March 2022

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March 2022 | 1

2 | 501 LIFE March 2022

What it means to be a

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



nemployment and employment are central themes of the pandemic that began changing our lives about this time two years ago. When I look back at my naïve response in March 2020, I'm kind of ashamed. At this point, I know way more about contagions than I ever desired. Many facets of the pandemic perplex me. The impact it had on both employment and unemployment intrigues me. Even though Arkansas' unemployment rate declined to 3.1% in December, I want to understand why working-age people (aged 15 to 64) aren't returning to jobs. I've heard many valid reasons, including: Concerns about virus exposure, child and elderly care responsibilities, taking early retirement, decreased expenses for families, tapping into savings, and workers requesting the option to work from home. Another issue people face is applying for jobs but not seeing results. I know people who want to work but cannot get an interview with a company that matches their skillset. Of course, they can get "a" job, but I'm speaking of a livable wage and benefits. And therein lies the rub. Some people don't want to return to work, and others want to work and can't. The issue is complex, but we know that the pandemic forced many workers to break from the marathon they called life. Instead of rushing out the door at 7:15 a.m., their daily routine was interrupted. As a result, workers had a chance to be home and reflect on their careers and began asking questions about the traditional workday, which is healthy. We shouldn't be afraid to reinvent the workplace in our great country. It's time to be innovative and use technology to our advantage. For example, many employers have discovered the financial benefits of allowing employees to either partially or fully work from home. Plus, they are glad to see that flexibility makes their staff happier. Our theme this month, "501 Works" presents a variety of small, medium and large businesses, including our cover story about Nabholz Construction which employs more than 1,000 people. For all our readers who enjoy their jobs, I wish you success. And for those who are seeking something more, I encourage you to look for guidance to help you achieve your goals. If you don't know who to ask, ask a teacher or leader at your place of worship. With so many community, college, and state programs available to help grow your skill set, there is hope for a brighter workday.

4 | 501 LIFE March 2022

Becky Bell Don Bingham Jessica Duff Lori Dunn Jade Fitch Levi Gilbert Laurie Green David Grimes Dwain Hebda Linda Henderson Vivian Lawson Hogue

Meagan Lowry Beth Jimmerson Mark Oliver John Patton Susan Peterson Dr. Robert Reising Judy Riley Donna Lampkin Stephens Rita Halter Thomas Morgan Zimmerman

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

Karl Lenser Monica Lieblong Lori Melton Kiera Oluokun Deanna Ott Pat Otto Jon Patrom Amy Reed Lori Ross Margaret Smith Jan Spann Kim Tyler Suzann Waggoner Jennifer Whitehead

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

Stephanie Lipsmeyer Stewart Nelson Kristi Strain Jim Taylor Morgan Zimmerman

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

Matt LaForce Mike Parsons Brooke Pryor Carol Spears Kristi Thurmon

501 LIFE is published monthly by Make the Jump Media, LLC (920 Locust Ave., Suite 104, Conway, AR 72034, 501.327.1501) owned by Jeremy Higginbotham and Stefanie Brazile. The contents of 501 LIFE are copyrighted and materials presented may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publishers. Articles should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Products and services advertised are not necessarily endorsed by 501 LIFE.

March 2022 | 5

March Volume 14 Issue 11



Letter from the Editor


Upcoming events


Daffodil Daze art contest


Loving LIFE photos


CBC Homecoming celebration


Women’s Leadership Endowment


Cover story: The Nabholz American dream By Donna Lampkin Stephens

20 22

On the cover

Couple: Phyllis & Roy Dale Breckenridge

Charles Nabholz on-site at St. Joseph High School 's new construction.

