we offer,” said Jen Beritiech, adult services librarian for Faulkner County. “A wide selection of books and other materials may be checked out in person or online, and a variety of programs are offered for children through adults.”

The Conway County Library in Morrilton is one of the oldest libraries in the state, built in 1916.

Programs for adults at the Conway location include author talks, concerts, books clubs, yarnaholics, tai chi, yoga, crafts, jewelry classes, and movie nights.

“I know in the fall, we will try to get a Dungeons and Dragons club going, as well as a Scrabble game where there is a cookie for every word a patron makes,” said Alexis Scroggins, outreach and programming director.

One of the newest services is a locker system that allows patrons to skip lines and provides a contactless pickup option both inside during business hours and outside for 24/7 access. Patrons must have a new 10-digit library card to utilize this service. Beritiech said Create Your Own Comics, financial literacy classes, expanded yoga, karaoke and open mic nights are planned for the fall. “We hope to offer more concerts in the coming months,” she said. “I am looking to bring in more local folks … to appeal to all demographics. I am open to suggestions. People can contact me if they know of a great artist.” Also, a maker’s fair is scheduled for Nov. 12. “Vendors can rent a booth for $40,” she said. “It’s open to all artists and crafters. We are also planning a holiday lights event inside

Each summer, local libraries are

“Our programs in the fall will definitely include activities for adults,” said Jay Carter, library director.

Carter said the availability of e-books “has really pushed our circulation numbers up. We belong to a state library consortium so patrons have a huge collection of e-books from which to choose. They can also download audiobooks and check out movies and magazines.” The library maintains seven computers for the public. “Patrons can access the internet and look for jobs, do research … it’s all free.” The Conway County Library also offers a bookmobile, which travels throughout the county. It operates on Tuesday at the Conway County Senior Center; on Wednesday in Springfield at Plumerville City Hall and Decker’s Store; on Thursday at Beason’s Grocery in Hattieville, Circle H Store in Jerusalem, and Nick’s Store in St. Vincent; and on Friday at the Museum of Automobiles on Petit Jean Mountain.


Where the Wild Things Are The White County Regional Library System has locations in eight communities. This summer, each branch offered a summer reading program and special activities with guest performers like the Magic Balloon Man, Ocean Animal Storytime and Oceans of Possibilities which included creating treasure maps and learning pirate lingo.

August 2022 | 47

By Beth Jimmerson

Every year, Conway Corp celebrates public

power by encouraging local students to show their energy smarts and participate in an essay contest. Students in grades 5-7 and 8-12 were asked to write an essay on the theme “My Life, Powered by Conway Corp.” Prizes were awarded in each age category. Luke Sides won first place in the 5-8 category for his essay “Running on Conway Corp.” Luke was a sixth-grader at Ruth Doyle Middle School during the 2021-2022 school year. Charlotte Miller won first place in the 9-12 category for her essay “My Electrical Life.” Charlotte was a senior at Conway High School during the 2021-2022 school year. Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Energy Smart Essay Contest, and thank you to all students who submitted an entry. Conway Corp is proud of these students who continue to remind us how integral Conway Corp is to our daily lives. We’ve been helping power area education since our creation in 1929, and we’re looking forward to the start of another great school year this month.

Below is an excerpt from Luke’s winning essay: “Conway Corp powers my life in many ways. Without their services, there would be significantly less light to spend time with our families in. We would live in a darker place, figuratively and literally. Secondly, without Conway Corp, Conway wouldn’t be Conway. What I mean is that we rely on light; pure, running water; electricity; internet; and garbage disposal to live what we would call ‘normal lives.’ Let's start with electricity. We use it all the time, probably without realizing it. The only reason my computer is working is that I charged it last night. How did I charge it? I plugged it in and Conway Corp’s electricity recharged its battery. Electricity also powers our lights. Living with light that doesn’t burn out very often or release smoke is one of the greatest technological advances of humankind, and Conway Corp helps us use this technology. Next, some of our basic routines and schedules depend on the power that Conway Corp provides. One of the most basic routines is how we divide our meals. Most of us eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The schools serve us hot lunches, which have most likely been heated using electrical appliances, which are most likely powered by Conway Corp. Every time my mom serves me a warm dinner, it has been heated using the microwave, stove, or the oven, all of which run on electricity. In fact, most of my meals are served either heated or cooled, which means that Conway Corp powers my diet to some extent. Another very important thing that Conway Corp does for us is provide internet and cable TV. I admit that part of my

Each month, catch Editor Stefanie Brazile on Conway Corp. Channel 5's “Here and There.” 48 | 501 LIFE August 2022

day is watching as much TV as I can get away with. I bet a lot of us are that way. How long have you gone without watching your favorite program? Not more than a week, I would guess. How long have you gone without using your phone? Probably not more than two hours. And yet, how often do we think, ‘I’m so glad that Conway Corp provides WiFi and cable TV?’ Not very often. Next time we use the internet or watch our favorite Youtuber, we can thank Conway Corp.

Chromebook. It connects to the WiFi and I begin to watch the videos and type up the essays my teachers have assigned. When the school work is complete, I grab my nearly overflowing laundry basket, switch on the washing machine, and get the load started. As the clothes spin round and round I grab some cold leftovers and heat them in the microwave for a delicious hot lunch. When the laundry signals it’s done, I toss it into the dryer and head back up to my room. I push the charger cable into my phone and flip on the overhead fan in the humid room. I fetch the vacuum, plug it into the nearby outlet, and make my way around the room.

In conclusion, I realize that not only my life but the lives of most of the other Conwegians are powered by Conway Corp. Thanks to Conway Corp, Conway is a large and beautiful city with many people enjoying their lives, made semi-luxurious by their services. Thanks to Conway Corp, we can eat warm food that fills our stomachs. Thanks to Conway Corp, we can watch all of our favorite programs and text each other. Thanks to Conway Corp, we have disease-free, purified, drinking water. I thank you, Conway Corp, as I hope the rest of Conway does as well, for powering not only our lives, but also our community.”

After some cleaning, I grab our old landline and ring up my grandparents. They live two long flights away from us, so it’s always nice to easily chat with them over the phone. When the call ends I preheat the oven as I retrieve the frozen dinner. A few minutes later the oven beeps and I place the dinner inside to begin broiling. Meanwhile I grab the remote and turn on the TV. I watch a bit of the news and switch the channels during the commercial breaks. My phone dings and it’s my friends planning another get together over text.

Below is an excerpt from Charlotte’s winning essay:

Without electricity I would be stuck with finishing my calculus homework by candlelight. I could no longer text my friends about meeting up in the next hour. I couldn’t even heat up that slice of two day old pizza. It would be a firstworld nightmare for any teenager.

“My charging phone sings me awake. I get out of bed and feel the cool air blowing out of the vent in my floor. I walk to my closet, flip the light on, and get dressed for the day. I head to the bathroom and wash my face and bring my electric toothbrush to my mouth.

Although these things aren’t always necessary, I’m able to understand just how luxurious a lifestyle I’m able to live and how convenient having access to electricity is. Conway Corp has a major impact on my everyday lifestyle and I can’t begin to fully describe the gratitude I have for it in not only my life, but the whole community.”

Once downstairs, I put a bagel in the toaster and grab the cold container of orange juice out of the refrigerator. While I pour myself a refreshing glass, I listen to the humming radio tell me the weather report. When breakfast is finished I enter the living room and switch on an episode of my favorite TV show. Now that it’s late morning I need to get a head start on my homework. I click off the television and open my

To read the entire excerpts from Luke and Charlotte,


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August 2022 | 49

By Stefanie Brazile


n September 15, all Mustangs will be called home to gather around the bell tower of their alma mater and celebrate 70 years of higher education.

