Page 1

Celebrating Greater Central Arkansas July 2020

Liberty and justice for all.




Call Vickey Kirkemier for more information.

501-585-6800 625 Tommy Lewis Drive Conway, AR 72032



here for you

Your health and safety are our top priorities Unity Health is trained and prepared for health-related crises. Our physicians encourage the community to continue to seek medical treatment if needed. Our hospitals and clinics practice elevated safety for the health and well-being of patients and staff at all locations, and it is safe to schedule regular appointments and come to the emergency department. We continue to fight for our community and will always be here for you.

HOSPITALS • CLINICS • SPECIALISTS Searcy | Newport | Beebe | Bradford | Cabot | Clinton | Heber Springs

Unity-Health.org July 2020 501lifemag.com | 3

501 LIFE


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


ART DIRECTORS Jennifer Godwin and Nick Walker ASSOCIATE EDITOR Levi Gilbert



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

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


City officials, local pastors and university officials at the beginning of the June 7 march in Downtown Conway, which ended at Simon Park and was followed by a rally calling for unity and the end of racism.

‘There’s no place for racism’ 2020 will be a year that many will never forget. A silent enemy – COVID-19 – invaded our country earlier this year, killing thousands and forcing schools and businesses to close. Its impact has been felt by many who have lost loved ones and others who have become very ill. On the heels of this devastating pandemic, we all have been impacted by an event – the brutal and tragic murder of a black man named George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. With it, we have looked into the face of an old enemy – racism. Like many others, I was moved to tears as I watched the video of Floyd’s horrific death and the pleas of bystanders to release him. What followed were days of intense protest and outrage. The civil unrest has prompted questions and conversations, and much has been shared in the last couple of weeks in person and on social media. Two particular stories have stood out to me and have made an impact on my heart. The first story detailed a black man who would only walk in his neighborhood if his children or family pet joined him; otherwise, neighbors might jump to conclusions that he was up to no good because of

4 | 501 LIFE July 2020

the color of his skin. How awful to constantly evaluate your actions – even in your own neighborhood – on how others will perceive you based solely on the color of your skin. After the man shared his story, it was heartwarming to see his comments met with love and compassion by neighbors and friends who showed up to support him and join him for a walk. The second story featured an interview with parents and their younger children about “the talk” they have had about racism. It included young people demonstrating how they should respond if stopped by the police, raising their hands and identifying themselves. The mothers interviewed shared their deep worry that their children might not come home one day, just because of the color of their skin. Heartbreaking. We all have to do better and love our neighbors. We hope that events like the Conway United for Equality march and rally (Pages 30-33) will raise awareness and help address racism in our communities. Yes, there is a lot to be learned and there will be some unpleasant conversations, but things have got to change. In the words of Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry, “There is no place for racism.” We couldn’t agree more.

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

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

Stephanie Lipsmeyer Stewart Nelson Kristi Strain Jim Taylor Morgan Zimmerman

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

Hannah Owens Mike Parsons Brooke Pryor Carol Spears Kristi Thurmon

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


July 2020

Celebrating Greater Central Arkansas July 2020

Volume 13 Issue 3

features&departments 9 News

Liberty and justice for all.


After an incredible 20th anniversary season, the UCA Reynolds Performance Hall has announced a new season filled with exciting and entertaining shows.

On the cover

This month, 501 LIFE hopes to promote unity and understanding with coverage of recent peaceful protests (Pages 30-33) in Conway and Searcy. (Jeremy Higginbotham design)

46 Feature

The story of Conway Corporation is one of continuous growth and development, not only of industry, but of the town.


56 Sports

Cleburne County’s Debbi Brawley loves it in the sky.

64 Pet

Dr. Emily Lovell has a big heart for helping others, especially animals, and is putting that interest and her education to work at Hartman Animal Hospital.

Editor’s note: The original theme for this month’s edition was “Celebrating entrepreneurs and mentors,” which is reflected in some of the content in this issue.

neighbors 20 Couples

Shelley and Dr. Justin Charton are loving life in Conway with their four children.


22 Morrilton

When Mike Miller purchased Crow Paving/Jay-Pac, he had to find the right person to lead the Morrilton firm. Brian Rohlman is that person.


24 Searcy

Bill Morton is on a mission to honor Searcy High School military veterans.

66 Person of the month

501 LIFE celebrates Grace Rains, director of operations at the Conductor.

'501 KIDS' 501 LIFE contributors Kellie Bishop and Brittany Gilbert have great tips in this month’s issue. Have a story idea or a young person you would like to see featured? Send suggestions to info@501lifemag.com.

64 46 regulars

4 8-9 10-12 42-47 66

6 | 501 LIFE July 2020

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

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

501 LIFE is you!

twitter.com /501lifemag


facebook.com /501lifemag

Conway Corporation, 27 Conway Downtown, 17 Conway Regional Health System, 67 Conway Regional Rehab, 29

D Diamond Pools, 38 DJM Orthodontics, 53 Double Springs Grass Farms, 51

E Edward Jones, 25 English Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Center, 41

F First Security Bank, 68 First Service Bank, 13 Freyaldenhoven Heating and Cooling Inc., 31


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

Writers’ Room

Glenrock Apartments, 59

H Hartman Animal Hospital, 65 Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA, 47 Heritage Living Center, 5 Hiegel Supply, 51

M MSC Eye Associates, 23 Methodist Family Health, 19 Middleton Heat & Air, 37

O Ott Insurance, 28

P Patterson Eye Care, 35

S Salem Place Nursing and Rehab, 21 Shelter Insurance, 35 Sissy’s Log Cabin, 15 Superior Nursing & Rehab, 2

U UCA Reynolds Performance Hall, 39 Unity Health, 3 University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton, 49 University of Central Arkansas, 57

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

A resident of Central Arkansas most of her life, Linda Hoggard Henderson shares her love of photography and traveling Arkansas each month with 501 LIFE readers. “I enjoy most our small town life in the 501, but we are close to Little Rock and our state parks,” she said. “Also, most of my family and friends live in the 501.” In addition to photography, Linda enjoys traveling backroads and blue line highways, and cooking. “I enjoy eating at every dive, drive-in and every mom and pop restaurant in the 501.” A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor of science degree in nursing, Linda retired from the Conway Human Development Center, where she grew up. She and her husband, Jim, have a son, John Mark, and daughter-in-law, Jenni Henderson. Other family include her dad and mom, Tommy and Peggy Hoggard, and Jim’s parents, Joanne and the late Jack Henderson. To contact Linda, email lindahenderson@conwaycorp. net or follow her on Facebook (Linda Hoggard Henderson) and Instagram (lindahenderson).

Kellie Bishop has lived in Plumerville (Conway County) for nearly 10 years. “There are so many opportunities for engaging with the community and getting outside to enjoy the beautiful area we live in.” Kellie completed her bachelor of science degree in nursing at the University of Arkansas in 2013. She earned a master’s degree in nursing science with a focus as a pediatric nurse practitioner from UAMS in 2016. “I completed my education at UAMS, where I obtained my doctor of nursing practice in 2018.” Kellie and her husband, Greg, have a son and two “fur babies.” She can be reached at kelliebishop827@gmail.com.

A regular contributor to 501 LIFE, Susan Peterson writes the “Authors in the 501” feature. Susan has lived in Conway nearly 35 years and enjoys most the abundant Crepe Myrtles in the 501. She has a PhD in education from the University of Akron in Ohio and is retired from the University of Central Arkansas. She has two children, Ashley and Dan, and their families live in the 501. Susan enjoys traveling, reading and making art, especially painting and pottery. To see her work, visit susanleepeterson. wixsite.com/suzart. July 2020 501lifemag.com | 7



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display will be broadcast by Timeless 106.1 FM KFFB. For more information, visit heber-springs. com. The 20th Annual Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament will be held Monday, July 13, at the Maumelle Country Club. Entry fee is $500 per team. A grilled lunch and driving range contest are planned 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sponsorships are available. For more information, visit maumellechamber.com.

19 2 0 21 22 23 24 25 Cancelled events 26 2 7 28 29 30 31 The Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Fireworks Extravaganza will be held 9 p.m. Saturday, July 4. Due to high lake levels and COVID-19 restrictions, the fireworks will be launched from the Heber Springs Municipal Airport rather than Sandy Beach. Guests will not be allowed on the airport grounds. Music to accompany the fireworks

Several events planned in July in the 501 have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 health crisis and other reasons: The Annual Fabulous Fourth celebration in Morrilton has been cancelled this year. The Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce’s World Championship Cardboard Boat Races will be held next summer. Several factors were considered in postponing, including high lake levels and COVID-19 guidelines. For more information, including attractions and things to do in the area, visit heber-springs.com.Â

The Annual Black and White Auction and golf tournament, benefitting the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County, have been cancelled. The events are typically held in July. Organizers are asking for the community’s financial support for the program. Donations can be mailed to BGCFC, P.O. Box 488, Conway, AR 72033, or made by calling 501.329.8849. The Conway Police Department’s annual children’s safety fair planned in July has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. (Before heading out for any event, 501 LIFE encourages readers to check with organizers to ensure there haven’t been any scheduling changes.)

To submit a calendar item, please send information to info@501lifemag.com. To see a complete list of items, please go to 501lifemag.com.

Four-day week for East End schools by Sonja J. Keith

In addition to new school supplies and school clothes for the fall semester, there will be a new schedule for students and faculty/staff in the East End School District in Perry County. According to Superintendent Lori Edgin, the district will be implementing a four-day school week. Edgin, who is in her second year as superintendent, said there are about 615 students in the district. “The four-day school week has been gaining momentum across the nation over the last few years,� she said. “Each time a school transitioned to a four-day week, it was often a topic of conversation among our parents, teachers and students. The topic gained more recognition locally when the Kirby School District (Pike County) moved to a four-day week during the 2019-2020 school year. Kirby school leaders shared their positive experiences and benefits that they noticed with us, and it led us to consider this change even more.� Edgin said a lot of work went into the decision, which was not taken lightly. Among the research, the district conducted a preliminary survey of staff, students and parents. “With all three groups responding with a majority in favor of the change, our district continued to research the option and how it has impacted other districts who currently utilize the four-day week.�  The research included district leaders traveling to Kirby, where they had an opportunity to learn more about implementation. “Upon returning from the site visit, a community meeting was scheduled to 8 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Students in the East End School District will have a four-day school week beginning in August. offer an opportunity for everyone to ask questions, hear more information about the proposal and share concerns,� Edgin said. “Additionally, a second survey was posted where any stakeholder could submit questions or concerns regarding the four-day week.�  On Feb. 11, about 100 attended a community meeting at Bigelow High School. “A slideshow outlined the details for implementing a four-day week, including schedule, calendar, concerns and solutions.� It also highlighted the positive aspects of the proposed change. Those attending had an opportunity to ask questions, offer comments and voice concerns, which school officials addressed. When the school district’s board of education met Feb. 18, members voted 5-0 in favor of the four-day week (Tuesday-Friday), effective with the

2020-21 school year. “The change required no special approval from the state. The only requirement included ensuring the same amount of instructional minutes are met that are required in a traditional five-day week.� The schedule for the new school year, which begins Thursday, Aug 13:   Bigelow High School – Begin at 7:40 a.m. and end at 3:55 p.m. Anne Watson Elementary – Begin at 7:45 a.m. and end at 3:55 p.m.  “We feel there are numerous benefits to this change, including staff recruitment and retention, increase in school climate, morale and culture, improved attendance by both students and staff, and financial savings due to less utility and fuel usage.� The new schedule will also mean less substitute usage and homework. The district also anticipates more family time, less discipline issues, a decreased dropout rate and job opportunities for older students. It may also eliminate students having to miss school for appointments. The district also anticipates a higher quantity of applicants and increased enrollment. “The off day provides staff additional time for professional development and training without missing class time.�   Edgin said the district has outlined some of the anticipated challenges, including possible attention problems for younger students, later arrival time at home for afternoon bus routes and childcare concerns for working families. Fewer meals for students

Schools continued on Page 63

UCA’s Reynolds names 20-21 schedule After an incredible and robust 20th anniversary season, the University of Central Arkansas Reynolds Performance Hall announces a 2020-21 season filled with even more exciting and entertaining shows featuring top artists, speakers and Broadway shows. The season kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 29, with award-winning journalist and former National Public Radio host Michele Norris, and continues with “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” crowd favorite “Home Free” and an adventurous trip overseas with Rick Steves’ “Europe: A Symphonic Journey with the Conway Symphony Orchestra,” along with many other events throughout the year. Reynolds Performance Hall will feature 23 shows from the Broadway, Pops and Night Out series; two Distinguished Speakers; one family show (which is a sensory-friendly event), as well as six Main Stage EdUCAtion shows and three public benefit performances for Main Stage. “The season has a diverse array of incredible performing artists and speakers. We are offering high-caliber musicians such as multi-award-winning gospel musician CeCe Winans and bluegrass artist extraordinaire Chris Thile,” said Director of Reynolds Performance Hall Amanda Horton. “The theatrical productions such as ‘An Officer and a Gentleman,’ ‘South Pacific’ and ‘Lucy Loves Desi’ will fill our theatre with dramatics and humor. Your eyes will be in for a visual treat with captivating performances by ‘STOMP,’ ‘Ballet Folklórico de México,’ ‘Cirque Mechanics’ and ‘Postmodern Jukebox.’” The season includes the following series and performances:

The 2020-21 season at Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas features a variety of performances, including “An Evening with Chris Thile” (top), Biamila “Everyone Can be a Ninja: Find Your Inner Warrior & Achieve Your Dreams” (bottom left) and “Christmas with CeCe Winans.”

Broadway Series

Night Out Series

• “An Officer and a Gentleman” 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, sponsored by 501 LIFE Magazine • “World of Musicals” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, sponsored by B98.5 and KOKY 102.1 • “South Pacific” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, sponsored by the Log Cabin Democrat • “STOMP” 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, presented by Conway Printing

• Cirque Mechanics “Birdhouse Factory” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, sponsored by the Log Cabin Democrat • “Ballet Folklórico de México” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, sponsored by the Log Cabin Democrat • Rick Steves’ “Europe: A Symphonic Journey with

Conway Symphony Orchestra,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, sponsored by the Arkansas Times • “Lucy Loves Desi: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom” 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 4, sponsored by UCA College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, B98.5 and 102.9 KARN News Radio

Reynolds continued on Page 63

Online Dazzle Daze planned The annual Dazzle Daze fundraiser in Conway will feature some major changes this year as organizers respond to the COVID-19 health crisis. The event, a fundraiser benefitting Conway Regional Health System, will not be held in person but will instead feature an online marketplace for holiday shopping. Dazzle Daze co-chairs MissE Newton and Stefanie Vann are leading the committee’s efforts. Both are members of the Conway Regional Women’s Council, which plans the fundraising event. “The changes to Dazzle Daze 2020 were made to ensure the safety of our community,” said MissE. “We could not risk holding an event where our community members could potentially be exposed to COVID-19. We hope to keep Dazzle Daze and the Conway

Regional Women's Council in the minds and hearts of our community during this challenging year.” Stefanie added, “During these unprecedented and uncertain times, the wellbeing of our community was most important in this change.” This is the 19th year for Dazzle Daze, which typically is held the week prior to Thanksgiving at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds. Since its inception, Dazzle Daze has raised more than $850,000, which has been used to purchase equipment at Conway Regional Medical Center, fund scholarships, patient and community programs, and provide teacher grants. Stefanie said this year’s goal is to provide the community with a safer platform to continue to support their favorite Dazzle Daze vendors during the

holidays. “Our 2020 virtual event will be a new and fun experience for us all to enjoy,” she said. MissE issued an invitation to the community to the virtual shopping event in November/December. “You will be treated to some of your favorite vendors and sponsors, who have been at our onsite Dazzle Daze event for years,” she said. “We plan to introduce some information about Conway Regional Women's Council you may not know. We hope you will get a glimpse of why we work so hard to bring Dazzle Daze to life each year by showing videos of the individuals who have benefitted from your support of Dazzle Daze over the years.” For more information, visit DazzleDaze.com. “We are looking forward to this year’s event and hope to see you all in 2021,” said Stefanie. July 2020 501lifemag.com | 9



đ&#x;“ˇ ‘Celebrating seniors’ 501 LIFE is still accepting “Celebrating seniorsâ€? photos. “We invite seniors to take a photograph in their cap and gown, school spirit shirt, with their musical instrument or in their ball uniform with a copy of 501 LIFE to email to info@501lifemag.com,â€? said 501 LIFE Editor Sonja J. Keith. “We will need the student’s name, parents’ names, school and their plans after graduation.â€? “Photos will be included in the ‘Loving LIFE’ section of the magazine in an upcoming edition.â€?

