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What it means to be a

Mayo Clinic Care Network member

Your physician can collaborate with Mayo Clinic specialists on your behalf. This helps ensure you receive the care you need, close to home. Mayo Clinic Care Network members have special access to resources that include eConsults, eBoards, AskMayoExpert, Inpatient Telephone Consults and Patient Education materials.

For more information, please visit Unity-Health.org/mayo.

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


501 LIFE


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


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

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


University of Central Arkansas student Stephanie Meador (left) and Dr. Angela Webster, associate vice president for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast.

One in three too many This month’s edition of 501 LIFE is all about “Celebrating women.” The theme was selected for this March issue to reflect International Women’s Day, which is celebrated annually on March 8. The observance “offers an opportunity to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” We are fortunate in the 501 to have many extraordinary women who are doing great and wonderful things in their communities. We applaud and celebrate their efforts. At the same time, we recognize and are saddened that there are women in the 501 and beyond who are victims of domestic violence. They are battered and bruised at the hands of “loved ones.” While attending the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast hosted by the University of Central Arkansas, I was touched by the words of UCA student Stephanie Meador, winner of the MLK written/oratorical contest. With her permission, we share her words with 501 LIFE readers:

I Object Dainty, purple bands decorate her throat. Like the rings of Saturn. She lies speechless, he goes to his friends to gloat. We can’t ignore this toxic pattern. Instead of seeing somebody, you see a body. 4 | 501 LIFE March 2020

How far have we really come, all these years? If a woman reporting on television, is subject to humiliation Because a marathon runner helps himself to her rear? You deflect. You defend your behaviors in fear and shame. A slip of the hand deserves more than a slap on the wrist. We no longer fret over monsters under the bed, Our fears stem from reports of women found dead. Don’t go out alone. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t dress in a way that provokes them. Don’t put yourself in a position to become the victim. Fear. Fear that I might be one more nameless statistic. I might become a lesson of caution to my peers. One in three is too many, forgive me if I’m being pessimistic. Rough edits of the scene plague her mind. He lives comfortably, she suffers constantly. Stripped of security, forced into a role, Is this truly our definition of equality? Thank you, Stephanie for your powerful words. We agree. One in three is too many. Until next month, here’s to “Loving LIFE” in the 501.

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.


March 2020

Volume 12 Issue 11



26 Guest column

The Conway Regional Women’s Council has been celebrating women not only throughout the year, but also throughout the YEARS, 19 to be exact.

On the cover

501 LIFE is “Celebrating women” in this month’s edition. (Jeremy Higginbotham design)

56 Entertaining

“Check out” this fun library party.

76 Travel

A special exhibit at the Old State House Museum celebrates Arkansas first ladies – women of their times.


neighbors 24 Couples

Alison and Kevin Wish are loving life, their family and their work in the 501.

28 Conway

Shawanna Rodgers knows what it means to be a mover and shaker in the 501.


82 Person of the month

Mary Worsham of Searcy is a longtime healthcare professional at Unity Health White County Medical Center.

Special section 501 LIFE is celebrating “501nder Women” in this month’s edition (Pages 37-47).

regulars 4 8-9 10-17 54-63 82


‘501 Kids’ section 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.

LIFE pics 18-22


6 | 501 LIFE March 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

A Arkansas Dental Centers, 73

B Baptist Health Women’s Center, 55

facebook.com /501lifemag

C Children’s Advocacy Alliance, 58 Conway Corporation, 27 Conway Regional Health & Fitness Center, 31 Conway Regional Health System, 83 Conway Regional Rehab, 66

D DJM Orthodontics, 65 Double Springs Grass Farms, 62

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.

Edward Jones, 29 E.L. Clinical, 67

F First Community Bank, 23 First Security Bank, 84 First Service Bank, 13 Freyaldenhoven Heating and Cooling Inc., 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.

Writers’ Room

Hartman Animal Hospital, 81 Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA, 75 Heritage Living Center, 5 Hiegel Supply, 62

M MSC Eye Associates, 53 Methodist Family Health, 61

O Ott Insurance, 36

P Patterson Eye Care, 35 Pulaski County Special School District, 69

S Salem Place Nursing and Rehab, 33 Shelter Insurance, 35 Sissy’s Log Cabin, 19 St. Joseph School, 21 Superior Nursing & Rehab, 2

U UCA Reynolds Performance Hall, 25 Unity Health, 3 University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton, 63 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 51 University of Central Arkansas, 49 University of Arkansas Laurel & Stripes, 71

W Wilkinson’s Mall, 53

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

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.

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).

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 7

$50 and can be purchased from a club member. Sponsors and donations for a silent auction and raffle are being sought. For more information, email centuryleaguemorrilton@gmail.com.


March S
















10 11 12 13 14

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas will present five performances in March: “Cirque Éloize HOTEL,” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, presented by 501 LIFE. “Beauty and the Beast: In concert” with the Conway Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7. Those attending will be able to watch the 2017 movie during the performance. “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10. “Celtic Angels Ireland,” 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 16, in a benefit for the Main Stage EdUCAtion program. “Yamato – The Drummers of Japan,” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18. Visit uca.edu/Reynolds or call 501.450.3265 or 866.810.0012 for information and tickets. The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton will present Holocaust survivor Nat Shaffir at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, in the Fine Arts Auditorium. The speaker, from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., will provide a first-hand account of the Holocaust during World War II. For more information, visit uaccm.edu. The University of Central Arkansas will host its Annual Day of Giving on Thursday, March 5. For 24 hours, donors can make a donation to a fund or college of their choice. There are hundreds of choices – from the Main Stage EdUCAtion program and the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre to Greek life and athletics. Last year, UCA broke a fundraising record with almost $758,000 raised. For more information and to make a donation, visit uca.edu/ dayofgiving. 8 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas will present Celtic Angels Ireland, a fundraiser for the Main Stage EdUCAtion program, at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 16. Joined by the Celtic Knight Dancers and the Trinity Band Ensemble of Dublin, the show is sure to be an evening of exciting sights and sounds. Visit uca.edu/Reynolds or call 501.450.3265 or 866.810.0012 for information and tickets.

On Thursday, March 5, the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce will host its 18th Annual Maumelle Business Expo and Job Fair at the Jess Odom Community Center, 1100 Edgewood Drive in Maumelle. The 2020 theme is “Signs of Your Success.” The event is 2 to 6 p.m. and is free to the public. Every visitor has a chance to win a $500 cash prize. For more information, please contact Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alicia Gillen at 501.851.9700 or alicia@ maumellechamber.com. The 15th Annual Chase Race is planned Saturday, March 7, at Simon Park in Downtown Conway. It includes a 2 mile (certified USTAF course and AR Grand Prix Championship race), a 1 mile race for kids and a 1 mile walk/run PAWS race with a leashed pet. On-site registration is at 6:30 a.m. on race day, with the 2 mile start at 8 a.m. To ensure a goody bag and event T-shirt, pre-register at compassacademyconway.org or runsignup. com. All participants will receive a medal. Trophies will also be awarded. A family discount and youth entry rates are available. There will be vendors, food and family fun. This year’s proceeds will go to Compass Academy and AR Animal Alliance. The Century League of Morrilton will present its 2020 Charity Ball at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Morrilton Country Club. Tickets are

The 42nd Annual Wye Mountain Daffodil Festival is planned Saturday, March 7, through Sunday, March 15, in Perry County. The nine-day event is hosted by the Wye United Methodist Church and Wye Extension Homemakers Club. Admission is free, while church donations are accepted and appreciated. The flower field and festival are located at 22300 Hwy. 113, Bigelow. To set up a craft booth, provide worship music or for more information, visit the Wye Mountain Church page on Facebook or email connect.wmc@gmail. com. Conway Christian School will present “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Mariner’s Wraith” for its spring play at 1 and 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19. For more information about the play, contact Drama Director Laura Shelton at lshelton@ conwaychristianschool.net. The Ninth Annual Run for the Fallen is planned Friday, March 20, through Sunday, March 22. A team of runners will complete a 150-mile run to honor Arkansas service members who have died while serving since Sept. 11, 2001. Each mile is dedicated to an Arkansas hero. The run team stops at every marker where they present an American Flag and a biographical card in honor of a fallen service member to create a memorial trail through Arkansas. The core run team is all active duty military. The public is invited to cheer on these military members as they run to remember their fallen brothers and sisters. Because of safety concerns, the public part of the run happens once the team crosses the Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock. Anyone wanting to join the run team for a final 5K can register to participate. This is not a race and there will not be timing chips or winners. Everyone runs together as a team to honor fallen heroes. For more information, visit arkansasrunforthefallen.org. Main Street Morrilton will present the Fourth Annual Munchin’ on Main Street Festival on Saturday, March 28. The event will include a Baggo tournament, food trucks, rides, children’s activities and entertainment. For more information, visit munchinonmain.com.


Pine Street museum opens Story and photo by Sonja J. Keith

A large crowd was on hand Jan. 31 for the grand opening of the Pine Street CommUnity Museum in Conway. The purpose of the museum is to discover, document and display the rich legacy of those who lived, worked, worshipped and were educated in the Pine Street neighborhood. Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry welcomed those in attendance at the historic occasion. He said when city officials were approached with the idea last summer, “we knew right off it was going to be a great idea” and the Conway City Council unanimously approved the project. The mayor thanked the Pine Street community board for its vision to establish a museum. “You made it happen and it is tremendous,” he said. “There is a lot of rich history here.” Leona Walton, a Pine Street community leader, introduced members of the board. She also thanked the mayor and city officials. She recognized the Pine Street School alumni and area residents – “the people who love Pine Street, just like I do. God has lots of plans for this museum and He uses his people to bring them to pass.” Leona said the museum features items that have been donated by different individuals. The museum is accepting additional Pine Street artifacts as well as monetary donations. “When a cry went out for monetary donations, you responded. For that, we are very grateful.” During the ceremony, representatives of the Arkansas Community Foundation – Faulkner

Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry and Leona Walton, a Pine Street community leader, stand next to the sign that was unveiled during the ribbon-cutting for the Pine Street CommUnity Museum. County affiliate presented a $500 check to Leona for the museum. “It’s important for the next generation and the generation right now to see what went on in our community back in the 30s, 40s, the 50s and 60s,” said Leona. “It’s all documented right here at our Pine Street museum.” Leona lives in the Pine Street neighborhood, which she loves. “Pine Street. I can’t put it all in

words but I can put it in a museum.” The event included an unveiling of the museum sign and a ribbon-cutting. The museum is located at 1270 Factory St. It is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, or by appointment. For more information, visit the museum’s page on Facebook or email pinestreetcm@ gmail.com.

New sponsor, Tadpole Trot changes planned Organizers of the annual Kiwanis Club Toad Suck Daze Run will welcome Conway Regional Health System as its new presenting sponsor and are making big changes to the Tadpole Trot for kids. “We’re thrilled to be the Presenting Sponsor for this year’s Toad Suck Daze 5K/10K Run,” said Paul Bradley, director of marketing for the health system. “Conway Regional is committed to supporting the health and wellness of our community, and we’re excited for this partnership.” “Conway Regional has served our community for nearly 100 years, providing compassionate care, expanding health care access, and bringing innovative services to our region,” said Jessica Faulkner, who co-chairs the race committee with Patrick Lewis. “We want to thank Conway Regional for their support and commitment to the health and wellness of our community.”

Toad continued on Page 79

Conway Regional Health System Marketing Officer Paul Bradley presented a check to the Conway Kiwanis Club’s Toad Suck Daze Run Committee as the presenting sponsor for this year’s event: club members Jack Bell (front, from left), co-chair Patrick Lewis, Paul Bradley, co-chair Jessica Faulkner, Marc Shock, Thom South, Joel Hawkins; David McClain (back), Ron Hill, Richard Hammond, Jerry Harrison, Bill Polk and Cole Schanandore. March 2020 501lifemag.com | 9


Sharing the 501 LIFE spirit

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

Lauren Goforth and her friends, Haylee and Madalyne Davis, were “Loving LIFE� at a Christmas party they hosted with seventh grade friends from Ruth Doyle Middle School in Conway. Instead of exchanging gifts, they were asked to bring one canned food item to donate to the Bethlehem House. Kindergarten through fifth grade students at Preston and Florence Mattison Elementary School in Conway were “Loving LIFE� on Friday during a visit to the 501 LIFE office as part of The Great Kindness Challenge, a positive initiative that reaches millions of students during the last full week of January every year. As a part of the program, the school honored businesses and agencies for serving the community. 10 | 501 LIFE March 2020

“Loving LIFE” on a girls trip to Eureka Springs: Myra Davidson (from left), Nancy Unverferth, Anna Massery, Shelly Moix and Kim Hunley. They all attend St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Fairfield Bay.

Visitation team members from Oak Bowery Baptist Church took 501 LIFE along to Salem Place Nursing and Rehab and Superior Nursing and Rehab in Conway. The team visits the facilities the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. In December, members sang and presented Christmas gifts to the residents.

Students in Billie Jean Brister’s sixth grade class at Conway Christian School were “Loving LIFE” at Conway Family Bowl during a Bowl-A-Thon school fundraiser.

“Loving LIFE” at the Conway Institute of Music during its 10th anniversary celebration: assistant director Frances Cobb (left), executive director/owner James Skelton and office manager Caitlyn Brickey. The Student Appreciation Party included an instrument petting zoo, a bounce house, face painting and an art wall. The Institute is located at 945 Carson Cove in Conway. For information, call 501.450.2931 or email info@conwayinstituteofmusic.com. Information is also available at conwayinstituteofmusic.com.

“Loving LIFE” with Sacred Heart Catholic School in Morrilton at the First Lego League State Competition 2020 at the University of Arkansas: Rose Fougerousse (front, from left), Bella Rogers, Briar Whitbey, Asher Galla; Cole Ruff (back) and Layne McNabb. Coaches are Nikita Tarrants, Teri Fougerousse and Chris O’Cain. March 2020 501lifemag.com | 11


Members of the Central Baptist College Women’s Basketball Team were “Loving LIFE.�

CBC Homecoming Queen Olivia Farris and President Terry Kimbrow.

Homecoming at Central Baptist College

Members of the Central Baptist College Men’s Basketball Team were “Loving LIFE.�

Central Baptist College in Conway recently held homecoming festivities. The CBC Alumni Association presented its annual alumni awards during the Alumni Luncheon at homecoming. Recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award (Charles Reddin), the Young Alumnus Award (David and Megan McFerron), Mustang Community Impact Award (Angela Rice) and the Mustang Ambassador of the Year Award (Kellie Harper) were recognized. Proceeds from the luncheon benefit the Kenneth Brown Scholarship Fund and other alumni association activities.

The Central Baptist College Homecoming Court was “Loving LIFE�: Homecoming Queen Olivia Farris (front, from left), Mallory Sullivan, Kobie Hartman, Jordan Wilkie; Anna Crocker (back), Kory Westerman, Rachel Burns, Kat Carson and Elizabeth Riley. 12 | 501 LIFE March 2020



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

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 13


Perryville residents Ashley Jones, Katy Jones, Alex Tindell and Janet Dicus were “Loving LIFE� on a mother/daughter vacation on Royal Caribbean’s “Enchantment of the Seas� cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

The Conway and Jacksonville Senior Centers took 501 LIFE along on a trip to Maine, which included a visit at Pineland Farms.

David and Kimberly Wiedower (left) along with Cindy Reed and Robert Wiedower took 501 LIFE along to the Texas Motor Speedway.

“Loving LIFE� aboard a Disney Wonder Cruise: Jessica Faulkner, Bobby Jeffers, Jill McCollum, Kristen Jeffers, Glen Williams and Janna Williams. Holding the 501 is Omar from the Philippines, the group’s waiter during the cruise.

14 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Arleetris “Lee� Cornett (right) was “Loving LIFE� with best friends Valance Gordon (left) and Vickie Payne in San Antonio.

Charles and Sunnie Ruple took 501 LIFE along to read on the Grand Canyon Railway Train on their journey to the Grand Canyon. They also visited Sedona and Phoenix, Arizona.

Carol Clark, Barbara Crumpton, Anna Holt and Rebecca Branch were “Loving LIFE� while enjoying Dauphin Island, Ala.

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 15


Sandy Newman and Regina Erwin of Morrilton took 501 LIFE along on a trip to Greece. While in Athens, they visited many historical sites including the Parthenon on top of the Acropolis. They also visited the islands of Mykonos and Santorini. They were “Loving LIFE� in Oia, Santorini, waiting for the beautiful sunset on the Aegean Sea.