Artist: Christine Donahue, opera singer By Jade Fitch


Morrilton Rotarian wins award By Morgan Zimmerman


Nurses Honor Guard begins in Faulkner County

Photo by Mike Kemp

By Meagan Lowry


Youth of the Month: Landon Crawley of Benton By Dwain Hebda

33 42

501 Works Celebrating businesses & entrepreneurs Entertaining: Talon Boyd is making bread By Don Bingham


Faulkner County Football Player of the Year By David Grimes

48 Rodney Paul's Raptor Rehab By Judy Riley


Business majors meet major business By Lori Dunn


501 Basketball Team final installment By Levi Gilbert & Mark Oliver


Valari & Allen Bristol create tranquil home By Stefanie Brazile


Conway Corp student art contest


Kid of the month: Sofia Couvertier of Guy


By Becky Bell


Chase Race and Paws By Rita Halter Thomas


Honor the fallen, support the living By Vivian Lawson Hogue


Author of the Month: Allan M. Irizarry-Graves, Sr. By Susan Peterson


Celebrating Athletic Excellence: Bobby Nix By Dr. Robert Reising


Living heirlooms: Daffodils herald spring By Dr. Robert Reising


Cabot cheerleaders are National Champs By Becky Bell


PCSSD opens registration By Jessica Duff

80 Doctor encourages life-saving screening By John Patton


Person of the month: Courtney Pledger

6 | 501 LIFE March 2022


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

d Goows! Ne


Bella Rustina, 38-39 Bledsoe Chiropractic, 44


Centennial Bank, 35 Central Baptist College, 32 Conway Corp, 33 Conway Regional Health System, 52, 83 Conway Regional Rehab, 80


DJM Orthodontics, 64


Edward Jones, 69


There is no team who works harder to spread the message of good news throughout Central Arkansas like 501 LIFE!

First Community Bank, 63 First Security Bank, 37, 52, 84 First Service Bank, 13 Freyaldenhoven Heating and Cooling, 47

Did you know that you could have our 11-county publication delivered right to your front door? For only $20 a year, you can get a subscription for yourself or the special ones you love. Home delivery ensures you never miss an issue!


Visit or call 501.327.1501 to subscribe.

Hartman Animal Hospital, 66 Harwood, Ott & Fisher, PA, 51 Heather Sutterfield, 40 Heritage Living Center, 5


Karen Ferguson, 34 Kilwins, Little Rock, 75


Mark Johnson, 27 Methodist Family Health, 71 Moix ETC,52 MSC Eye Associates, 45





Catch 501 LIFE on KARK News with Mallory Brooks at 12:30 p.m. on March 3.

welcome to the Writers’ Room

Ott Insurance, 19


Patterson Eye Care, 49 Pulaski County Special School District, 79


Quitman Schools, 48


Reynolds Performance Hall, 23


Salem Place, 29 Shelter Insurance, 45 Sissy’s Log Cabin, 15 South Conway County School District, 36 St. Joseph School, 77 Superior Health & Rehab, 2


Toad Suck Daze Run, 75


Unity Health, 3 University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton, 79 University of Central Arkansas, 77


Velda Lueders, 52, 60

Mark Oliver is an award-winning sports broadcaster. His voice has been heard across nationally TV, radio, print and online media After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism and writing, Oliver became the play-by-play voice of Fountain Lake football, where he earned the 2017 Sully Award for the best broadcast play call in Arkansas.

Jade Fitch

earned her maters in professional and technical Writing with a concentration in Editing from UALR. Jade and her husband, Levi, have a daughter, Haylei, a son, Ethyn, three cats, and two dogs. When not working with words, she enjoys spending time with family, working in her flower garden, and fishing. She can be reached at fitchfreelance@

Vivian Lawson Hogue

is a Conway native, local historian, and even resides in a 112-yearold historic house in the city. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in art education. A retired teacher, she worked in the Conway School District for 23 years. She can be reached at vhogue@

March 2022 | 7

501 Events 44th Annual

19th Annual World's Shortest

St. Patrick’s Day Parade 6:30 p.m. • March 17

Wye Daffodil Festival 9 a.m. • March 5-13

Join the more than 10,000 visitors who arrive each year to experience more than 40 varieties of daffodils in bloom on the 7-acre plot on Wye Mountain. The festival will be introducing five new beautiful daffodil varieties and the Daffodil Duck! In addition to the flowers, various vendors, food trucks, live musical performances and other events will take place. Learn more on the Wye Mountain Church facebook page. 20th Annual

Little Rock Marathon

Cheech Marin will serve as grand marshal and “Machete” Trejo the official starter of the parade on Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs. Entertainment starts at 3 p.m. including performances by Foghat and Sugar Ray. The World’s Biggest Potato on Wheels will appear at the parade known for a zany collection of marchers, strutters, dancers and floats.