Scholarship presented Anna Bremer of Conway was named the 2020 recipient of a $500 scholarship presented by the Town & Country Garden Club (T&C) of Greenbrier/Conway. Anna recently graduated Conway High School and plans to attend Arkansas State University at Beebe this fall and major in plant and animal science. She is a very accomplished young woman involved in several school and community activities. “We applaud her interest in plants and her plans for a related major in college,� stated a club news release. “I have a strong passion for agriculture,� said Anna. “Majoring in plant science will allow me to grow this passion and help feed the growing population. I plan to work for the Natural Resources Conservation Service after graduation.� Anna served as Conway FFA treasurer, achieved chapter and state degrees, and participated in Parliamentary Procedure plus Conway FFA’s agronomy team. Her hobbies include fishing, gardening and hiking. She is a daughter of Polly Bremer.  The T&C Garden Club offers a scholarship each spring to graduating high school seniors in Faulkner County who plan to attend an Arkansas college and major in a plant-related field.  Scholarship guidelines are distributed in January to high schools and also posted on the Faulkner County Museum’s website.  T&C’s next scholarship fundraiser will be a food and craft sale at the Faulkner County Museum’s Annual Open House on the first Saturday in November. All donations are welcome. 10 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Anna Bremer of Conway, the 2020 recipient of a $500 scholarship presented by the Town & Country Garden Club (T&C) of Greenbrier/Conway, was “Loving LIFE.�

Quitman High School senior Jessica Lavin was “Loving LIFE.� A daughter of Tom and Elizabeth Cabradilla, she plans to attend Arkansas Tech University in the fall and major in forensic psychology.

Siblings Carson and Shelby Bradley, children of Donna and Sonny Bradley, were “Loving LIFE.� Carson graduated from Conway Christian School and will attend the University of Arkansas. Shelby, a 2016 Conway Christian graduate, graduated Ouachita Baptist University and will begin grad school at the University of Central Arkansas in August.

Conway High School senior Destiny Vidal was “Loving LIFE.” A High Honors graduate, she is a daughter of Melissa Vidal and Oscar Vidal. She has been accepted to the University of Central Arkansas, where she plans to get her bachelor of science degree in nursing.

Taylor Nicole Zimmerman is a senior at Wonderview High School and plays first and second base on the school softball team. A daughter of Jeffery and Angie Zimmerman, she plans to attend the University of Central Arkansas. “I have been accepted into the Schedler Honors College, and I will major in health services administration followed by a doctorate in physical therapy.”

Greenbrier High School senior Kaitlyn Hartman was “Loving LIFE.” A daughter of Brandon and Angela Hartman, she plans to attend the University of Central Arkansas in the fall and pursue a degree in psychology.

Wonderview High School senior Alexis McClaren, a daughter of Eric and Carla McClaren, plans to continue her basketball career at Central Baptist College and major in psychology.

Bulgogi Korean BBQ owners Jenny and David Lee were “Loving LIFE” as they celebrated employees who are seniors with a mini-graduation: Jenny Lee (from left), Olivia Lee, Destiny Vidal, Madi Alexander, Rachel Webb, Payton Ham, David Lee and Noah Lee. “We surprised them with a mini-graduation since they didn’t have a chance to walk,” wrote David. The restaurant is located at 317 Oak St., Suite 1, in Conway.

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 11



The 2020 Baptist Medical and Dental Missions International (BMDMI) team was “Loving LIFE� in Honduras: Dr. Neela Parel (front, from left), Marsha Albaugh, Jonnie Bounds, Madilyn and Jodi Rook, Jenna Risher; Madison Childress (second row), Emma Lasiter, Jeanne and Freddie Hipp, Dr. Philip Hopp, Bill Bounds; Steve Lasiter (third row), Jessica Sandusky, Mary Anne Parsley, Todd Brannan, Dr. Jim Capps, Bill Clements; Daniel Dykes (back), Carlos Cabos, Jim Barrow, Jeff Turnage, Billy Abbott, team captain Mickey Cox and Hudson Turnage.

‘Loving LIFE’ in Honduras The 2020 Baptist Medical and Dental Missions International (BMDMI) team was serving in Honduras March 7-14. The team consisted of 25 members from Conway, Hot Springs, Mountain Home, and Houston, Texas. On March 9-11, team members provided medical, dental, pharmaceutical and optical care; gave out Bibles, clothing and rice/beans; and conducted church services for adults and children as well as door-to-door evangelism in the village of Corralito.

Bill (from left) and Jonnie Bounds of Conway and their translators, Helen and Christian of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, were “Loving LIFE� in the village of Corralito March 9-11. Aided by their translators, Bill and Jonnie worked in the eye clinic, where a total of 576 pairs of glasses (prescription, reading and sunglasses) were distributed. They’re shown in front of the more than 7,000 pairs of prescription glasses provided by BMDMI. 12 | 501 LIFE July 2020


We are proud of our flag and the freedom for which it stands. We display the American flag as an icon at each of our locations to symbolize our patriotism and to show respect for our active military and veterans who fight for our freedom.

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

St. Joseph Elementary conducts student parade St. Joseph Elementary School hosted a drive-by parade for students as the spring semester wrapped up. “St. Joseph School is unique in the fact that we are not able to do neighborhood parades like other local elementary schools,” said Courtney Pope, principal at the elementary school. “Our students are located in 15 different cities from Cleburne County and Perry County to Pulaski County and Van Buren County, and all the places in between. What a blessing to be in so many places.” The Conway police and fire departments were on hand to lead the parade. Middle school, elementary and preschool teachers and staff lined up along the playground and drop-off line, waving signs and greeting students as they were driven by. “We all know how important schools are academically, and that can and will all be reevaluated in the fall and curriculum adjusted,” said Pope. “Meeting their spiritual and emotional needs now is top priority. Our school community is truly like no other.”

Middle School Principal Matt Tucker hands a treat to student Elissa Cossey; with teachers Christy Pasierb (left) and Margaret Teeling.

Shannon Chamoun (left) and Karen Vandivere.

Teachers Nicole Gooch (left) and Cara Pizzolatto.

School safety officer Bradley Fornash and Principal Courtney Pope.

Amy Evans (from right) and Yareli Paz.

Teacher Katie Hiegel.

Sarah Hefley (from left), Tina Flake, Charlotte Paladino and Amy Covington. 14 | 501 LIFE July 2020




July 2020 501lifemag.com | 15



Honoring the fallen Story and photo by Sonja J. Keith

On Memorial Day, Jesse Sullivan honored a special group of Arkansans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. Jesse, who lives in Conway, is a realtor with ERA TEAM Real Estate and a reservist with the U.S. Coast Guard. He was hoping to participate in the annual Arkansas Run for the Fallen, which was scheduled in March. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak forced organizers to cancel this year’s event. Started in March 2012, the mission of the Arkansas Run for the Fallen is to raise awareness for native Arkansans who fought and died supporting the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). (For more information, see the group’s page on Facebook.) “The original event was 150 miles and honored every Arkansas service member (150) who has died while serving since Sept. 11, 2001,� Jesse said. “Each mile is dedicated to an Arkansas hero. I had been A group of runners on Memorial Day honored Arkansans killed while serving in the military: Lucas Bishop (from left), training to participate in the actual event, which would’ve been my first time running Geoffrey Meyer, Jesse Sullivan and Jaxson Meyer. it. After it was cancelled, I decided to dedicate the next 150 miles I ran to these fallen heroes so they could be honored and not forgotten. I documented this journey on social media and would post a brief bio about the fallen hero with each mile that I ran.� For the last 10 miles, Jesse plotted a course that began and ended at the Faulkner County Courthouse. He was joined by three other runners: Lucas Bishop of Dardanelle, U.S. Marine Corp veteran  Geoffrey Meyer of Cabot, U.S. Air Force active duty  Jaxson Meyer, son of Geoffrey Meyer  They were escorted by the Arkansas Run for the Fallen motorcycle escort team.  “This is what the normal run would’ve looked like with a run team stopping at every marker to present an American flag and a biographical card in honor of every fallen service member.� Jesse served in active duty in the Coast Guard from 2005-09. He has been in the Reserve since 2009.  “As I reflect back on that journey, it was such a powerful reminder that behind every one of these fallen heroes is a story,� he said. “A story of honor, courage, devotion to duty and sacrifice. We run so they will be remembered and not forgotten.� Each flag included a brief bio on the soldier honored. Runners salute a fallen soldier. 16 | 501 LIFE July 2020

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 17

đ&#x;“‹ ‘Corona-kindness’ NEWS/NOTES

Couple helps tenants with waiving rent

After COVID-19 hit the 501, Jane and Chris McNutt decided to help their tenants by waiving the rent payments for two months. (Mike Kemp) by Donna Lampkin Stephens

Fear and misery aren’t the only things wrought by COVID-19 in 2020. Kindness, compassion and good are, too. As the 501 — and the country — essentially 18 | 501 LIFE July 2020

shut down in mid-March to stave off the spread of the coronavirus, Chris and Jane McNutt, owners of CJM Properties LLC, proactively waived rent payments for April and May for their 12 tenants at #7 Medical Lane in Conway. “The only way I can say it is it was just a blessing

at the right time,� said one of those tenants, Jerry Williams of Conway Computer Doctor. “There was very little business going on. You might come down and see one car, maybe two. It was pretty empty out there and very little, if any, income, and they said, ‘Forget the rent.’ The next month, they did the same

thing. “Two months’ rent really made a big difference.” The McNutts, long-time members of Robinson and Center Church of Christ, said their faith played a major role in the decision. “Our theme for this year (at the church) is, ‘Be the Good,’ so as we were deliberating on the pandemic back in March and our tenants’ loss of income, we prayed about this and decided to waive our tenants’ rent to help ease their minds and stress level during this troubling time,” Jane said. The property includes a broad spectrum of the local economy. Besides Conway Computer Doctor, other tenants include an appraiser, two hair salons, a nail salon, two massage therapists, a counselor and a sleep management clinic. The McNutts bought the property in June 2019. Jane said the tenants had been “wonderful” from the beginning. “So when this COVID thing hit, we were like, ‘Oh my, this is horrible for these tenants.’ We just thought, ‘Well, we could afford it better than they could for one month,’ and then the second month came and they were still out of work, so we thought of the Golden Rule — ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ “We thought, ‘What would we need at that desperate time?’ So we thought we’d help out. That’s all it was to it.” The tenants would disagree. Williams, who said he’d known the McNutt family for much of his life, contacted 501 LIFE to publicly recognize the couple’s unsolicited gesture.

The only way I can say it is it was just a blessing at the right time. There was very little business going on. You might come down and see one car, maybe two. It was pretty empty out there and very little, if any, income, and they said, ‘Forget the rent.’ The next month, they did the same thing. Two months’ rent really made a big difference.

— Jerry Williams Conway Computer Doctor “I am trying to let you know about a couple of local Conway business owners who, in my opinion, are going above and beyond to help during these tragic times,” Williams wrote, adding that Conway Computer Doctor and other tenants “are experiencing tough times and having trouble meeting our obligations, as are many others these days.

“These folks are a godsend. Their compassionate contribution to their tenants during this current plague must not go unrecognized.” Jane said she and her husband were “a little dumbfounded” that Williams had reached out to the magazine to tell their story. “It was really nice of him,” she said. “We also had one tenant who helped us spread mulch to help repay the kindness. We got phone calls, gift certificates, texts from them — they just couldn’t believe what we did. They were blown away and talked about what a blessing it was. “We just felt like we needed to help them. This situation is so unusual; it’s not like it’ll happen again. We’ve got to help so we can keep our wonderful tenants. We’ll do what we can to help them.” With the economy beginning to re-open, the tenants resumed paying rent in June. The McNutts, whom Williams called “very active landlords,” grew up in Conway and are products of Conway High School and the University of Central Arkansas. The retail rental is their “semiretirement” project. They were the only ones to downplay their gesture. “I’m sure others have done the same thing,” Jane said. “We just felt like we needed to give them a leg up. When you get good tenants, you want to do what you can to keep them. “This is just the best place to live. You always just want to do the right thing, and when you know so many, and are kin to so many, you want to be good when you can.”

Coronavirus Also Affects Minds That’s why we are available anytime from anywhere, offering all our services in the safest possible manner – Telehealth for: • Outpatient and school-based counseling • Kaleidoscope Grief Center group support • Methodist Behavioral Hospital physician services, family therapy, visitation through Arkansas Division of Child and Family Services, and court appearances • In-person psychiatric testing with plexiglass screen and PPE

Call 887-778-1197

info@MethodistFamily.org July 2020 501lifemag.com | 19




Shelley Charton

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Hot Springs. EDUCATION: Bachelor of science degree in nursing from UAMS. JOB: I previously worked as a labor and delivery nurse. Once we moved to Conway, I worked in childbirth and diabetes education. I decided to be a stay-at-home mom after having my third baby girl. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VOCATION: It is all I have ever wanted to do! I love taking care of patients in the hospital setting. PARENTS: Bren May of Maumelle. COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Justin and I serve on the K-Life board. CHURCH ACTIVITIES: We 20 | 501 LIFE July 2020

have been a part of a life group at New Life Church for seven years. HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I enjoy running, biking, tennis, and pretty much anything with my girls. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I am an optimistic extrovert who loves people! WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: I am deathly afraid of riding in a car on mountains. Not all heights, just cars on mountains. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: After living in Texas, I realize how much I love trees! Arkansas is such a beautiful state with so many great opportunities for our family.



Shelley and Dr. Justin Charton are loving life in Conway with their four children. “While most of our life revolves around raising four beautiful girls, Justin does a great job of planning time for just the two of us to get away. It is so important for us,� said Shelley. (Mike Kemp photo)


Justin Charton

NATIVE OF: Morrilton.