When driving past the beautiful campus on College Avenue in Conway, a major architectural focus is the Ratliff Bell Tower.

In 1952, Central Baptist College (CBC) was established by Missionary Baptist Churches of Arkansas on the site of the former Central College for Women. At that time, a letter went out to churches that stated: “We must provide an institution of higher learning for our young men and women. After all, it is upon their shoulders that the responsibility of proclaiming the gospel will fall.”

“I’ve read all the history of CBC that I can get my hands on, including Board minutes going back to November, 1951,” Kimbrow said. “It’s been a struggle to operate a private college, even with all the church and community support. There were times, during my 29 years at CBC, when I didn’t think we would survive, but God has always come through. I have no doubt He will continue to do so.”

For most of his career, President Terry Kimbrow has studied the history that inspired the private college that is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The benefits and challenges of operating a private college have largely remained the same over 70 years.

“An association of predominantly small Baptist churches took a huge leap of faith by purchasing the [Central College] Conway property, from a liquidating agency for $85,000,” Kimbrow said. “The churches were intent on opening a college; Conway Corporation was instrumental in paving the way for what is now Central Baptist College to be located in Conway.” The college is a ministry of the Baptist Missionary Association of Arkansas and, according to its mission statement, is committed to transforming lives through education that integrates Christian faith and academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment. What began as a dozen students and five employees has grown to more than 622 students and 80 full time employees. More than 40 baccalaureate degree programs are offered at CBC’s main campus in Conway and online. Programs of study are offered in both traditional and online formats, with accelerated programs available through the PACE Department.

“Fast forward, and today the challenges may seem much different than they were in 1952, but in a lot of ways they are the same — it takes a lot of money to operate a private college,” Kimbro said. “We are greatly indebted to the patrons and businesses in the City of Conway for their generosity. The churches that own and operate CBC continue to be a source of financial support and encouragement.” Over the years, CBC has undergone several name changes, but since 1961 their banner has remained the same. The 60s were the era of expansion, with the construction of Williams Hall, A.R. Reddin Fieldhouse, the Hornaday Student Center, and the J.E. Cobb Library/Administration Building. Construction on the Harold E. Cooper Educational Complex took place from 1979 to 1984. Then, in 1994, CBC’s “Achieving New Dimensions” campaign raised $1.6 million, supporting the opening of the Mabee Student Services Complex in 1997.

August 2022 | 51

“I believe that CBC has something to offer that students and parents alike are searching for. I call it the CBC Experience.” - CBC President Terry Kimbrow Photo by Mike Kemp

At the start of the new millennium, the quiet phase of a campaign titled “Vision 2020 - A Miracle in the Making” was launched. It went public in 2011 with the groundbreaking of the David T. Watkins Academic Building. After that, the Ratliff Bell Tower brick structure was erected as the focus of the campus, bridging the old with the new. Over time, older structures were removed and new facilities replaced them, like the Story Library, which was dedicated in early 2014. It is a state-of-the-art facility where students access books, technology, and hang out. In the fall of 2014, students moved into Dickson Hall, and the following year Burgess Auditorium was renovated. In 2017, the off-site Wrestling Center was dedicated, and in 2018, the Mary Ned Foster Band Rehearsal Hall opened.

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As Chairman of the Board, Jim Fink is proud of the CBC legacy. “Central Baptist College has been a great source of learning and inspiration for my church and my family,” Fink said. “Our church has had numerous graduates from CBC benefiting from Bible teachings to education in their career paths. It was the perfect place for my two daughters to start their advanced education. I am grateful to those who had the vision to organize the college some 70 years ago.”

To celebrate the legacy, both past and present, Mustangs will come home September 15 to celebrate. The community will also be invited to the campus for special events. Learn more about unfolding plans at CentralBaptistCollege.

August 2022 | 53

54 | 501 LIFE August 2022

With a neighbor's home, two service stations and the Hotel Bachelor and Café in the background, Mike Morris and sister, Marilyn, walk on Front Street where their home was located. Several homes stood in the downtown area, creating a sociable kinship that made it "our town."

If I Could Save Time in a Bottle By Vivian Lawson Hogue


e all have “remember when?” moments of our days in school, whether kindergarten or college. One of the most notable differences among the remembrances is the number of students in classes. My 1961 high school class had 120 graduates. Of those, 70 are still with us. Classes of the 1950s had even smaller subject-classes, creating a tighter-knit group. The population was modest, with so many residents recognized by face, voice, name, home, church, or physical appearance. Population 1950: 8,610. Population 1960: 9,791. Friends like to relate their recollections of Old Conway as it truly was. The interesting thing about recollections is they can change. Buildings may be remodeled or razed and cause confusion in the “eyes” of our minds. I often pass new homes or empty lots and “see” what I call “ghost houses,” the homes that once stood proudly in place on never-before occupied land that was once a forest or prairie. A recent resident of our city in the current era will likely not look at buildings the same as a long-timer or native resident. Newcomers may or may not have interest in our history or people. They may even want things to be like their previous cities. Others are interested and wish to belong. Here are a few comments to help them along! Siblings Mike and Marilyn Morris, now Marilyn Jacks, grew up in a home among the businesses downtown. It was owned by their maternal grandparents and one of several in the downtown landscape. Mike says his grandfather was a conductor on the railroad and didn’t own a car, so he wanted to walk to work. Their house at 612 Front St. later became the site of the third police station. The first station was at the back of First National Bank and facing North Street, and the second was located in a small rock building on Chestnut Street. The newest location is at Prairie and Front streets. Having worked alongside his dad in his downtown furniture businesses, Mike can relate where all businesses and homes were in his youth. He points out that the many small storefronts were only 25 feet wide but were quite deep. It is noticeable, although some have been expanded. A few homes that are now “ghost houses” belonged to the Vaughters, Joneses, Markhams, and Covingtons. Marilyn recalls familiar, distinguishable sounds related to our cotton culture. She said, “The generator for the ‘light plant,’ or Conway Corporation, hummed all year, but autumn was the time to enjoy the sounds of the cotton gins and compress. To many, these sounds signified that the fall season had arrived.” In the spring, Mr. Herman Stermer, a ham radio operator and local radio station KCON personality, kept

listeners informed of the sighting of the first purple martin. Marilyn said, “There were several drugstores in town and all had a myriad of ice cream flavors. Fecher’s Ice Cream Parlor had the largest variety, though.” And only they had orange sherbet, Mike’s favorite treat. Marilyn also remembers election nights on the county courthouse lawn. “People gathered to listen to election results over a loudspeaker. Soft drinks were sold as it was always very hot weather.” A curiosity she mentions is, “Beside a courthouse side entrance for many years was a tombstone leaning against the building. No information was available regarding its history.” As many school students ride buses now, even within city limits, most of our town’s students walked or rode bikes to and from school. Mike and Marilyn walked quite a distance to their home in downtown Conway. Marilyn states, “The windows of the original Log Cabin Democrat on Oak Street were always open in warm weather. The linotype operators sat at the windows and you could hear them typing long before you got there.” While in high school, my late brother, Noel, worked for the newspaper both as a carrier and a “go-fer” for workers. He spoke of the linotypists, saying one was a fellow named “Sug” (as in “sugar”) McMillan who drove to work every day from Wooster. Noel said, “I melted down all the lead into ‘pigs’ and delivered them every day to the linotype operators. ‘Pigs’ were 2-foot bars of lead resulting when previously-used lead was hung over or placed inside a melting pot so that the thenliquefied lead could be poured into forms and eventually into lines-of-type or letters. It was always very hot in the building and we all took salt tablets.” He always wondered how he missed getting lead poisoning. The newspaper was widely read and appreciated, read and appreciated, serving the purpose of a local newspaper by informing the community as well as nurturing. If persons from different eras were asked to describe his or her Conway experience, each description of the town would be different from those before and after. They may now live on another continent, in a far off state or next door, but each will remember the same things about “their” Conway. And I wonder what Conway founder, Col. Asa Peter Robinson, and the associated founding fathers would think as they navigated the roundabouts in their wagons, only to arrive somewhere they didn’t intend to go!