Shirley Montgomery (left) and Melissa Longing took 501 LIFE along on a Mediterranean trip.

A group of friends – Jana Cherry (from left), Pam Hueston, Doris Williams (wellness instructor Enrique’), Sandra McCoy and Melissa Jones – took 501 LIFE along on a trip to Europe. Everyone enjoyed a cruise on the “Captain’s Night� aboard the AMA Mora cruise ship on the Rhine River. The ladies and their husbands had a great time exploring Amsterdam, Germany, France and Switzerland.

16 | 501 LIFE March 2020

The Bell and Charton families were “Loving LIFE� in Walt Disney World over Thanksgiving break.

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 17


Central Baptist College’s Ryan Johnson (from left), Sancy Faulk, Claudette Holt and President Terry Kimbrow.

Charlotte Green and Marvin Williams.

UCA President Dr. Houston Davis and Tamika S. Edwards.

UCA hosts prayer breakfast

Jack Bell (from left), U.S. Sen. John Boozman and County Judge Jim Baker. Dr. Gayle Seymour and Dr. Phil Bailey.

Sonja J. Keith photos

A large crowd filled the University of Central Arkansas Student Center Ballroom in January for the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast. The theme for the event was “The Dream: Vision Beyond 20/20.” Dr. Shaneil Ealy, associate vice president for Outreach and Community Engagement, served as the emcee for the event, which drew local and state dignitaries and representatives of the three institutions of higher learning in Conway. Tamika S. Edwards, executive director of the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College, was the guest speaker. The event included the singing of the Negro National Anthem, led by Ronald Jensen-McDaniel, fiscal and outreach coordinator for the UCA Community Music Institute, and a praise dance by Jazmin Wallace, a UCA sophomore and liberal arts major. Dr. Angela Webster, associate vice president for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, announced the winner of the MLK Written/Oratorical Contest – Stephanie Meador, a sophomore English major from Fort Smith.

Shelia Isby (from left), Jackie Wright and Dr. Shaneil Ealy. State Rep. Spencer Hawks (from left), U.S. Sen. John Boozman, U.S. Rep. French Hill and Jack Bell.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (from left), Dr. Terry Fiddler and U.S. Rep. French Hill.

Angela Jackson (left) and Amy Whitehead. 18 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Kiera Oluokun (from left), Felicia Rogers, Jamie Brice and Shawanna Rodgers.

Dr. Angela Webster (from left), Dr. Lesley Graybeal and Fredricka Sharkey.




March 2020 501lifemag.com | 19


Maumelle chamber banquet held

Blake Carter and Kacey Ziegler.

Brad and Michelle Hill.

April Ramsey (from left), Melanie Cornwell, Julia Everett and Alyssa Anderson.

Brandon DeGroat (from left), Phil Thomas and Doug Hailey.

Troy and Willa Sanders.

Connie Branscum (left) and Mary Nash.

Denise Wilson (from left), Tony Wilson and Alicia Gillen.

Kimberly and Mark Bingman.

Shannon Berger (from left), Kenda Shields, Cindy Baker and Tina Beard.

Brodie Watson (from left), Ada Watson and Jim Payseno.

Todd Owens photos

The Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual recognition banquet Jan. 16 at the Maumelle Event Center. The chamber honored members who have gone above and beyond during the previous year. Walt Coleman of Coleman/Highland Dairy and an NFL Football referee was the featured speaker. Award winners were: Person of the Year – Former Police Chief Sam Williams. Ambassador of the Year – Chard Gardner. Large Business of the Year – Chick-fil-A Maumelle. Small Business of the Year – The Dreamy Spoon. Nonprofit of the Year – Maumelle Friends of the Animals.

Jeff Dillon (from left), ReNae Patterson, Kenda Shields and Ginger Burton.

Nicole Kellar (from left), Kym Evans, Chris and Melany Shelton.

20 | 501 LIFE March 2020


NOW ENROLLING 2020-2021 502 Front St. Conway, AR

stjosephconway.org 501.329.5741 March 2020 501lifemag.com

| 21


AST Bard Ball held

Amanda and Lensey Scott.

Jeannie and Robin White.

Kale (from left) and Kaitlen Gober with Hanna and Dr. Tony Manning.

Kelley (from left) and Leslie Erstine with Katrina and Leo Wilcox.

Patrick and Eileen O’Sullivan.

Shane (from left) and Katie Henry with Gina and Brad Teague.

Emilee Ivener photos courtesy of UCA

The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre Bard Ball was held Feb. 1 at Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas. The annual fundraiser for AST featured Broadway’s De’Lon Grant as the featured performer and AST alum Jess Prichard as emcee. Judge Troy and Karla Braswell served as event co-chairs for the evening. Guests enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverages, live music and entertainment as well as silent and live auctions.

Judge Troy and Karla Braswell.

Tim and Natalie Bowen. Abby and Jay Jennings.

Kristen and Dr. Eric Woodard.

Tom and Cindy Watson. Luke and Natalie Brownd. 22 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Community is EVERYONE.

L to R: Tara Mallett, Branch Manager; Eduard Millan, New Accounts; Lori Case Melton, Business Development; Grant Gordy, Community President; Janice McNew, Commercial Lending; Jerry Harrison, Commercial Lending; Cameron Reesor, Mortgage; Brittany Hudgens, Insurance

First Community Bank may be new to Conway, but we are not new to town. Our bankers are just like you. Some were born here, some came here for college, some have a building named after their family, but all are building their careers here. So you can bet we have someone just for you. Our team has more than a century of banking history among them. We are a full service bank, including mortgage and insurance. We invite you to check us out and see what all the fuss is about. Be on the lookout for the big announcement of our new location. It’s amazing what can happen when a bank puts our community first.

FirstCommunity.net | 501.764.9640 | Temporary Location: 1089 Front Street, Conway, AR 72032



Kevin and Alison Wish are loving life in Conway. Kevin is the community president and senior lender at First Service Bank in Conway. She is a senior manager of delivery at Acxiom. (Mike Kemp photo)




NATIVE OF: Clarksville (Johnson County).

EDUCATION: University of Arkan-

sas, bachelor of science degree in financial management.

JOB: Community president and

Society board member.


Hiking, camping or just being in the outdoors.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I’m typically fairly quiet

Alison Wish

NATIVE OF: Knoxville (Johnson County).

(Help for Abuse Victims in Emergency Need) board member.

EDUCATION: Lamar High School; Arkansas Tech University – bachelor’s degree in computer and information science.

HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I am such a homebody! My favorite times are when we have all our girls at home – baking, playing games, watching movies – just laughing and being together is the best!

senior lender, First Service Bank, Conway.

and reserved. I tend to do much more listening than talking.

JOB: Senior manager of delivery at Acxiom.



WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR VOCATION? I’ve always been a bit

working as a teller at a small bank in Clarksville during college. After graduation, I had considered a career as a financial advisor selling stocks and bonds. I soon realized the real satisfaction in seeing clients achieve success, helping with their personal and business banking needs, and being a small part of that process. After 25 years in this business, I still enjoy helping small businesses succeed and grow.

PARENTS: Freeman and Janet Wish of Clarksville. COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Member

of the Kiwanis Club of Conway, Toad Suck Daze 10K/5K Run Committee, Conway Airport Advisory Committee and an Arkansas Aviation Historical

24 | 501 LIFE March 2020

10 years ago, I was once the subject of a brief search and rescue effort. I had taken a flight to Clarksville, picked up my father and went for a quick trip around Johnson County, only to land and find a couple of policemen waiting for us at the airport. It’s a funny story to tell now, but I was extremely embarrassed at the time.


right thing, and treat people the way you want to be treated.


Central Arkansas is a great place to raise a family. Conway has been a great city for our family over the last 20 years.

of an introvert and grew up loving computers. Computer science was the ideal place to start! As a college graduate with a young daughter, Acxiom presented me with the perfect work scenario with on-site childcare and the ability to work from home. Kevin transferred to the Regions Bank in town, and I began my career as a software engineer. We immediately fell in love with Conway and our work families. Today I lead a group of 30 data architects who are the most intelligent, hardworking people I know.

PARENTS: Rick and Sherry Elam of Knoxville. COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: HAVEN

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I am an introvert, a bit of a workaholic, and I love my family!

MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: We love road trips! Nashville and Northwest Arkansas are some our favorite places for weekend getaways.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501? Conway has been such a blessing to us. It’s been a great place to live, work and raise our family, but we’re also within an hour of our hometowns. I can’t imagine living anywhere but here at this stage in our lives!


CITY: Conway. CHURCH ACTIVITIES: Member of St. Joseph Catholic Church. HOW WE MET: We grew up in the same county. We had a mutual friend who worked as a lifeguard with Kevin; and Alison’s best friend worked with Kevin at his parents’ pizza restaurant. They set us up when Alison was a senior in high school and Kevin was a junior at the University of Arkansas, and the rest is history! WEDDING BELLS: June 17, 1995, at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Clarksville. CHILDREN: Emily Wish, 22, University of Arkansas graduate and first year occupational therapy student; Natalie Wish, 18, second year architecture student at the University of Arkansas; and Anna Claire Wish, 15, Conway Junior High School. FAMILY ACTIVITIES ENJOYED TOGETHER: Travelling, board games.

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 25



Conway Regional Women’s Council helps meet needs There’s a classic Kool & The Gang song, “Celebrate,” that comes to mind sometimes when I gather with friends. You know the one: “Celebrate good times, come on (Let’s celebrate) There’s a party goin’ on right here A celebration to last throughout the years…” Mathilda Now that these lyrics Hatfield are stuck in your head, A native of Conway, Mathilda consider how relevant Hatfield serves as president of they are to this month’s the Conway Regional Women's Council. She is the director of 501 LIFE theme, development for the University “Celebrating Women.” of Central Arkansas College This song, and the of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and enjoys reading, theme, resonate with me writing and biking in the 501. because, as the current president of the Conway Regional Women’s Council, I get to interact with community leaders to celebrate women year-round through luncheons, programs, education grants and during the most wonderful time of the year: Dazzle Daze. Yes, the Women’s Council has been celebrating women not only throughout the year, but also throughout the YEARS, 19 to be exact. In 2001, (then) Conway Regional President and CEO John Robbins called together women leaders in the 501 to organize an advocacy group, an auxiliary to the Conway Regional Health Foundation. Through the years, thanks to the Council leadership, the vision and mission have strengthened: “The Conway Regional Women’s Council supports its mission through education, advocacy, volunteerism and financial support, ensuring Conway Regional is recognized as the regional leader in healthcare excellence. The Women’s Council is dedicated to building a healthy community.” Similar to other vibrant organizations, the Women’s Council has been discerning its purpose and strategically planning for the future. Through myriad discussions led by Lori Ross, chief development officer for the Conway Regional Health Foundation, and by Dot Welch, CRHF executive director, the Council has identified one fundamental tenet: to equip the women of our community to make informed healthcare decisions. Research shows that women are the healthcare decision-maker of the home and the strongest advocates for improving the health of their loved ones. This is the driving force behind each activity sponsored by the Council. Here are a few examples of that force, and the 26 | 501 LIFE March 2020

At the Conway Regional Women’s Council fall luncheon: Mathilda Hatfield (from left), Dot Welch, Lori Ross, Donna Seal and luncheon co-chairs Stefanie Vann and Courtney Kendrick.

At the Conway Regional Women’s Health Fair: Lauren Ramoly (from left), event co-chairs Brittany Butler and Pam Sims and Dot Welch. positive impact of the Women’s Council in the 501: The Program Committee, led by chairman Angela Ansel, celebrates the innovative mindset of Conway Regional through the successful CHAMPS, (Community Health Applied in Medical Public Service) Program. Offered in partnership with UAMS and Arkansas Farm Bureau, Angela and Conway Regional Program Coordinators Lori Reynolds and Trista Spence introduced regional high school students to the practical application of scientific theories and concepts to real-life health careers, diag-

nosis and treatment scenarios. Each of the two free sessions held in June 2019 had to be limited to 20 competitively selected participants. And there was a wait list! A few years ago, the Women’s Council saw an opportunity to host a program with the potential for major community impact. Through effort, time and support from corporate partnerships, CHAMPS has indeed grown beyond expectations. Celebrate good times, come on. Co-chairmen Stefanie Vann and Courtney Kendrick continually develop the community favorite,

Fall Luncheon. This past October, a group of 200 met at Renewal Ranch to celebrate the theme “Gather: Staying In Balance, Mind, Body & Spirit.” Donna Seal, licensed psychotherapist and board-certified Christian counselor, and Matt Troup, president and CEO for Conway Regional Health System, led attendees to explore the connection between mental, physical and spiritual health and how to better stay in balance. Our tradition of a fall luncheon will continue in 2020. So bring your good times and your laughter too... Keri Yarbrough and Shannon Howland, cochairmen of the education committee, reach out to area educators concerning the Council’s teacher grant program – promoting and encouraging good nutrition and healthy lifestyles among students, teachers and staff. In 2019, more than $4,700 through nine grants was awarded to schools in Conway, Greenbrier, Russellville and Maumelle. If you’re leading an innovative program seeking funding, go to conwayregional.org/about-us/ womenscouncil for an application. Last April, more than 200 women (and a number of men) made time for themselves at the 18th annual Women’s Health Fair. Brittany Butler and Pam Sims organized a multitude of vendors to offer free health screenings, resources, support and lunch. This Health Fair tradition, (meaning it “lasts throughout the years”), welcomed many repeat visitors and introduced the Women’s Council to new friends. What’s not to celebrate? Speaking of, three full days of shopping mania benefitting the women in our community is worth celebrating! Come on, now… The 2019 Women’s Council Dazzle Daze Winter Market opened to a fresh, new theme and nearly 100 merchants from


To learn more about the Conway Regional Women’s Council and how to become a member, contact Dot Welch at the Conway Regional Health Foundation at 501.513.5771 or dwelch@ conwayregional.org.

CHAMPS participants Tyler Reed (left) and Addison Jordan. membership committee develops and grows the Council membership. They also organize educational and social gatherings for current and prospective members. Visit conwayregional.org/about-us/womenscouncil for membership information. The full Women’s Council Steering Committee is the true power behind the significant impact of the Council programs. It is with a grateful heart that I get to serve with this amazing committee and the CRHF leadership team. And we are all VERY cognizant that these programs are successful because of the participation from the 501 community. So, while not as catchy in the song lyrics, I’d like to insert Appreciate as synonymous to Celebrate. Consider this, “We gonna appreciate and party with you… Come on now” 501 community, let’s appreciate women, and let’s celebrate women and their invaluable influence on a healthy, vibrant, outstanding life in the 501!

across the country. For the past several years, the Women’s Council has dedicated Dazzle Daze proceeds to purchase Tomosynthesis (3D) mammography machines and to provide medical student scholarships and community health programs. As you can imagine, a party of this magnitude requires a major force to implement. The largest of the Women’s Council committees, Dazzle Daze is beholden to the leadership of CRHF Major Gifts Executive Marla Hambuchen and co-chairmen Shelia Isby and MissE Newton. Socializing, networking and developing friendships are definitely part of all celebrations, right? So bring your good times and your laughter too, because the Women’s Council is open to all persons interested in and wanting to support Conway Regional Health System. Led by Amelia Day and Jennifer Hillis, the

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March 2020 501lifemag.com | 27


Making a difference

Shawanna Rodgers was recently named the Diversity and Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Conway. (Mike Kemp photo) by Kiera Oluokun

Shawanna Rodgers knows what it means to be a mover and shaker in the 501. After 13 years of professional experience as a church administrator at True Holiness Saints Center, she is now trying her hand in local government, working for the City of Conway Office of the Mayor. She was recently named the Diversity and Economic Development Coordinator, a new position for the city. 501 LIFE had the opportunity to catch up with Shawanna about her new role and how her past experiences have helped shape her into the successful woman that she is today.

Why is it important to see a woman represented in local government? I think it encourages and empowers women to 28 | 501 LIFE March 2020

continue to strive and work hard in whatever position they hold. It’s an honor for me to be in local government in the new role as the Diversity and Economic Development Coordinator because I am just one of many hard-working women that do it on a day-to-day basis. I have a love, and a passion, and a desire to help the community at large. Some women are career-focused and careerdriven while also being a wife and a mother, so they must maintain a career, a home and their sanity all at the same time. For me to be able to work in city government is an even more humbling experience because I know that there are several women out there that are just as capable as me to do this job, but I am just grateful and blessed that I was the one that was chosen. I am excited to bring all of my energy and empowerment to the position.