Munchin on Main Street 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. • March 26

March 5-6

The race promises to be "Legendary" as organizers celebrate the 20th year. More than 191,600 individuals have participated in a Little Rock Marathon race, event, or free training program and thousands are expected to take to the streets for the marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K and Little Rockers Final Mile. Learn more at

The Choir of Man 7:30 p.m. • March 8

Back by popular demand, handsome Irish, Scottish, and British guys are returning to Reynolds Performance Hall for one night only. Known across the globe as “the ultimate-feel good show,” 501 LIFE presents this performance of hair-raising harmonies, high-energy dance, and live percussion with foot-stomping choreography. 8 | 501 LIFE March 2022

Downtown Morrilton’s Spring Break Food Truck and Music Festival returns with live music, food trucks, children’s activities, a Baggo tournament and more on Railroad Avenue in Morrilton. The event is free and guests are encouraged to bring a chair and social distance. Learn more at Beyond the Eats

Alton Brown: Live! 7 p.m. • March 30

Alton Brown of Food Network fame is coming to Robinson Performance Hall. Audiences can expect more cooking, more comedy, more music and more potentially dangerous science stuff. Prepare for an evening unlike any other and if Brown calls for volunteers … think twice.

501 LIFE is partnering with First Security Bank and Conway Regional Health System to present the 2022 Daffodil Daze Art Contest. “Once again, our magazine is excited to celebrate the artistic talents of Faulkner County students,” said 501 LIFE Publisher Jeremy Higginbotham. “Their work will inspire many throughout the 501 as we celebrate this beautiful time of year." In 2021, the contest returned after missing a year due to COVID-19. 501 Brand Ambassador and Dazzle Daze Art Contest Chairman Paulette Higginbotham is making plans for this year to be bigger than ever. “There is not a more welcoming sign of spring than beautiful daffodil flowers. We are excited for this annual art contest showcasing this delicate and hardy flower by Faulkner County students,” said Paulette. "Daffodil flowers are located throughout Faulkner County parks and along our trails. Both lend beauty and creativity to the world of Conway. I’m so excited to be part of this opportunity for students to display their talents in this unique contest. I hope to work with art teachers and classes that can join our contest this year!” The Daffodil Daze Art Contest is open to all Faulkner County students in kindergarten through the 12th grade. Entries must be submitted on 8.5-by-11-inch paper in any art medium, including photos. On the back, please list the student’s name, school, grade, teacher, phone number and email address. The subject can be any variety of daffodil flower(s). Entries will be judged in three school divisions: elementary (kindergarten through fourth grade), middle school (fifth through eighth grade), and junior high/high school (ninth through 12th grade). Friday, April 22, is the deadline to submit entries to participating teachers or at the 501 LIFE Magazine office at 920 Locust Ave., Suite 104, Winners will be announced in 501 LIFE and they will be honored at a reception. For more information, email or call 501.314.2062.

March 2022 | 9

Check out these great business owners, managers and employees who "Love LIFE" when they work together. Headed out on a special trip? Have a special occasion or get-together coming up? Pack a copy of 501 LIFE in your suitcase, snap a photo at your destination and send it to us for publication in a future issue! Photos can be submitted by email to

Staff members at the Maumelle Center on the Lake were “Loving LIFE” on a Friday. They are Tawana Fox (from left), Roberta Faulkner, Kim White and Trisha Hogan.

Lane Reed is “Loving LIFE” at Nutrition World in Conway.

Anna Underwood (from left), Abby Gibby and Judy Oswald were “Loving LIFE” at Clover Alley Gifts and Boutique in Morrilton.

Blue Barn Bakery’s staff is “Loving LIFE” and the new location in Conway. Emillie (from left), Laura and Courtney.