August 2022 | 55

G E T R E A DY T O M E E T T H E 2 0 2 2

501 LIFE FOOTBALL TEAM Photos by Mike Kemp

Bennett Johnson Bigelow

Caleb Shirron Cabot

Carter McElhany Greenbrier

Cedric Simmons Malvern

Cole Pace Catholic High School for Boys

Cooper Johnson Conway Christian

Diego Robledo Hot Springs Lakeside

Easton Walker Perryville

Eli Wilson Searcy

Izic Clenney Lake Hamilton

Jack Harbour Episcopal Collegiate

Jackson Stewart Central Arkansas Christian

Jaedon Zurliene Poyen

Jamarion Carr Conway

Julius McClellan Magnet Cove

Kade Smith Harding Academy

Kajalan Black Morrilton

Koby Teeter Riverview

56 | 501 LIFE August 2022



Landon Jones Lonoke

Walker Davis Benton

Landon Rose Clinton

Xander Talbert Bismarck

Logan Love Quitman

We are proud to present our 12th 501 Football Team, featuring 29 young men from the region. Nominated by their coaches and chosen by our staff, these players are standouts because of their character, willingness to help teammates, volunteer work and sportsmanship. A special publication of 501 LIFE is our annual 501 FOOTBALL edition, which offers a unique feature on each of the young men selected for this year’s team. Look for the issue in print and at

Noah Gailey Mayflower

Xavier Parker Hot Springs

Renlee Espinosa Bald Knob

Zachary Grant Beebe

Sam Sanders Catholic High School for Boys

Zachary Nolan Vilonia

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August 2022 | 57


athletic excellence By Dr. Robert Reising

Conway County's Greg Flesher Few Arkansans with a claim on athletic success enjoy the respect that Greg Flesher has earned. Intelligence, integrity, and empathy have combined to provide the 66-year-old with a winning personality and a presence communicating sincerity and guaranteeing trust. The lanky 6-footer shies from the praise that trails him, but his best efforts seldom prevail. Clearly, he is one of the 501’s most accomplished and admired citizens. Billy Joe Murray (from left) is inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame by his high school teammate and lifelong friend Greg Flesher. The two were instrumental in the 1973 State Basketball Championships.

58 | 501 LIFE August 2022


any in the Natural State are surprised to learn that Greg is not a native Arkansan, and that he was born Gregory Ward Hatcher on Jan. 15, 1956, in a Des Moines, Iowa, hospital. The parents he once identified as “lower-middle class” resided 25 miles away: Donald and Peggy Hatcher of New Virginia, population 400. Tragedy visited early, when Greg was only 3. The death of his father in a 1959 car wreck forced a 14-mile move to Indianola, where he and his mother shared a modest home with his maternal grandmother and two uncles. Just before he entered kindergarten, his mother remarried, and his stepfather, Fred Flesher, adopted him, and the only child soon found himself with three siblings. Greg’s stable small-city home life aided him academically and socially, his little red wagon and the sweet corn that it maneuvered door-to-door introduced him to entrepreneurial success, and playground and gymnasium activities quickly revealed his penchant for basketball. But another life-changing intrusion surfaced on the eve of his sophomore year in high school. He moved again, this time to distant Morrilton, Arkansas, where his father was to teach far into the 1980s. School integration had been slow to come to the Natural State, and shortly after his enrollment, Greg learned that the city’s finest young basketballers honed their skill on community courts where word was circulating that ”there’s a new tall, skinny white kid in town who thinks he’s got game.” North traveled South, and lifelong respect was born. Indeed, Greg “had game,” and his friendly foes nothing less. Basketball, skillfully played, proceeded to blend the two into a harmonious, victory-devouring unit, always to be remembered, in Shakespeare’s words, “… we few, we happy few, we band of brothers.” “Remembered” they were. After a year as a valuable substitute, Greg was crucial in Morrilton’s most celebrated season ever. The legendary John Widner was head coach and Greg a starter and a star on the team claiming a 32-3 record and the 1973-74 State AA Tournament Championship (with senior teammate Billy Joe Murray gaining MVP honors). The Championship season was a noteworthy first, central in a revered “remembered” past. Never before had the Devil Dogs taken the state’s top basketball prize, and joy and pride saturated the city and the county. It also proved to be the lone state title that Coach Widner would win in his illustrious 831-victory high school coaching career. In the following season, the gifted coach came within an overtime loss of shepherding the Devil Dogs to a second consecutive state championship. Greg was at his basketball best, gaining a host of honors, including All-Region, All-State, MVP, AA Player of the Year, and membership on the state’s Super Team, selected by the Gazette. No one followed Greg’s Devil Dog career more closely or admired him more than Cliff Garrison, Hendrix University’s head basketball coach and another member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. To Cliff, Greg was “allaround phenomenal” in 1974, a speedy basketball scorer and rebounder, as well as Morrilton’s first National Merit Finalist and both the senior class president and its valedictorian. Rejecting numerous offers, Greg accepted a sizable award at Hendrix while committing to play his intercollegiate basketball for a thankful coach. After a season of sporadic appearances, Greg moved into a starting slot that saw him on the floor at tip-off in 51 consecutive contests in back-to-back campaigns. He was poised, Coach Garrison was later to say, to earn All-Conference honors as a senior; he was on the brink of stardom.

But misfortune intruded. A torn ACL in the last minute of the last game of his third season launched a series of surgeries that limited him to 10 games as a senior and carried into the new millennium. Flesher would eventually undergo two knee replacements (one on each knee) in 2004 and 2006. Undaunted by the injury, Flesher completed his baccalaureate on June 1, 1978, and four days later began employment at Frost PLLC, a public accounting firm. He proudly admits that during his 45 years with the company, he held “every position from entry-level staff accountant to managing partner.” His love of work did not prohibit a three-year courtship of Dora Jane Oudin, whom he married in 1981. Nor did it keep him from devoting hundreds of hours to community service. Empathy has been his motivation, kindness — a word he quietly admires — its embodiment, and gratitude its consequence. Recipients, some surprising, some not, border on the countless and span a range of fields, from the arts to athletics. They include Little Rock’s Repertory Theatre. Flesher also aided with “a generous private donation of $725,000 from the Donaghey Foundation” to update the UALR Donaghey Athletic Center. He assisted the Rotary Club of Little Rock in acquiring $2 million for the Rotary Club 99 Foundation as the club’s Centennial project. Greg has poured his expertise and energies into community improvement on more occasions than he could ever remember. Morrilton, Conway County, the 501 — and oh, so many more — have been the fortunate beneficiaries. Through it all, Greg’s affection and respect for his “band of brothers,” and for the coach who made the championship possible, has never faded.

Greg, his “band of brothers” and their leader have been among the “remembered:” From the efforts to gain a teammate a life-saving kidney transplant, to raising money for naming the John Widner Court at the Morrilton High School Devil Dog Arena. Below: The team came together in 2003 for the posthumous induction of Coach Widner into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Top: The 1973-74 teammates and their families were honored with rings at a reception commemorating the State Championship season, 40 years earlier.