What advice would you give to the younger generation of women? I tell young women starting out in their career three things. The first thing that I tell them is to be faithful in the small things and the things that you may consider not as important. Be faithful in your commitment and service to those things because those are the areas that you learn and grow. You can make a mistake in those areas and learn from it and get better. I do not consider things to be failures, but I do think that there is an opportunity to try again. Commit to the small things first. If there is a small task that you have, do it and do it with integrity. I think that is a tool that will help you be successful in any career or just being a successful person in general. Always keep the heart of a servant and

a servant’s attitude — that keeps you in a relatable place with the people that you serve. The second thing that I tell them is that integrity is important and essential. In saying that, I would suggest a mentor — someone who can guide you through the process. For me, having an accountability partner and a mentor helps guide me in the direction of areas that need to be corrected and helps me maintain my integrity. The final thing is don’t quit. There will always be things that go wrong and challenges that come, but keep that same drive and determination as when you first had your dream, and that dream will definitely come to reality. If you keep your dream in the forefront of your mind, and you take your energy, resources and experiences and keep them with that dream, you will be successful. If you have failed attempts, don’t look at them as failures — just pick yourself up, put that dream back in the forefront of your mind and take everything that you have and run with it.

How do you achieve good work and life balance? Prior to this position, I served at True Holiness for 13 years and managed many different facets of the church. In my new position, I’m able to take that experience and apply what I have learned to be able to maintain that same balance. In the areas that I had some challenges balancing while working at the church, I am now able to see that and put different parameters and boundaries in place to keep me in

the right direction for a good balance. I am learning to do for myself more and I am realizing that if I am not balanced and in a healthy place, then everything that I do will be out of balance as well.

What or who has been your biggest inspiration? I come from a strong background of women. My mother, Juanita Louise Rodgers, passed away when I was younger, but even people that I run into now talk about the strong legacy that she left. My grandmother, De’Ella Jones, was also a strong, influential woman in my life along with several aunts and cousins that have helped shape me into the woman that I am today. They were all dedicated, determined women. When they put their minds to something, they made sure it was accomplished. A lot of my mentorship and learning as it pertains to the professional aspects of my life came from my former boss, Pastor E.C. Maltbia, during my 13-year tenure working at True Holiness. He believed in doing everything with a spirit of excellence and what I appreciate most are those moments of correction because it allowed me to grow. I took a lot of what he taught me, and I am applying it to my current position — when you do it, you do it with a spirit of excellence. Whether you are doing it for five people or 500,000 people, the same spirit of excellence needs to be in it all.

When you have an opportunity to be kind and an opportunity to help, you take those moments.

What can we look forward to from you in the upcoming year as it pertains to your new role promoting diversity and economic development? I am working on the 2020 Census and I am eager to share that experience with the Conway community and the complete count committee, which is comprised of several community leaders, colleges and universities, and public schools. I am very excited about that because we all came together, along with Conway Corporation, to bring awareness to the 2020 Census. We just want to make sure that Conway thrives and continues to grow. Everyone should look forward to the census information that we are pushing out, and you will see details about upcoming events on social media. The census is only my first big objective. Be on the lookout because there are several major things that we have in store in the Diversity and Economic Development Department for the next five years. Keep your eyes open and “like” our Facebook page, Diversity and Economic Development, so that you can stay abreast of all the things that we have coming.

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 29


The two runners hold on to a strip of cloth to maneuver their route. (Mike Kemp photos)

Running without fear or sight Attending church services has many benefits that include spiritual fitness, social wellness and opportunities to serve others in the community. A unique opportunity for serving and blessing a student from the University of Central Arkansas arose last summer for a church member during Karl Lenser coffee cup/fellowship time A Conway resident, Karl Lenser between services at Peace has bachelor’s and master’s Lutheran Church. degrees from the University of Wisconsin- LaCrosse. An UCA student Jenna accomplished runner, he can be Scott was sitting at a table reached at karl.lenser@gmail. com. with Jennifer Bruenger and discovered that they both enjoyed running and shared a few stories about training and racing. During the ride back to Jenna’s dorm, she asked Jennifer to consider being her running partner and guide as Jenna is legally blind. Both women discussed with 501 LIFE, meeting at Peace Lutheran, the origins of their running partnership and the benefits that can be achieved by helping others become happier and healthier. 30 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Jennifer Bruenger How many years have you been a runner? Three or four years.

Most memorable race?

I only have a few under my belt, so each has its own memories. I will say I get a little teary-eyed when I finish each race because of the feeling of accomplishment.

Describe the technique for your runs with Jenna:

The first time we ran I was so nervous. This was so out of my comfort zone. Besides, I usually train by myself. But it was so incredibly simple. All we have is a strip of cloth. I wrap one end around my hand, and she wraps the other around hers. That’s it. I do talk her through the training like calling out “bridge” or “puddle.” I describe to her where we are running and if there is a change in surface. I tug on the cloth to steer her or stop and walk when I feel it is dangerous.

What led you to be a running partner with Jenna?

I actually had been praying for an opportunity to serve someone else, and I would literally say the next week Jenna asked for a ride home, and on the way back I said,

“Ok God, this is so out of my comfort zone, but I will try it.” It was hard at first because I am a solo runner. Then she wanted to join my long run. I was like no way, but did it anyway. She killed me. We kept doing it and it got easier. It was hard at first because I felt unbalanced. I have to make sure to switch sides that I run with her on. We have been doing it long enough now we seem to be in sync.

What have you learned as a guide runner?

Jenna just goes. All we have is this little piece of cloth. I watch her, and she runs forward so boldly with complete trust in me. It is a big responsibility. She totally faceplanted one time, and I felt bad but I learned from it. The biggest thing I learned is to treat her as normal as possible. I don’t help her with a lot of things because she really doesn’t need my help. My job is to guide her and not lead her. She is perfectly capable of making her own way and needs someone to steer her in the right direction. Once she figures it out, there is no stopping her.

Describe any “wow moments” while running with Jenna?

People with disabilities need to be given the opportunity to be independent. I am a Special Education teacher, and I realize that more and more every day I spend with her. We have to give them the skills to be independent. She

is brave and amazing. I’m thankful for her parents who have given her that independence.


What led you to UCA?

Any plans for running some races with Jenna in 2020?

The Physical Therapy program.

The RussVegas half marathon in April.

What are you majoring in? Speech Pathology.

How has the running friendship with Jenna blessed you?

Describe your dream job once you graduate?

As any runner might experience while running with a buddy; when you are alone with the person for sometimes a couple of hours you talk. It gets you through some of the tedium of running long distances. We talk about anything, everything and everyone. You don’t want to know where some of our conversations lead!

Becoming a physical therapist.

How does running benefit you?

It is a major stress relief and energy outlet.

What other hobbies do you enjoy (besides running)?

Besides running, how have you and your family blessed Jenna?

She is an incredible example of a brave Christian woman. Her faith is strong and her spirit joyful, a beautiful example of God’s workmanship.

Jenna Scott Birthplace China.

When did you start running? Eighth grade.

How did you get into running?

I told my mom that I wanted to do something active

Singing and serving.

Best running shoe you have owned? UCA student Jenna Scott (left) and her running partner Jennifer Bruenger. and I was driving her crazy. My mom investigated and told me about running cross country.

Describe your cross country races in high school? I hated each race, but my coach liked them and seeing how the team performed. My coach is a ferocious com-

An Adidas model that, unfortunately, I can’t find ever again.

How has Peace Lutheran Church impacted your life? It definitely has made my college life more interesting.

Complete this sentence “If I don’t get my running workout in, I feel ... Oh boy ...restless and extremely irritable.


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 Women of Conway COLUMNIST

Reaping what others have sown The mid-1950s in our town-now-city was thriving as it always has. Our current overwhelming population would not recognize what we once were, just as we have difficulties recognizing it now. With the town’s population at 8,247, these were some public relations descriptions of our community at that time. “Located near the Geographical Center of Arkansas. Accessible to Eastern and Mid-Western Markets. Abundant Labor Supply, 99% Native Born. Not Susceptible to Disturbing Factors. Adequate Power and Transportation Facilities. Diversified Agriculture. Small Industries.” The current and much smaller “native born” among us can vouch for all of that. The town’s prosperity at the time is usually attributed Vivian Lawson to men, which was true and normal for that era. HowHogue ever, the women’s contributions meshed with that success. Most of our city and county women were homemakers A native of Conway, Vivian and at home with the children. Many were hardworking Lawson Hogue graduated from the University of Central farmers’ wives. Others were primarily engaged as nurses, Arkansas with a degree in art teachers, secretaries, domestics, seamstresses, factory workeducation. A retired teacher, she worked in the Conway School ers, store clerks or employed in a family business. District for 23 years. She can be Sixteen beauty shops stayed busy, and 22 restaurants reached at vhogue@conwaycorp. net. and cafes employed a large number of women. A small number were telephone operators. Several women managed “tourist courts” and apartments. Another segment made their homes into apartments to provide a living after their husbands were war casualties. Most had been through three wars and were not a part of high society. But let’s go back a bit. There are many families of Faulkner County whose ancestors left European countries and eventually settled in or near Conway. Their countries of origins included Ireland, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, AlsaceLorraine, France and Prussia. The men who dared to brave the unknown to come here must be credited, but women did their part, sometimes much more. From Sion, Switzerland, came the Balmaz family of Conway in 1882. Young Josette Balmaz left her family cat and sailed from Sion with her family. She would arrive and grow up here, marry, have several children and live into her 90s. Elizabeth Hartje left Hanover, Germany, with her children after her husband, Augustus, died. She and the children settled in Maryland, with young Augustus Jr. quickly learning English. When he reached adulthood, he married Louisa Bartlett and they came by boat to Faulkner County’s Cadron Creek in 1853. In this environment, Louisa raised nine children. Entering and living in unfamiliar territory was not an uncommon happening among women of this era, but demonstrates the grit with which women like Elizabeth and Louisa dealt with lives of no conveniences, easy communication, adequate housing or medical care. The American states from which most new Faulkner County women came were Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. A few arrived from New York, Vermont, Maryland, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Kansas. Lucy Blodgett became the wife of Conway founder Asa Peter Robinson in 1845. A resident of New York City, she was the mother of two living children out of five born, one a son who worked with his father, and a daughter who remained in NYC. She died 14 years later and Robinson married Mary Louise De St. Louis of Montreal, Canada. Women were often called upon to become wives and step-mothers after a man’s spouse’s death, as only men worked outside the home and could not also take care of children. Many have often wondered how women from other countries or large, social cities could handle life in early Arkansas! 32 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Ellen Smith was the first woman to serve on the Conway School District’s Board of Education. (Photo from the 1934 Scroll courtesy of the University of Central Arkansas Archives.) Later generations of our town women had better circumstances, which provided successful social and philanthropic opportunities. Industries, small businesses, churches and schools were created with the help of benefactors, both men and women, some arriving with money and some finding new money. Many of their impressive homes still stand today and are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, while others are lost to parking lots. Fifteen-year-old Ellen Grisard Smith came to Conway with her family in 1883 from El Paso (White County) over 25 miles of unimproved roads. The family story is that she walked behind the wagon that carried family belongings. She was educated in

Constance Mitchell was an English instructor at Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas) and later served as head librarian of the college’s Torreyson Library. (Photo from the 1934 Scroll courtesy of the University of Central Arkansas Archives.)

Conway schools and colleges in Searcy and Kentucky. In time she would become a beneficial influence for the town, serving on the boards of her church and Faulkner County Hospital (now Conway Regional Medical Center), and supporting the American Red Cross. In education, she was the first woman on the Conway School District’s Board of Education and spearheaded the construction of a second elementary school east of Harkrider Street, to be appropriately named Ellen Smith Elementary School. Ida Baridon Frauenthal was born in New York, the daughter of immigrants from Switzerland. Once during a visit with her uncle, Conway founder Asa P. Robinson, she met and later married prominent businessman Jo Frauenthal. Baridon Hall on the University of Central Arkansas campus and Baridon Street are named in her honor. Constance Mitchell was an English instructor at Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas) and later served as head librarian of the college’s Torreyson Library. She produced a valuable history of Old Conway street names. Miss Mitchell was active in volunteerism with the library at the Arkansas Children’s Colony (now the Conway Human Development Center). It was very often in the home that mothers and grandmothers taught the work ethics, spirituality, respect for elders, responsibility, manners and love-of-country to help their children succeed. This resulted in a local population that championed education and those "agricultural and small industry" based economics. With this background, we can now see that we are thankfully allowed to reap what others – especially women – have sown.


Fighting with grit and grace

Phillip Avance (from left), Robin Avance, Meagan Lowry and Brittani Haynes. (Katie Opris photo) As a woman nearing 30, I often think about how much I still truly rely on my mom. Sure, not in the same ways I did as a child, but I still go to her for so many things. She’s one of my first calls every morning, and one of the first people I go to when I need advice of any sort. As the years have Meagan Lowry passed since I graduated Meagan Lowry is a Texas native high school, I’ve watched who has lived in the Natural State as our relationship blossince 2009. She’s been married to her 501 born and bred husband, somed into friendship. Zak, since 2012. Meagan owns As a mother now myself, her own business and works from home as a social media consultant when I look back on my for multiple companies. childhood for things I want to emulate in my home, I always find myself wanting to be like my mom in a lot of ways. My mom always knew the importance of being my mom as I was growing up, and not trying to be my friend. She knew, even back then, the significance of her calling. And she always took being my mom seriously. I didn’t know it at the 34 | 501 LIFE March 2020

time, but because of that seemingly small thing she shaped so much of who I would be as a mom and person. A few weeks ago, I sat in a room with this woman I admire and heard the four hardest words I ever could. “You have breast cancer.” And my world stopped. My mom and my friend were sick; this woman who could do it all. This woman who has and continues to play such a huge and important role in my life is now battling breast cancer. Even now as I write those words, it’s hard to let them fully sink in. My mom is without a doubt one of the strongest women I know. And since Dec. 12, 2019, I’ve watched her face cancer like she has every other trial in her life: with grit and grace. But I’ve also watched as the reality of this diagnosis settles in. I’ve watched as this woman who has so much life and love left to give has geared up to fight like she’s never had to before. I’ve watched as my family rallies around her, myself included. It’s been during these moments of doctor’s visits and sitting by the phone waiting for the call to update us that I’ve realized how inadequate I feel. I am unprepared to walk through cancer with someone I love so much. I never expected this to be our story. I know we can survive hard things, because we believe that God has gone before us in this. That

while this diagnosis shocked and shook us to the core, it wasn’t a surprise to Him. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, I’ve seen my mom as a real person for the first time in my life. I know that may seem odd but let me explain. When I was growing up I really thought my mom knew it all. There was nothing that surprised her, nothing that stumped her, nothing that threw her off her game. And so that’s how I’ve always viewed her, as someone who had it all together. But what I’ve learned so far in my walk with my mom through cancer is that we don’t know what’s ahead. She can’t rationalize this for us. Cancer doesn’t care who you are. Cancer doesn’t care how healthy you’ve been. Cancer doesn’t care that you are a grammie and mom. Cancer doesn’t care that she’s the glue that holds our entire family together, but it should. If you’ve met my mama, then you’d know that cancer won’t win. Cancer won’t be what defines her life. She’ll continue to fight long after cancer is ready to give up. As we look radiation and chemo in the face, I’m learning that for a time she will need me in ways that I’ve always needed her. I can’t tell you how much of a privilege it will be to serve her in any way I can. We’re about to fight like a bunch of girls, and cancer just doesn’t know how much of a mistake it made to mess with us.