10 | 501 LIFE March 2022

The Conway Institute of Music rock band class is “Loving LIFE.” The band is named R.I.C.K. and they are Nevaeh Rohrer (from left), William Polk and Ben Drinkwater.

Jackson Flowers was "Loving LIFE" at the Rialto in Morrilton as both he and the theater were featured on an episode of Travel Channel's Kindred Spirits.

First Service Bank’s Administrative Staff is “Loving LIFE” in Greenbrier. Rachelle Eason (from left), Julie Chambers, Michael Manley, Stephanie Pinkston, Regan Holland, Barry Hickmon, Tanya Kennon, Brooke McCullough, Jon Patrom, Emily Lock, Kathy Pearson, Susan Abner and Kelsy Trudeau.

Central Baptist College recently welcomed three new staff members: Dr. Mary Catherine Harvison (from left) as Director of Admissions, Dr. Deandriea Bass-Carrigan as a professor and Chair of Behavioral Science and Elizabeth Riley as a Personal Admissions Counselor.

The staff at Roland Drug Store in Mayflower are “Loving LIFE” and serving customers. Betsy Caudle (from left), Anita Rogers and Dustin Brown.

The staff at The Rustic Jewel All Natural Spa is “Loving LIFE” at The Village at Pickles Gap. Heather Vest (from left), Calista Stinnett, and Teresa and Mike Scherer.

The City of Vilonia Fire Department is “Loving LIFE” and is ready to serve their community. Junior Firefighter Landon Runyan (from left), Firefighter Shane Fennell, Scout the mascot, Captain Eric Ramsey, Jr. and Firefighter Keldon Milligan.

March 2022 | 11

CBC Homecoming

70 years in the making C

entral Baptist College presented its annual alumni awards on Jan. 29 during Homecoming weekend festivities. The college was established in 1952 and is celebrating 70 years. Homecoming weekend kicked-off on Friday with a Fifties theme of fun and games on campus. At a luncheon hosted on Saturday in the Mabee Student Services Complex, four awards were given: the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Young Alumnus Award, Mustang Community Impact Award, and the Mustang Ambassador of the Year Award. Proceeds from the alumni luncheon benefitted the Kenneth Brown Scholarship Fund. The Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient was Mrs. Jo Ann Ratliff. The award is presented to an individual who has served the community for more than 20 years, demonstrates a legacy of service, and displays an interest in CBC. The Outstanding Young Alumni was awarded to Dr. Marvin and Deborah Cuevas. They have been instrumental in advancing their chosen professions within the last few years. They were honored for their love of service within the community, and they continue to show interest in CBC. The Mustang Community Impact Award was given to Jimmy Elrod because he goes above and beyond to serve his community. Elrod is considered a "Mustang through and through who carries the values of CBC into the community." The Mustang Ambassador of the Year is Dan Carson. Since 2020, he has been a member of the Mustang Ambassador Program, a volunteer recruitment program that assists the Enrollment Management Division.

Top: Dan Carson (from left), Ambassador of the Year, with Ryan Johnson, Vice President of Enrollment Management. 2nd: Nancy LaFerney, a Central Baptist College 50-year Alumni, visited from West Memphis with her husband Marty, who also attended CBC. 3rd: President Terry Kimbrow with Jo Ann Ratliff, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. 4th: Isabell Creek added some Fifties-style face paint to Jessica Faulkner, director of alumni and public relations. Bottom: The CBC Band performs at the Friday night festivities.

12 | 501 LIFE March 2022


Ina Standridge 501-514-2340


Marilyn Battles 501-733-0529 March 2022 | 13

Hendrix alumnae establish

Women’s Leadership Endowment A

new Women’s Leadership Endowment (WLE) was established in January to provide resources for bringing together female Hendrix College students and Hendrix College alumnae to create a network that offers leadership development programming, career guidance, mentoring, and internships. The WLE will create a community of support by connecting individuals through personal and professional networks to combat the challenges women often encounter in their work-life trajectories. WLE will leverage the Hendrix Offices of Career Services and Alumni and Constituent Engagement to bring the women of Hendrix together to address such challenges. “We are excited to help cultivate a community of Hendrix women to support one another in their lives and careers,” said Heather Gardner, class of ’93. Gardner works as a financial institutions relationship manager with William Blair Investment Management and has more than 25 years of experience as an investment professional in the financial services industry. “Many of us know the inherent value of staying connected with other Hendrix alumnae, and the WLE will seek to leverage that connection for shared success,” she said.