EDUCATION: Bachelor of science degree from Arkansas Tech; medical degree from UAMS; internal medicine internship at UAMS; and ophthalmology residency at University of Texas Southwestern.

HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: Spending time with my kids, mountain biking and most any outdoor activity.

JOB: Ophthalmologist at MSC Eye Associates.

WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: Last year, I finished first in the Single Speed Marathon division of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VOCATION: I enjoyed the technical nature of eye surgery and the ability to focus on a specific area of the body. PARENTS: Rick and Marcia Charton of Morrilton. COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: K-Life board member, PHO board member, and a member of the Conway Regional ACM committee. CHURCH ACTIVITIES: Attend New Life Church and a member of the Rawls’ Life

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: Energetic and detail-oriented.

MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Camping with family. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: It’s the perfect place to raise our family and I have the privilege of taking care of people in and around the communities where I was raised.


The Charton Family: Justin anvd Shelley with their children, Alexa, Hollan, Sydney and Ellison.


RESIDENTS OF: Conway. HOW WE MET: We met at Fellowship Bible in Little Rock through a mutual friend. THE PROPOSAL: Justin woke me up at 5:30 a.m. to surprise me with a morning hike. We made it to the top of Pinnacle Mountain just in time for a proposal at sunrise! WEDDING BELLS: Dec. 21, 2002, at Fellowship Bible in Little Rock. CHILDREN: Alexa (14), Hollan (11), Sydney (9) and Ellison (6). PETS: Ryder, a 4-year-old Bouvier des Flandres. FAMILY ACTIVITIES: Camping, fishing, hiking, the lake, the beach, ALL of the outdoor things!

Shelley and Justin were married in 2002 at Fellowship Bible in Little Rock. July 2020 501lifemag.com | 21

đ&#x;‘Ľ A solid foundation NEIGHBORS morrilton

Celebrating a mentor, entrepreneurship by Dwain Hebda

When Mike Miller purchased Crow Paving/ Jay-Pac in 2014, he knew he had to find the right person to lead the Morrilton firm and help it reach its potential. It proved no easy task. “I’d been looking for someone to run this company; I’d been looking for quite a while,� he said. “Things I was looking for were experience in the construction industry, hopefully an engineering degree and some experience. I also wanted that personality, someone to lead people and grow something much bigger than you are.� When Miller met Brian Rohlman at a fundraiser, the longtime entrepreneur got the inkling he’d finally found his man. Rohlman, an engineer, had spent a decade in the construction industry in Russellville, but was chomping at the bit for a bigger challenge. “I was always starved for opportunity,� Rohlman said. “I’m a tireless worker. I want to win. I want to leave an impact on my career, community, all those different things. I just needed something to fall my way. “That first time I met with him, I went home and talked to my wife and told her I couldn’t even describe what Mr. Miller was like or what we talked about. I couldn’t capture it in words other than I just felt like I had to take a chance.� Time has shown both men’s instincts were deadon. After what both acknowledge was a period of adjustment, the owner and his president have led the little company to remarkable heights. Over the past five years, Crow Group (the name changed in January) has grown from 20 employees to nearly 100, and revenue has jumped from $2 million to more than $35 million, annually. Services have also expanded from paving and asphalt production to include water/wastewater construction, commercial construction, industrial construction and broader heavy civil construction and stand-alone engineering services. The company’s market reach covers three states with clients in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. “We’re altering and changing and delivering our product with service differently than our competitors do, better than our competitors do,� Rohlman said. “That’s resonating with our customer base because we’re going out to the customers and determining how they want construction engineering delivered to them. We’re adapting, instead of just trying to be the status quo. “I’m always challenging our personnel here, don’t do what everybody else does. We’re doing it differently. We’re going to give it our own flare and flavor. It’s been very positive.� By his own admission, Rohlman had to grow 22 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Crow Group’s Mike Miller (left) and Brian Rohlman at the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet. into his leadership style and for that he credits Miller with steady guidance and mentorship. Miller, for his part, said the duo’s hard-won success has come from Rohlman’s growth and willingness to learn. “The thing is, the older you get, the more you understand that most times people learn going through life by making mistakes,� Miller said. “You put a guy in a position to make decisions, even if you know a guy’s making a mistake, sometimes you’re better off letting him make it, because he’ll remember it.� Both men said they understand and appreciate one another’s skillset, even if they don’t always take the same

approach. Miller calls this a competitive advantage because it provides more than one way to address challenges while moving toward common goals. “Quite frankly, once you realize where the goal is and where you want to go, nobody’s going to do it the same way,� he said. “However (Rohlman) has to get to that goal. As long as the end result is the same, I don’t complain about that. Go on. His method, in all likelihood, is at least as good as mine, if not better.� Miller’s deft touch with developing leaders is the result of a long line of entrepreneurial efforts. Born to North Carolina farmers, he earned a degree in

Mike Miller addresses those who attended the grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the new Crow Group headquarters in Downtown Morrilton.

Brian Rohlman serves as president/principal in charge at Crow Group.

mechanical engineering from Clemson University and started his career with Anheuser Busch. In 1996, he founded Cooling & Applied Technology Inc. in Russellville and in 20 years grew employees from 11 to nearly 200. He and his wife, Suzan, also owned Point Remove Lodge and Point Remove Winery in Hattieville for many years. Today, the couple owns all or in part 10 companies in the River Valley, experience Rohlman said is invaluable to the continued success of Crow Group. “We’re defining our culture every day and one thing that helps in that is Mike’s experience,” he said. “He has launched numerous successful businesses. That’s a road map there. My challenge is to harness his principles and put them into practice and generate a culture and identity that’s our own at the Crow Group, principles that we know are proven successful.” Last November, Crow Group was recognized by the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce for its new headquarters as Business Site of the Year, having repurposed an old Coca-Cola bottling plant at a cost of $2 million in renovations. And Miller received the group’s crowning honor, 2019 Earl Love Business Leader of the Year. Even with the many moving parts his career represents, Miller said his success boils down to some very simple elements. “One thing I think that’s made me successful is, for a long time I wasn’t smart enough to know that I had the ability to fail,” he said. “If you don’t know you can fail, the fear of failing is not nearly as bad. There is a lot of truth to that.” July 2020 501lifemag.com | 23

đ&#x;‘Ľ Honoring service NEIGHBORS searcy

Searcy vet works to assemble roll of honor Bill Morton is working on the Searcy High School Military Veterans, a special roster of honor he’s been compiling to memorialize the many local men and women who have served. (Megan Stroud photo)

24 | 501 LIFE July 2020

by Dwain Hebda

Bill “Rhino” Morton of Searcy is a man in demand. Through phone calls and emails, he hears from fellow vets for this favor or that; some are down on his or her luck, others are military family members looking for information on which Veterans Administration department to consult for help, or he might hear from one of his fellow motorcyclists with his local chapter of Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association looking to organize a benefit ride. Though retired, there are days his phone never stops ringing. “Everything that I do is related around veterans,” he said. “I got a phone call the other day from a veteran who needed a ride to the VA. I said, ‘Let me call you back.’ I made some phone calls and sure enough I found another veteran here in town that will take her to the hospital. It works out like that.” Over the past three years, a big share of Morton’s call volume has been related to the Searcy High School Military Veterans (SHSMV), a special roster of honor he’s been compiling to memorialize as many local men and women who have served as he can find. “February of 2017 is when I started this,” he said. “I swear, I asked somebody every day, at least 10 times a day, ‘Who do you know that’s a veteran?’ “I remember when I had veteran number 10. Then I got to 99 and man, what do I gotta do to bust number 100. Well, I hit number 500 last night.” Morton feels a connection to the men and

women who have come to make up his roll call, not just for their shared service, but because they all have his hometown, Searcy, in common. It’s the thread with which he has stitched the SHSMV together. “I had choices – either join or get drafted. So, I joined,” he said. “Three years, I went to Korea. I was a cook in the DMZ in the Army. “There’s a lot of (military) guys that went to Searcy High School. Me and three of my brothers were all in. I had a classmate who was killed in Vietnam. One day I thought, I wonder how many kids who went to Searcy High School joined the military.” Seeing as how Morton couldn’t lay his hands on that information from one source, he decided to compile one himself. To do it, he employed the skills learned in a sales career, leveraging social media as well as more analog strategies of working the phones and spreading the word among veterans that he knew. “Most of the names I get are coming from the veterans themselves,” he said. “I talk to everybody. Are you a Searcy veteran? Are you a veteran? That’s all I do it seems like, all the time.” The only two requirements that the list demands are that a person serve in the U.S. military and that they attended the Searcy school system. And because it’s a device of his own making, Morton has been known to let people in for special circumstances. This isn’t the military handbook, after all, and he considers the spirit of the enterprise more important than being a stickler for criteria. “I take that guy at what he’s telling me,” he said.

“Sometimes I will Google somebody’s name to see if he’s a veteran, but not really. If somebody tells me they are, I go ahead and put it in there. I got to thinking about it, and I just said well, this is my dadgum page! I like these guys! “So, we have our old Searcy school superintendent listed, who did not go to Searcy High School, but he’s in there because of his military experience and because he was the superintendent of our school.” Scrolling through the names, and in some cases photographs, of the SHSMV website and Facebook page gives one a sense of how deep the military service tradition runs in this White County community. Even so, Morton said, without a formal roll call, this important aspect of the city’s history is in danger of being lost to time and memory. “We’ve got some Arkansas Army Hall of Fame members who went to school at Searcy,” he said. “We’ve had some POWs who got killed in action. There was one guy in town who’s a high school friend of mine. He’s an attorney. I was talking to him years ago and he said, ‘Man, I didn’t serve, but my dad was in World War II. Can you put his name in there?’ Yeah, he went to Searcy High School. So, I got a WWII pilot in there, more than one. “Every town has a history. Every county has a history. Every state has a history. I just thought it would be unique to see what my hometown had as their military history.” Know a veteran who qualifies? Drop Bill Morton a line at billmorton@shsmv.us. To see the current list, visit the SHSMV website at shsmv.us.

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 25


Our enduring entrepreneurial spirit Dave Ward (third from left) and a 1930s crew at Ward Bus Body business. (Photos courtesy of the University of Central Arkansas Archives)

Hendrix College Professor George Hutchinson Burr, designer of the first Conway utilities.

J. C. Dawson’s 1911 Rye-Ola Bottling Works. 26 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Have you, or has someone you know, ever created, organized and conducted a business and taken financial risks to reach a goal? Then you or they are an “entrepreneur” (on-truh-pruh-noor)! The concept is not new to us now, but it was once innovative because the United States was the first country to support it Vivian Lawson as a system within capitalism. “Capitalism” is not a Hogue dirty word. It is our midA native of Conway, Vivian 1800s economic system Lawson Hogue graduated in which individuals, from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in art rather than governments, education. A retired teacher, she own property and busiworked in the Conway School District for 23 years. She can be nesses. In other words, it reached at vhogue@conwaycorp. is part of the freedom of net. the “American Dream.” But let’s go back a little. In fact, it began when American settlers traded and bartered with Native Americans for what each needed or wanted. No Walmart, grocery stores, car lots or medical clinics. No roundabouts or splash pads. They dined mainly on meat, fish, birds, seeds, nuts, fruits and dependable vegetables. Increasingly, the cultures involved found the need for the exchange of real money for products or services. Every era finds reason to begin businesses. On the movement westward in the early 1800s, the business concepts of mining, banking, land sales and building railroads and waterways would grow and thrive. In time, immigrants from Europe became entrepreneurs who did what they did best and provided what their customers needed – cuisines, crafts, building, laundering, needlework, logging and mechanics. Later, enterprising minds built industries employing the use of assembly lines. To view matters a bit earlier in our own community, it was by 1819 that Arkansas would become a territory. Cherokee, Quapaw and other Native Americans were still present in the Faulkner County area. Arkansas became a state in 1836, with Faulkner County formed in 1873 and Conway incorporated in 1875. There would be many post-Civil War entrepreneurs arriving here from the north, some as crooked carpetbaggers looking for easy money before moving on. However, many of our local streets and buildings hold the names of the more serious who simply wanted to create a small, peaceful community following the grief and devastation of an emotional war of division. They did just that using their talents, minds and finances with eyes on the future. Some profited; some went bankrupt using their own money. While it is doubtful the town is what they envisioned, plans were hammered out with good intentions and exceptional abilities.

Names to remember in this regard are former New York resident and Conway founder Asa Peter Robinson; plantation owner John E. Little; former Confederate POW, Conway mayor, newspaper owner and college supporter Colonel G. W. Bruce; the 1872 mercantile owner Max Frauenthal; the many owners of the necessary wagon yards; soft drink bottling works owner Rev. J. C. Dawson.; six newspapers owned individually by eight men and one woman; 15 hotel owners; and renowned cabinet maker, builder and Arkansas Gov. George Donaghey. Between 1891 and 1913, Hendrix professor George Burr would design and operate the light plant as well as a sewer system and the first telephone system. Five men established the first bank. Only a small sample of later 20th century bustling businesses included Dave Ward’s bus company, James Clayton’s radio station KCON, Heiliger’s book store, Dean Milk Co., Warren’s Freezer Locker, Neil Ward’s Ornamental Iron, Tommy’s Restaurant, and yes, the Dandee Dog! There are several forms of entrepreneurship, but there are two basic types. Freelancing is when an individual’s own identity is in his or her own product or services, and payment is received upon completion. Entrepreneurs are paid when their owned or operated businesses sell their commercial products or services, likely assisted by one or more employees. In our own state of Arkansas, there is a long list of past and present persons who became famous for each type. A few freelancers representing Arkansas would include architects E. Faye Jones and Edward Durell Stone; opera conductor Sarah Caldwell, singers Glen

Campbell and Johnny Cash as well as Conway Twitty and his drummer, Conway native Tommy Markham; horticulturalist and designer P. Allen Smith; and makeup artist and professional casting agency owner Sarah Tackett, another Conway native. Among the many prominent business entrepreneurs are W. T. Dillard, J.B. Hunt, Paul Klipsch and Sam Walton. It is easy to see all of those who sell their personal “brand,” and those who promoted ideas to create a wide distribution of commercial products or services. Our town of the 1870s did not take long to become a thriving town with every imaginable business anyone of that time could expect. By 1960, our automobile dealerships, apparel shops, groceries, department stores, cobblers, dining establishments, funeral homes, meat markets, feed stores, hotel and ice cream shops were what put us on the map. All of them had single or four-digit phone numbers! Also by 1960, our changing culture brought new products and services that came and went and the Big Box stores had their effect. Several family businesses remain despite product and generational changes. Newer generations or residents may have a desire to push a new idea or “build a better mouse trap.” Some have a goal of becoming one of the “moneyed,” and many simply want work that provides a living but is enjoyable and utilizes their personal abilities. It seems now would be a good time to encourage more of the latter and let them start businesses! Not everyone belongs in a cubicle in front of a computer. Indeed, it is impossible for anyone to avoid needing to call a mechanic, plumber, seamstress, proofreader, caregiver, handyman or clock repairman. Their phone


Colonel George Washington Bruce. number may not be only three digits or even in the phone book or online at first, but recommendations by “word of mouth” can often be better than a highway billboard. Selected text from “Faulkner County Its Land and People” (1986) is included in this article.