A star is born I’m pretty confident I’ve mentioned this before, but I grew up in a home full of talented siblings. Between sports, musicians and exceptional artists, I always felt like the odd man out. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I tried my hand at a few things just to make sure. Let’s see, there was Laurie Green the time I was certain A Greenbrier native, Laurie is the that gymnastics might wife of Will Green. The two share be something I’d have in seven children, five grandchildren and a golden retriever named common with my sister. Marlo. They own and operate Never mind the fact that a lawn care business and are members of New Life Church in my sister Robin had been Greenbrier. Laurie can be tumbling since she could reached at thegreens@ymail.com. walk, I squeezed my chunky sixth grade self into what seemed to be an impossibly tight leotard. I’d never done so much as a flip and yet there I was, looking like a can of busted biscuits ready to make my debut. Let’s just say after one day and a week of nursing pulled muscles, I realized very quickly this was not my calling. The next talent I tried my hand at was ventriloquism. Again, I had no prior experience, but I’d seen others perform on Star Search, and I convinced my mom I desperately needed a dummy so I could show off my skills to Ed McMahon and become famous. Sure enough, one Christmas morning I had my big break. There, wrapped up and waiting for me, was my ticket to the big times, my very own dummy! This was perhaps not the best career choice for a junior high girl with any hopes of popularity, even more so because I would beg my mom to make me and this dummy “matching outfits”, which she did. Yes, you read that correctly, I wore matching outfits with a dummy I carried to school. To this day, I occasionally run into an old schoolmate who remembers my slight lack in judgment. I remember I practiced day and night in front of the mirror to be able to speak without my lips moving. Just when I started having success, something awful happened. I watched a Twilight Zone episode about an evil dummy gone astray, which abruptly ended my dreams of ventriloquism. It would be years later that my mom confessed every time she found that dummy in the trash, where I would constantly stuff him, she would pull him out, clean him up and put him back in my room. To this day I have a few issues and fears of dummies thanks to that, but that’s another story, lol. Over the years I would try my hand at beauty pageants, drawing, singing, sports and music. I’m pretty sure I was one of a handful of people who were in band but never once played an instrument

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or learned to read music. It would be years of failed attempts at unattainable successes before I would finally realize exactly what God had called me to be... my fearfully and wonderfully made self! The thing is, sometimes we are so busy in life chasing after what we think will impress others that we forget that God, the maker of heaven and earth, has already supplied you with exactly what you need. In fact, in Romans 12:6 it says, “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well…” The thing is God has a way of not only calling the equipped, but equipping the called. He not only can, but will, use every single detail of your life to reflect his goodness, if you’ll let him. The truth is that we all have an important role to play, and we all have an assignment in this life to accomplish. The pastor on center stage each week is no more important than the volunteer changing diapers and rocking babies at church. We ALL play a starring role in this thing called life. At 47 years old, I sometimes still have to pinch myself that God has allowed me a platform to share my embarrassing, funny or sentimental thoughts about my life and the goodness of Jesus working through it. And while I may never have gotten to shine on Star Search or America’s Got Talent, I am confident that I will continue to use my ordinary life to proclaim the extraordinary goodness of God’s grace and mercies.

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March 2020 501lifemag.com | 35


A salute to women Women have always served in very important roles in my world. This memento is a salute to the amazing women who helped mold me into the man I am today. I couldn’t have done it without them. Kelly Rice is a special education teacher with Conway Public Schools. When Amanda and I moved to Conway in 2005, I was blessed with the opportunity to work as a special education paraprofessional with Kelly. I only knew a couple people in Conway, so I was a nervous wreck walking into her classroom. Conway High (east campus) Principal Mickey Siler walked me to her class and said, “Mr. Bledsoe, be fair but firm.” I Adam was like “ye ye ye yes, sir.” Kelly instantly made me Bledsoe feel comfortable and welcome. One of the first questions she asked me was if I liked to read. I was thinkOriginally from Northeast Ohio, Adam Bledsoe moved to Arkansas ing, read aloud to students? Absolutely. It was not in 2000 to attend Harding what she was looking for. Did I like to read books, University after active duty service in the U.S. Air Force. He is like for myself? Oh...no. By the way, readers are leadmarried to Dr. Amanda Bledsoe, ers! We rocked on for about three years together until and they have two children, Audrey (10) and Hunter (6), who I made my transition to law enforcement. She was attend Wooster Elementary. and still is a dandy! Adam is newly employed by THV11 as a feature reporter, Melinda Marple was appointed as the first female focusing on a variety of feel-good chief deputy for the Faulkner County Sheriff’s community related stories. Office. She was my supervisor until her retirement. She strongly urged me to finish my college degree. (In fact, she said I was crazy if I didn’t.) I was sitting in her corner office and she looked sternly at me and said something along the lines of, “Hey, don’t be dumb...finish your degree.” I enrolled that very day to take the last few classes to achieve a lifelong goal. I’ll always love and appreciate you, Melinda. Lori Melton called me one day to chat about my life. Long story short, she gave me a huge break to work at First Service Bank as a business development officer. I’ll always be grateful to that awesome bank and Lori for the opportunity. She was willing to take a chance on someone with no banking experience. She threw me a bone. Thanks, Lori. Shayla Teater is the news director at THV11 in Little Rock, which is where I currently work. Shayla is the first female to be appointed as news director at the station. She worked for years and years to achieve this goal. She told me the day she was appointed was one of the best days of her life. Alongside her, appointed on the same

36 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Amanda and Adam Bledsoe. day, Martha Myrick was named assistant news director. Martha is a gem and a saint for putting up with my shenanigans. Shayla and Martha are killing it at THV11, along with all my female colleagues. You may know a few of them. Wink. Amanda Bledsoe is the owner and chiropractor at our chiropractic business in Conway. More importantly, she’s my wife and the mother of my children. She is single-handedly the hardest working woman I’ve ever met in my life. She amazes just about anyone who watches her in action. I could write a book on her. She has taught me hard work gets you results; this AND, the best is yet to come. I could list another dozen or two women who have mentored me in some way or another. Women are powerful. Women are strong. Women are capable. Women make this world amazing. If you’re a woman reading this, there are no limits to your capabilities. You can absolutely do anything you want. The people I listed are proof, and this is a short list. We could go on and on with a very long list of successful women – Oprah, Ellen, Dawn Scott, etc. If you’re a man reading this, surround yourself with strong women. They will show you a different perspective. They’ll help you view the world through a different set of eyes. Their vision is important. Pay attention. I want to salute the most amazing woman ever – my mom. I wish she was still alive to read this. She was the best. Thanks for reading. Have the best day of your life!

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 37

38 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Place of employment/business:

South Conway County School District


Associate Superintendent

How long have you been with your current business? 9 years

Why did you choose your vocation?

I chose the teaching profession because of my grandmother, Dartha Hanks. She was born in 1914 and lived to be 98 years old. Not only did she model the character and compassion of a true educator, she constantly encouraged me to go into this noble profession in order to positively change the world and help grow the hearts and minds of the next generation. Even though my grandmother was unable to live out her dream to become a professional educator, she was certainly a kind “teacher” to everyone she met. It is no surprise that many of her children and grandchildren chose to join the teaching profession as a result of her long-lasting legacy.

Family information:

Ryan Hendrix, (husband of 25 yrs.), GM of both Fiber Resource Division & Pinecrest Lumber Division for Green Bay Packaging Inc, located in Morrilton and Menifee. Children: Garrett Hendrix (19 yrs.), College of Forestry student at Mississippi State University; Grace Hendrix (16 yrs.), student at Morrilton High School


B.S. in Secondary Education (Mathematics), Oklahoma State University (1996) M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, Arkansas Tech University (1999) Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, University of Central Arkansas (2015)

Community involvement/church activities:

Rotary Club of Morrilton; Vision 2020/Conway County, Inc. Board of Directors; Conway County Excel by 8; Alpha Sigma Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma; Lonoke Missionary Baptist Church

How do you maintain your work/life balance?

The simple answer would be my faith and trust in God. I am at peace because my husband and I know that everything rests in God’s hands. I have been called to serve the community of the South Conway County School District for a purpose. It’s easy to maintain balance because serving as an educator is an integral part of who I am. You never stop being a teacher. I carry my faith, family, and friends with me wherever I go, along with my commitment and continual care for our learning community.

Who inspires you?

Every day I am inspired by the faces of the children and young people in the South Conway County School District. Our professional staff members are also a daily inspiration. It is a blessing to see members of our team show love, service, and care to our students and their families.

What do you love about living in the 501?

The 501 is filled with many kind and amazing people! I also love the natural beauty of the outdoors in Central Arkansas. Mostly, I love it because it is where I call home. 40 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Place of employment/business: First Security Bank, Conway


Executive Loan Assistant

How long have you been with your current business? 19 years

Why did you choose your vocation?

After graduating from high school in 1986, I moved to Conway and started my banking career. It was new and different so I wanted to try it. As I began to meet new people, build friendships and working relationships I realized banking was for me.

Family information:

My husband, Brad and I have been married for 32 years. We have one daughter, Jennifer, who is married to Preston Kordsmeier.


Perryville High School

Community involvement/church activities:

I served on the Toad Suck committee for 4 years, and served as honorary co-chair in the 3rd year. For 25 years, I was on the Saint Joseph Bazaar finance committee, and I graduated from the Faulkner County Leadership Institute in 2008.

How do you maintain your work/life balance?

For me, it is always about prioritizing the most important things in my life; God, family and work. As long as I stay focused and keep these in order, it helps me to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Who inspires you?

I have been blessed to have had a number of mentors throughout my life. They have all taught me the value of hard work, faith, and the importance of treating everyone with respect. These individuals taught me valuable life lessons, and I will be forever grateful for the time they have invested in me.

What do you love about living in the 501?

Conway is a community that I have grown to love over the years for so many reasons. We have wonderful people who are willing to give of their time and serve our community and have made it what it is today. I believe it’s a wonderful place to raise a family. March 2020 501lifemag.com | 41

Place of employment/business: Superior Health & Rehab

Title: Administrator

How long have you been with your current business? 38 years

Why did you choose your vocation? I chose this vocation because of my desire to serve others.

Family information: I live in Conway. I am married to Steven Kirkemier. We have three children: Kelsey Crain Roberson, married to Dr. Andrew Roberson of Fayetteville; Mallory Kirkemier Venable, married to Dylan Venable; Brody Kirkemier, our son; and our granddaughter Blake Roberson.

Education: Graduate of UCA and UACCM

Community involvement/church activities: I attend Central Baptist Church. I work with numerous UCA internships and serve as the district vice president for the Arkansas Health Care Association.

Who inspires you? My greatest teacher is Jesus Christ. I feel he teaches me daily better ways to serve others.

What do you love about living in the 501? I love the people in the 501. It is a privilege to be able to assist friends and family with care when they need help. I love to meet people and become friends, and be the person they can trust with their loved one’s care.

42 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Place of employment/business: First Community Bank


We will do whatever it takes to get the job done so we don’t need fancy titles!

How long have you been with your current business? Brand new.

Why did you choose your vocation?

Bankers for a long time, these two formed a bond when working together previously and vowed to do it again. The time is now and they are more than excited to be starting employees of First Community Bank as they help build the community.

Family information:

Both are natives of Faulkner County. Tara was raised in Greenbrier and still calls it home. Lori is a Mt. Vernon girl who came to town and never left. The one big difference is Tara is a mom and Lori is a grandma! Who knew two could work so well together, and be a generation apart. They both have kids, husbands, and lots of family here. If you need something, they probably have a cousin to help.


Both went to college locally, Tara to CBC and Lori to UCA. They both grew up playing softball and basketball and still will take on a challenge on the court or field.

Community involvement/church activities:

Tara is the official groupie of all things sports with her four active children and a Conway Rotarian. Lori is out of the sports phase but is active on the volunteer circuit as chairman of the board of Deliver Hope, a local non-profit, and is heading up the Faulkner Co. Census Committee.

How do you maintain your work/life balance?

Lori says life is a little simpler now that she is older. She will leave the juggling of kids to Tara and take on being a LoLo occasionally. Luckily Tara has extra sets of hands from parents and in-laws to get everyone where they need to be on time. Both feel fortunate to have a great team of co-workers at First Community Bank to support them when they are out on the run.

Who inspires you?

These two both claim their moms made them the people they are today. Both were hard-working spitfires and they don’t think the apple fell far from the tree.

What do you love about living in the 501?

What’s not to love…it’s home for us both! And, it just got a little sweeter now that we work together again. They March 2020 501lifemag.com | 43 invite you to call or drop by the bank and see what all the fuss is about.

44 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Place of employment/business: Centennial Bank

Title: Diamond Club Coordinator

How long have you been with your current business? 8 years

Why did you choose your vocation? I enjoy building relationships with our customers, meeting new people and traveling. This was the perfect fit for me and I’m very blessed to have a job that I truly love.

Family information: I have two daughters. Morgan is married to Josh Cummins and they have one son - Hudson. Mackenzie (19) is a student at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Most enjoyed weekend activity: I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my new grandson. I also enjoy yardwork and my new back porch with a good cup of coffee.

Who inspires you? I have many people that inspire me but my family inspires me the most to be the best I can be.

What do you love about living in the 501? I love the small town feel and the natural beauty that surrounds Conway.

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 45

Dr. Lindsey Sloan is originally from Willard, Missouri, part of the Springfield metro area. She came to Arkansas to attend Harding University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She then attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. After graduating with her Doctor of Audiology, Lindsey began serving as a hearing healthcare provider in the central Arkansas area. “I always knew I wanted to do something in healthcare, and that I wanted to do something that directly affects a person’s quality of life. I became interested in communication disorders,” Lindsey says. “I found community in my church family in Conway, which played a major role in my decision to stay in the central Arkansas area. I developed numerous personal and professional connections during my undergraduate and graduate studies, which ultimately lead to my decision to search for work here.” Lindsey worked as the full-time clinician in Sound Advice’s Cabot clinic for more than a year before she began splitting her time between Cabot and a new clinic in Conway. Sound Advice did not have location in Conway, and they began pursuing involvement in the community. “I had a big interest in serving in the Conway area because my community is here, so I wanted to be able to serve people with whom I have a personal relationship, as well as those I will come to know in starting this clinic. That was what made Conway special to me,” Lindsey says. Lindsey’s goal is to get to know the patient’s communication needs and make recommendations based on that rather than taking a one size fits most or one size fits all approach. Her ultimate goal is to develop a relationship with each patient that will last for years to come. “We offer a free 30 day trial with hearing aids, with no down payment and no obligation,” Lindsey says. “I meet people every day who have personally or know someone who had poor experiences and outcomes when seeking help with their hearing. A ‘try before you buy’ approach prevents this from happening.” At Sound Advice, hearing evaluations are performed free of charge every single day. After the test, audiologists like Lindsey sit down and explain the results. Based on the patient’s lifestyle and hearing loss, recommendations for treatment options are made. Referrals are not necessary to have a hearing evaluation. To make an appointment, call the Conway clinic at 501- 932-6433 and learn more at 46 | 501 LIFE March 2020 soundadvicehearing.com.

Place of employment/business: ANGIE DAVIS Lingerie Store & Boudoir Studio

Title: Owner

How long have you been with your current business? I have owned ANGIE DAVIS for 11 years now.

Why did you choose your vocation? I love helping women feel and look beautiful. Empowering and lifting women’s self-esteem and self-worth fills my heart with so much joy.

Family information: My husband is Brian and I have 3 beautiful kids: Dallas, Kaitlyn and Kolton.

Education: I am a self-taught photographer and entrepreneur.

How do you maintain your work/life balance? I set hard boundaries in all aspects of my work and personal life. I do not want to disappoint my family, my customers or myself so saying “No” when I can’t do something to my best ability is a must.

Who inspires you? I have a private group on Facebook called ANGIE DAVIS Lingerie with over 14,000 women. These women inspire me. They are all so sweet and uplifting to each other and to me. I love talking to them and getting to know them; it’s like having 14,000 friends at the tips of my fingers. They are there for me and I am there for them.

What do you love about living in the 501? I love the people. I have so many wonderful people in my life that I have met living in and working in the 501. They are good, loving and caring people and I strive to be just as wonderful as they are. Sterling Imageworks photo.

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 47


A helping hand

Community leaders assisting United Way

United Way of Central Arkansas Board President Osmar Garcia (front, from left), United Way Executive Director Jennifer Boyett, campaign co-chairs Andrea Woods, Pastor Cornell Maltbia (back), Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry and University of Central Arkansas President Dr. Houston Davis. Story and photo by Sonja J. Keith

Four community leaders are teaming up with United Way of Central Arkansas to help provide financial support to 18 agencies in the area. Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry, University of Central Arkansas President Dr. Houston Davis, Pastor Cornell Maltbia of the True Holiness Saints Center and Andrea Woods, executive vice president and corporate counsel for Nabholz, are co-chairing the United Way capital campaign. “I think that United Way has always been a staple in our city,” said Castleberry. “They work hard to provide resources to better the lives of our residents. The partnerships that United Way works to establish and maintain shows that they are dedicated to tapping into any opportunity that will better the quality of life for the Conway community as well as surrounding communities.” 48 | 501 LIFE March 2020

“United Way has a unique perspective on the needs of the community on a wider scale,” said Woods, who previously served on the United Way board and was chairman. “They can see where there are gaps in fulfilling needs for shelter, food, emergency assistance availability and educational opportunity. United Way’s fundraising helps assure that all their member agencies can reach their goals and serve our communities.” Davis has volunteered with United Way through Conway Cradle Care, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the Free Tax Preparation service. “It is critical that we have an entity that can connect the vast needs of our community with a systematic support network, and I’m proud that United Way does that,” he said. “Conway is a special community because people step out to support their neighbors, and I’m honored to be asked to play a leadership role in lifting up that important work.”