Heather Gardner

Gardner and her sister, Mary Gardner Burrelle, class of ’95, established the WLE as a way to support leadership development for all women of the Hendrix College community, now and in the future. “We want to support and encourage the women of Hendrix to embrace leadership as a valuable part of their journey in work and life,” said Gardner Burrelle, who works for McDonald’s Corporation as the head of global legal operations and chief of staff. “We’re excited to have flexibility built into the WLE so it can address women’s professional needs years and decades from now.” Hendrix will form a steering committee for the WLE headed by a female Hendrix faculty champion; Dr. Leslie Templeton has agreed to serve the inaugural three-year term. Templeton graduated in 1991 and is a professor of psychology and associate provost for faculty development. The committee will include a representative from Career Services, one from Alumni and Constituent Engagement, a Hendrix alumna engaged with the WLE, and a female student leader in her junior year of study. The committee will promote alumnae engagement and develop student programming.

Mary Gardner Burrelle

The first use of WLE funding was to underwrite a women-focused session within Career Term, the annual career-focused workshop which is open to all students just before the spring semester of their sophomore year. The inaugural event on Jan. 12 featured: a panel discussion on the nature of women’s leadership, moderated by Hendrix Director of Career Services Leigh Lassiter-Counts, class of ’01. It also featured Gardner and Gardner Burrelle as panelists, along with Jennifer Martin Gadberry, class of ’95, who is the vice president of asset management for the Heifer Foundation. “The WLE will provide a wonderful opportunity for Hendrix’s female students and alumnae to secure mentoring and career guidance,” said Ginny McMurray, the College’s associate vice president for development. “We are so grateful for the support provided through the WLE.”

14 | 501 LIFE March 2022

Jennifer Martin Gadberry




hen Bob Nabholz told his father in 1949 that he wanted to go into the construction business, Emil Nabholz tried to talk him out of it. “The reputation of contractors then was not very good,” Charles Nabholz, Bob’s youngest brother and Emil’s youngest son, remembered. “Daddy said, ‘Oh, you don’t want to do that. They’re all boozers and chasers. “When (Conway’s St. Joseph) Catholic Church was built in the 1920s, we had builders up here from New Orleans, and when they got off work, they just drank whiskey and chased women.” Charles Nabholz, now 85 and chairman emeritus of Nabholz Construction Corporation, based in Conway and now in its 73rd year, remembers that his brother worked hard to improve the reputation of construction workers. He certainly succeeded. According to Bob Nabholz’s biography for the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame (, the company has become Arkansas’ “most known and respected building contractor, producing more than $4 billion of commercial buildings throughout Arkansas.” From its Conway beginnings, Nabholz now has other locations in Central Arkansas as well as Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Northwest Arkansas; Olive Branch, Miss.; Oklahoma City and Tulsa; Oxford, Conn.; Lenexa, Kan.; Columbia and Springfield, Mo.; and Nashville and Portland, Tenn. The company has evolved from a home-building business to a “national multi-service contractor offering a full range of construction, industrial, excavation, facility maintenance, energy conservation and environmental services. We help our clients grow and prosper by committing to build our own business on the principles of integrity, honesty, exceptional customer service, innovation and excellence …. we strive to create exceptional value for our clients, employees and employee shareholders by maintaining an impeccable reputation and providing innovative services. We’re committed to being the best so that our clients can be their best.”

By Donna Lampkin Stephens

Photo by Mike Kemp

Left: Bob Nabholz in his office in 1981. Above Charles Nabholz at St. Joseph High School construction site more than four decades later.