Just like you.

You’re committed to being there for the people you care about, no matter what. We know the feeling. At Conway Corp, our team works tirelessly to make sure things are running smoothly – the big stuff, and all the little stuff – for everyone who calls Conway home. It’s simple, really: if our families need it, we’ve got it covered. Period.


Powering Conway since 1929.


(501) 450-6000




July 2020 501lifemag.com | 27


Lessons from birds If you know me, then you know I’m an avid bird lover. Well, maybe I should clarify this a bit. I love to feed and watch all kinds of yard birds, but only from a safe distance. At some point in my life, I apparently developed an abnormal fear of any up-close experiences with birds that I’m sure comes Laurie Green from watching that crazy Alford Hitchcock A Greenbrier native, Laurie is the movie “The Birds.” Plus, wife of Will Green. The two share one time I accidenseven children, five grandchildren and a golden retriever named tally walked too close Marlo. They own and operate (unknowingly) to a nest a lawn care business and are members of New Life Church in and had my hair angrily Greenbrier. Laurie can be pulled and pecked at reached at thegreens@ymail.com. by a bitter bird mom. Nevertheless, despite my irrational fears of a bird attack, I still find that I enjoy the little bird sanctuary that my front yard has become over the past few years. Once a week, I find myself lugging an oversized bag of “bird food delight” to fill all 10 (yes, 10) bird feeders I have. I didn’t even bother mentioning our squirrel feeding station, but I assure you I have the same fear of squirrels that I do birds. However, I continue to set out food for them because we also have a slightly overweight golden retriever who delights in her daily chasing (fast walking) pursuit of the squirrels. It doesn’t take much to entertain us apparently. But seriously, I look forward to the moments that my husband, Will, and I can sit on the porch swing and watch all the birds feasting at the feeders. I think

28 | 501 LIFE July 2020

it’s because every time I watch them, I’m reminded of how God tells us not to worry. In fact, birds are the very comparison he speaks about in Matthew 6:25-27: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they are? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” I find that more often than not, I need that little reminder from Jesus not to worry. And He is so good and so faithful. He gives me that reminder in such a tangible way as I sit and watch all the little yard birds. They eat, they drink, they chirp and flap their feathers all around simply enjoying the moment... worry free. It’s really a beautiful and peaceful sight to see (from a good, safe distance, lol). These last few months have given us plenty of

opportunities to give in to worrying as we have all trudged through some unfamiliar areas and new normals. I’m pretty certain “social distancing” will be the most used words of 2020 and there may be a good chance we all have face mask tan lines by the time this Arkansas summer hits us. In all truthfulness, God is still good, faithful and true. I have spent many quiet moments lately finding out what Psalm 46:10 really means “Be still and know that I am God…” And that’s where the joy of my bird watching comes back in. I sit on that swing, drink some coffee, and let God remind me that I can’t add a single hour to my life by worrying. What I can do is get up every day and ask God to give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to love others around me. I encourage you, if you can, to find as many ways possible to seek peace and comfort in this time. You are so much more valuable than the rarest of all birds and if we can listen closely enough, Jesus will show you that every single day.


‘We are all in this together’ It goes without saying that 2020 will go down as one of the craziest years of our generation. Imagine being a business owner, dealing with the financial situation of the coronavirus quarantine. Salons, barber shops, restaurants, massage therapy clinics, etc., were all greatly affected by the quarantine. I know Adam for a fact many business Bledsoe owners felt substanOriginally from Northeast Ohio, tial loss from the epic Adam Bledsoe moved to Arkansas phenomenon known as in 2000 to attend Harding University after active duty COVID-19. service in the U.S. Air Force. He is I grew up in an married to Dr. Amanda Bledsoe, and they have two children, environment where you Audrey and Hunter. played it “safe.” You work for a government entity and you always collect a paycheck. Please know I understand it is absolutely necessary to have a workforce for the public sector. Our society owes a great thanks to those who keep our cities, counties, states and nation a fantastic place to do business and enjoy recreational activities. We desperately need our firefighters, police officers, parks and recreation crew, sanitation, road departments, etc. Thanks for what you do. I want to speak about those who are a little different. My wife, Amanda, and I are completely different. I like to play it safe. She has always wanted to be a chiropractor. Two years ago, we decided to jump off the cliff with both feet to open our own business. I assure you we were so scared. Would we succeed? Would we starve? What if nobody showed up? Being an entrepreneur is scary for me. Thankfully, we

surrounded ourselves with amazing business owners who mentored us to understand what running a business looks like. I venture to say there were no business owners prepared for what took place beginning in March. We surrounded ourselves with other business owners with a “can-do” attitude. We noticed some were struggling with “Am I going to make it?” and “What am I supposed to do?” We were able to encourage those in the small business community, as well as receive encouragement from businesses who had much more experience. I remember a project in college where I had to create a business, formulate a business plan and describe how I was going to succeed. It’s easy to come up with a simple idea, but to actually formulate a plan on how you were to negotiate the obstacles was another. To those who spend countless hours working to see your boutique succeed, I salute you.

To the beauty salon that had to shut its doors for a couple months, I salute you. To the coffee shop and small stores who had to reinvent themselves to not go under, I salute you. We are all in this together. Most of the large restaurants and chain stores will survive. We must look to our friends and neighbors who went out on a limb to chase a dream and support them during difficult times. Go to your corner coffee shop or visit your local restaurant. Show them the love. An entrepreneur never stops working. The business owner in my wife works NONSTOP. It never ends. I salute those of you who decided to follow a dream. At the same time, I absolutely, positively love those of you who work for said entrepreneurs. Small businesses couldn’t do it without amazing support. So, some things have changed for me. I’m still living the dream I never knew I had, and I STILL hope you have the best day of your life. I love you.

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 29



‘No place for racism’

City leaders, local pastors and other members of the community assembled at Rogers Plaza in Downtown Conway to march to Simon Park for the Conway United for Equality Rally. by Sonja J. Keith Mike Kemp photos

Nearly 500 people participated June 7 in the Conway United for Equality Rally. Participants gathered at Rogers Plaza on Oak Street in Downtown Conway in 90-plus degree heat and marched to Simon Park. At the rally, Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry welcomed those in attendance. “Thank you for being at Unite Conway,” he said, recognizing city employees Felicia Rogers, Jamie Brice, Kiera Oluokun and Shawanna Rodgers for their work on the event. “Let me start by saying there’s no place for racism in the City of Conway,” said the mayor, whose com30 | 501 LIFE July 2020

ments were met with applause and cheers from the crowd. “There’s no place for racism anywhere.” Castleberry recognized that elected officials were in attendance as well as local pastors. “We have mothers, dads, brothers, sisters and families here so I don’t have any doubt that we can unite Conway and make it a better place to live.” The mayor also thanked local protestors for stepping up and expressing their right to protest. “We support that right and thank you for keeping it peaceful,” he said. “I also want to thank our Conway Police Department for working with the protestors and helping everyone stay peaceful.” In the keynote address, True Holiness Saints Center Senior Pastor E.C. Maltbia shared his

thoughts on racism as they relate to the five stages of grieving. He shared that he had been involved in several recent discussions about racism and had been asked, “What’s going on in America right now? “America is grieving over George Floyd, but more broadly, we’re grieving over racism in America.” The stages he outlined were denial/shock, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. “When I looked at the video of Mr. Floyd, I was shocked,” he said. “Many in our nation are grieving and you are seeing it in their anger,” he said, referring to the second stage. In the third stage, labeled bargaining, Maltbia said there typically are a lot of unanswered questions.

He said some people may have trouble focusing on their work, projects and other things. The fourth stage is depression, “a place of perpetual sadness,” and the final stage is acceptance. Maltbia explained that with acceptance the death doesn’t hurt any less, but in this stage healing can begin. “Many in America are not quite there yet.” Maltbia issued several challenges as a response to questions he had fielded about how to address racism. He urged the crowd to let anger motivate them to do something good and worthwhile. He also encouraged the continuation of peaceful protests and the boycotting of businesses that don’t share the same value system. In another challenge, Maltbia encouraged those gathered to vote for the person, platform and political party that best represents their values. “Don’t be loud on social media and silent at the polls.” Maltbia also issued a challenge to use social media platforms to expose and call out racism. He also said that it is important to recognize and acknowledge the hurt, anger and fear that African Americans are feeling, and not be dismissive or offer an excuse. “In my opinion, just saying racism is wrong is not enough, if you don’t equally say racism is still a problem in America,” he said. Maltbia encouraged those in attendance, when in private settings with family, friends and co-workers, to speak up against racist statements. “You should never be afraid to speak out against racism,” he said. “Let’s unite Conway.” Others on the program: • Bishop Frank Anderson, Zion Temple Church of God and Christ, who presented the invocation.

Corey Parks, vice president of economic development at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke at the rally and shared his personal experience with racism. • Corey Parks, vice president of economic development at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, who shared his personal experience. “I’m proud to be a black man living in Conway, Ark. This is a beautiful sight,” he said of the crowd gathered. “There’s no question that 2020 has been a difficult year, but for some of us, it’s a continuation of shared traumatic experiences that we know all too well.” Parks said he had been asked what happens when

the protests end. “My answer is simple; we must allow ourselves to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This means having difficult conversations about systemic racism, privilege and yes, police brutality. This means calling out racist friends and family members, and not just on Facebook. This means saying ‘Black Lives Matters’ until doing so is no longer necessary.” Parks encouraged advocating for change no

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 31

matter the cost and extending grace “when people learning how to be allies make mistakes.” • University of Central Arkansas President Houston Davis, who shared his personal story and experience with racism while growing up. He also shared his message to the UCA community. “I do believe that we are in a struggle for the soul of our nation right now,” he said. “There are a lot of things in this world that are just a matter of right versus wrong.” Davis said his mother and his second grade Sunday school teacher were the light that helped him overcome the darkness of racism that he encountered. “All those things that I heard from pockets of influence in my life growing up are the same hate-filled rubbish that we hear now from pockets of influence in America.” • Marvin Williams, who sang what he calls a “Civil Rights Medley” that consisted of four songs: “I’m On My Way To Freedom Land,” “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize” and “Pray On A Little While Longer.” He received a standing ovation for his performance. • Fellowship Bible Church Senior Teaching Pastor Ken Wilson, who offered his thoughts and the closing prayer. “We are here because black lives matter. The black lives of my friends matter. The lives of my black friends’ children matter,” he said. At the end of the rally, Castleberry encouraged those in attendance to learn more about what the city is doing to promote unity and diversity. “Conway, I’m very proud of you,” he said. “Help us keep it moving.”

UCA President Dr. Houston Davis addresses the estimated 500 people who attended the rally.

Leaders meet to discuss racism by Kiera Oluokun

The City of Conway is actively working with key community stakeholders in light of recent events in Minneapolis involving the death of George Floyd and the subsequent peaceful protests across the nation. A roundtable discussion organized by Pastor E.C. Maltbia, pastor of the True Holiness Saints Center, was held June 2. Maltbia acted as moderator for the discussion, and attendees were provided with a safe space to discuss the climate of the nation involving racial injustice. Due to the social distancing restrictions put in place for COVID-19, the attendance was few in number to ensure safety guidelines were met. The meeting lasted for two hours, and the format was open discussion. Attendees were encouraged to share personal stories and give positive input on how to progressively move forward to combat racial discrimination as a city. Following the meeting, attendees were also encouraged to post photos with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter to illustrate the solidarity for those who are peacefully protesting and advocating for change. The City of Conway is working to identify opportunities for community input and participation. For more information, contact Shawanna Rodgers, coordinator of diversity and economic development, at shawanna.rodgers@conwayarkansas.gov. 32 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Rally participants carried signs and images of George Floyd.

Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry opened the rally with a statement that there is no place for racism.

Conway City Council member Shelia Isby (front, from left), Pastor Ken Wilson, Pastor E.C. Maltbia and Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry.

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 33


‘I do it for the justice’

Story and photos by Ian Lyle

Through my photographs, I want to portray both ends of this protest. True journalism should show both sides of the story for everyone to see, not just one side. Not many people see the peaceful protests that are taking place, so I wanted to expose that. Not many people are seeing the unity between protesters and law enforcement officers. Not many people see the good side of law enforcement right now, so I wanted to share that. I would like for my photos to portray a hurting culture, and I want to be a voice for the voiceless. I don’t have much of a say in this battle. I didn’t take these photos to shine my own light. I didn’t do it so my voice can be heard; I did it so African American voices can be louder. They need to be heard. I want to support them and show that through these photos. Through journalism, I want to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, be a voice for the voiceless and show the beauty in humanity that doesn’t get shown. The more I can expose injustices to people, the more people can take action against them. The more people take action, the more we can eradicate injustice. I do it for the justice and liberation of people. Nonetheless, we cannot expect to attain the change we seek if we do not begin to live in it. This is what my city is doing. We are living in the change we desire to attain. To create national change, you must start local. Once others follow, it creates a ripple effect unto others and revolutionizes a nation. As one of the protesters said one night, “You don’t eat a whole pie at once, you take it piece by piece.” Editor’s note: A Conway High School graduate, Ian is a student at the University of Central Arkansas and works on the school newspaper, The Echo. These photos were taken in Conway. 34 | 501 LIFE July 2020

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Peaceful protests Al Fowler photos

Downtown Searcy has joined the sites in the 501 that have seen peaceful protests in recent weeks calling for racial equality. The protestors have lined up along the White County Courthouse as well as near the historic Rialto Theater.

36 | 501 LIFE July 2020

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 37


Conway Regional receives grant The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas has awarded Conway Regional Health Foundation with a $150,000 grant as part of its Rapid-Response COVID-19 Relief program. In addition to Conway Regional, six additional grants were awarded to recipients throughout the state. The program has now funded $1.7 million in grants to Arkansas organizations working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or helping communities deal with its effects. “We are immensely grateful for this grant from the Blue & You Foundation,” said Matt Troup, president and CEO of Conway Regional Health System. “At Conway Regional, we are committed to serving as our community’s resource during this unprecedented time.” The grant will help Conway Regional further its efforts to protect the health and safety of the community and “our team, as well as expanding services such as screening and testing to care for those in need. As we stand on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, support from organizations such as the Blue & You Foundation is pivotal in furthering our mission to provide the highest-quality care.” The $150,000 grant will aid Conway Regional in providing lifesaving treatment, protecting the system’s healthcare workers and minimizing community risk by creating a 26-bed critical care unit with 24 isolation rooms installed with new air-filtration systems and cameras. In addition to Conway Regional, grant recipients include Mercy Health Foundation in Fort Smith, Drew Memorial Hospital in Monticello, Centers for Youth and Families in Little Rock, City of Eureka Springs, Madison County

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Medical Group in Huntsville and Nevada County in Prescott. These recipients received the third-round of Rapid-Response COVID-19 Relief Grants awarded by the Blue & You Foundation. “We are seeing a diverse range in the applications for the Rapid-Response COVID-19 Relief grants and are working to address as many needs as possible,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. “The one thing that ties them all together is that these communities want to do everything they can to protect their citizens, and we are doing what we can to help.” “The communities of Arkansas have always been resilient, but we know these are difficult times,” said Curtis Barnett, Arkansas Blue Cross president and chief executive officer. “We will continue to support our neighbors and our state.”