Robert Toney (1969), chair of the MHS Golden Reunion Brunch, and Phyllis Scroggin McKuin (1962).

Betty and Herman Ellis (1955).

Back row: Beverly Montgomery Paladino (1961) and John Montgomery (1952). Front: James Risinger (1951) and Florence Montgomery Risinger (1956

Arthur Lee (1954) and Sharon Parette Robertson (1959).

Class of 1971 members, back row: Mike Huett, Vicky Hill Ronk, Leslie Welch Kapec , and Kathy Griswood Zimmerman. Front, from left: Joyce Gunnells Howard, Nancy Wren and Euna Wood Beavers.

Class of 1971 members, back row: Steve Barry and Lynnette Oliger Burdick. Front, from left: Larry Stricklen, Peggy Werts Kalevik and Scott Kalevik.

Arlene Brown Price (1972, from left), Melba Turbeville Arruda (1972), Darlene and Raymond Ward (1972).

lass of 1971, from left: Patricia Parks and Clara Garrett Lofton.

Dorothy “Dot” Reynolds King (1945, from left), Paula Cupp Darter (1968) and Betty Ann Mitchell Smith (1968).

Story and photos by Stefanie Brazile

Golden Reunion in Morrilton brings three classes back home T

he Morrilton High School (MHS) Devil Dog Arena was filled with smiling faces on June 11 when the annual Golden Reunion Brunch was held for the first time since 2019. Because of the pandemic, a reunion that was planned for 2020 to honor MHS graduates from 50 years earlier was put on hold.

South Conway County School District Superintendent Shawn Halbrook addressed the group. “We’re so proud to have our alumni come back and be part of our learning community,” Halbrook said. “You play an important role in the heritage of being a Devil Dog.”

The MHS Alumni Committee was thrilled to restart the tradition and invited the classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972 to join previous classes for a celebratory brunch. Three-hundred Devil Dogs came out and classes were separated by tables; however, the excitement of seeing one another again kept most people out of their seats until the formal presentation began.

The day began at 10 a.m. with a social hour, followed by speakers and the brunch at 11. Robert Toney, chairman of the organizing committee, reflected on the event. “I knew it would be a really exciting event this year because three classes were there for their first time and we met in the new arena for the first time.”

Learn more about the annual event at August 2022 | 61

TOP LEFT: Gloria Mayall Langley (1960) and Phil Alvis. TOP CENTER: 2nd VP of the Reunion Jerry Smith (1968, from left), President Robert Toney (1969) and VP Stan Willis (1963). TOP RIGHT: Sue Cox (wife of the late Coach Wylie Cox) and Stephanie Cox Nicholson (1971). CENTER LEFT: Class of 1972, from left: Donnie Spears, Charles Murray and Stanley Wolfe. CENTER PHOTO: Jeannie Garrison Price (1962, from left), Martha Guinn Charton (1962), Leslie Cupp Parks and her twin, Paula Cupp Darter (1968). CENTER RIGHT: Becky and Lynn Young. BOTTOM LEFT: Jo Ellen (from left) and David Dunlap (1961), Melina Owens Carnahan (1967) and Gary Carnahan, and Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer. BOTTOM RIGHT: Superintendent Shawn Halbrook and Lindall Roberts (1961),


F O R W A R D T H I N KING Get an affordable, quality education close to home § General education credits for seamless transfer to a university § Hands-on training leading to high-demand, high-wage jobs WWW.UACCM.EDU | 501-977-2000

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Adele Holmes By Susan Peterson Photo by Lori Sparkman

With first novel, Holmes shares a powerful

Vision Statement A

s a young girl in the 1960s, Adele Holmes, MD, was somewhat of a social outcast. Adele's father disappeared soon after she was born, so she was raised by a single mother, a situation frowned upon in small-town Arkansas. And although she could read well, she was considered slow because she often seemed unaware of what others found obvious, and she would sometimes trip or bump into things. But in second grade, her life changed. Her mother married a math teacher and the family moved to Walnut Ridge. That’s when her vision was checked. As she recalls in her memoir essay “Vision,” the scenario went something like this:

From the other side of the box he droned, “How many apples are on the tree?” What, is this a trick or something? Silence. Winter's Reckoning: Available on Amazon and at local stores beginning Aug. 9, 2022

His voice rose an octave higher. “Young lady, I asked you a question . . . how many apples are on the tree?” I was at a loss for an answer as he leaned so close I could feel his dull breath on my forehead and regard his menacing countenance. Finally, I heard my timid voice: “What tree?”

Adele was nearly blind. But after her vision was corrected, “The world opened up – everything changed.” Adele’s grandmother always told Adele that she could do whatever she wanted, and now she knew she could. With her new social standing and 20/20 vision, Adele did well in her new school. As a young adult, she married and started a family. Although she was working as a legal secretary and taking college courses at night, she felt something was missing, that she could do more with her life. She quit her job and began full-time college classes. At age 28, Adele was accepted into medical school at UAMS and later became divorced. Though medical school was daunting work, she persevered, motivated in part by her own childhood experience. It was during her residency at Arkansas Children’s Hospital that she met Chris Holmes. They were married in 2000. After working nearly three decades in the medical field, she knew it was time to leave. Her successes included private practice and helping build the Central Arkansas Pediatric Clinic. She and Chris wanted more time to travel, a passion they both shared. They have visited all seven continents. But Adele still had one more goal. Publishing a book was something she always wanted to do, and it seemed the right time to achieve this dream. After all, she now had “plenty of fodder to work with,” including her medical background, personal childhood struggles, and experiences traveling the globe. About five years ago, she began writing “Winter’s Reckoning.” In order to prepare, she attended numerous conferences and workshops, both local and out of state. She admits to becoming a conference junkie, with the San Miguel Literary Sala in Mexico being her favorite. The book was nearly finished when COVID-19 hit. Although disappointed in the timing, she said it was a blessing. She was able to take many of the open hostilities and tensions she witnessed in real life and incorporate them into her book. She made many revisions, using themes of a divided world, inequality, and social injustices. And, most importantly, how one person can make a positive difference. Adele’s revisions paid off. She submitted her revised work to She Writes Press in December of 2020, and it was accepted for publication in fall of 2022, now with an Aug. 9 release date. In pre-publication, it won Honorable Mention in the William Faulkner Literary Competition and is a finalist for the Chanticleer International Book Awards-Goethe Award. The book tells the story of 46-year-old Madeline Fairbanks, a widow and herbalist healer in a small Appalachian town in 1917. Maddie’s progressive views are challenged by many members of the conservative, and sometimes dangerous, community. Maddie, who is modeled after Adele’s grandmother, must find an inner strength to oppose the backward, ingrained beliefs found in the community. The book is multi-faceted. As one review described “Winter’s Reckoning:” Tear out a page of “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier, add in a mix of “Deliverance” and “The Apostle,” along with a dash of “Nell.” Adele and Chris live in Benton, and Adele is now busy working on both a prequel and sequel to “Winter’s Reckoning,” combining Southern gothic, magical realism, and medical fiction. Someday the couple hopes to resume traveling, but visiting with five grandchildren and taking care of a new puppy have put long trips on hold. Adele is available to speak to book clubs and other groups. “Winter’s Reckoning” is available on Amazon and at local stores. Learn more at

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By Dwain Hebda

Greg Mobley created a ring of art by assembling stills from Arkansas PBS projects.

Photo by Mike Kemp



If you want to know how old-school Greg Mobley is, MTV was still playing videos when he first began his career in music. And it was in one of those videos he caught a glimpse of his future as a deejay, animator, and video impresario.