Maltbia served on the United Way board in the late 1990s. “I was blessed to be a part of the first $1 million campaign chaired by Tim Ester in 2000,” he said. “The United Way fills an important need in our community and it endeavors to support some of our neediest citizens. I believe in its core mission. And I also support its many community-change efforts.” It is important for 501 LIFE readers to understand “we are not the United Way of yesterday,” according to Woods. “We are the United Way of tomorrow. We are looking forward to assist with immediate needs while building foundations for strong communities.” Woods has helped with several United Way agencies over the years and has seen firsthand the impact they have had. “I am thankful to the cohesive approach United Way takes to assure our community agencies have a broad reach without duplicating services,” she said. “Once you visit United Way agen-

cies and spend time with their leadership and those they serve, you see the true value and comfort that is provided. Recipients of the many forms of assistance feel the impact of United Way agencies immediately, and most become donors as a result. They have seen and felt the service and want to be able to help others who experience challenges in the future.” In addition to fundraising, the campaign co-chairs hope to increase public awareness about United Way, its mission and member agencies. “I would hope the campaign can help to provide an updated view of all that United Way is today,” said Woods. “There are so many new programs like Charity Tracker, income tax assistance, financial planning education and Imagination Library that pull our community together and help us prepare for a stronger future.” “I hope that our community will become more familiar and knowledgeable about the many wonderful programs and services championed by this organization,” said Maltbia. United Way Executive Director Jennifer Boyett said while most people are unaware of the impact that member agencies are having, there is a good possibility that they or someone they know have been impacted by the services provided. “We are making a difference in our community, but we cannot do it alone. We appreciate everyone who supports the United Way and its partnering agencies. “I believe we can continue to improve the communities we live and work in by helping others in need. I want to bring awareness to the needs we are addressing. I also want our community to know that when we all give a little, we can help a lot.”

The United Way of Central Arkansas has set a $700,000 goal that will support 30 programs that are grouped in three categories: Health – Providing better access to health care, encouraging healthy behaviors, maximizing independence and preventing domestic violence. • Children’s Advocacy Center • CAPCA • Community Service Inc. • Faulkner County Council on Aging • Milestones • Perry County Senior Center • Van Buren County Aging Program Education – Supporting early learning, providing youth development programs and increasing adult literacy. • Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship As the mayor, Castleberry said it is important to always give back to the community. “It is also of utmost importance for our residents to know that no matter what position you hold, you should never be above serving your community — whether it be with your time or whatever resources you can provide to help serve those around you. I am proud to be a part of this campaign with other community leaders that are just as passionate about the United Way cause.” “You can never go wrong helping others,” Maltbia said. “Every donation, no matter how big or small, counts! I encourage everyone to contact the United Way of Central Arkansas and inquire about their many programs and also how they can donate.”


• Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County • Childcare Aware • Community Connections • Conway Co. Center for Exceptional Children • Conway Cradle Care • Faulkner County Juvenile Court • Imagination Library • Salvation Army • Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas Financial stability – Reducing hunger, providing housing stability and increasing earnings. • Bethlehem House • United Way Charity Tracker • Financial Opportunity Center • Free Tax Prep • Stuff the Bus

For more information and to make a donation, call the United Way of Central Arkansas at 501.327.5087. Castleberry would like to see the community come together through the campaign. “If you have the ability to do so, please give. We are a close-knit community and I would love to see all of us come together to meet this goal. Not only does this campaign touch Conway, but it reaches our surrounding cities as well,” he said. “The resources that United Way provides can reach even more people through your gifts. I want to see our community continue to thrive and flourish and donating to the United Way is a way to make it happen.”








March 2020 501lifemag.com | 49


Award winners

Greenbrier chamber plans annual banquet Local businesses and community volunteers will be recognized Thursday, March 5, at the Annual Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Banquet. This year’s recipients of individual awards: Citizen of the Year – Bryan and Dawne Trent, owner/operator of Trent Management and Mojo’s Hometown Pizza. Volunteer of the Year – Graham Brothers Electric owners Chase, Cody and Clay Graham. Student of the Year – Payton Riddle. Business of the Year – Kiddieville. New Business of the Year – Greenbrier Pharmacy. Small Business of the Year – Chef Lin's. Non-profit/Service Organization of the Year – Greenbrier Volunteer Fire Department. “This year’s business nominees created a very difficult voting choice between so many successful and deserving companies,” said chamber board president Dustin Chapman. “2019 was a very productive year, both for new business growth and for celebrating milestones of long-standing businesses that have made our community so great for decades. “The individual award winners could not be more deserving of their honors for all of their contributions and efforts toward making Greenbrier such a special place to live. The Chamber of Commerce is so proud to recognize each of these winners for their contributions and celebrate their success.”

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR “Strong work ethic, collaborative teamwork and devotion to the community are just a few of the many qualities Bryan and Dawne Trent possess,” stated their award nomination. “Trent Management’s deep roots in Central Arkansas created an easy transition in 2005 when the young Trent family made Greenbrier a place to call home. When the twins, John and Morgan, began kindergarten, Bryan and Dawne’s presence became a constant sight at Greenbrier Schools. In the past few years, the Trent’s involvement with the Greenbrier Panther Boosters and the Future Farmers of America chapter has been non-stop.” Dawne serves as treasurer of the booster club and both are supporters of Greenbrier’s Ag-Science program. “The Trents took an active role when a longtime pizza restaurant shut its doors a year ago. Providing jobs for the suddenly unemployed and keeping the doors open for a beloved community establishment were utmost concerns for the couple. After quickly coming up with a business plan, the Trents opened Mojo’s Hometown Pizza. 50 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Greenbrier High School’s Payton Riddle is this year’s Student of the Year. (Mike Kemp photo) hams’ desire to serve. The brothers are involved in multiple roles. Whenever there is an activity in Greenbrier, it is certain one of the Graham Brothers will be assisting. Chase, Cody and Clay are assets to our community.”


Citizen of the Year Award winners Dawne and Bryan Trent (left) with Graham brothers Clay (from left), Cody and Chase, who were named Volunteer of the Year Award winners. (Mike Kemp photo) Dawne’s creativity and ability to put passion into action produced areas dedicated to two distinctive groups of local citizens. The Military/Veteran Room and the Senior Wall have become both a highlight and a destination in our community. “Bryan and Dawne are committed to the support of Renewal Ranch and Project Angel Tree organizations. Greenbrier is fortunate not only to have business owners like the Trents, but also as team players on its roster.”

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR “As lifelong community members, the Graham Brothers have been serving Greenbrier and its people for over three decades,” read the award nomination. “Chase, Cody and Clay, along with their families, are constant fixtures in our town. They are always lending a hand, whether it’s setting up lighting at an event or hauling BrierFest attendees around in golf carts. “Chase has served on the Greenbrier Natural Resources Board for three years. His input and dedication have been invaluable as the City of Greenbrier strives to provide its citizens with places to enhance their quality of life. “Greenbrier Nazarene benefits from the Gra-

The Student of the Year award includes a $1,000 scholarship from the chamber. “Payton Riddle is an exceptional young man and a light at Greenbrier High School,” read the award nomination. “He serves as a library aide and is on track to be a highest honor graduate with a 4.02 GPA.” Payton is a member of multiple clubs and organizations at the high school, including football, FFA, Ambassadors, student council and Purposed. He received All-Conference honors and the Panther Award for Football. Payton is very involved in church activities and has numerous community service hours. “Putting all his activities aside, Payton proves on a daily basis that he is an all-around great person and a leader among his peers who wants to serve others above all else. He is a true joy to be around and a friend to everyone he meets.”

BANQUET The chamber banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at the Greenbrier Junior High Cafetorium. The theme is “A Vision for 2020.” Chase Turner, an author and Greenbrier alum, will be the speaker. The 2020 edition of the Greenbrier City Directory, produced by 501 Advertising and Publishing, will also be unveiled at the banquet. A silent and live auction is also planned. Tables of eight are available for $320. Individual tickets are $40 each. For more information, contact the chamber at 501.679.4009 or visit greenbrierchamber.org.

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If you’re prescribed opioids, it’s very important that you take them only as directed. Because the biggest pain with opioids is the risk.

Learn more at aging.uams.edu This ad was made possible by Grant Number 1H79T108700-01 from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Services (DAABHS).


‘Trust your gut’

APRNs land dream jobs in GI clinic

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) Lindsey Sierra (from left), Sarah Atkins and Brandy Eason. (Mike Kemp photo) Brandy Eason, Lindsey Sierra, and Sarah Atkins are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who are a vital part of the team at Conway Regional Gastroenterology Center. They call themselves the “Ladies of GI.” They work in a specialty that is led predominantly by men, working alongside gastroenterologists Dr. Martin Moix, Dr. O.T. Gordon and Dr. Owen Maat. They love what they do, and it shows. “When you spend 40 percent of your life at work, you need to love what you do,” said Eason. “We have a good relationship with the physicians. We mutually respect each other’s opinions and work together closely.” “I think it’s pretty amazing that they all chose to 52 | 501 LIFE March 2020

work here together,” said Moix, who founded the clinic. “In a specialty where men are predominant, they have a great story.”

Background Brandy Eason earned her master of science degree in nursing (MSN) from the University of Central Arkansas in 2015. She has strong ties to Conway and Conway Regional Medical Center. She has been a part of the Conway Regional team since 2009, when she first started as a RN in the pediatric unit. She then worked in the fields of cardiology, orthopedics, medical surgical, interventional radiology, and on the PICC team. “I knew I wanted to work with Dr. Moix when I decided to become a nurse practitioner. He was al-

ways a favorite among myself and the other nurses,” Eason said. “He was always calm, respectful and valued the opinions of others.” Lindsey Sierra received her MSN from UCA in 2015 as well. She began working at Conway Regional during nursing school in 2006. After graduating with her RN, Sierra worked in the ICU at UAMS. After graduating with her MSN, Sierra worked for a private gastroenterology clinic for three years prior to coming to Conway Regional in 2019. “I knew I wanted to be a nurse since I was 16 and working in a nursing home,” said Sierra. Sarah Atkins received her master’s degree in nursing from UAMS in 2019. She began her nursing career at Conway Regional as a nursing aide in 2014. Soon after receiving her bachelor’s degree in

nursing in 2015, she began her career in the Cardiac Step Down unit at Conway Regional. She then took the opportunity to work in the Conway Regional gastroenterology procedure lab, and later in the Ambulatory Surgery Department. While working in the gastroenterology lab as an RN, she was motivated to earn her master’s degree in nursing and pursue a career in gastroenterology. “I knew I wanted to work alongside Dr. Moix,” Atkins said. “He is a wealth of knowledge, and I highly respected his intelligence, skill and patient-centered care. After graduating, I persistently pursued a job within Conway Regional and landed my dream job at Conway Regional Gastroenterology Center.”

Misconceptions “I think it is a huge misconception that we only treat diseases of the lower GI tract,” said Eason. “We specialize in treating diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, pancreas and gallbladder among various other conditions.” The Ladies of GI also want the community to know that the physicians and APRNs alike offer comprehensive, high-quality gastrointestinal care locally. “You don’t have to travel to Little Rock to receive exceptional care.” Atkins said. “Conway Regional has recently grown in terms of specialty services and offers quality care and management locally,” Sierra added.

Creating relationships Eason, Sierra and Atkins feel that they have an advantage when it comes to female patients.

I knew I wanted to work with Dr. Moix when I decided to become a nurse practitioner. He was always a favorite among myself and the other nurses. He was always calm, respectful and valued the opinions of others.

— Brandy Eason

“Women tend to be more comfortable sharing personal experiences with other females,” said Eason. They strive to make all patients feel comfortable since gastroenterology can sometimes involve sensitive topics. They are in agreement that paying special attention to not only the physical complaints but also mental health is imperative, as stress can be a contributing factor for a multitude of gastrointestinal symptoms. They emphasize that treating the whole person is their mission. Listening to the patient’s story, building a trusting providerpatient relationship and creating a treatment plan together allows for better outcomes and patient

satisfaction. They are enthusiastic about preventing disease; not just treating disease. “Preventative care is cheaper than curative care,” Sierra said, and this is reflected in the education they strive to provide to their patients. They offer preventative services such as screening or surveillance colonoscopies, fatty liver disease prevention and management, and EGD surveillance for Barrett’s esophagus, among many others. “If you know something is not right with your gastrointestinal health, if you have a family history of colon cancer, or perhaps you don’t know your family history, you may need to see a GI specialist,” said Eason. “This is particularly important for men, as they are less likely to take control of their health and wellness, according to recent statistics,” Sierra added. “As you can see, gut health is imperative.” “A colonoscopy is one of the few tools that can be used for screening and prevention,” said Atkins.

Takeaway The Ladies of GI are also passionate about preventative healthcare. Eason frequently tells her patients to “trust your gut. You know your body better than anyone else.” Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. If patients have concerns or acute changes regarding their gastrointestinal health, they should seek medical advice. Primary healthcare providers will make a GI referral when necessary.


March 2020 501lifemag.com | 53


Perfecting the art of barbecue

Dennis Forte of The Hog Pen in Conway. (Mike Kemp photos)

For centuries the American palate has been delighted with the various types and methods of smoking meat and barbecue. Dennis Forte of The Hog Pen in Conway has spent the last 21 years perfecting the art of smoking ribs and frying fish, but not without the help Don Bingham of nine special ladies. Some of them have Recognized throughout the been cooking alongside state as an accomplished chef, Dennis at 1265 Sutton Don Bingham has authored cookbooks, presented television St. for all 21 years of programs and planned elaborate the barbecue and catfish events. business! Dennis will arrive around 3 a.m. to start the process for firing up the smoker. “We are passionate about one thing, and we do that one thing well,” he said. “We are not a fast food establishment. You cannot cook barbecue fast.” The product Hog Pen uses is always fresh. The 54 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Hog Pen employees Mavis Forte (from left), Whitney Ross, Jennifer McDaniel, Diane Smith and Shunta Hubbard. Not pictured: Carthedia Jeffers.

Carthedia Jeffers is a Hog Pen employee. catfish is delivered weekly from an Amish family whose relationship with the restaurant began 21 years ago. The same family has delivered the wood for smoking the meat for 20 years. The one word that you would use to define Dennis and his staff would be “consistent.” You can always count on Hog

Pen for being the same quality, the same excellent wonderful taste and the same welcomingly friendly atmosphere. The Hog Pen is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for lunch and dinner, as well as carry-outs and catering – they do it all! When asked about the success of The Hog Pen for 21 years besides its consistency, Dennis said, “I only hire women!” These women include Chante Forte, Jennifer Forte, Diane Smith, Mavis Forte, Theda Jeffers, Whitney Ross, Simone Forte, Mashonna Smith and Jemiah Surratt. Dennis explains, ‘The ladies will tell you what, how, when, and they know what it takes for the business.” He added that women know what women want, such as cleanliness in an eating establishment. Dennis and Mavis (his wife of 36 years) have the desire to minister to people – talk to people – and their passion is reflected in their family of three girls and two boys, most of whom work at the restaurant. Though Dennis does the meat preparation, the ladies do the slaw, fishmeal, barbecue sauce and desserts, primarily the fresh and beautiful cakes prepared onsite daily. “If you want something done right, put a woman in charge,” Dennis said. Congratulations, Dennis Forte and the ladies at The Hog Pen for a job well done and a delicious product we all love to enjoy! As with many chefs and restaurants, The Hog Pen has its trade secrets in their recipes. We respect this and have included some of our own favorite recipes for your enjoyment!

Amazing Women Deserve Amazing Care

HELEN’S CABBAGE SLAW 1 head cabbage, shredded 2 heaping tablespoons granulated sugar 2 heaping tablespoons vinegar 1/4 cup mayonnaise Mix sugar and vinegar until sugar is dissolved; add mayonnaise to mixture. Toss cabbage with dressing. Sprinkle poppyseeds or celery seeds to taste if desired. Serves 6.