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July 2020 501lifemag.com | 39


Honoring everyday heroes

Spirit of Unity Award recipient Brandi Crowell.

Spirit of Unity Award recipient Kim Bennett.

by Taryn Brown

During this time, communities are rallying around healthcare workers and thanking them for fighting to keep others safe. Hospitals and healthcare workers are trained for crises like COVID-19 and will continue to keep communities and patients safe long afterward. If you or a loved one have had a recent hospital stay or have a planned stay in your future, you may want to thank those who provided care and went the extra mile. At Unity Health in Searcy, the Spirit of Unity Award is the perfect place to start. The Unity Health Foundation began the Spirit of Unity Award in 2017 as part of its Grateful Patient Program to recognize outstanding caregivers for the care they provide to patients and families. The Spirit of Unity Award is a way for patients, or family members of patients, to show their gratitude by giving a gift in the associate’s or department’s honor to the Unity Health Foundation. These gifts support health-related programs and services that will help to ensure Unity Health is here to give excellent care to patients for generations to come. “Our associates are dedicated to serving patients, and the Spirit of Unity Award is just one way to recognize those who care for them,” said Unity Health Foundation Representative Anna Brumfield. “These donations help our organization continue to serve our community and patients.” Although COVID-19 will become a more normal part of life as we move forward and learn more, thanking those who care for you or your loved ones never has to see an end. For more information about the Spirit of Unity Award or if you would like to 40 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Unity Director of Volunteer Services Jamie Laughlin with Unity Health President CEO Steven Webb, who was presented a Spirit of Unity Award. honor a Unity Health associate, please call 501.278.3186 or visit unity-health.org and click “Donate now” at the top of the page.








Actual patients! Images have not been retouched.

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‘Welcome to summer’ treat Who doesn’t like fresh-squeezed lemonade for a cooling, refreshing drink during the humid weeks of summer? There’s also the natural accompaniment to this timeless beverage – almost any cookie of your choice. My favorites are oatmeal chocolate chip, molasses cookies and Don Bingham orange coconut cookies! I’d like to suggest to Recognized throughout the you another alternastate as an accomplished chef, Don Bingham has authored tive that has become a cookbooks, presented television favorite at our house. It programs and planned elaborate events. was created by my wife, Nancy, and my thanks to her for giving me the recipe to share with you. It’s BLUEBERRY CORNBREAD! It is amazing and a wonderful treat to keep in the freezer and toast for future days when you get that “slightly sweet but

not dessert” taste we all crave! Nancy likes to do this blueberry cornbread in a cast iron skillet. Most of us still have these in our cabinets. You may not be as extreme as the Binghams; we have an assortment of various shapes and sizes and they are used regularly! 501 LIFE has featured cornbread in past issues. Our love for cornbread is not retiring any time soon. I’ve included several variations of cornbread for your enjoyment, but the feature of this article is the delicious and delectable combination of fruit and cornbread, particularly blueberries. The price of blueberries fluctuates in the markets, but they are most generally available in one form or another. Enjoy this wonderful treat for breakfast or a nighttime snack, or give it as a gift to a loved one! Thanks, Nancy, for the recipe!

BLUEBERRY CORNBREAD Combine the dry ingredients: 1 cup yellow cornmeal 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt Then add: 2 eggs 1/2 cup sour cream 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 1/2 cups blueberries (before adding, toss in 2 tablespoons flour to keep them from falling to the bottom of the cornbread during baking) Heat an iron skillet in a 425 degree oven until hot. Remove from the oven and add 2 tablespoons oil. Pour in cornbread mixture and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and done.

BEST HOMEMADE LEMONADE 6 lemons, squeezed for juice 1 1/2 cups sugar 1/2 gallon water

Mix squeezed lemon juice with sugar until dissolved. Add water, mix well. Serve over ice.

GLUTEN-FREE CORNBREAD 1 1/2 cups gluten-free cornmeal 1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 egg 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk

Combine all ingredients and bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees in an oiled iron skillet.

CORNBREAD HOE CAKES 1 egg 1 cup self-rising flour 1 cup self-rising cornmeal 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 tablespoon baking powder Vegetable oil

Mix ingredients. Fry in oil on one side until bubbly and crispy; turn over and brown on the other side.

HOT WATER CORNBREAD Mix: 1 cup cornmeal, preferably white 1 teaspoon salt Gently pour in ¾ cup hot water. Add: 2 tablespoons melted butter 1 teaspoon sugar

Fresh made lemonade and Blueberry Cornbread are a nice combination to enjoy during summer months. (Mike Kemp photos) 42 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Form batter into patties. Add oil to a skillet and make sure it is hot. Fry until golden, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Adding 1/4 cup grated onions to batter is a nice option.

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 43

The tables are set for a party, with blue placemats reflecting the poolside feeling. The straw placemats with frayed edging and the tropical leaf-shaped cutouts under the melamine plates add a touch of the tropics. Flickering candles and lights strung in the trees take the party from daylight to dark with ease. (Mike Kemp photos)

44 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Party by the pool Summer’s here! There’s always something exciting about taking the party outside. Easy, relaxed and casual — that’s how I like to entertain in the summer. Come along as I take the party patio/ poolside and share some secrets every outdoor party host should know. My suggestions and Julianne Milner tips: Set up a mobile cart A self-taught baker, Julianne or separate table for all Milner is a caterer, seasonal stylist and owner of Julianne’s Southern drinks and drink-related Table. She can be reached at items so guests can serve julianne60@gmail.com. themselves during the party. Keep insects out of your drinks by topping your glasses with a patterned cupcake liner. Poke a hole through the center with a hole punch to insert a fun straw. Wrap cutlery in a napkin so it is easily kept together. Placing cutlery bundles at the end of your table lineup saves your guest having to juggle too many items while filling their plates. Choose sturdy, but lightweight plates. I prefer melamine dishes because they are sturdy and unbreakable. Opt for inexpensive centerpieces. Votives inside lanterns or wine bottles with flowers picked up at the grocery are my go-to. I also love to have my centerpieces at each table be the take-home gift for the evening. To keep guests entertained while you’re greeting everyone, hang a picture frame from a tree limb and place a table of fun photo props beside it. Guests will gravitate to it for some memorable selfies. Maintain freshness and keep flies away by serving food from glass jars with lids. An added bonus is how pretty your food will look through the jars. Food tents are also handy to have when serving outdoors. When choosing your menu for your poolside/ patio party, keep it light and choose foods that won’t disintegrate in the heat. S’mores by the firepit are always a big hit! Bring out a tray with added ingredients so guests can customize their s’mores. I added white chocolate, dark chocolate, Ghirardelli chocolate with caramel candy bars, sprinkles and of course, bacon, to my tray. Planning on ending the party with a cold treat? Try this trick! Pre-scoop ice cream, or other cold desserts, before the party. Place individual containers on a cookie sheet and stow them in the freezer until time to serve. Add a little torchlight to each table, hang outdoor string lights in a few trees or stake a few torches around the perimeter of your backyard. A little added lighting will keep your party going after the sun goes down. Include some classic games to keep the guests entertained during the evening. Cornhole and bocce

Guests find a comfortable spot poolside for their dessert. They enjoyed s’mores with a few extras – chocolate Ghirardelli bars, caramel and bacon! The party theme colors of pink, white, green and gold are carried out in the sprinkles around the s’mores. Palm print paper napkins are by Caspari. ball are two of our favorites. For a mess of laughs, spread out the old Twister mat! Hula hoops and bubbles keep little guests busy. Have comfortable seating scattered around the yard. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Outdoor chairs with festive pillows give guests a place to rest and chat. If scattering a few throws around on the grass, placing a shower curtain under the throw prevents it from getting damp or soggy during the evening. Don’t forget the tunes! Music brings people together and is such an important part of planning any get-together. Decide upon a long playlist ahead of time and set on repeat. Be sure to include a good variety and some summertime favorites! For MY pool party, I served Linguine with Shrimp Scampi, Green Salad and Hawaiian Fresh Fruit Salad, with a S’mores Tray for dessert by the firepit. I’m including two of the yummy recipes for you to enjoy! With these outdoor entertaining tips and recipes, you should be ready for a backyard of summer fun! It’s such a treat to share an evening of great food, conversation and laughter with good friends. Follow me on Instagram @juliannessoutherntable for more summer entertaining ideas. Happy July, from my family to yours!

LINGUINE WITH SHRIMP SCAMPI Vegetable oil Kosher salt 1 1/2 pounds linguine 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 5 tablespoons good olive oil 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves) 2 pounds large shrimp (about 32 shrimp-peeled and deveined) 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley Grated zest of 1 lemon 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)

1/2 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Meanwhile, in another large heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily. Add the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of the salt and the pepper. Sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine. When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well and serve.

HAWAIIAN FRESH FRUIT SALAD 6 cups (total) of your favorite fresh fruits, such as: Bananas, peeled and sliced Blueberries Pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces Blackberries Raspberries Mango, peeled and cubed Strawberries, stems removed and berries cut in half Oranges, peeled and cut into chunks


1/3 cup fresh lime juice 1 1/2 tablespoons honey 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger Mix 6 cups total of the fruits you choose from above list in a large salad bowl. Mix the lime juice, honey and ginger in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the fruit and stir. Serve immediately. If you are using bananas and make the salad ahead of time, hold out bananas until just before serving.

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 45



History of Conway Corp The story of Conway Corporation is one of continuous growth and development, not only of industry, but of the town. More than 85 years ago, Conway faced an uncertain future with the threat of losing Hendrix College and Central Baptist College. City leaders, businessBeth men and residents joined together to find a soluJimmerson tion to preserve the city’s A long-time Conway resident, Beth McCullough Jimmerson is economically-strapped the manager for marketing and educational institutions communications for Conway Corp. She has a bachelor’s degree as well as attract future from the University of Central industries and jobs to Arkansas and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. the area. She can be reached at beth. A town meeting was jimmerson@conwaycorp.com. held, a committee was selected and eventually a recommendation was made. An article printed in the April 20, 1929, issue of the Log Cabin Democrat gave a detailed account of the meeting and the committee chair’s statement: “Conway has arrived at a crisis in her history. ‌ Conway is built around her colleges; to remove any of them would ‌ leave her ‌ crippled, if not doomed to die, and impair, if not destroy, the civic pride and ambition essential to progress. “In its municipal electric light plant, the City of Conway has an asset of inestimable value – one which has many times in past years bridged the city over financial crises. To it, in the belief of this committee, we must now turn in this major crisis.â€? The people of Conway agreed and banded together to create a unique vision – one no one had seen before. In the grips of the Great Depression, bonds were sold to create Conway Corp out of the city’s electric utility revenues and to generate enough money to keep the two universities in the city. Since then, those original 1929 monies have been reinvested time and time again to power education, economic growth and countless other projects in our community. Originally, power was only available between sundown and midnight. No electric meters were used, and customers were billed according to the number of lights they had. Residents were billed 35 cents per month for each 16 candlepower – 25 watt – lamps connected. All power was generated downtown where Conway Corp’s business office is currently located. As the city grew, so did the needs of citizens in new and different ways. It started with turning the city’s modest Light Department into an economic development engine that then expanded into purchasing enough power to support a growing city and finding a reliable way to get water to and from 46 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Employees with an old generator at Conway Corporation.

Interior of the electric plant with the first steam generator, 1920. an increasing population. Conway Corp began operating the city’s waterworks system in 1930 and has been continually planning for Conway’s future water needs since.

As technologies advanced, so did Conway Corp’s offerings. Cable was added in 1981, and Conway became the fifth city in North America to have broadband cable Internet service in 1997. Telephone

In its municipal electric light plant, the City of Conway has an asset of inestimable value – one which has many times in past years bridged the city over financial crises. To it, in the belief of this committee, we must now turn in this major crisis.

Tax rules are changing.

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— Log Cabin Democrat 1929

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A Conway Corp electric crew in 1946. service was added in 2008, and in 2016 residents were offered Conway Corp Home Security and Automation Service. As Conway Corp continues to grow and advance, the people of Conway benefit not only from services, but also from profits that are reinvested back into the community. What started as $215,000 worth of bonds given to local education institutions in 1929 has grown into millions of dollars invested and reinvested into the community over the years. Conway Corp is strongly invested in area education and is committed to providing world-class digital technology and other resources like grants and scholarships to local schools, universities and students. Most recently, Conway Corp pledged $1.5 million to Hendrix College for the construction of the Miller Creative Quad. It opened last fall as a mixed-use development combining creative art facilities, student living space and the Windgate Museum of Art. Conway Corporation Hall encompasses the south wing of the complex on the second and third floors. The hall houses 54 students in 16 single dorm rooms and 19 double dorm rooms. The 15,745 square-foot area also includes five study spaces. In 1929, Conway leaders built a framework to benefit future generations over and over again. They created an opportunity powered by Conway Corp and its commitment to this community. Since then, Conway Corp and our employees have worked to honor that commitment and make a difference in the place we call home. We proudly continue the efforts of those leaders in 1929 who captured the spirit of Conway and created a vision of the city powered by Conway Corp.