March 2022 | 17

“Maybe the good Lord is telling me that I should be in the construction business.” - Bob Nabholz

Charles Nabholz said while his brother was a visionary, he was also focused on the day-to-day running of the business. “We had to balance the ability to make money every year so we could reinvest it and grow the company,” Charles said. “We spent a lot of money on hiring and retention of good people. We reinvested our profits in the company, and now we have offices across seven states. “That would’ve been hard to imagine. We did the best we could each year and let the rest take care of itself.” Construction, however, hadn’t been Bob Nabholz’s original dream. He returned home to Faulkner County following his World War II service. He hadn’t finished high school, but he earned his GED and took advantage of the GI Bill to enroll in what was then Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas). But he wanted to be an engineer, so he left ASTC for the closest option for engineering, the University of Oklahoma. “He struggled with his grades there, but he’d met a nurse who was working at the hospital, and they fell in love and decided to get married,” Charles Nabholz said. “Bob said, ‘I know I can make a living in Conway.’ He’d worked at Hiegel Lumber Company while he was in college.” So his fiancée Barbara agreed, staying in Oklahoma while he returned to Conway to build a house. Charles estimated it to have been about 900 square feet and probably worth $ 5,000. But someone else came along and wanted to buy it at a $500 profit. Bob, who had started construction in January before the June wedding, decided he couldn’t afford to pass up that opportunity. He had time to build another house. He bought another lot, started again and the same thing happened. He took another $500 profit and started on his

First Nabholz Office circa 1950. Some of the current company projects include the White Hall School District Performing Arts Building, CARTI Radiology/ Oncology Renovations, the AMS The Orthopaedic & Spine Hospital, the Arkansas State Police Foundation – Training Facility and the Conway Corporation Arnold Innovation Center.

18 | 501 LIFE March 2022

third house, finishing just in time for the wedding. Charles Nabholz remembered his brother’s reaction: “Maybe the good Lord is telling me that I should be in the construction business.” By the end of the year, Charles Nabholz said Bob had made maybe $10,000 which was a lot of money for 1949. His tax man told him he had to have a name for the company. “Bob was humble and thinking of a generic name, and the guy said, ‘Let me ask you something. Do you do good quality work? Are you proud of it?’ And Bob said, ‘Oh, yes; I’ve had people tell me how good my work is.’ So the guy said, ‘I’m recommending you call it Nabholz Construction Company.’ And that’s how it started.” From a focus on home-building, the company expanded to commercial construction. “There was a lot of work, and we had to have more people,” Charles Nabholz said. “When we had more people, we had to have more work.” Emil and Mary Nabholz raised 12 children on a farm east of Conway. Charles was the youngest, 12 years younger than No. 5 Bob. “When Bob went into business, I was so proud of him,” Charles remembered. “I was the last one on the farm, and farming was not much fun. Every now and then, Daddy would let me come to town and help Bob and his crew for extra spending money. After high school (he graduated in 1954), I didn’t think I’d do anything else but go to work for my brother.” But his father wanted him to stay on the farm until they could get the cotton crop in, and he offered Charles three acres of cotton and a cow if he would stay with him until October.

aggressively looking right now, but we are keeping our eyes open for companies we might buy to expand. We have done work in all 48 (contiguous) states.” Charles said he finds it exhilarating when he sees the excitement and passion Nabholz employees have for their work. “I tell people if you’re not passionate about your job, there’s something wrong,” he said. “Construction is a hard business. There will be good days and bad days, but to see people happy and to know that we’ve made a good business and to see what a difference a company like Nabholz has made, it’s wonderful.” The company has always had a family focus. All five of Bob’s brothers were involved at some point. Charles is the only survivor of that generation.

Bob Nabholz at the construction of Arkansas Children’s Hospital in 1981.

“That was the best deal he ever made with me, so I took it,” Charles said. “But that was the year we didn’t have any rain. July came along, and there wasn’t going to be a cotton crop, so he said, ‘I’ll relieve you of your commitment.’ That was the second-best deal my dad made with me.” So Charles started his Nabholz career on a brick-laying crew. Before Emil Nabholz died in 1963, four of his sons bought the farm, enabling him to “retire and enjoy the fruits of his many years of hard work,” Charles said. “He was so proud of the company and its successes. He came through hard times, raising that many kids, health issues, and he ended up being able to enjoy the last years of his life because of the company.”