HUSHPUPPIES 3 cups yellow cornmeal 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons baking powder 2 eggs 2 medium onions, chopped fine 2 teaspoons salt Buttermilk Mix dry ingredients. Add eggs and enough buttermilk to make a stiff dough; let stand at least five minutes. Drop by half tablespoons into vegetable oil (at least 365 degrees) until golden (about one minute). Drain.

MEXICAN CORNBREAD 1 cup buttermilk 2 cups self-rising cornmeal 1 cup ground beef, cooked and drained 2 eggs 1/2 cup vegetable oil 3 jalapeno peppers, chopped 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased, hot iron skillet and bake at 350 degrees until done.

Dr. Jessica Pullen, OB/GYN, at Baptist Health Women’s Clinic-Conway, delivers the personalized, quality care women need through all stages of life. Dr. Pullen offers many services and procedures specific to women’s health needs, including: • • • • • • •

Well woman care Pregnancy care Labor and birth care Menopause management Endometriosis, PCOS & other chronic conditions Acute treatment And more To make an appointment with Dr. Jessica Pullen, please call (501) 358-6941

For more information about Baptist Health-Conway, visit BaptistHealthConway.com 625 United Drive, Suite 420 8 a.m. –5 p.m. 501-358-6941

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 55


‘Check out’ this library party

56 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Those who know me well, know that I love to read. I keep a good book going at all times and can get lost in one for hours. When it came time to decide what entertaining idea I wanted to share for March, I decided it would be a wonderful month to host a LIBRARY PARTY! I hand delivered invitaJulianne Milner tions that were replicas of vintage library cards. You A self-taught baker, Julianne remember library cards Milner is a caterer, seasonal stylist with the rotary stamped and owner of Julianne’s Southern Table. She can be reached at date on the line and your julianne60@gmail.com. name written beside the date. The invitation included a pair of cat eye glasses like librarians used to wear. If you didn’t want to send out invitations, you could just invite your friends in person. Just ‘whisper’ the invitation to them since it’s a library party! (I’m a stickler for carrying out a theme!) After delivering the invitations it was time to think of the table and how it should set the scene. I created a table runner using pages from an old, worn out book that I upcycled. I started with a roll of easel paper cut to the desired length. Next, I removed the pages from the book, attached them to the easel paper in a random pattern using a small amount of clear dry glue on each page. This was a very simple project. How perfect would this be when you had your book club over?

Party continued on Page 58 An assortment of old books and a runner made from book pages (facing page, top left) helped to set the mood for the party of readers. The invitation (top right) was designed by Ashley Bonds (on Instagram at calicocottagegifts) and were a nod to old library cards. A cotton library book tote (bottom left) was the contest prize. Dessert for the evening was a tangy Dickens Lemon Cake dusted with powdered sugar. (Mike Kemp photos)

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 57

Party continued from Page 57 The table centerpiece was created using an antique card catalog drawer with stacked books, fresh flowers and vases filled with old book pages rolled and tied with twine. In keeping with the library theme the menu for this Library Party was: Hemingway Ham and Swiss Quiche Twain Southern Cheese Grits Faulkner Spring Salad Dickens Lemon Cake The letter shapes and hearts decorating the tops of the quiche were cut from my pie crust and they let everyone know I LOVE TO READ! Hearts cut from old book pages were attached to pics and placed atop each piece of lemon cake. After dinner and dessert, my guests were quizzed with fun questions about libraries and books. When a guest answered a question correctly, they were handed a page from an old book. The guest with the most pages at the end of the questions won a cotton library book tote. What a fun night we had! Good food, good friends and some great reviews on books each guest had recently read. I couldn’t complete this article without leaving you with a short list of favorite books that I’ve read lately: 1. “Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer” by James L. Swanson 2. “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd 3. “Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger 4. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens 5. “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman 6. “A Gentleman In Moscow” by Amor Towles

The centerpiece for the table was an antique card catalog tray available at Jenifer’s Antiques in Downtown Conway. 7. “The Life We Bury” by Allen Eskens

Dash black pepper 1/4 cup half and half 5 slices of honey ham, chopped

Share your book list, make a quiche and have your friends over. It’s a wonderful way to spend an evening!

Saute’ green onions in butter. Pour into the bottom of the pie crust and spread onions out evenly. Combine all other ingredients and pour into the pie crust. I sprinkle the top sparingly with nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Cool five minutes before slicing to serve. For a variation, substitute 6 slices of fried bacon (crumbled) or 1 can of baby shrimp (drained and rinsed) in place of the ham.

HAM AND SWISS QUICHE 4 tablespoons butter 1 bunch of green onions Pie crust 3 large eggs 8 ounces sour cream 2 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese 1/2 teaspoon salt

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teaching HOPE 58 | 501 LIFE March 2020

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Downtown in a dreamy cottage

This little cottage in Old Town Conway was inspired by shotgun houses of the South that were designed to fit on long, narrow lots and front the street and sidewalk with a sitting porch. (Makenzie Evans photos)

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

It’s a pretty simple formula; take something that is bad and replace it with something that is good. It’s a well-known self-improvement technique, whether you are dieting, trying to kick a bad habit or just aspiring to live your best life. Keep this thought in mind. I’ll come back around to it. My assignment for this issue was to write about our great local homes and their equally interesting occupants, in this “Celebrating Women” edition. You would think it might be a challenge to feature one of the 501’s fabulous females while also sticking to the brick and mortar subject matter to which I have been assigned, but when I heard the theme, I knew right away whose story I wanted to share - a gal who is breaking ground and tearing down walls; no, literally, she has her own sledgehammer! Niki Thompson is the creator and girl-boss of Storybook Homes. If you haven’t heard of her, you have surely seen

Home continued on Page 60

Adjustable, wall-mounted reading lights make an interesting stand-in for traditional bedside lamps and allow for smaller, space-saving night stands. March 2020 501lifemag.com | 59

Furnishing a small home is all about smart storage. This little mid-century bookcase nestles perfectly by the front door and is a great place to catch the keys and mail.

Home continued from Page 59 some of her work. You can hardly drive down any street in Old Town Conway without passing one of her creations. Maybe you drove by every day and watched as a dilapidated old ramshackle shack was straightened, sturdied, patched and painted. Or perhaps you were just passing through the neighborhoods of downtown and noticed one of her stately cottages wearing its new Old Town Conway style.

Cottage continued on Page 62 Tall triple mirrors and a large open shower make this master bath feel larger than its modest footprint.

A reclaimed textile printing screen makes a bold statement as wall art over this handmade platform bed. Finding unconventional art and furnishings will give a home unique personality.

A library ladder gives access to space-saving upper cabinets, and is stored against the wall when it’s not in use. 60 | 501 LIFE March 2020

A banquette is a great idea for a dining spot that doesn’t require the space of a traditional table.

Vintage, handmade rugs are like artwork on the floor.


How about this combination of gold, leather, raw wood and layered rugs?

One Crucial Component of Our Continuum of Care

MethodistFamily.org March 2020 501lifemag.com | 61

Cottage continued from Page 60 I’m not sure if it is a business plan or more of a labor of love, but Niki seeks out the ugliest, falling-down, unloved houses in Conway’s first neighborhood and she brings them back for generations to come, each one a work of art in its own right. Remember that strategy for positive change that I mentioned earlier, replacing something bad with something good? That is what Niki and Storybook Homes is doing for the downtown neighborhoods of her hometown, and it has made an impactful change. I giggled at her resolve when she once told me that her goal was to rehabilitate every home in Downtown Conway. She may never get to them all, but she has at the very least helped to launch a revival in those neighborhoods and they have become a destination; a place where people want to live. I have the pleasure of working with Niki on these projects and each one is an adventure. She insists that her design inspiration originates from a story that comes to mind the very first time she enters the broken down home. I get to create things for these homes in my workshop, like special lighting, a kitchen island made from the house’s reclaimed floorboards or a master bath vanity made from an antique dresser. I furnish the home in a way that helps tell its story. The latest Storybook Home, the third one on Oliver Street, is a tiny one but its tall ceilings, open floorplan and thoughtful use of space make it feel spacious for its size. It was inspired by shotgun houses that were designed to fit on a long narrow lot. Its front porch is perfect for sitting and waving at neighbors on the quiet street. It is furnished with mid-century modern furniture picked up on a recent antiquing trip, and its layered vintage rugs and art are from local collector Shane Westmoreland, who is gracious enough to let me pick through his warehouse of goodies whenever I want! This home has an owner-to-be, and I can just imagine her here, spinning jazz records and sipping coffee with the front door open.

62 | 501 LIFE March 2020

A clawfoot tub brings vintage styling, and a wooden peg rack adds a touch of good design and utility that makes this small space beautiful and functional.

‘My Life’


Poster, essay and video contest planned Electricity powers our lives. We rely on it 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support the life we enjoy. Conway Corp has been powering our community since 1929, and we’re proud to provide dependable and reliable services to our friends and neighbors. Consider a chargeBeth able gadget like a cell phone, the clock radio Jimmerson that jolts you awake or A long-time Conway resident, Beth McCullough Jimmerson is the TV that brings you the manager for marketing and the latest entertainment. communications for Conway Corp. She has a bachelor’s degree The water heater that from the University of Central keeps your shower hot Arkansas and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas. and the refrigerator that She can be reached at beth. keeps your soft drinks jimmerson@conwaycorp.com. cold. The automatic sprinkler system that keeps your lawn green and the toaster that turns your bread a crisp, golden brown. The washing machine that sends you off in clean clothes and the automatic garage door that welcomes you safely home – it’s all powered by Conway Corp. What powers your day? Students – show us how Conway Corp powers your life by entering the Seventh Annual Conway Corp Energy Smart Poster, Essay & Video Contest. The poster contest is open to students in PreKfourth grade in Conway. Using markers, crayons,

colored pencils or paints, posters should illustrate the contest theme, “My Life, Powered by Conway Corp.” Entries will be judged on creativity and theme representation. Prizes will be awarded to students, and the classroom of the overall winner will be awarded $100 in that student’s name along with a Conway Corp pizza party. The essay and video contest is open to students in fifth-12th grade in Conway. Students should submit a typed essay of 500-1,000 words or a digital video between 30 seconds and two minutes on the contest theme, “My Life, Powered by Conway Corp. Essays will be judged on content and syntax. Videos will be judged on creativity and production. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners in two age categories: fifth-seventh and eighth-12th grades. All winning submissions will be featured on Conway Corp’s website and social media. Winning essays will be printed in 501 LIFE in the August edition. Students PreK-12th grade who live in the Conway Corp service area are eligible to enter. Ask school officials for an official entry form and contest rules or visit conwaycorp.com/EnergySmartContest. Poster and essay entries should be submitted to participating teachers or postmarked to Conway Corp, P.O. Box 99, Conway AR 72033 by Sunday, April 19. Essay entries can be shared via Google Docs or emailed

Conway Corp Public Relations/Production Specialist Jeff Matthews with first place art winner Hayes McClurkin from Marguerite Vann Elementary. to marketing@myconwaycorp.tv. Video entries must be shared via Google Docs. A scanned copy of the entry form plus contact information must accompany all electronic submissions. Please put “2020 Energy Smart Contest” in the subject line. For more information about the contest including entry forms and complete rules, visit ConwayCorp.com/EnergySmart or call 501.450.6000.


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March 2020 501lifemag.com | 63


501SPORTS kids


‘Somebody to lean on’ One thing I’ve realized as a mom is that I have to have community. As a new mom, I needed others in the same stage of life to make me feel less crazy. I was tired, hormonal and lonely. When people aren’t connected, it can be isolating and hard to Brittany deal with the struggles Gilbert of life. Community is there for the hard times Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. and also for the good. She and her husband, Levi, It’s nice to have people have three children and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at to celebrate with, too. b.gilbert37@gmail.com. Here are some ways to find a community and build some lasting relationships.

Find a community There are so many ways to find a local community. Most churches offer life groups in demographics. Plus, there are local book clubs, mom and me groups, etc. The local kids club in Conway, Share. the.Love Kidsclub has a “momsclub” group on Facebook. While social media makes it so easy to connect with people, I prefer to connect in person, and I know many moms in this group who have set up playdates. If you need a place to start, consider joining the group and set up a playdate. You can find local moms who are in the same season of life (or not, if you’re looking for a mentor), and even in similar groups. For instance, our family homeschools, so it was absolutely vital for us to get involved in a community with likeminded beliefs and methods. When we got plugged in to that community, we experienced friendships and connections that helped us so much.

Find a mentor A lot of times we have friends our age who can only relate to what we’re going through, but can’t actually offer any wisdom on what to look forward to on the other side of our troubles. One of the best things I’ve learned is to seek out and ask someone to be your mentor. This doesn’t have to just be a more experienced mom — it can be someone who you admire for their spiritual or professional walk. You can even have more than one mentor. I needed this in my life because often when I felt like I was drowning in a situation, my friends were only able to sympathize, which is still really great, 64 | 501 LIFE March 2020

but my mentors could relate. They could give me wisdom to calm my anxiety and help me see that I was stuck in a moment, rather than dealing with what I felt was a permanent problem. To me, a spiritual mentor is just as important. If you’re lucky, you can find this in the same person. When praying and thinking about this mentor, consider your personalities.

Be a friend and mentor you would want for yourself I think most moms, new or experienced, can say that they’ve encountered less than encouraging moms. Judgmental moms, even. Ones who want to tell you that you’re doing things wrong instead of encouraging or supporting you. Ones who want to talk bad about you, instead of pulling you aside and gently telling you how they feel. I tend to believe that these moms haven’t felt the benefits of a life-giving friend or mentor. The more I surround myself with positive

women who build me up instead of tearing me down, the more I want to do the same for others. I feel honored to be able to provide the same encouragement I’ve received to other moms who are raising babies or kids younger than mine. It also makes me want to be a better friend to friends in similar or different stages of life. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind and supportive, to be a good listener and encourager. Chances are, we’ve all needed it in our own journey. Maybe you aren’t in a position right now to be a mentor. Maybe you are the one really needing a community or just a good friend. The saying “you can’t fill from an empty cup” is so true. Before you can truly walk in a position as a mentor, you need some people in your life to build you up. Don’t be afraid to reach out and find that community. There are other moms out there for you and ones that need you and what you can give. Like the old song says, “We all need somebody to lean on.” You know you’re singing it.



   Reagan Bowles AGE: 10. CITY: Conway. SCHOOL: Fourth grade, Woodrow Cummins Elementary School. FAVORITE SUBJECT: Music and art. MUSIC INSTRUMENT PLAYED: Guitar and voice! And I like to write my own music. FAMILY: Dad - Scott, Mom - Jessica, brothers - Baylor, 7, and Hayden, 2. Our Maltese, Lulu, is 3! FAVORITE MEAL OR SNACK: I really like marshmallows. And blueberries. MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION: My blanket I’ve had since I was born – it’s still in great condition! MORE INFORMATION: I love making all types of crafts and I LOVE taking lessons at the Conway Institute of Music! They are AWESOME!

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 65


Books ref lect interest in outdoors

Susan Peterson Susan Peterson holds a PhD in education and taught at the University of Central Arkansas and Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. She retired in 2004 and now spends her time doing artwork (painting and pottery). She is the executive secretary of the Arkansas Reading Association, a professional organization for educators that has about 800 members statewide.

66 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Matthew D. Moran has always been interested in plants, animals, and in exploring the outdoors. He majored in biology at the University of Delaware, where he received his Ph.D. in 1996. That fall he moved to Conway to teach biology at Hendrix College. Moran enjoyed exploring the biodiversity that he found in his new home, the “Natural State.” He enjoyed its unique geographic situation that provided a variety of biomes such as grasslands and prairies. In 2010, Moran married Dr. Jennifer Penner, who also teaches at Hendrix. They moved to Petit Jean Mountain, just a mile or so from the visitor center. The park, with its hiking trails and wilderness surroundings, was a perfect match for his interests. He realized the need for a practical, yet educational guidebook for the area, so he began working on a publication

that would interest the general public. Three years later he completed “Guide to the Trails of Petit Jean Park.” It describes the more than 20 miles of trails that are woven into this magnificent state park. He also found himself drawn to the eastern part of the state, especially the Mississippi bottomland and expanses along the White River. He loved exploring its treasures on foot and on numerous water trails. There he observed vast numbers of migratory waterfowl and trees that are more than 1,000 years old. He knew he wanted to write a guidebook about this once vast ecosystem, in part because very little had been written about it. It took six years of research to finalize and publish “Exploring the Big Woods: A Guide to the Last Great Forest of the Arkansas Delta” (University of Arkansas Press, 2016). The book serves as an introduction to the plants, animals, water trails, history and scenery of the area. More recently, Moran published a third book that combined his scientific knowledge with his interest in science fiction. “The Stars Matthew D. Moran of Eridini” (2017) is a

fictional work that explores biological challenges and human conflicts that might occur as generations of humans travel beyond our solar system. He says he enjoyed the process of writing this novel, finishing it in a year by completing several pages a day. He admits he wasn’t sure what the ending would be, but he let the storyline and his characters direct him. Moran continues to write. He has four short stories in progress and is in the early stages of development for a sequel to “The Stars of Eridini.” His books are available at visitor centers at select state parks, from online book sellers or from his website – moranbooks.com.