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Entrepreneur venture

Dynamic duo creates comic book success Meet Allegiance Arts & Entertainment (AAE), a brand-new player in the comic book industry. AAE is the brainchild of a talented dynamic duo from Little Rock, Mitchell and Elizabeth Breitweiser. Their story, and how the company came to be, is nearly as engaging as one of their superhero tales. Mitch Breitweiser grew up in Benton. As an elementary student, he always loved to sketch, draw and make up stories. One of his teachers even predicted that he would become either an artist or writer. One of Mitch’s most vivid memories was the day his father brought home a comic book. “It opened my mind,” he said, because this was a genre that Susan combined his two passions – writing and drawing. Peterson He knew he was hooked. Susan Peterson holds a PhD in Mitch’s love for comics went way beyond merely education and taught enjoying the superheroes. In addition to studying the at the University of Central Arkansas and Slippery Rock drawings and story lines, he would research the creUniversity in Pennsylvania. She ators – big names in the business, like Jim Lee, Marc retired in 2004 and now spends her time doing artwork (painting Silvestri and Todd McFarlane. In his teens, he became and pottery). She is the executive interested in the commercial angle of the business secretary of the Arkansas Reading Association, a professional and followed the entrepreneurial spirit of artists who organization for educators broke away from the big established companies like that has about 800 members statewide. Marvel and DC Comics. After receiving his art degree in 2000 from Harding University, Mitch moved to New Jersey (he couldn’t afford to live in New York City) and tried desperately to break into the industry. He knew it would be difficult, and nearly gave up after five years of networking, knocking on doors, working odd jobs and showing his portfolio at conventions. “It truly was a handto-mouth existence,” he said. When he made the decision to buy table space at a conference, things changed – people lined up to buy his drawings, and he would draw non-stop for three days. At first, he sold his work at a low price, hoping to merely cover his expenses. Finally, he was getting noticed, and he was able to charge more. The buzz created new connections and contacts, but he still wasn’t where he wanted to be. When his car was totaled, he made a “make-or-break it” decision to take the money and move into New York City where he holed up in a tiny room with an air bed and a drawing table. Over the next few months, he drew at a fevered pace. He would sometimes sneak into the offices of Marvel Comics on the coattails of a friend who worked there and drop off his drawings on the editorial floor, hoping to catch someone’s attention. His perseverance paid off, and finally he was given a contract for four issues of Marvel’s “Drax the Destroyer.” The door had finally opened, and he started receiving other offers. After some bargaining, he landed a two-year executive contract with Marvel, which was unusual for someone so new. He was even able to save for a new car. After securing his first exclusive two-year contract with Marvel Comics, Mitch decided it was time to return home. Back in Arkansas, he met Elizabeth Dismang, a senior art major at Harding. (Little did he know, her brother was an ardent fan and put in a good word for him.) The two were married 18 months later. For the next two years, Mitch continued to draw for Marvel and Elizabeth taught art and sold paintings at a local gallery.  About this time, the comic book industry was making the transition to digital formats. In response, both Mitch and Elizabeth studied Photoshop, honing their artistic and technical skills over more than a year. When Mitch received a contract with Marvel for a Captain America series, 48 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Mitchell and Elizabeth Breitweiser have built Allegiance Arts & Entertainment, which creates comic books distributed through Walmart. he asked if Elizabeth could submit sample color pages, and her work was chosen. Elizabeth’s talent for painting and eye for color created an opportunity to fill the comic book industry’s growing demand for great digital color artists. She quickly adapted to her new career as a colorist, initially working on Marvel’s Captain America, The Hulk and Winter Soldier. The two were doing well, and Elizabeth continued to get work on other projects. Confirmation of her abilities has since come in the form of numerous industry award nominations and awards. But the couple noticed the comic book industry was drastically changing. A single distribution monopoly sold titles exclusively in comic book shops, and new titles were no longer available to mass market retail. The comic book stores struggled to attract younger audiences, and publisher content began to change, often becoming more mature or politically charged. Fans were becoming frustrated. Mitch spent thousands of hours on the phone with Patrick Stiles, a former college friend. They developed stories and discussed mythological heroes, trying to understand what makes a story work. Soon, they had a vast compendium of new potential publishing ideas. Mitch and Elizabeth felt there was a massive, underserved market for comic books, and Mitch wanted to change that. He knew the importance that comics had played in his life, and he fervently believes that it is important for kids to learn from these tales that show compassion and pit good against evil. “They teach kids what adults and society expect of them.” The two launched an Indiegogo campaign (a fundraising platform) in early 2018 to help fund a new publication, “Red Rooster: Golden Age.” It is a 60-page

Cover images of three of the four titles created by Allegiance Arts & Entertainment: Red Rooster, Bass Reeves and Norah’s Saga. For more information, visit allegiancearts. com or the Allegiance Arts page on Facebook. The website includes a store locator to identify where the comic books can be purchased. graphic novel written and illustrated by Mitch with colors by Elizabeth. Within six months, they raised nearly $200,000, well over 1,000 percent of their expected goal. Clearly, they had the fan support they needed. With the success and validation of their crowdfunding campaign, the time was right to start their own publishing business. They hired David Martin, who is now a partner in AAE, to help them make contacts with the head of an executive placement firm. Fast forward through numerous meetings, introductions, decisions and product pitches in Northwest Arkansas. “Think Shark Tank,” Mitch said. Their vision became a reality when Allegiance Arts launched its first four original, collectible comics

in more than 3,000 Walmart stores: Norah’s Saga – Sassy, book-smart Norah Karlsson’s quest to fit in becomes an epic tale of survival when she crashes through the mists of time and into a realm of ice and Norse legend. The Futurists – Stricken by an insidious Indian curse, three desperate and dangerous foes race to unearth the secrets of the lost land of Shambahla. Red Rooster – For centuries, the venerable mantle of the Red Rooster has passed from generationto-generation, and now it is disgraced icon Frank Cooper’s turn to don the cape and cowl. Bass Reeves – Based on a real-life hero, Bass Reeves accepts a commission as the first black man west of the Mississippi to wear the silver star of the

U.S. Marshals service. These will be the first of many product offerings by AAE, headed by Patrick Stiles as editor in chief. “Our driving passion is creating and delivering unparalleled, genre-spanning content for fans of all ages from our ever-expanding catalog.” The company pledges to have consumer-trusted content created by top talent in the field. Mitch proudly states, “We built Allegiance Arts & Entertainment from scratch, and it is now one of the nation’s largest comic book companies.” For more information, visit allegiancearts.com or the Allegiance Arts page on Facebook. The website includes a store locator to identify where the comic books can be purchased.

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Boredom busters for outside play

Lindsey Ralston A Sherwood native, Lindsey is the wife of Timothy Ralston. She blogs about their debtfree/ mortgage-free lifestyle at bighouseinthewoods.com. She enjoys helping people start their debt-free journey also. She and Timothy built their Big House in the Woods debt-free and they enjoy it with their three children and two dogs. Lindsey can be reached at lindsey@ bighouseinthewoods.com.

It’s that time of year when schoolchildren and many homeschooling parents are taking it a little easier. When I was younger, I remember counting down the days until school would be out and summer break would begin. How could I ever get bored during summer break? Well, it happens, and today I’m going to share five of the best boredom busters to get your children playing outside this summer.

Become Van Gogh with water

My children love to paint. In their homeschool room, they have watercolors, tempera paints, brushes of all sizes and mounds of paper. However, summer gives us the opportunity to do something a little different and bring a little spice to our activities. Painting with water is just the spice we all need! All you have to do is give each kid a bucket of water and a large paint brush. (The kind of paint brush you would use to paint walls in your house.) Then tell them the sky is the limit. They can use the driveway, a wooden privacy fence or even a concrete patio as their canvas to “paint.� The best part is that as soon as it dries, they have a blank canvas again! Trust me, they will have fun with this for a LONG time.

Balloon volleyball I am amazed at how just by giving children a balloon or two, they can have fun for such a long time! Have you ever tried balloon volleyball? You don’t even need a net for this one. Just use sidewalk chalk to draw a line dividing one side of the “court� from the other. You could even lay sticks across the grass in your backyard if you are using your driveway. A minimum of two children can play with one on each side. The game is simple. Don’t let the balloon drop on your side of the court! (Please ensure playing with balloons is age appropriate for children.)

Scavenger hunt This activity is fun for any season! My 50 | 501 LIFE July 2020

children love going outside and “hunting� for everything on the list I give them. I love seeing how different their “treasures� are from each other. One time, my kids were each hunting for a big stick. My daughter came back with a rather large twig, and my son came back with a fallen tree limb! This activity is fun to do in your backyard, on a nature walk or even at the park. You can find a fun scavenger hunt list on my blog (bighouseinthewoods.com/scavengerhunt).

Soda can bowling This activity is pretty straight forward and TONS of fun. All you need is 10 empty soda cans and any kind of ball. If you don’t drink soda (yay!), you can use empty water bottles! Just set the cans up like bowling pins and start rolling! For younger children, you can use sidewalk chalk to draw circles so they know where to set up the “pins� after they knock them down. BONUS: On those days when it’s 110 percent humidity outside (you know it will happen!),

there is an inside version! Use toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes as your pins. We like to use our long foyer as a bowling lane. We set them up at the end of the foyer then take turns rolling a soft, inflated ball. My kids find it just as fun to set up the “pins� as they do knocking them over.

Bring back hopscotch Did you play hopscotch when you were little? I did! And it’s a lot of fun! When we were building our house, I actually drew a hopscotch pattern in the wet concrete outside but you can also draw it with chalk. A quick Google search will show you the pattern if you don’t remember. Children hop on one foot and they have to skip a square each time. Start with skipping the first square. Mark it with a bean bag or a small rock. The goal is to hop on one foot down and back while jumping over the marked square. Small children can hop on two feet. I hope these ideas will put a little pep in your step! Happy summer everyone!


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Homeschooling Parents ponder ‘Now what?’ Everything we know has been turned upside down. The things we never had to consider, or at least didn’t seriously have to consider, are what dominates each decision we make. Avoiding close contact with other humans not in your family has been crucial to keeping Brittany us all safe for the past few Gilbert months. We’re starting Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS to see recommendateacher at Maumelle High School. tions and guidelines for She and her husband, Levi, the coming months, have three children and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at specifically for schools b.gilbert37@gmail.com. — these buildings where hundreds of kids gather for hours every single day. It’s completely natural to wonder how to keep them safe while meeting their educational needs. A few months ago, parents all over the world became homeschooling teachers, whether they wanted to or not. For some, the option of homeschooling has become very attractive. I get messages daily from people who never thought they would homeschool but are seriously considering it because of the current situation. Thankfully, it’s one of my favorite things in the world to help other parents understand and feel confident in their ability to educate their children. Recently, a friend and I started a podcast (The Deeply Rooted Homeschool) to encourage and equip other homeschool parents. In our first episode, we interviewed Ashley Matthews, a director of a local homeschool co-op, about how to get started after you’ve decided to homeschool. She offered some really great advice.

What are things to consider to homeschool? “The first thing you need to do is pray for wisdom,� Ashley said. “We all need wisdom and God’s direction. James 1:5 says, ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.’ This is a great promise because all we have to do is ask and God will give it to us. If God has put homeschool 52 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Brittany Gilbert (center) and fellow friend and homeschooling mom Kami McDonald (right) recently started a podcast, The Deeply Rooted Homeschool. They discuss the ins and outs of home education while encouraging and equipping homeschool families with resources and content designed to help parents and children succeed. In their first episode, they interviewed Ashley Matthews, a director of a local homeschool co-op, about how to get started after you’ve decided to homeschool. on your heart, then he is going to direct you. He will put people in your path to help.�

What are state requirements? “A good place to do that is HSLDA.org. They have some great information on their site. Our state requires that you fill out an intent to homeschool. It’s a simple form you fill out and submit to the district you live in. The website will also state whether there are teacher requirements or specific subjects you must teach. There are also requirements for assessments and immunizations. For Arkansas, there are no mandated teacher requirements, subjects or immunizations.�

What are your values and goals? “Sit down with your spouse and think about the goals and values you have for your family and your kids,� Ashley said. “What do you want them to have when they leave your house? What kind of people do you want them to be?� Look at what you want the fruit to be, the end goal, and then backtrack as you plan. “For example, for our family, we want our kids to have a biblical world view — we want everything that they’re taught to be through the lens of the Bible and Christ — so that was really important to us. Another thing for us is reading good literature, being exposed to living books and documents and to think logically. I want my kids to be able to form good opinions. Lastly, we want them to have a love of learning.�

Research “There are a ton of homeschool methods out there,� Ashley said. “We’ve chosen the classical model, but there are many others out there — Charlotte Mason, Unschool or a combination of multiple methods. You’ll need to determine what works best for your family and your children.� There are also great books out there with lots of information on different methods.

Talk to homeschool parents Chances are you know multiple families that homeschool. Talk to them. Talk to the mom and the dad. “Where do I get started? What did you do? God will put those people in your path to learn from,� Ashley said. “Use them as a resource.�

Choose curriculum Once you’ve done the other steps, you should start looking into curriculum. There are many curriculum options, and it can be overwhelming; however, some of that overwhelming can be eased if you’ve already followed the steps mentioned before. “There are a couple of websites that can help,� Ashley said. “Cathyduffyreviews.com is a great one. She has a book called ‘102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.’ There aren’t a ton of places to be able to tangibly flip through homeschool curriculum; however, at christianbook.com, they have previews of lots of curriculum options. Rainbowresource.com is also very helpful when purchasing curriculum, and they offer free shipping when you spend $50.�


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Promoting summer reading Summer typically begins when the school year ends. This year is unique in that the school year ended, in its traditional form, early and abruptly. Everyone has had to stay home and find alternative methods by which to teach children the vital educational information that they need. Kellie You may have already completed many of Bishop the activities you had Kellie Bishop is a pediatric nurse planned to do around practitioner at Central Arkansas Pediatrics in Conway. She lives the house and yard with in Plumerville with her husband, your children this sumGreg, their son and two dogs. She obtained her bachelor’s degree mer due to the extra few in nursing at the University of months of being home Central Arkansas and her master’s and doctorate degrees in pediatric with them. primary care at UAMS. You may also be more concerned this year about the “summer slide� with the extra time away from the classroom. The “summer slide� is the educational decline that sometimes occurs when children do not read and maintain educational skills throughout the summer. One possible solution to combat both the boredom and fear of losing literacy from being away from the classroom is to start a reading challenge.

Reading is one of the most important skills your child can practice as it enhances language and comprehension skills, while also developing social, emotional, imaginative and analytical skills. Many children view the summer as their time away from school, so they do not feel that they need to practice during their time off; however, especially this year when they have been away from the classroom longer than average, it is so important to continue developing those essential skills. You can use any form of tracking that you would like for your reading challenge. One option is to make a chart on the computer or draw one on poster board. You can draw any shapes you would like and use them to represent the number of books

read. For example, you could draw 20 boxes or books, and as your child finishes a book, they can cross out the shape or color it in. If your child is reading shorter books or picture books, you may choose a larger number of books for your challenge as those typically do not take as long to read. Using a visual aid on which your children can physically check off the books they have read will allow them to feel in control and have motivation to continue reading and complete their challenge. Another way to engage your child beyond simply reading the book is to have him or her draw a picture or write an alternate ending once they have completed each book. Younger children may draw a picture of their favorite scene from the book, while an older child or teenager may prefer to write an alternate ending. These activities will help further instill literacy and creativity. There are many possibilities and options to conducting a reading challenge in your home, and you should do what works best for your family and your child’s interests. Scholastic.com is a great internet resource for age-appropriate reading lists, as well, if you need help brainstorming books for your child. However you choose to operate your reading challenge, it is a great way to keep your children occupied while developing literacy skills and avoiding the dreaded “summer slide.� I hope everyone has a healthy and happy summer!