“We never really had titles,” he said. “In the 1970s when we were operating all together, I was probably considered CEO, Bob was president, Tommy had Nabholz Supply, a separate home-building supply business, and Ed was the controller. It worked out that everybody had their special expertise. We didn’t compete with each other.” Bob’s son Dan was CEO in the 90s. Charles was elected chairman in 2000, serving in that capacity until he semiretired in 2015. Bill Hannah became the first non-family member to serve as CEO in 2002. “When he came to work in ’71 with a construction degree, he looked around and saw a lot of Nabholzes, and he asked what were the chances of someone like him being able to advance,” Charles remembered. “We told him we had a policy that the best candidate would get the best job — not necessarily a Nabholz. Several family members have worked here but didn’t get into management. “That was a good commitment Bob made — it’s your qualifications, not your last name.”

Nabholz Construction was local (Conway and Little Rock) from 1949-94. Bob retired in the early ‘90s, but Charles said by the time he died in 2002, the company’s expansion had begun.

Three of Bob’s children have retired from the company, but some still serve on the board. Bob’s grandson Jake is now CEO; two of his brothers are also with the company. Nabholz granddaughters have also worked in the business.

“Our first expansion came in ‘94 when we bought a company in Rogers, and that was a big step in the right direction,” he said. “Later on we bought one in Jonesboro. We started expanding our footprint, and then we started having some national customers who wanted us to go beyond our area because they were going to have a lot of business in those areas. So we made a commitment to go to Tulsa, and we added one in Oklahoma City.

“When you count them up, there’s probably seven or eight third-generation Nabholzes working for the company,” Charles said. “I think it’s in good shape for the next generation. We’ve got some fourth-generation people, not necessarily Nabholzes, working for our company. It’s a validation of how proud some folks are to have been associated with us.”

“We’ve continued to look for opportunities. We are not

Sixty-eight years after joining the company, Charles Nabholz acknowledges he never could’ve imagined what was to come. “It was a great dream,” he said. “The American dream.”

March 2022 | 19





HER STORY: HIS STORY: WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: I’ve lived in El Paso all my

life except for four years in the Navy.

EDUCATION: I graduated from Beebe High School. EMPLOYMENT: Switchman/Brakeman for Union Pacific

Railroad for 38 years. During that time and since, I’ve farmed soybeans and raised cattle.

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: 16th Section Community of

Lonoke County.

EDUCATION: I graduated from Cabot High School. EMPLOYMENT: I drove a school bus for 34 years, and I was a

teacher’s aide for 28 years in the Beebe school system.

PARENTS: The late A.D. and Maurine Burns of 16th Section


PARENTS: Clifton and Lillian Breckenridge who lived in El

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: I was a 4-H Leader for 20 years. I am currently the volunteer scheduler for activities at the El Paso Community Center.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: I’ve served on the following boards, many for more than 40 years: El Paso Fire Department, Parks and Playground Association, White County Fair, and Southwest White County Water.

CHURCH ACTIVITIES: I am the volunteer organizer for our church outreach for the sick and shut-ins. I also prepare communion when needed.

Paso all their lives.

CHURCH ACTIVITIES: I am a leader in the Oak Church of

Christ, serving as Bible Class teacher and song leader.

HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I love baseball and football. I served as a Babe Ruth’s League coach for 25 years. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: A stable

person who enjoys life and helps whenever and wherever I can.

WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: I used to play the piano because my mother

insisted. I was the only boy with 10 girls who took lessons.

HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: I really love to cook! I cook for family and friends, and I am always willing to take food to those in need. My sister and I prepared a cookbook, “Granny Debbie and Jo’s Favorites,” for family and friends. Most days you will find me in the kitchen. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: Friendly, outgoing, never met a stranger. I just love people and love helping others. WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: I’m really afraid of the dark. MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Cooking and

MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: I love to watch football. Of course, I am a Razorback fan, but other than that, I just love watching the game.

being with my family. They all live close, and they are often found at my dinner table on Sundays.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: I try to live by Ecclesiastes 12:13 which tells us to fear God and keep his commandments.

love in this country.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: Good community, good people, and a good climate.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: Love one another. We need more

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: l love our little community. We have a strong sense of family, community and faith.