Making women’s lives beautiful From a grateful heart, many women come to me for consultations feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. On every level of society, women are looking for ways to feel better about themselves. Some are cutting back on unnecessary things, trying to ride out a slowing economy and make do with less, Susan Isom including less joy and less time for oneself. It’s only Susan Isom has acquired considerable experience in when I fully allowed the the world of skin care and has charge to care for “others” received numerous awards and special recognition during that I understood the her career. She has deservedly tremendous depth of earned an excellent reputation in Arkansas for her skincare absolute love. expertise. She writes monthly This is why I am skincare articles for state and local publications. Consultations and intimately involved in the assessments are conducted in the lives of the women who privacy of her beautiful facility in a relaxed, congenial atmosphere. walk through the door of She partners with cosmetic my business. There is no surgeon Dr. Michael Devlin of Little Rock. greater joy than for women to be free to share from their hearts and not be self-conscious. The word “results” is critical to my business as women choose to place their trust in my hands and follow my advice, wanting an assurance of success. This ongoing connection with other women has at times been costly but I have not made myself a source for just their esthetics needs.

I have devoted 29 years in helping women in all areas of their lives, no matter what one’s financial situation or unique circumstances. The Lord has provided a remedy for my tendency to overvalue money. “Surrender all.” So my success is not measured by monetary gain or accolades but by the relationships I have developed over the years. NOT all my stories have been positive. I have made poor decisions, hurt others immensely and damaged relationships along the way. I have had seasons of personal challenges, hardships and misguided attempts to please others. I’m a process! So it is with much love, “humility” and openness of heart that I get to run a business surrounded by women five days a week. As I reflect back on the many coworkers, friends, clients and students who have stepped in and out of my life, my spirit is lifted and my courage strengthened. I continue to want the same for them as well as we build lifelong relationships together. But perhaps the richest and most generous portion of my day is spent with women delighting in the boundless wonders of God’s Word which is unchanging and utterly fulfilling. It’s something I inspire every day as I invite women from all places into my doors. I am moved and lead with compassion to serve women. When I stop to consider the amazing blessings I have received from others, my heart is overwhelmed with earnest gratitude. I am so thankful for a loving clientele that has remained faithful with me for 29 years. This is reflected in my disposition and confirmed by these sweet words. “You are a blessing to me.” I have been given the gift of enough. March 2020 501lifemag.com | 67



Maumelle sophomore scores 36 on the ACT by Jessica Duff

Eva Casto, a 15-year-old sophomore at Maumelle High School in the Pulaski County Special School District, earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36. Casto has taken the ACT three times, the first as a seventh-grader, when she scored a 28. She took it again last year when she was in ninth grade and received a 31. “I took a lot of practice tests from prep books like the official ACT guide or websites,” Eva said. Six hours on Sundays were dedicated to preparing for the ACT. Then, a week before the big exam, she studied one section every day. She recommends keeping your incorrect answers while taking practice exams and then reviewing them the week before the test. During the December 2019 exam, she earned a perfect 36. Eva credits her success to the teachers at Maumelle High School and her parents. Her mother, Cindy Casto, is a teacher at Maumelle High School and Maumelle Middle School. In a letter to the student recognizing the exceptional achievement, ACT CEO Marten Roorda stated, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. Your exceptional scores will provide any college or university with ample evidence of your readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.” Her school guidance counselor, Chassie Tidwell, has been working with Eva this past year and said she couldn’t be more proud of the hard work and results Eva produced. “It’s not often many students make a perfect score at all, like 1 percent, so for her to accomplish that as a 10th-grader, it’s phenomenal,” said Chassie. In fact, fewer than half of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2019, 68 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Eva Casto with KARK Channel 4’s Suzanne Brunner, who interviewed her for a news segment.

Eva Casto scored a perfect ACT composite score of 36 on the exam given in December. only 4,879 out of nearly 1.8 million students who took the ACT earned a top composite score of 36. Chassie is also looking forward to the impact Eva will be making on her peers. Eva recently shared with her that she plans to pay it forward through a lunch club where she will work with other students to share study habits and tips on how to prepare for the ACT exam. When she’s not perfecting those ACT study habits, Eva is a member of the Maumelle High School Band and golf team. She’s also in the Beta Club at Maumelle High. She says extracurricular activities like these can give you discipline that you can apply to studying for the ACT. Eva hasn’t decided on where she wants to go to college just yet, but she has two more years to figure that out. She is considering a major in chemistry and possibly going into the medical field. She says medicine interests her and she wants to help people.

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of 1–36. A student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores. The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures what students have learned in school. Students who earn a 36 composite score have likely mastered all of the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in first-year college courses in the core subject areas. ACT scores are accepted by all major four-year colleges and universities across the U.S. For more information about the ACT, please contact ACT at 319.337.1028 or email publicrelations@act.org.

About PCSSD Pulaski County Special School District spans more than 600 miles in Central Arkansas and requires highly skilled and passionate personnel to adapt educational policies and personalization to 25 schools. Every school is accredited by the Arkansas State Board of Education. PCSSD has served schools across Pulaski County since July 1927. PCSSD is committed to creating a nationally recognized school district that assures that all students achieve at their maximum potential through collaborative, supportive and continuous efforts of all stakeholders.

WHERE REGISTER NOW pcssd.org/register


COMES ALIVE March 2020 501lifemag.com | 69


The lone senior

Bottoms shares honor with brother

Sacred Heart High School’s Madeline Bottoms (right) is a member of this year’s 501 Basketball Team, sponsored by Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Conway Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center. Her brother, the late Drew Bottoms (left), was on the inaugural 501 Basketball Team. (Mike Kemp photos) by Levi Gilbert

For Madeline Bottoms, her senior season carries extra importance. Not just because it’s her final season in a Sacred Heart uniform, but because this year she gets to share an honor with her late brother, Drew Bottoms. Madeline, a senior guard for Sacred Heart, was selected to this year’s 501 Basketball Team — 41 players representing the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the court. The team is sponsored by Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank and Conway Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center. Madeline’s brother, 70 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Drew, was selected to the first 501 Basketball Team in 2013. Drew died in 2014, a few weeks after his Sacred Heart graduation. “I am proud to be named to this year’s 501 Basketball team because my oldest brother Drew was a member of the inaugural team,” Madeline said. “I play every game with heart in his memory, and I know he would be proud of all my accomplishments.” In addition to sharing the 501 Basketball Team honor with her brother, Madeline also honors Drew’s memory every game by wearing the same number he wore, 23. Madeline was nominated to the team by her

head coach, Kyle Duvall. “Madeline is a really versatile player and can really shoot the ball anywhere on the floor,” Duvall wrote in his nomination. “She is an excellent free throw shooter. She has hit numerous big shots for us throughout her career and really wants the ball when the game is on the line. She has a very high basketball IQ and sees the floor really well. “Being the only senior on the team, we [rely] on Madeline to continue to lead the team. She knows what we have to do to reach our goals this season, and I know she will work hard to lead us there. We expect her to continue to score the ball

this season and rebound at a high rate and really build off the great season she had last year.” Last year as a junior, Madeline led Sacred Heart with 14 points and five rebounds per game. This season, Madeline set high goals for her last run. “Being a senior, I want to give everything I have one last year and play every game like it’s my last,” Madeline said. “I also want to be a positive role model and a leader to my underclassmen. My team and I want to make it further than last year. We are aiming to make it to the state tournament. “Every night [is a] battle in our tough conference, so my teammates and I have to give it our all every night. I want to be remembered as someone who plays with heart every night. I want to be remembered as a team player and someone for younger players to look up to.” As of press time, Bottoms and Sacred Heart were projected to finish as the sixth seed heading into district tournament in mid-February. “We know it will be an extremely difficult task to make it out of the district tournament and into regionals, but we are determined to do so,” Madeline said. After Madeline hangs up her sneakers this winter, she’ll lace up her cleats to play first base for the Sacred Heart softball team. Outside of athletics, Madeline is involved in Quiz Bowl, Beta Club, Key Club, student council and the Catholic Youth Organization. After high school graduation, she plans to at-

Madeline (center) with her brothers Cole (left) and Drew in 2014 after the Sacred Heart athletic banquet. “I was hoping I would make all-conference and be the offensive MVP like my brothers, and I have achieved that goal every year,” Madeline said. tend either the University of Arkansas or Arkansas State University to major in civil engineering. But until then, she’s focused on capturing all the final moments of her senior year at Sacred Heart.

Madeline Bottoms loved to hunt with her older brother, Drew. “[I try] to always remember to take it all in,” Madeline said. “The memories made with your teammates are irreplaceable. The hours spent practicing and playing together will form an unbreakable bond. [I try to] remember to always have fun and make the most out of every moment.”


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March 2020 501lifemag.com | 71

Saline County: Ryan Y. Kurosaki Dr. Robert Reising Dr. Robert Reising retired from the University of Central Arkansas in 2013 after holding a variety of teaching, coaching and administrative posts during more than a half-century in education. His doctoral dissertation at Duke treated literature and sports.

He was the first. On May 22, 1975, against the Padres in San Diego, Ryan Kurosaki took the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals and an important racial/ethnic barrier was broken. He became the first player with both parents of Japanese ancestry to appear in a major-league baseball contest. As baseball historian Samuel Regalado explained almost four decades later, in 2013, he “was an unassuming pioneer….[His] appearance in the big leagues was one of the first stepping stones in the new collage of Japanese identity.” Kurosaki’s initial performance was solid. The 22-year-old hurled shutout baseball for 1 and 2/3 innings, surrendering no hits while striking out one and issuing three harmless walks. But that outing was also noteworthy for coming after less than two seasons in professional baseball for the Hawaii-born Japanese. Only one of the two had been a full season (in Class A) and the other “a few weeks in DoubleA” in Little Rock, observed Bill Valentine, who for 31 years was the general manager of the Arkansas Travelers. “It was one of the silliest things the Cardinals ever did….No way he could be ready,” argued the legendary Valentine. And Kurosaki was not. The Cardinals proved that they had “rushed” the 5’10”, 160-pounder by Ryan (back row, left) was a member of the 1976 edition of the Arkansas Travelers. (Photo courtesy of the Arkansas Travelers)

72 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Ryan and his wife, Sandy, with their children, Jason, Drew and Aaron. returning him to the Travs in late June after pitching only 13 innings in seven major-league games, starting none while recording no wins or losses, and posting an unenviable 7.62 Earned-Run-Average (ERA). He was never to throw another pitch in “The Bigs.” The “silliest things” upsetting Valentine in 1975 acquired an addendum that accompanied Kurosaki into his retirement from professional baseball in 1980 at age 27: despite spectacular mound performances in the high minor leagues, St. Louis executives would neither return him to “the big club” nor

trade him. They “forgot about him,” in Valentine’s words. Although reappearing were the eye-catching numbers that had preceded his call-up by St. Louis —particularly those at Little Rock — he never gained a second opportunity to pitch at baseball’s highest level. Only twice in eight high minor-league stops throughout his career did he record an ERA above 3.38, and in all three high-minor-league classifications, he totaled more victories than defeats, a 41 and 29 career mark, coupled with a handsome 3.31 ERA and 53 saves. The man who has been a Benton resident for

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 and are not meant to be the best or the most noteworthy. This is the ninth installment in the third “Celebrating athletic excellence” series.

Ryan played on an AAA team, the Springfield Redbirds in 1979. 39 years never grew bitter, however. He was happy he had appeared in the big leagues, and he admits today that he had injured himself at the end of 1978 and thereafter was pitching with his head as much as with an aching arm. His five-week stay with the Cardinals also allowed him, he adds, to play with or against numerous diamond greats, including Hall of Famers Lou Brock (a fellow Arkansan), Bob Gibson,

Ryan coached his son’s Benton Optimist Club all-star team in the late 1990s. Ted Simmons, Willie Stargell and Don Sutton. His stints with Little Rock, moreover, yielded a more precious joy, Ms. Sandra Mc Gee, whom

he met in church in 1975 and married three years later. Now the father of three sons, he refuses, too, to forget that his St. Louis opportunity was possible only because of his prior success in Little League and high school, where he earned league Most-Valuable-Player honors. He pitched Honolulu’s Kalani High to the 1970 State Championship and was later a scholarship pitcher at the University of Nebraska, where he posted winning marks in his only three seasons of play and set a team record with four career shutouts. He also gratefully remembers that it was in summer baseball that a scout for the Cardinals spied his professional potential. His brilliance with the semipro Liberal (Kansas) Blue Jays — a two-summer record of 24 and 0 — convinced the Red Bird front office in August 1973 that the slim right-hander, overlooked in the previous June’s amateur baseball draft, merited a contract and a place on the pitching staff of the Cardinals’ farm team at Modesto in the Class A California League. Having pitched for the Travelers during five of his seven professional seasons, including the bulk of his final one in 1980, it was predictable that Kurosaki would retire in Central Arkansas. In 1982, after a year with the Benton Fire Department, he launched a 32-year career with the Little Rock Fire Department, retiring as a captain in 2014. He credits “God’s grace” for the honor of being the first big leaguer of all-Japanese ancestry to play in the major leagues. Saline County and the 501 are proud that such a modest, accomplished transplant now calls both home.

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Conway teen to play soccer in Spain by Mark Oliver

One of Conway’s brightest soccer stars will soon represent the 501 on an international stage. From the first time that he stepped on a soccer field, Will Childers knew that he wanted to do great things with the game. Today, at age 14, the Conway native is making waves across not only the 501, but across the southern United States as well. “When I was younger, I played soccer, baseball and football,” Childers said. “As I grew older, however, I narrowed it down to just one. I fell in love with soccer in sixth grade. It became my happy place. It makes me feel at home and is where I feel safe. I love playing.” While playing for a US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program last summer in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Childers’ performance earned him a spot on the South Region team, which covers 11 states in the Southeastern United States. As one of the top performers on the South Region team, Childers received additional opportunities to showcase his abilities. In December, he was invited to attend IMG Academy — the world’s top multi-sport training and educational institution — in Bradenton, Fla. This spring, Childers will also take his talents across the ocean to Barcelona, Spain, to practice and play with some of the world’s greatest youth soccer athletes. “After I made the South Region Team at the IMG Academy camp in Tuscaloosa, I was invited to Barcelona, Spain, to train and play with various teams in my age group over spring break,” Childers said. “At first, I was completely shocked. I’ve been preparing like crazy for it — working on my game and practicing a lot outside of school. I’m putting in as much work as I can because I want to be successful when I get there.” While he prepares for his trip to Spain, Childers remains focused on achieving new opportunities here at home. In February, the junior high student athlete hopes to join Conway High School’s varsity soccer team. “It has been awesome to see the bond that our seniors and juniors have with one another,” Childers said. “When I saw that, I knew that I wanted to be a part of that. Even though they’ve played together for years, they’re willing to help the underclassmen grow and improve through drills. I think it’s going to be a good year for us.” Outside of Wampus Cats soccer, Childers also plays soccer for Arkansas United Soccer Club in Little Rock. Last year, Childers played with the Memphis Football Club and is planning to work out with the St. Louis Football Cub this year. No matter where the game takes him, when it comes to his 74 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Will Childers of Conway, a son of Taryn and Tiffany Childers, will take his soccer talents to Barcelona, Spain, over spring break to practice and play with some of the world’s greatest youth soccer athletes. (Mike Kemp photo)

Tax rules are changing.


future on the field, Childers is aiming high. “When I get older, my next step will be to play college soccer,” Childers said. “Eventually I want to move on to the pro level — either MLS or even Europe. There’s a lot of work involved with getting to that level — emailing college coaches, going to camps, sending highlight reels — I’m doing everything I can to get on their radar so that I can move up to the next level.” To make sure his skills stay sharp, Childers follows a detailed practice regimen. “I practice with my club team twice a week and Conway practices every day after school,” Childers said. “On Sundays, I work on drills with my friends. I mainly focus on improving my speed of play, working on my shot and dribbling. As a forward, I’m always working to get better at scoring. It takes time.” Off the field, Childers enjoys hunting and spending time with family and friends. “I’m blessed with the ability to play soccer,” Childers said. “That’s what I’ve been put here to do. Never give up and never let anyone tell you that you’re less than you are. You can do anything that you put your mind to. Always believe in yourself and give 110 percent and it will pay off.”