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UACCM’s Diana Arn retires

Diana Arn, vice chancellor of academic services at UACCM, has retired after 33 years of service to the school. After 33 years of service to the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, Vice Chancellor of Academic Services Diana Arn has retired. As UACCM’s chief academic officer, Arn was responsible for the administration of the college’s instructional and non-instructional academic programs and services. “This is a very bittersweet time for UACCM. While I could not be happier for Ms. Arn as she retires, it will certainly leave a huge hole at UACCM,� said Chancellor Lisa Willenberg. “Her commitment to a quality education and the integrity that accompanied that commitment is by far one of her many great attributes. The combination of her many years’ experience at the same institution undoubtedly means a great deal of institutional knowledge is also being retired.� During her tenure, the campus community grew with new buildings that have been constructed for academic purposes, including the construction of the Workforce Training Center in 2018. In 2009, UAC54 | 501 LIFE July 2020

CM opened the newly constructed E. Allen Gordon Library, with its use expanded in 2015 under Arn to include more student support services. Arn provided a steady hand when UACCM expanded its areas of study necessary for its continued growth. UACCM Adult Education expanded under her tenure, as new facilities opened in Conway and Clinton in 2017. Along with the growth of technical areas, Arn worked to create more transfer opportunities for students seeking to gain a bachelor’s degree. A U.S. Army veteran, she joined the college in 1987 — then called Petit Jean Technical School — as a business education instructor. In 2002, she became division chair of humanities, social sciences and mathematics, then was vice chancellor starting in 2008. She also led the college through its accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission. Arn made history as the first woman to lead UACCM with her appointment as interim chancellor in January 2019. She held the role until the

appointment of Willenberg by the UA Board of Trustees. As the first member of her family to go to college, one of Arn’s strengths was her ability to identify with UACCM students based on her own life experience. Herself a community college graduate, she gained an associate of applied science degree in business from Arkansas State University-Beebe. She received a bachelor’s degree from Harding University, then she earned a M.S.E. in business education at the University of Central Arkansas. In March, Arn reflected on her life and career at the UACCM’s Talks, Thoughts and Treats lecture series about her decision to attend college. “It was nothing my parents ever thought nor expected me to do,� she said during the lecture, and then turned to a nearby gathering of students. “It took me seven years to get through schools, and students, sometimes we push you to get through it. Sometimes I could go to school and sometimes I had to work to be able to go to school. But I had a goal, and I was going to get through it.�


Passing the torch

Conway Noon Rotary to acquire youth football program by Mark Oliver

For nearly half a century, Conway Youth Football has served as the first step for young athletes in Faulkner County to discover their love for football. It has produced numerous Division I athletes, including former Arkansas Razorbacks and NFL star Peyton Hillis. Managed by volunteers within the Conway Noon Optimist Club, the program strives to teach not only fundamentals, but life lessons to be used off the gridiron as well. “Our program gives student athletes a really good fundamental base to football,” said Optimist Club Player Safety Coach Nick Toal. “It establishes the right things to do, the right way to tackle and the right way to block. Our goal is to let them have fun with it and get them to love the game. We see the benefit of being a part of the team — something bigger than themselves. That’s the most important lesson that these kids can learn.” In recent years, the organization has seen a steady decrease in volunteers, putting the program’s future in jeopardy. “The popularity of social (service) clubs over the years has decreased and declined, and the number of people committed to our club has dwindled,” Toal said. “We are all volunteers. We don’t get paid for what we do. We’ve gotten to the point where our entire league is run by maybe five people. For the last couple of years, we have looked around for other clubs to pass the torch to because we don’t feel like we are doing the program justice with just five people. There are so many other opportunities that can be explored with more volunteers. We feel like we could really impact these athletes’ lives a little better than what we are doing.” This fall, the long-standing athletic league will have a new home. Seeking new life for the program, Toal and his fellow Optimist Club volunteers found new hope within the Conway Noon Rotary Club. “Due to a lack of warm bodies to help grow the program, we reached out to the Rotary Club for help,” Toal said. “We had them give us a presentation of their vision of it, and they laid out their plans. We thought it was a good fit. They are very youth focused. As a club, we made the decision that was the best way forward.” For the Rotary Club, the decision to save the league was a no-brainer. “When we were approved by the Optimist Club to consider taking on the program, we took it very seriously,” said outgoing Conway Noon Rotary Club President Aimee Prince. “This is a program that has been in Conway for around 50 years. After much consideration, we felt that it was important to the youth in our community, and we wanted to keep it moving forward.” “Our vision for the program is to continue to make it a community outreach program to instill

The Conway Noon Optimist Club is working with the Conway Noon Rotary Club to take over the local youth football program. values of hard work and determination,” said incoming Conway Noon Rotary Club President Cortney Cato. “I am excited to have a 9-year-old son playing football for the first time. I’m excited for the possibility of this program to continue in Conway both as a parent and as a community leader. As they grow up and become members of the community, the hope is that they give back to this community.” To ensure a seamless transition, Toal and the other Optimist Club volunteers will remain with the program, which aims to resume this fall. “We are currently meeting with the Rotary Club Football Committee to work on the transition plan,” Toal said. “What we decided is that the five of us who have been running the program previously are going to continue on and guide the Rotary Club through this transition. There’s a lot of moving parts to the program. It’s not difficult, but we want to set them up for success.” Conway Youth Football dates back as early as the 1970s in Faulkner County, originally played in the outfield of the former Mountain View Softball Park in Conway before being moved to the YBMA fields. Today, games are played at Curtis Walker Park off Museum Road in Conway. “Our goal has always been to get kids into our program, become a positive impact on their lives and mentor them the best we can,” Toal said. “A lot of kids in our community may not have a steady figure in their life, and we see the league as an opportunity to try to help model for them the best we can.” According to Toal, one of the biggest missions of the program has always been to level the playing field among its participants. “Conway is a very diverse socioeconomic town,” Toal said. “Because of that, everything we do is focused on ease of entry. Rich or poor, everyone is on an even playing field here. If your heart is in it, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. We typically have around 350 kids each year, and most of them rent equipment from us, which ends up being much cheaper compared to other leagues out there.” With a new season fast approaching, the league

is paying close attention to Arkansas’ regulations on youth athletics in a COVID-19 landscape. “Everything depends on the pandemic,” Toal said. “We are going to follow any recommendations that we can from the government. They are looking out for the safety of everyone. Our current goal is to start mid-August, and we are having bi-monthly meetings for a plan of action going forward. We are preparing for everything to be back to normal with some accommodations. This program is too valuable to not have it in our community.” With new leadership comes new changes, and the future appears bright for Conway Youth Football. “For the first few years, the program will look the same,” Prince said. “Over the next five to 10 years, our plan is to increase our reach by incorporating as many children as we can into the program. In addition to football, we would like to add a cheerleading program as well. We would love to see scholarships added to the program, as well as a community volunteer base to take charge and bring awareness of the program to our community.” Prince knows firsthand the importance of the program. “My son played Optimist football,” she said. “I know what it means to a parent. It’s such an important part of children being able to be involved in sports that they might not get to be involved in. We are over the moon to be able to help keep this program going.” To ensure the future success of the program, the Rotary Club is actively looking for volunteers to help jumpstart the new-look league. “We need volunteers to make this work,” Cato said. “It’s a family, community project. My daughters will be working in the concession stand, and my son will be playing. We need coaches, press box workers, concession stand workers and other volunteers to keep this going. We encourage anyone who wants to get involved to reach out.” For more information on the league’s transition, fall season registration, scholarship opportunities and volunteering, email conwayrotaryclub@gmail.com, check out Conway Noon Rotary Club on Facebook or visit conwayrotaryclub.org. July 2020 501lifemag.com | 55

Cleburne County: Debbi Brawley “I love it in the sky” is her mantra. Fascinated by planes and human flight as a youngster, Debbi Brawley confesses that in adulthood she has transitioned from dream to goal, and today knows what it is “to fly” as a skydiver, to experience the “exhilarating, unbelievable, indescribable” thrills and satisfacDr. Robert tions of skydiving, of Reising “being alive again.” Her Dr. Robert Reising retired skills in the “whole-body from the University of Central sport” have multiplied Arkansas in 2013 after holding a variety of teaching, coaching and quickly, too, and national administrative posts during more and world participation than a half-century in education. His doctoral dissertation at Duke now lies on her horizon. treated literature and sports. Debbi has lived a complex life, a commendable combination of commitment, courage and compassion. Born 63 years ago in El Paso, Texas, as a toddler she moved to Helena. In nearby Marvell, she completed her K-12 education at Marvell Academy in 1975. With a brief phase as a “Hippie Chick” in her background, she immediately moved into banking in Arkansas and then Texas, while accumulating an assortment of baccalaureate credits at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. For 17 years, from 1978 through 1994, she advanced through a variety of increasingly demanding positions with Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock. She relinquished her responsible post as a physician recruiter only to provide her young daughter with fulltime home care. Greers Ferry Lake, her husband’s boyhood home, had also captured her gaze, so they moved into a rented home there. With their daughter’s desire for a large-city setting and education, the family moved so Rachel could attend Conway High School. She graduated in 2000, the year her parents finished construction of a home on the lake. The trio moved into that residence a year later. Debbi energetically ventured into real estate sales, gaining her real estate license in 2002. Five years later, she and her husband opened their own real estate business in Greers Ferry, shortly before the economic recession that ravaged the nation. Their new venture survived, and even thrived. As challenging as her burgeoning business responsibilities were, she refused to overlook the needs of people elsewhere. She went on three church mission trips to Haiti and twice to Guatemala to aid with house and store construction. However, the most mystifying and mesmer56 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Debbi and Peter Stricker sitfly at Skydive Spaceland Dallas.

izing segment of her life lay ahead. Not hiking, rock climbing or nationally acclaimed photography, all favorites in the past, could rival its impact on her or importance to her. On Thanksgiving Day 2011, Rachel insisted she view a video with her. She did, and, “It started a journey that changed my life, and I never looked back.” The film surveyed someone flying a wing suit in Switzerland, a blithe spirit like no other she had seen before. Incomparable human elation passed before her eyes. Addiction to motion and movement in space was inescapable. Within months, at age 55, she made her first jump. Strapped to a tandem instructor, she was accompanied and guided to the ground in her introduction to the sport. That exhilarating experience launched her quest for an A license, with its emphasis upon rigorous daily physical and mental conditioning (including yoga), crucial safety measures, intricacies of the sport, video-watching, 25 supervised jumps, and an oral and written exam. In 2014, on Mother’s Day, that license came to her and to Rachel, a significant achievement that was but a running start for Debbi on her B License. Two years later, it was hers. Formation Skydiving, requiring “taking grips” with other jumpers and

“moving into different positions as a group,” had been key. So, too, had been more than the required jumps, and precisely targeted landings. The C License was also imminent, and before 2020 ends, she hopes to claim it. Caution and conditioning are now more important than ever, together with expertise to coach and monitor newcomers and to amaze sky-searching crowds with movement among “different planes” of space and with targeted landings. Full-circle completion, from inconspicuous, awe-paralyzed spectator to acclaimed, proficient skydiver, Debbi now has in sight the highest tier of excellence in her sport. After 950 jumps and six years of skydiving, she continues to cherish as her most prized goal her example to “women with years.” Debbi fervently believes that what she launched at age 55, other females that age, or older, should try. She hopes, also, to compete in free fly competition, and “to jump in Switzerland” and, just maybe, on mission trips abroad. Cleburne County and the 501 are proud that a transplant, who is a pioneer in her sport, calls both home.

Debbi, Tyler Hinkle and Hoyt Perry jump over Greers Ferry Lake. Rachel McEnany and her mom, Debbi, getting ready to jump together.

501 LIFE is once again profiling noteworthy athletes, men and women who were born outside of Central Arkansas but who made their mark in the 501. The “Celebrating athletic excellence” series features one from each of the 11 counties in the 501. The 11 are representatives of the quality of athletes found throughout Central Arkansas. This is the first of 11 installments in the fourth “Celebrating athletic excellence” series. A pause before boarding the plane at Skydive Spaceland Dallas.



ummer Sessions at UCA are the perfect opportunity for you to move more quickly toward your degree,

saving both time and money. All Summer Sessions are fully online and financial aid is available.

Go here. Go anywhere.


July 2020 501lifemag.com | 57


New horizons

UCA’S Coover still pursuing his dreams by Mark Oliver

When we last met with Chris Coover a year ago, the University of Central Arkansas athletic training grad was given the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as an intern for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. One year later, what began as a journey for professional growth has turned into an opportunity the Rogers-native has been dreaming of since his childhood. One of only five athletic trainers selected to intern with the Titans, Coover embraced the move to Nashville with open arms. “Nashville is quite a big city,” Coover said. “When I arrived, I was starstruck. As a big fan of country music, being able to go downtown and see country stars’ homes and the big city lights was very surreal. Although it’s much different than Conway, there are similarities — mainly the community and great family atmosphere.” As a summer training camp intern, Coover spent six to seven weeks with the Titans, learning the ropes of athletic training on the NFL level. “In the beginning, I was always on the go,” Coover said. “Early mornings and late nights. At practice, our main role was keeping the athletes hydrated and making sure they had what they needed to be successful, whether it was taping, bracing or prophylactic sleeves. I got to work closely with Adrian Dixon, the Titans’ assistant athletic trainer and rehabilitation coordinator, who challenged me with research and getting my thoughts and opinions on various scenarios. The staff also allowed interns to oversee rehabs and help set up the training room. They were always upbeat and willing to teach us new things each day. “Going into the internship, I knew that I wanted to work in football and this experience confirmed that for me.” Working with athletic celebrities each day, it didn’t take long for the Arkansan to feel right at home. “Getting to work hands-on with pro athletes like Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans was awesome,” Coover said. “At the NFL level, you would expect the players to be more strictly focused on their work, but it was cool to see how outgoing they were and how they always laughed and joked around with me. Hanging out with them every day was fun. I didn’t feel like an intern — I felt like I was actually part of the staff.” After his summer training camp internship ended, Coover took his talents to Oklahoma, where he accepted an athletic training internship with University of Tulsa football and softball. “Working at the University of Tulsa was a great experience for me,” Coover said. “With football, I 58 | 501 LIFE July 2020

UCA grad Chris Coover had an opportunity to intern with the Tennessee Titans. got valuable experience regarding treating a multitude of injuries, including those that I hadn’t worked with before. With softball, I had direct control of athletic training duties for the team. As a young professional, that opportunity was awesome. I spent a lot of time researching journals and articles on proper rehab techniques and worked to improve my skills with shoulder rehabs and evals.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this spring,

Coover’s time with the University of Tulsa ended sooner than expected. However, where one door closed, another opened for the Northwest Arkansas native. “With softball season ending early, I made the decision to go back to school at the University of Arkansas in pursuit of a master’s degree in sports recreational management,” Coover said. “For the next two years, I’m excited to say that I will be work-

Chris with Tennessee Titans linebackers. (Donald Page photo)

ing as a graduate assistant with Arkansas Razorbacks football. Being able to come back home and work with the Razorbacks has always been a dream of mine and I can’t wait to get started.” As he prepares for his next adventure, Coover looks ahead to new horizons in his field. “Being able to bounce around like I have done over the past year has been great. It has allowed me to build good relationships with three different training staffs and I’m excited to see where that leads me in the future,” Coover said. “Five years from now, I would love to get back to the NFL. My immediate goal is to get my master’s degree and obtain a seasonal internship with the NFL. I would do it for any team, too. Each team has their own staff and new experiences come with those techniques and skillsets. I would love to be in an assistant athletic trainer position with the NFL or an SEC school.” Though his journey has taken him across the southern U.S. over the past year, Coover hasn’t forgotten where his adventure began. “The athletic training program at UCA has been awesome to me,” Coover said. “The atmosphere allows for lots of hands-on experience to expand your clinical skills, which is awesome. The staff is also more than willing to help you figure out what you want to do and where you want to go. I still talk to David Strickland from time to time to discuss my goals and Kaci Griffin helps me with my resume all the time. Steve Hornor wrote a nice letter of recommendation which helped me get in with the Titans. I am very thankful for their help. “UCA is an awesome school with plenty of opportunities for its students to fulfill their dreams.” July 2020 501lifemag.com | 59