“I was influenced by hip-hop as a kid,” said Mobley, stage name DJ g-force. “I did breakdancing, and I would see these videos of people manipulating the record and think, ‘What is that? What is between the turntables? I want to know what that is.’ “A friend of mine, his brother bought a mixer and had an old turntable, and he was trying to learn how to scratch. He kept advancing his equipment and I ended up buying his old mixer, and then he got rid of the advanced equipment and I bought that. A mixer and a crate of records was kind of the beginning for me.” Deejaying in the hip-hop era didn’t mean what it did a generation before, when on-air radio talent would fill the gaps between songs with patter or the high school dance variety simply spun one tune after another. Starting in the late 1980s, the deejay went from performing a function to performing an art form, scratching, mixing, and blending songs in ways that led the crowd through an experience. Perfecting his craft in an era before marrying sound and images was as easy as a few clicks on a smartphone, Greg used an analog process. It was comprised of long hours of practice, a voluminous musical appetite, and was augmented by a natural ear for how two pieces of music could be brought together to create an entirely new experience. Now 51, a performance by DJ g-force is a study in someone who learned everything he knows the hard way. “In those days, we didn’t have YouTube videos to explain to us how things worked,” he said. “So, I would go to Barnes and Noble and get a book and try to figure it out.” Along the way, Mobley attended Westark (now University of Arkansas at Fort Smith) and Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, where he studied graphic arts. That landed him a string of corporate and advertising jobs, and through these gigs, he developed a knack for animation, something that quickly found its way into his stage show and other projects outside of work. “When the World Wide Web took off as a thing, I went to work at a company doing web design. In those days, you would do simple GIF animations,” he said. “That just kind of kept advancing and then macromedia flash became a thing. That was one of my earliest tools as far as learning how to animate.” As technology advanced, the process became easier and faster and the finished product more professional. Before long, Mobley was making commercials for different music shows, but adding video to his stage show was still a clumsy process. Once the technology caught up to his imagination, however, it was off to the races.

VISION “They finally came out with a plug-in where you can mix music videos,” he said. “One of the venues I’d been playing, Willy D’s, has a club underneath called Deep and they had decided to rig it up for video. I had enough music downloaded I could actually start doing a video deejay set and I haven’t stopped since. “I don’t know if people are coming to see me specifically; you play at a venue and you try to do a good job and hopefully you get asked back. I’ve been playing locally here in bars and clubs since maybe 2005. I kind of learned the ropes of what the musical tastes are in one local venue versus another. It might be a little bit different from what I would play for myself, but you’ve got to learn that.” Mobley, who’s well-known in venues throughout Central Arkansas, would go from a local celebrity to a sought-after artist for national performing acts when a friend and colleague, DJ Crush of New Orleans, asked him to help take some excess work off his hands. “DJ Crush liked the work that I was doing and kept encouraging me to do more and more,” he said. “He was doing visuals for Lil Jon, and at one point he was like, ‘Hey, Lil Jon is needing some stuff and I don’t have time to do it. Could you handle it?’” Mobley’s work for the famed rapper caught the eye of others in the music industry, and he started getting more calls for more work, the latest being for the band Widespread Panic. He’s also been featured on the Twitch channel and created the broadcast intro and motion graphics used on stage at the live 30th anniversary celebration of Yo! MTV Raps, held in New York City. His versatility and attention to detail, forged from years of working in commercial graphic design and animation, sets him apart in his field. “I don’t know if there’s anyone who has their toe in the different aspects that I do,” he said. “Everyone kind of has their own thing. There’s a lot of guys who do video who don’t edit. When I started, it was like how am I going to get this stuff? I’m going to have to learn how to make my own edits basically. Still doing that to this day.” Mobley has worked day jobs throughout his career, his latest gig being with Arkansas PBS as the senior animator and producer. He said he enjoys how that work stretches different creative muscles than late nights in a dance club. “I think it’s definitely an iron sharpens iron type situation,” he said. “I might be working on a kids’ show, I might be working on a documentary, I might be working on a remix video, and everything has its own kind of style. All those different skills apply to each other in some way along the line somewhere. “I just take the opportunities as they come and try to give it 100% each time. Just keep moving forward, really.”

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Greg Mobley creates remix videos and sells them to other deejays worldwide at

Programming images created for Arkansas PBS by Greg Mobley, senior animator and producer.

Busta Rhymes – Hustler’s Anthem (g-force video edit).

Beyonce & Jay Z (The Carters) Rocco and Ever B Remis (g-force video edit)

Kendrick Lamar – Humble-Flip and Hatz Remix (g-force video edit).

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Travis Scott – Rocco and Ever B Remix (g-force video edit)

Gwen Stefanie – Hollaback Girl – Kees Sjansen Remix (g-force video edit).

Dirtwater and the secret ingredients By Laurie Green


hat I'm about to share may forever damage my reputation around town, but I'm just going to say it. Here we go … I am not a fan of coffee! Whew, that feels good to get that confession off my chest. LOL. Now don't get me wrong. I drink coffee every single day (according to my husband, it's more like I drink creamer with a little splash of dirtwater). Dirtwater is what I jokingly refer to as black coffee, because that's exactly what it tastes like to me … dirt and water.

of dirtwater I would drink and pretend to like. I pretended to love reading my Bible every time the subject came up. I was embarrassed to be a so-called Christian and yet struggle so much to enjoy my reading time. All that changed when I had a friend invite me to join a daily Bible study online.

Now my husband is a huge coffee lover and he likes nothing more than a plain, hot cup of black dirtwater. Funny sidenote here, when we first met I didn't dare tell Will this sordid secret about myself. Why? Well, because he always invited me out for a cup of coffee, and I liked him a lot more than I hated dirtwater so I pretended to love it. Twenty-four and some odd years later, we still laugh about how I would down that awful stuff just to spend time with him.

In my defense, it was called The Daily Walk Bible and I thought it was a devotional book. I LOVE reading devotionals; they make perfect sense to me. I joined the Facebook group, signed up for the daily emails, and was utterly shocked when my book arrived and I realized it was the full-fledged, thousand-page Bible, not just a little daily devotional like I was expecting. However, things were about to change!

The funny thing is, as much as I dislike the taste of coffee, it is a daily morning routine with Will and me. Every morning, Will gets up before me, brews a pot of that hot dirtwater, grabs my favorite cup, and transforms that stuff into a delicious concoction that I can't wait to drink. Fun fact, I have been drinking this sweetened dirtwater out of the same coffee cup for more than 20 years! It was a beloved gift from Will before he knew my distaste for coffee. He is definitely my very own magical barista who transforms dirtwater into something I enjoy. Isn't it funny how much you can dislike something, but given the right circumstances and the correct ingredients, it can become something you love and look forward to everyday? An example is how I used to struggle reading my Bible each day because it didn't make a lot of sense to me. I had trouble pronouncing names, towns, etc. I would find myself behaving just like I did with Will and those awful cups

Enter Christina Munoz Madsen. If daily Bible reading felt like drinking a cup of dirtwater to me, she was the barista extraordinaire of Bible reading. Madsen has mastered the skill of making daily Bible reading enjoyable and relatable with her unique daily emails that break things down into bitesize pieces. She is the wonderful secret ingredient that makes something that was hard for me to digest into something I look forward to indulging in every single day! And as I'm continuing this journey to be the best version of myself, not only spiritually but physically, I have to also thank my sweet friend Holly Fox. She introduced me to this amazing Bible study and encourages me daily to get out of bed and work out, and be the best version of myself. She makes exercise fun and is the fitness barista of kickboxing. LOL. With all that said, I encourage you to find those special ingredients that make doing the hard stuff just a little easier. Search diligently for those Proverbs 27:9 people in your life, for a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.