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In addition to Wampus Cats soccer, Will also plays for Arkansas United Soccer Club in Little Rock. (Photos courtesy of Todd Mikel Smith Photography)


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Women of their times

Exhibit celebrates Arkansas first ladies

Betty Bumpers (1971).

Margaret Bailey (1937).

Hillary Clinton (1979).

Alta Faubus (1955).

76 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Barbara Pryor (1975).

Mabel Martineau (1927).

Anne McMath (1949).

Margaret Cherry (1953).

Recently, I retired from a career that I dearly loved. I was a registered nurse at the Conway Human Development Center for 37 years. I loved my profession. One of the most rewarding parts of working in a long-term care facility was the opportunity to know and care for the same Linda individuals for many Henderson years. I have told many Jim and Linda Henderson are people the best part of lifelong residents of the 501. working at the Conway They travel the 501 and other areas of Arkansas. Jim drives and Human Development hauls equipment. Linda takes Center was getting to photographs of Arkansas. During age with the folks at the their travels, they have gained appreciation and love for The Center. Natural State. They have found But, back to this the 501 has so much to offer for fun and beauty to photograph. month’s story. Being retired now allows me to wander around the 501 on weekdays. I am enjoying visiting many of our state’s museums and exhibits during times when there are less people. While in Little Rock recently on one cold and windy day, I made it back to the Old State House Museum to see the newly renovated exhibit titled First Ladies of Arkansas: Women of Their Times. I had seen the exhibit many times but the new exhibit is well worth a trip to the Old State House even if you have seen it before. The exhibit’s focus is not just the fashions of the day, but on the lives and the accomplishments of the wives of Arkansas governors. This exhibit is the largest exhibition of first ladies’ gowns outside of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum has gowns from 28 of the Arkansas’s 47 first ladies and includes every first lady’s gown since 1901. Gowns worn by Susan Hutchinson, Ginger Beebe, Barbara Pryor, Hillary Clinton, Mabel Martineau, Elizabeth Little, Ewilda Robinson, Anne McMath, Betty Tucker, Gay White, Jeannette Rockefeller, Alta Faubus, Anne Brough, Betty Bumpers, Janet Huckabee, Margaret Cherry and Eula Terral are presently in the exhibit. Not all of the gowns housed at the State House are on exhibit at this time. Light, time, climate and gravity are harmful to fabrics. Some of the older gowns have faded and have deteriorated over the years. They are now being protected as a historical artifact. Plans are for the dresses to be rotated on and off for display, so the exhibit will change from time to time. Along with the first ladies’ gowns, personal items and accessories are included in the display, such as jewelry, purses and shoes. The items – which share the personality and interests of the first ladies – include Gay White’s duct-taped hiking boots. She wore the hiking boots on a trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. While she was hiking the boots fell apart and she repaired them with duct-tape. Ginger Beebe’s tennis shoes are also on display. She broke her ankle prior to the inaugural ball and was unable to wear high heels, so she wore Adidas

Shoes belonging to Betty Bumpers.

Ginger Beebe’s tennis shoes.

Gay White’s shoes.

Gay White’s boots.

Anne McMath’s shoes.

Shoes belonging to Alta Faubus.

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 77

Barbara Pryor. (1976)

Gay White’s handbag.

Anne McMath's handkerchief.

Gay White (1981).

To see the items in this exhibit, visit oldstatehouse.com tennis shoes. They are displayed right next to Mrs. Beebe’s beautiful formal gown. Also part of the display are Barbara Pryor’s denim shirt and denim pants that she wore during the 1978 campaign, and Anne McMath’s handkerchief and campaign dress. The Old State House asks each first lady to donate something to represent her in the collection. First ladies are not required to donate their inaugural gowns, but it has become a tradition that each new first lady has contributed her gown, or in the case of Betty Bumpers, her sister’s dress. When Mrs. Bumpers was getting ready for her husband’s inaugural ball, her sister came in and Mrs. Bumpers’ sister liked her dress better, so the sisters traded dresses. The oldest dress in the collection is Mary Kavanaugh Oldham’s dress from the 1889 inauguration.

Betty Bumpers (1979).

78 | 501 LIFE March 2020

The exhibit admission is free and is open to the public. The Old State House Museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. It is located at 300 West Markham in Little Rock. The exhibit is not only about pretty dresses but it includes what these ladies did prior to and after their husbands completed their terms. Many of our first ladies were business women, public officials, authors, educators and activists. They have been and continue to be involved in education, politics, healthcare, the arts, farming, preservation of historical sites, environmental issues and the suffrage movement. The role of the Arkansas first lady has evolved over time. They continue to run the Governor’s Mansion and household. They still act as the hostess for many official events, but they also advocate for issues that are important to them.

Janet Huckabee (1998).

Barbara Pryor. (1976)

501 KIDS

Suggestions for stress-free spring break

Kellie Bishop Kellie Bishop is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Central Arkansas Pediatrics in Conway. She lives in Plumerville with her husband, Greg, their son and two dogs. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Central Arkansas and her master’s and doctorate degrees in pediatric primary care at UAMS.

Spring break is often a time when families will take trips and do other fun activities together. However, it can be a stressful time for parents who have to work. Working parents understand that just because the kids are out of school, it does not mean that you are. Unless you use vacation time during spring break, you may find yourself in a bind. However, there are ways that you can make sure your kids are cared for and having fun, even while you have to work.

FAVORITE SITTER If you ever leave your children home with a sitter, they probably have a favorite sitter. Spring break is a great time to give them extra time with their favorite sitter. Instead of the normal routine that they have to follow together, you could give them a little money to go do something fun during the day, such as seeing a movie or going to a playground and out to lunch. Your child will have fun with one of their favorite people and you can be efficient at work knowing your child is being taken care of and having fun. This will allow your children to spend time with family they may not get to see often and you have peace of mind that they are in good hands with someone you trust.


You know those family members who love your kids but may not always be able to spend much time with them due to school and other activities? Spring break is a great time to ask those grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or other family friends to help you out by spending a day or two with your kids.

Similar to summer camps, you may find a spring break day camp in the area for your child to attend. There are some programs that are specialized to certain interests, such as a sport or hobby. This is a good option for kids who like to stay busy and have a particular interest that they would like to spend more time exploring. These day camps often require preregistration so you will want to start looking for a program a month or so in advance of when your child is out of school.

Toad continued from Page 9



The event includes a 10K Run/Walk and 5K Run/Walk planned Saturday, May 2. The event begins and ends at John McConnell Stadium at Conway High School. This year’s 10K is a part of the 2020 Arkansas RRCA Grand Prix. Online registration for the Kiwanis Club Toad Suck Daze Run ends at noon Friday, May 1. Online and mail registrants can pick up a racing packet, number and timing chip at Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center, 700 Salem Rd, from noon to 6 p.m. May1 or the morning of the race at the fieldhouse at John McConnell Stadium. Chip timing technology will be used and participants must wear a race chip to get an official time. Participants registering after 7:30 a.m. on race day will not receive a timing chip and will not be timed. Entry fee for the 10K and 5K events is $30 until noon Friday, May 1, when it goes up to $35. 5K and 10K entrants receive a technical shirt for those who pre-register. The Tadpole Trot registration is $10, which includes a cotton T-shirt. To register, visit toadsuckrun.com and click on the “register now” tab to sign up for the 5K/10K/ Tadpole Trot. Registration will also take place on May 1 during the packet pick up times at Conway Regional fitness center. Race day registrations will be accepted at the registration/packet pick up table in Conway High School Fieldhouse. Free refreshments will be provided for all entrants. The participation medal will be presented to the first 1,000 finishers in the 5K and 10K.


The Tadpole Trot, which has been traditionally held after the 5K and 10K events on Saturday, will be moved to Friday evening and will feature a new venue in Downtown Conway. “Toad Suck Daze takes pride in our children’s programming, so we were excited about the Kiwanis Club’s decision to move the Tadpole Trot to festival grounds,” said Mary Margaret Satterfield, director of Toad Suck Daze and Events at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. “Integrating the race with the other kid-friendly activities at Toad Suck Daze will only enhance the experience for our youngest festivalgoers.”

BENEFICIARIES Over the years, the race has raised more than $400,000 for non-profit organizations. Proceeds from this year’s race will benefit a variety of local non-profits: Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County CAPCA Children’s Advocacy Alliance Community Connections Community Service Inc. HAVEN (Help for Abuse Victims in Emergency Need) Main Stage EdUCAtion Series at Reynolds Performance Hall Milestone Services Inc.

TIME OFF If you have the vacation time available and would like to take time off with your kids, you may consider taking spring break off, as well. You could have a staycation and do fun things at home or locally with your children. Another fun option is to take a daytrip or overnight to one of your family’s favorite destinations within a few hours from home. You could even let the kids help plan the activities, which would help build their independence and let them feel involved. Spring break can be a stressful time for working parents as you struggle to find childcare and ensure your children have a fun break. Consider using these tips this year to help make your and your child’s spring break week a little less stressful and more enjoyable! Any additional race shirts can be purchased on the day of the race after 8 a.m. at the field house. The event is supported by the Conway Running Club and Conway Convention & Visitors Bureau. For more information or to register for the Toad Suck Daze Run, visit toadsuckrun.com.

IN MEMORY The Toad Suck 10K was started by the Conway Kiwanis Club in 1982 and held in conjunction with the Toad Suck Daze Festival. In 1984, First National Bank of Conway (now Regions) began a race in memory of a fellow employee, Randy Baker, who died of cancer. The Randy Baker 8K was conducted for two years, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society. In 1986, the Conway Kiwanis Club approached Regions Bank, and the two races were combined. The Kiwanis Club Toad Suck Daze Run continues to be held in memory of Randy Baker, with proceeds benefiting non-profit agencies in the Faulkner County community.

IRON TOAD The Toad Suck Daze Run partners with Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, which sponsors the Tour de Toad bicycle event, which will also be held on Saturday, May 2. Participants who complete the Toad Suck Daze Run (5K or 10K) and Tour de Toad receive a custom Iron Toad medal. For information on Tour de Toad, visit LiteracyActionAR.org/tourdetoad. March 2020 501lifemag.com | 79

Dr. JoAnna Roath – pictured with a dog named River – worked at Hartman Animal Hospital while a UCA student and returned in 2011 after completing veterinary school.

80 | 501 LIFE March 2020

Helping heart

NEIGHBORS special friends

‘There is a special bond between a pet and their family’ by Sonja J. Keith Mike Kemp photos

Since she was a little girl, Conway veterinarian Dr. JoAnna Roath has had a special place in her heart for animals. “I think every little girl, at one point in her life, wants to become a veterinarian. That’s when the thought first entered my mind,” JoAnna said. “I was always the child that cared for the neighborhood animals, whether they were the stray ones or ones that actually lived next door. I always felt like I had a connection with them and had a heart for helping them.” JoAnna is on staff at Hartman Animal Hospital in Conway. “I have been a veterinarian at Hartman Animal Hospital since I graduated in 2011. I actually started working for Dr. Hartman the end of my freshman year at UCA, just a week after he opened his clinic,” she said. A resident of the St. Vincent community in Conway County, JoAnna is a 2003 graduate of Wonderview High School. She earned a bachelor of science degree in biology at University of Central Arkansas in 2007 and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 2011 at Oklahoma State University. JoAnna and her husband, Justin, have two children: Chloe, 7, and Eli, 5. The family has two dogs (Clyde and Izzy) and two cats (Tiber and Kiki). She is a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in St. Vincent, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association. JoAnna has spent most of her life in the 501 (except for the four years at vet school) and has a deep affection for the area and its people. “I have always known this is where I wanted to raise my family. The

Dr. Greg Hartman and Dr. JoAnna Roath at Hartman Animal Hospital in Conway. people are one-of-a-kind and have a sense of community that cannot be found anywhere else. And I hope that my children appreciate that as much as I do.” When it comes to her work, JoAnna enjoys how every day and every pet are different. “You never know what to expect being a veterinarian. You see a large array of medical cases every single day, and no one case is the same as the next; anything from an elective surgery on a young healthy cat and discussing puppy care with a new pet owner to supporting a longtime client on what the next step might be for their geriatric family member. “These discussions always circle back to the animal being part of the family. Even if we don’t realize it at times, these pets can play a vital role in the well-being of their owners as well. I feel there is a special bond between a pet and their family, and being a part of that is a privilege.” JoAnna said there are several challenges in her work as a veterinarian. “One is actually related to why

I enjoy my work: the surprises it can bring. Sometimes you cannot be fully prepared for what the day will bring you, and it can be difficult to navigate through those stresses. Although it can be rewarding, it can also be challenging. “Another major challenge I feel is the balance of work and home. I think this rings true for any successful professional. There are sacrifices that are made in both life aspects. I am very lucky to have a family that supports me and is very understanding. I try to instill in my children that hard work does pay off, but also to let them know that they are always important.” JoAnna said her advice when it comes to caring for pets is simple. “I feel like people should consider how they would want to be cared for. This would include the basic needs, of course, but also other aspects that make a well-rounded companion. These can include, but are not limited to, adequate socialization with people and other pets. Animals are wired to interact with others, and their well-being can be affected if they do not have this interaction. We see pets with behavioral issues almost every day.” JoAnna said that maintaining a pet’s health with regular veterinary care is also very important. “Even though your pet may not be acting sick, maintenance care can help lower the risk of that happening. And having an established relationship with your veterinarian can make it easier if an unexpected illness does occur.” Hartman Animal Hospital is located at 385 Hogan Lane in West Conway. 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.

March 2020 501lifemag.com | 81

NEIGHBORS person of the month

Mary Worsham

CITY: Searcy. WORK: RN in the Critical Care Unit at Unity

Health White County Medical Center, 35 years.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE ON A HEALTHCARE CAREER: I initially wanted to go into law because it always interested me, however my mother wanted me to look into nursing as a career. I took a position in the hospital as a nursing assistant after graduating high school. I enjoyed learning and seeing how the patients responded to the care delivered so I decided to go to the local vocational school for my LPN.


Bethlehem Women’s Ministry and Usher Department.

FAMILY: Husband Jerry Worsham; son Jerry

Mellon and daughter-in-law Tabetha Mellon; granddaughters Adalynn and Hailey Mellon; daughter Alexis Worsham; stepdaughter Tarhondra Worsham; grandsons Osie, Adrain, Travis and Deonte Worsham.

EDUCATION: Augusta High School

(Woodruff County); LPN at Foothills Vocational Technical School; RN at Northwest Arkansas Community College; BSN at Arkansas Tech University; and MSN at Walden University.


of my children when they were small. After graduating high school, Mary Worsham worked as a nursing assistant in a hospital. “Many of the older nurses that I worked with basically took me under their wing and taught me how to be the most effective when taking care of patients and helping the nursing staff,” she said. “I enjoyed learning and seeing how the patients responded to the care delivered so I decided to go to the local vocational school for my LPN. Again, I was molded and shaped by the older nurses to care for patients but now as the primary nurse.” She worked as an LPN for four years before returning to school for her RN. “You might say I am someone who enjoys learning, as I am currently working toward completing my MSN. I feel that you never stop learning and there is always room for improvement.” (Mike Kemp photo) 82 | 501 LIFE March 2020

MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Resting and reading for pleasure.


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#conwayregional Pictured, Left to Right: Brandy Eason, APRN, Dr. Martin Moix, Dr. Owen Maat, Dr. OT Gordon, Lindsey Sierra, APRN, and Sarah Atkins, APRN

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March 2020  

501 LIFE is “Celebrating women” in this month’s edition. (Jeremy Higginbotham design)

March 2020  

501 LIFE is “Celebrating women” in this month’s edition. (Jeremy Higginbotham design)