60 | 501 LIFE July 2020

A tribute

Recalling the Atkins Bottoms tree A giant of the 501 has fallen, the famous Atkins Bottoms tree. The old tree was one of the most photographed trees in Central Arkansas. It fell during a thunderstorm in the early spring. Many professional and amateur landscape photographers in Arkansas have made that old craggy tree the Linda focus of their photos Henderson and those that didn’t Jim and Linda Henderson are photograph the old tree lifelong residents of the 501. are sorry they missed the They travel the 501 and other opportunity. areas of Arkansas. Jim drives and hauls equipment. Linda takes It was an old, photographs of Arkansas. During majestic tree standing all their travels, they have gained appreciation and love for The by itself beside the road Natural State. They have found in the middle of a field the 501 has so much to offer for fun and beauty to photograph. of soybeans. It likely has stood proud and tall in the Arkansas River bottoms northwest of Morrilton for well over 100 years. The old cottonwood tree stood at the outer borders of Conway County, so just on the very edge of the 501.   The tree was the perfect photo muse. It was a

single, mature tree, next to the road, with a clear view of the western horizon. In the distant background was Petit Jean Mountain as well as Mount Nebo. The tree had everything that makes the best tree photos. It had twisted limbs, and the bark had lots of texture and vines that entwined the trunk. The size of the tree made it even more photogenic. It was massive enough to anchor a wide composition but not so large that it took over a photo if it was chosen to include in a single tree composition. If you stared at the tree too long, you could almost see a humanlike appearance. It had a massive single trunk, but at the end of its life, it had only two remaining large forks that looked kind of like two arms stretching toward heaven.   The form of the tree had much to offer the photographer during every season of the year. In the spring before the farm fields had been plowed and planted, the old tree was surrounded by tiny, yellow wildflowers. If you were lucky enough to photograph the tree before a spring thunderstorm, you might catch massive cloud structures as a storm moved into Conway County from the west. During the summertime, leaf coverage was just enough to portray the feel of the season.   Since the tree was in a treeless field, it was an awesome place to catch a sunset or sunrise. At different times of the year, if you planned just right and studied the position of the setting sun, you could

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 61

On that beautiful winter evening, as the sun was setting, it cast its warm light on clouds while the full Super Moon was rising. The beauty of that evening was a gift from The Creator and will always be a sweet memory. photograph the sun setting into the deep crevices of the two “arms” of the tree.   Summer was also a great time to photograph the tree under a star-filled sky. Fall could be a wonderful time to photograph it with the changing fall colors of Petit Jean in the background and the farm fields filled with ripening soybeans. During winter, the old tree offered the photographer bare limbs void of leaves that looked like a bare bone skeleton.   If you spend much time wandering around farmland and river bottom land, you will frequently find large trees standing amid crops. You might wonder why the farmer left one lone tree in the field. Most likely the tree provided shade for a farmer. Before the days of tractors with cabs or back when a team of mules pulled the plow, a tree offered a spot to have lunch, supper or a spot to rest. Its canopy of leaves could provide shade and a spot to cool off from the hot sun. The last time I photographed the Atkins Bottom tree was the evening of the first “Super Moon” of 2020. The moon’s rising was in the perfect position to catch both the moon and the tree in a pleasing composition. On that beautiful winter evening, as the sun was setting, it cast its warm light on clouds while the full Super Moon was rising. The beauty of that evening was a gift from The Creator and will always be a sweet memory.  The Atkins tree was always a great spot for a sunset picture when the atmosphere and clouds were perfect. I will miss the old single tree silhouetting against a vibrant orange sky, but the spot still remains for images of gorgeous sunsets with its open horizon and views of Petit Jean and Mount Nebo. I still feel a little like an old friend has departed from the earth and I must admit I suffered a little sadness when I heard the tree had fallen. So, now I’m searching for a new tree “muse.”

More thoughts I write stories about where I have been and about what I have experienced for 501 LIFE. Sometimes, while writing these stories, memories of childhood experiences come flooding out. That happened with this story. While I was writing about the Atkins Bottom tree, I experienced a distant recollection of a trip to our family’s farmlands in the Cadron Creek Bottoms with my grandparents. I can recall sitting under shade trees at the edge of the field and having lunch my Grandma Hoggard had prepared. I still remember that lunch. It was packed in wax paper. It was a ham sandwich on white bread and an apple fried pie. I have not thought about that picnic lunch in many years. I am thankful that recalling my memories of an old tree in the Atkins Bottoms helped to jog my memory about a long-forgotten trip with Grandpa and Grandma to the farm. Old trees and old memories have a lot in common. Sometimes you do not know how important they are to you until they are gone. So, take lots of pictures and write your memories down. 62 | 501 LIFE July 2020

Reynolds continued from Page 9 Pops Series • “Home Free” 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, sponsored by 501 LIFE Magazine • “Christmas with CeCe Winans” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, sponsored by Y107 My Country • “Postmodern Jukebox Welcome to the Twenties” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, sponsored by the Arkansas Times • “An Evening with Chris Thile” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, sponsored by Y107 My Country

Distinguished Speakers • Michele Norris “The Grace of Silence and the Power of Words” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, sponsored by the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Minority Enterprise Development Awards, KOKY 102.1 and Power 92 Jams • Biamila “Everyone Can be a Ninja: Find Your Inner Warrior & Achieve Your Dreams” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, sponsored by Conway Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Minority Enterprise Development Awards and the Log Cabin Democrat

Main Stage EdUCAtion • “Hocus Pocus: Reality and Illusion” 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 • “Doktor Kaboom! The Science of Santa” 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16; sponsored by Conway Corp. • “Grace for President” 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13 • “The Little Mermaid” 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8; public show 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, sponsored by 93.3 THE FISH • “Dog Man: The Musical” 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 31; public show 6 p.m., sponsored by 93.3 THE FISH • “Pete’s Big Hollywood Adventure” 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 9; public show 6 p.m., sponsored by 93.3 THE FISH

Benefit for Main Stage EdUCAtion • “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10 • “Celtic Angels Ireland” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18 • “Popovich Comedy Pet Theater” 4 p.m. Sunday, April 25

Family Event • “The Magic of Kevin Spencer” 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21; this is a sensory-friendly, relaxed family performance sponsored by Conway Convention & Visitors Bureau The Main Stage EdUCAtion series, aimed at Arkansas school districts, just completed its fifth season. This series introduces students to live, professional

Schools continued from Page 8 in homes of need were also considered. “As a district, we addressed each concern and shared a solution for each. At our elementary, recess times will be restructured so breaks are spread out throughout the day and physical activity during instruction will increase.  “More parents will be able to pick their students

theatre and provides them with an educational and entertaining experience. Horton said the program has served schools all over the state from as far north as Lawrence County and as far south as Chicot County. “We are excited to add a sensory-friendly production of ‘The Magic of Kevin Spencer,’” she said, adding that all of his local events are sponsored by the Conway Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This show will offer a unique experience to the individuals in our state with special needs. We want all to feel welcome in our theatre and have the ability to enjoy the enchantment of live performing arts.” Subscription renewals for current season ticket holders are available now. New subscriptions will go on sale to the general public Wednesday, July 1. Subscriber Courtesy Week — when those who bought season packages may purchase individual tickets to shows before they open to the general public — will be July 27-31. Single tickets will go on sale to the general public Monday, Aug. 3. To purchase a new subscription package beginning July 1, call 501.450.3265 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Individual tickets may be purchased at uca.edu/reynolds or by calling 501.450.3265 beginning Aug. 3.

Individual series prices range from $90-$130; Performing Arts Package (all three series) range from $245-$380; individual tickets for all shows excluding Speakers, Main Stage public shows, the Family show, and “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” are $30-$40; Speakers tickets are $15. Main Stage public shows are $10 for adults and $5 for students; the Kevin Spencer Family show tickets are $5; and “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” tickets are $30-$50. A “Pick Six,” build-your-own package, is available to donors of $100 or more. Reynolds Performance Hall continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and has plans and protocols in place to ensure the safety of its patrons. In the coming months, Reynolds will continue to follow all mandated regulations for large venues and institutions of higher education. Plans will be monitored and assessed on a show-by-show basis, depending on which phase the state is in with the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, contact Horton at 501.450.3682 or ahorton@uca.edu or visit uca.edu/ reynolds. Details about all the upcoming performances and information about Reynolds Performance Hall may be found there.

up from school; therefore, some bus routes could be shorter. Additionally, we are re-evaluating our current routes to make them as efficient as possible. Our hope is that more parents will be home from work when kids arrive home in the afternoons, so there may not be a need for childcare in some cases.”  To address the concern for missing meals, additional food items will be sent home with students through the backpack program. There will also be

a daily afternoon snack served to all students free of charge.   “EESD is innovative and individualized when it comes to our students’ education. We look forward to experiencing this change and seeing the benefits it produces for our students, staff and community,” said Edgin. For more information, visit eastendpanthers. com/263321_2. July 2020 501lifemag.com | 63


NEIGHBORS special friends

Dr. Emily Lovell, a new associate veterinarian at Hartman Animal Hospital, with Jax, a co-worker’s pet. (Mike Kemp photo)

A new face

Vet feels calling to care for others by Sonja J. Keith

Dr. Emily Lovell has had a big heart for helping others, especially animals, since she was a young girl. Today, she is putting that interest and her education to work as an associate veterinarian at Hartman Animal Hospital. “Helping people and animals just made sense to me,� she said. “As I grew up, animals just became my happy place. I knew without a doubt in my heart that God placed me on this earth to take care of others, specifically animals.� Emily likes almost every aspect of her work. “My 64 | 501 LIFE July 2020

absolute favorite thing is teaching clients the ins and outs of their animals and how their bodies function,� she said. “It is such a rewarding experience when I know a client walks out of the room understanding what is going on with their pet and why we do the things we do to prevent and treat diseases.� It is important that clients understand and seek preventative medicine for their pets, according to Emily. “Vaccines, annual blood work, checkups, etc. are the best way you can care for pets,� she said. “Always being proactive about your pet’s health is so much more important than only taking your pet to see us when they are ill. Please always be responsible

and only take the advice of a licensed veterinarian when it comes to your animal’s wellbeing.� Emily said that being a veterinarian does have its challenges. “I think most veterinarians would agree across the board that it is incredibly challenging to lose a patient and even more challenging to help the families cope with these losses. It is an emotional experience no matter the circumstances.� Born and raised in Fort Smith, Emily earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree at the University of Missouri in Columbia. She and her husband, Dylan, recently moved to

Conway from Columbia. He is a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual in Conway. “We have been married for three years this July,” she said. “The rest of my family lives in Fort Smith, and the rest of Dylan’s family is spread out all over the state, some in Northwest Arkansas, Jonesboro and Texarkana. Our families are especially important to us.” Emily and Dylan’s “fur kiddos” include a Golden Doodle named Harper. “She is our oldest and sweetest of the group. She never meets a stranger,” she said. “Our second is a yellow Labrador named Rue who is the best cuddle bug around. We also have a kitty cat named Messi, after the soccer player, because my husband said if we had a cat, he got to pick out the name.” Still new to Conway, the two have not had an opportunity to get involved in the community or join a church, but it is some-

Dr. Emily and Dylan Lovell are now calling Conway home, where she is an associate veterinarian at Hartman Animal Hospital.

I knew without a doubt in my heart that God placed me on this earth to take care of others, specifically animals.

— Dr. Emily Lovell

thing they plan to do. “We hope to establish a church family very soon, as we just moved to town,” she said, adding that faith is very important to them. Emily and Dylan also enjoy spending time outdoors. “I actively enjoy working out, golfing, kayaking, fishing, running, etc. I love to be outside,” she said. “My husband and I most every weekend are planning our outdoor adventures. We are still so new to town we haven’t established a lot of club activities yet, but I would eventually love to be a part of the Chamber. Social volunteering and establishing that town relationship is essential to me and has always been a big part of my life.” As they settle in, Emily said she and her husband are happy to call the 501 home. “We are so excited to be in Conway, and we cannot wait to see where else God leads us while we are here!” Hartman Animal Hospital, located at 385 Hogan Lane in West Conway, is staffed by Drs. Greg Hartman and JoAnna Roath. The clinic provides general veterinary medicine, diagnostic services and companion animal medicine and surgery. For more information, visit hartmananimalhospital.com or call 501.450.6444.

July 2020 501lifemag.com | 65


NEIGHBORS person of the month

Grace Rains

CITY: Conway. WORK: Director of Operations at the Conductor since August 2019.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO YOUR FIELD: Entrepreneurship has been a theme throughout my life. I grew up in a household supported by a small business, worked for a variety of entrepreneurs, including a small business marketing firm, and even met my husband in an entrepreneurship and innovation class.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK: I feel strongly about connecting career

with purpose, and I’m very fortunate that my job is extremely purposeful and rewarding. I get to empower and support others as they validate their ideas, work toward their dreams and realize their potential.


for Bethlehem House and the Conway Public School Foundation; state coordinator for Global Entrepreneurship Week Arkansas.

FAMILY: Husband, Josh; and our dogs, Scout and Ted.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of science degree in health sciences and master’s degree in business administration, both from the University of Central Arkansas. MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: I like any

opportunity to spend time outside. I love working in our yard or garden, hunting, hiking and floating.

FAVORITE PLACE IN ARKANSAS: Seven Hollows Trail at Petit Jean State Park, where my husband proposed. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: I love the kind, collaborative nature of the

people who live here, the dedication to strengthening and building our communities, and our central location which gives us access to resources from across the state. Grace Rains is the director of operations at the Conductor, a public-private partnership between Startup Junkie Consulting and the University of Central Arkansas. The Conductor empowers entrepreneurs, makers and innovators, and is dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Central Arkansas. “I’d been introduced to the Conductor through events and an Innovation Lab at Conway Regional Health System, so when the opportunity arose to join the team, it felt like a natural next step.� (Mike Kemp photo)

66 | 501 LIFE July 2020

MORE INFORMATION: I want to encourage others to connect with us and utilize the resources of the Conductor – we’re here to help! Our work is focused on empowering entrepreneurs, innovators and makers through no cost programming and events for all ages as well as one-on-one small business coaching, our rural growth initiative and innovation in the UCA Makerspace, powered by Conductor.



At Conway Regional, we provide comprehensive healthcare services. From primary care to specialty care, our world-class providers are here to meet your needs with a seamless referral process. We offer telemedicine appointments from the comfort of your home, as well as in-person visits with extensive safety measures to protect you from infection.

Don't delay your care—make an appointment today.


TH E R E ’S NO Better PL AC E.

Arkansas is something special. The great outdoors are even greater in the Natural State, and the people here make it even better. We can find picturesque views from mountain tops and front porches – or soak up the sun on the back of a bike. The First Security team has a lot to be grateful for – like family, friends and close-knit communities – but home is pretty high on our list. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Proud to be your community bank. Call or click today! Member FDIC

Profile for 501 LIFE

July 2020  

This month, 501 LIFE hopes to promote unity and understanding with coverage of recent peaceful protests (Pages 30-33) in Conway and Searcy....

July 2020  

This month, 501 LIFE hopes to promote unity and understanding with coverage of recent peaceful protests (Pages 30-33) in Conway and Searcy....


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