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Tayshun and Taylor spent their childhoods with missing pieces...

put them back together By Rita Thmoas Photos by Mike Kemp

Tayshun Mattison (from left), stands with his adopted sister LaSunia Mattison Taylor, his mother Jeannie Mattison and his biological sister Taylor Turner.


n every puzzle, key pieces help others fall into place. The same can be said about life. For a 20-year-old Conway man, his own words became the key to connecting missing pieces together.

case worker gave me an old article from 501 LIFE Magazine.” The article was Tayshun’s story, written in his own words.

Two months ago after years of separation by foster care placement, Tayshun Mattison reunited with his sister, Taylor Turner, now 18, from the Dallas area. When they entered foster care, Tayshun was 4, and Taylor was 2. They were also separated from an older brother, TJ, then 6. “I always say I found her, but really, she found me,” Tayshun said.

Mrs. Sabrena Thacker, a history teacher with Mayflower High School, issued a class assignment during Tayshun’s junior year. Impressed with his work and his story, she asked permission to send it to the magazine. Tayshun agreed, thinking it might help someone else since he found his forever home at age 12. Little did he know, his own words would be key in finding his siblings and filling pieces of his life puzzle into place.

A key piece of information became the catalyst in the connection. “I’ve looked for him as long as I can remember,” Taylor said. “When I got my case file when I turned 18, my

His story was printed in the October 2018 issue and also published online. Readers may to read the original article.

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LEFT: Tayshun Mattison was born Tayshun Bean in Mesquite, Texas, and was adopted at age 12 by a Conway family. Following an assignment by Mayflower High School history teacher Sabrena Thacker (center) to describe his life, Tayshun’s essay was published in 501 LIFE Magazine in 2018. RIGHT: In June 2022, Tayshun was reunited with his younger sister, Taylor Turner, in Conway because she found the magazine article in her case file when she turned 18 and contacted him on social media.

“When I read the story, I started searching social media, found him on Instagram, and messaged him,” Taylor said.

Family is everything in the Mattison family, so they sprang into action.

“I didn’t reply to her right away,” Tayshun confessed. Instead, he texted his older brother, TJ, whom he found just 18 months earlier, telling him he’d found their sister.

It took less than three weeks for LaSunia to bring Taylor to Arkansas. Jeannie wanted T-shirts in honor of such a monumental moment. LaSunia ran with it. The shirts read, “Together Again.” The word “Family” sits above a line, and “Everything” sits below a line to say, “family over everything.” Two interlocking puzzle pieces signify their reunion.

TJ, 22, also of the Dallas area, conducted an internet search in December 2020 using Tayshun’s birth name. Since Tayshun disclosed it, the search retrieved the same 501 LIFE article. TJ contacted the magazine, who then shared his contact information with Tayshun and his family. For three years prior to Tayshun’s adoption, he was fostered by LaSunia Taylor and her husband, Andre. “I knew right away [Tayshun] was different from the other foster kids,” LaSunia said. “He was polite, well-mannered, and up front about wanting to be adopted, and he fit. He just fit our family.” The Taylors wanted to adopt Tayshun, but couldn’t. Unable to bear the thought of losing him, LaSunia reached out to her parents, Jeannie and Ricky Mattison of Conway. The Mattisons agreed, already deeply connected to Tayshun through their visits. After the Mattisons completed all things necessary, Tayshun’s foster mom became his sister. Coincidentally or by divine design, the Taylors live in Glenn Heights, a Dallas suburb. When they learned TJ was just outside of Dallas, Jeannie and Tayshun made a familiar trip to Glenn Heights to connect with his brother, his maternal grandmother, two aunts, and several cousins.

“My mom has always been a person to push me out of my comfort zone. Once we found out [about Taylor], I knew she would go above and beyond to do something big. This is just the type of person she is. She even put ‘Taylor’s Big Brother’ and ‘Tayshun’s Little Sister’ on the shirts,” Tayshun said. “[Taylor] was nervous during the trip. Uncertain. Anxious. She’d been waiting a long time. She just didn’t know what to do, and that uncertainty grew as we got closer. But the minute we stopped, she screamed, jumped out of the car, and ran into his arms,” LaSunia said. “They gelled right away and spent time getting to know each other again. You know, they had to start from that moment because neither of them could remember much. Tayshun showed her all the pictures he took during his reunion visit with their family,” LaSunia said. “They were like old friends spending time together.” “Having connected with my inner family makes me feel more complete. Just having us all as one again and being a family,” Tayshun said.

“It was a really nice visit ... they had pictures set up everywhere and photo albums. They shared pictures of his mom and of them as kids. Tayshun took pictures of pictures, some of his mom, and of her obituary. She died just before his 6th birthday,” Jeannie said.

Not only did Tayshun regain his sister, but Taylor gained a whole new extended family in Conway. “Taylor now has another mother and father, and we’ve gained another daughter,” Jeannie said.

“My granny pulled out a big [photo] album and started going through it and sharing stories. That started pulling at some of my memories. It was nice to bring that back through some of those pictures. It helped me write more of my story and helped bridge the gaps,” Tayshun said.

“I’m trying to get everything together to have a siblings’ reunion. I haven’t connected with TJ in person yet. We talk all the time now, but we haven’t met yet,” Taylor said.

“The neighborhood subdivision [where his grandmother, Pamela Peterson, now lives] is the same neighborhood where [Tayshun] went to middle school, so all of that was familiar to him. He could see his old school from her house,” LaSunia said. From that December visit, Tayshun pieced together much of his life’s puzzle, but there was still a significant piece missing until he received the message from Taylor in early June.

What’s next?

Over the years, Tayshun and Taylor each carried a photograph of the two of them as a piece of the other. “Never give up because you are always connected to your siblings, no matter where you are. Never, ever give up,” Taylor said, offering encouragement to others. Each now carries a commemorative keychain with half a puzzle that interlocks when they are together. Family. It’s fitting together, again, with more than missing pieces.

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Washington Methodist Church

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Story and photos by Linda Henderson


o, to recap from last month’s story: How do you fill the time of a man who must be busy but still needs time to heal and recover from shoulder surgery? You start the “visit all of The Arkansas State Parks while Jim recovers from shoulder surgery tour.” Last month, I wrote about the scenic parks. This month, let’s visit the historical parks. During our tour, we took steps back in time and watched Arkansas history unfold at our historical parks. We explored the history of the state’s earliest dwellers to the oil boom of the 1900s. During our visits, we saw Civil War battlefields, hundreds of landmarks, historical churches, and other inspiring sites. Jim and I found 20 parks that we categorized as historical themed parks, and 18 are named here: Lower White River Museum, Plantation Agriculture Museum, Toltec Mounds, Ozark Folk Center, Davidsonville Historic, Hampson Archeological Museum, Harman Davis, Jacksonport, Parkin Archeological, Powhatan Historic, Arkansas Post Museum, Louisiana Purchase, Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources, Conway Cemetery, Historic Washington, Red River Campaign, Prairie Grove, and Lake Fort Smith. The rivers of Arkansas served as the first transportation systems into the frontier. Arkansas is abundant in rivers and streams. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, there are approximately 90,000 miles of waterways. Thirtythree rivers pass through Arkansas. These rivers were the “superhighways” of the 19th century and for thousands of years prior to statehood. Native people, early explorers, and pioneers all came to Arkansas by canoes, flat boats, keel boats, ferries, and later steamboats. Many of Arkansas’s first towns and cities were established close to the rivers. Arkansas’s river history is celebrated by several of our state parks. Lower White River Museum State Park is in Des Arc. The museum theme is the role that the White River played

in the development of the state. White River was a vital transportation route for the early Arkansas pioneers. The river provided a waterway for fishing, hunting, transportation of timber, and harvesting mussel shells for pearls and mother of pearl buttons. During our tour of Arkansas’ Upper Delta, we visited multiple historical parks, which are all within a day’s drive. They are a wonderful mixture of early Arkansas history and development of the state’s infrastructure. Davidsonville Historical Park State Park is outside of Pocahontas. The park is on the site of Arkansas’ first post office and earliest courthouse. Little remains of the early townsite. A trail system wanders through the woods, follows the historical townsite, and passes through a post-Civil War cemetery. Powhatan (pronounced pau-uh-tan) Historic State Park is in Powhatan. The park has six preserved buildings from the 19th century. The park’s site sits high on an overlook of the Black River. The town was named for the Native American chief who was the father of Pocahontas. During the 1800s, the site was a steamboat port and had a ferry embarkment. It was the area’s primary shipping port for the territory. Jacksonport State Park is located near New Port. It sits on the confluence of the White and Black Rivers. During the Civil War, Jacksonport was the county seat and was a busy port for the transport of goods in and out of eastern Arkansas. The courthouse on the grounds has been restored and is a part of the park’s museum. The park has a beautiful half-mile riverwalk that is a perfect way to stretch your legs. Arkansas has three parks that explore the state’s early Native Americans’ history, culture, and heritage. Two are in the Upper Delta and one is in Central Arkansas.

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Hampson State Park is located on the town square in Wilson, Arkansas. This museum/park contains a nationally renowned collection of artifacts from the Nodena People, who inhabited the area from 1400 to 1650. Parkin Archeological State Park is on the banks of the Saint Francis River. The park preserves the history and culture of people living in the Mississippi Delta during the time of 1000 AD to 1550. There is evidence that the expedition of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto visited the area in 1541. Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park is a National Landmark. It is near Scott. Toltec is one of the largest and most important archeological sites in the Mississippi River Valley. The site was a ceremonial ground for prehistoric Native Americans. Archaeologists have excavated thousands of artifacts over the past 30 years and have learned many things about the people who lived in Arkansas over many thousands of years. Along with Toltec, Scott has another state park, Plantation Agriculture Museum. The museum site is surrounded by cultivated farming land, and the museum preserves the history of Arkansas agriculture. It is housed in a 1919 cotton gin, historical tractor shed with antique tractors, a seed warehouse, and a preserved Scott town building. Southern Arkansas has five exceptional historical state parks. Several are significant in our national history. Louisiana Purchase State Park near Brinkley does not have a visitor center but is a key place in our nation’s history. It is the initial point from which all surveys of property from the 1803 Louisiana Purchase originated. An elevated boardwalk leads to a granite monument marking the survey’s starting point. Arkansas Post Museum is located south of Gillett. The park houses documents and artifacts from Arkansas’ territorial period to Grand Prairies history. There are four restored buildings and a native prairie grass restoration area and indigenous wildflower areas. Arkansas Post was historically significant to the developing United States territory. It was the first European settlement in the Mississippi River area. A French settlement was established at Arkansas Post in 1686.

Washington. The 1874 Courthouse serves as the park’s visitor center. Surrounding homes and buildings house museums of everyday living. These include a blacksmith shop, weapons museum, and print museum. William’s Tavern on the grounds serves as a restaurant. North Arkansas has three historical parks. The Ozark Folk Center is near Mountain View. The park is dedicated to the culture, music, and crafts of the Ozarks. The Folk Center is known as the Folk Music Capital of the World. A trip to the center was like strolling through the Ozarks of the past. Artisans of all the crafts needed to live in times gone by are demonstrated and exhibited in the park. As we wandered through the park, the sounds of fiddles, guitars, and banjos drifted across the park. Another park with national historical importance is Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. This park is America’s most intact and well-preserved Civil War battlefield. The park is on more than 900 acres that have been kept in the original battlefield state. Buildings from the era are a part of the park and the story of the battle that took place there. On a cold wet day in April, we visited Lake Fort Smith. It is located off Scenic Highway 71 north of Mountainburg. That day, the park was draped in fog from the lake and early wildflowers were blooming. The Boston Mountains surround the park. The area was important to pioneers who headed west in covered wagons and the park’s visitor center has exhibits depicting frontier life. We traveled through history on our tour of historical state parks. Arkansas’ past revealed itself at every bend. Exhibits at each park featured Native American artifacts, geology, forestry, railroads, oil booms, steamboats, and the Civil War. Next month will be the final installment of our park’s tour. In September, we will visit our outdoor sports parks.

Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources is near Smackover. The park tells the story of the 1920s oil boom in the area. The grounds host a working oil equipment field, which includes an oil derrick. Inside the Visitor’s Center is a replica oil boom town. When you walk through the boomtown, it is a stroll down the streets of old-time Smackover. Our favorite history park was Historic Washington State Park. The park is in downtown Washington not far from Hope. The park is the largest collection of 19th-century buildings in the state. We visited during the time of year when the daffodils were in full bloom. The entire town and grounds of the park were carpeted with blooming daffodils. The historical importance of this park is it was an important stop on the southwest trail and into the southern United States Territory. James Bowie, Sam Houston, and Davy Crocket traveled through Arkansas and stayed in Old Washington on their way into the southern territories. The legendary Bowie knife was forged in

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‘It’s the people who make us special.’ By John Patton


or Quentin and Lindsey Rowe, a love and passion for helping people is in their DNA. Lindsey was an 18-year-old student learning the skills needed to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) when she met Quentin, who was already a CNA. Lindsey joined Conway Regional as a certified nurse assistant in 2006 and later moved into a medical support assistant (MSA) role. Quentin later followed, joining Conway Regional in 2007 as a medical support assistant. Both had dreams of becoming registered nurses. It became a matter of timing. With three children at home, they began working opposite shifts, sometimes putting their career dreams on hold. All of that changed in March 2011 when Lindsey and Quentin welcomed their new daughter into the world. Shortly after birth, however, their daughter was flown to Little Rock and spent two weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit. “That was the moment we knew it was time to do something different with our careers,” recalled Lindsey. “While our daughter was in the NICU, the love and support shown to us by our Conway Regional co-workers and leaders was overwhelming. We already knew Conway Regional was where we wanted to grow our careers, but this solidified our choice. We knew we would have encouragement and support every step of the way.” Lindsey decided to continue her work as a medical support assistant and take care of their four children while Quentin returned to college. The couple was determined to navigate challenging schedules and the demands of young children, and in December 2014, Quentin graduated as a registered nurse. Their plan was working. “Then came the sucker punch,” said Lindsey. In July 2015, Quentin had a tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure in his sleep. Lindsey found herself sitting at his bedside at Conway Regional. “Familiar faces told us horrible news: Quentin had a brain tumor.” One of Lindsey’s first calls was to let Quentin’s director know he would not be at work. “What seemed like minutes later, our co-workers

started walking into Quentin’s room: the house supervisor, floor nurses, and other colleagues. We were circled with love and support. We knew we weren't in this fight alone.” After Quentin’s surgery, “the next few days, weeks, and months were filled with visits, food, and money that had been collected for us,” Lindsey added. “We were also blessed to be able to benefit from Conway Regional’s benevolence fund. While Quentin worked to recover, our work family carried us through that dark valley. And when he was whole and healthy, we were welcomed back with open arms.” After Quentin recovered, Lindsey became determined to go back to nursing school and left Conway Regional for a brief time. She returned as a registered nurse and now works at the Conway Regional Greenbrier Family Medicine Clinic and as a pool nurse in the emergency department. Quentin accepted a role in information systems at Conway Regional, where he uses his skills and experience to help employees and nursing staff improve their workflow while still providing high quality care at the bedside. “We were two young parents who wanted a better life for our family. We knew we could do more and be better. We just didn’t know how we could make that work,” Lindsey said. “We signed on with an organization that cares about people. We were encouraged to grow, our schedules were accommodated, and that is what allowed us to work while we attended school. Now, we’re in a position of being full-time RNs, giving back to the community and to the organization that gave us so much.” The challenges have continued as Quentin’s tumors have returned and they face another surgery. The support has continued as well as their work family has rallied around them once again. While there is no way to know what the future holds, Quentin and Lindsey know they will not face it alone. Lindsey concluded, “Conway Regional has always prided itself on being the community’s hospital. While we do take care of the community, we also take care of each other. We know that from personal experience. If you want to know what makes Conway Regional special, it’s simple: it’s the people.”

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The Bears Bring the Brass

UCA hosts the International Trombone Festival By Stefanie Brazile


usicians from around the globe descended upon the University of Central Arkansas's campus July 13-16 for the International Trombone Festival (ITF). It was a weekend for all things brass, with guest performers, master classes, exhibits, and concerts. "Hosting an International Trombone Festival is an amazing and humbling experience," said Dr. Justin Cook, associate professor at UCA and the Festival Manager. "It was such a joy to see trombonists from all over the world experience our incredible campus and our fantastic town of Conway!" ITF is an annual, multi-day event featuring all things trombone, and around 1,000 people attended. Artists, teachers, students, professionals, industry leaders, and hobbyists gathered to celebrate and explore the facets and styles of trombone playing, teaching, and composing. It is the premier event worldwide for all things trombone-related. The International Trombone Festival (formerly the International Trombone Workshop) was founded in 1971 to celebrate the life and legacy of the great trombone artist and pedagogue Emory Remington. He served as a Professor of Trombone at the Eastman School of Music from 1922 to 1971. From 1972 to 1979, the event was held annually at George Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn., and beginning in 1980, it moved yearly between host sites in the U.S. and abroad. ITF programs now number in the thousands, averaging

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around 35 concerts annually. They have taken place around the world, including Detmold, Germany (1992), Boulder, Colo. (1998), Helsinki, Finland (2003), New Orleans, La. (2005), and Paris, France (2012). During each festival, there are guest performances by pedagogues, lecturers, and performers. A competitive application process determines who performs. In addition, the event attracts an array of exhibitors, representing the cutting edge of trombone repertoire, recordings, instrument technology, and accessories. At the recent festival, Reynolds Performance Hall was transformed into the ultimate trombone classroom and was the site of concerts and events. UCA's own Natural Slides performed a show with Dallas Symphony and Opera Orchestra members. Also, the Fountain City Brass Band from Kansas City was featured at the July 14 concert. Soloing with that ensemble was UCA's own alumnUSand University of North Texas Professor, Tony Baker. Cook, Dr. Christopher Sharpe, and UCA's Department of Music were essential to the successful event. During U.S. Festivals, ITF is also home to the Youth Workshop, a unique program for developing trombonists who are 12-17 years old, and the Composers Workshop, which supports new music for the instrument.

Photos provided by Justin Coo

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Lucas Borges, Associate Professor of Trombone at Ohio University; Tony Baker, Professor of Trombone at the University of North Texas (a UCA alum); Natalie Mannix, Professor of Trombone at the University of North Texas; Justin Cook, Associate Professor of Trombone at UCA; Noel Wallace, middle school band director and high school private lesson teacher in upstate New York; Carlito Chavez, Dallas Freelancer and private lesson teacher; and, Christopher Sharpe, UCA Adjunct Professor of Trombone.

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RED,WHITE & WOOSTER Photos provided by Lisa Vaden


n June 25, a patriotic program and Fourth of July Celebration was held in Wooster (Faulkner County). The fast-growing community is outside of Conway and Greenbrier. The ceremony was attended by city, county and state dignitaries, and numerous community members. A formal ceremony began with Wooster Mayor Terry Don Robinson acknowledging the four families who founded the community. Then Pastor Keith Hicks of Wooster First Baptist Church led in prayer before the presentation of colors portion of the program. Wooster resident Keely Bounds sang the National Anthem, and then pledges were made to the U.S., Arkansas, Christian and POW flags. Later in the program, a moment of silence was held, followed by a performance of “Taps" by Greenbrier’s Drum Major Nathan Travis. The evening included live music by Cookie Lee & The Sweet T’s from Branson, Mo., food from a variety of vendors and an auction of pies and cakes by local cooks. The auctioneer was Gary Ragan Patton. Sherry Koonce sponsored game competitions for the kids and awarded prizes. The summer evening finished with a spectacular fireworks display.

The winners of the games Bag-O and Ladder Ball were: Oliver Dickens (from left), Levi Miller, Luke Miller, Londyn Martin, Nathan Haile and Lane Lybrand.

Gary Walicki (from left), U.S. Army National Guard Troy Reynolds Sr., Destiny Vaden, Maree and Kirby Coats.

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U.S. Air National Guard Ret. Col. John Samuhel (from left) and Bronze Star and Purple Heart Recipient U.S. Army SGT E5 Gary Arnett.

We look forward to the Independence Day celebration every year. It is a true blessing when people can come together with family and friends and celebrate as a community. We are so appreciative of all the volunteers that make this yearly event possible! Wooster Mayor Terry Don Robinson

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‘As someone whose life and career has been shaped by the values of Hendrix, I am honored for the opportunity to have played a role in advancing the college as a national leader in engaged learning and the liberal arts. It has been a privilege to work alongside our dedicated faculty and staff and talented students and to live and work in a city and community whose identity is so closely connected to higher education.’ Photo by Mike Kemp

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My wife, Kim Speak Arnold, and I have two daughters: Laura Arnold Montgomery and Dr. Grace Arnold.


I am a Hendrix College graduate and received a juris doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.


I was elected president of Hendrix College in November 2019. After practicing law in Little Rock from 1982 to 1990, I served as vice president for Development and College Relations at Hendrix until 1996, when I was named president of Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn. I later served as president and head of school of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock from 2004 until 2008, when I returned to Hendrix as senior executive vice president, dean of advancement, and general counsel and served the college as acting president on two occasions.


More than individual honors, I am most proud of what our campus community has accomplished collectively, capitalizing on opportunities and confronting challenges with confidence and determination, emerging stronger and strategically positioned for the next decade. We have received a record number of applications for admission for two consecutive years

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and the largest growth in new student enrollment in seven years. We have experienced record endowment growth and fundraising success, including an historic $150 million campaign that will be completed later this year and the renovation of two historic student residence halls, Martin and Veasey Halls. This is great progress for the college, and I look forward to continuing this momentum and finishing strong as I approach retirement in June 2023.


During my career, I have served on numerous community boards focused on higher education, as well as business, community, and economic development and the arts.


I am a lifelong United Methodist, and my wife and I are members of First United Methodist Church of Conway.


I really don’t have any prized possessions. The most important things in my life are my family and the hundreds of relationships I have developed through church and work in Conway, Little Rock, Jackson, Tenn., and throughout the country.


I look forward to spending more time with my family and engaging in numerous hobbies and interests.

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Down the Hallway, not the Highway As our community continues to grow, we are growing alongside you to ensure all of your healthcare needs are met right here in Conway. When your family needs emergency care, our board-certified providers will give you the comprehensive care you deserve when you need it most. When you’re facing an emergency, trust the care you’ll find down the hallway, not down the highway.

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