THEIR STORY: HOW WE MET: I first met her at a basketball game in Cabot, but I was with another girl! I knew her dad, so it wasn’t long before we started dating. THE PROPOSAL: I asked her dad first, then proposed. We were on the front lawn of her parents’ house. I had already purchased the ring. WEDDING BELLS: April 9, 1965 in Etta Burns’s house (Phyllis’s grandmother). We now own the 80 acres where the house was. CHILDREN: Allan Dale, a veterinarian in Bald Knob, Carmen who works for Dassault Aviation, and Clifton Kyle who is an engineer with SALT Engineers and Planners in Searcy. PETS: None currently, but we have always had outside dogs. FAMILY ACTIVITIES ENJOYED TOGETHER: Church,

community and family activities.

20 | 501 LIFE March 2022

The land we live on was purchased in 1887 by Roy Dale’s grandfather, Thomas Breckenridge. He rode in a box car from Belfree, Ohio, to Beebe, and then to El Paso by horse and wagon. It has been in the family since, and it was designated a “Century Farm” by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.

Photo by Mike Kemp

Photo by Mike Kemp

“Roy Dale and Phyllis are El Paso’s answer to the Energizer Bunny. Anything good happening in the community has their name written all over it, from church, to the community center, to the fire department, to the parks and playground. They enjoy life, enjoy each other, and love giving back.”

- Tom Riley, friend and neighbor March 2022 | 21

Photo by Mike Kemp

Christine DonahuE A working talent Christine

By Jade Fitch

Donahue’s passion for singing started at an incredibly young age. “I sang my first solo when I was in kindergarten, at my hometown May Day program, in front of hundreds, maybe thousands of onlookers. It never phased me,” she said. Donahue loved to sing because it’s something that always came naturally to her. And her first kindergarten solo performance was the first of many future performances. Donahue said when she was little, she loved dressing up in costumes. “I frequently joke that I went into opera because of the costumes,” she said. “I’m not sure that was really a joke! I love the role-playing, pretending, digging into the character, and examining the situations that prompted certain responses from my character.”

22 | 501 LIFE March 2022

Donahue attended Julliard, the world leader in performing arts education, for her graduate studies. And in 1976, while there, she performed her first opera: “ll Matrimonio Segreto” (The Secret Marriage) by Domenico Cimarosa. She also sang Alice Ford in Verdi’s “Falstaff” with the American Opera Center, which is also part of Julliard. Not only did she perform at Julliard, but she also graced the stage at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York while in graduate school. Donahue competed and was chosen to sing two arias in the finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Donahue started her opera profession with The Houston Opera Studio. She also spent part of that apprenticeship touring with Texas Opera Theater. It was in these performances that she really learned her craft.

March 2022 | 23

But her first job in Youngstown, Ohio, got her into the real world. To advance her opera career, she got a manager and landed auditions with regional companies, which helped her move forward in her career. In Little Rock, she found a home company that helped sustain her singing career. “Dr. Ann Chotard started the company and regularly hired me. She was very influential in my life, as well as my profession.” Donahue has had many special moments in her opera career, but the most memorable was opening night of “Lucia di Lammermoor” with Lake George Opera. “The applause following my first aria was unlike anything I had experienced before or since.” It was at that moment that Donahue knew she had talent, and she was doing what she was meant to do. It’s well-known that the art of singing can have an emotional impact on those listening. Donahue said what she loves most about singing is reaching everyone in the audience. “Egotistically, I love the feeling of power I have sending my voice out over the orchestra in a 2,000 seat theater and knowing somehow I’m making an impact on someone in the top row. Also, I love the idea that I may be affecting someone emotionally out in the audience.” Singing is also an expressive form of communication. “We have words, [and] we’re expressing emotions that all of us feel, but many of those people in the theater don’t have the ability to be that vulnerable in front of others,” she said.

“We sort of vicariously do that for them. We pull them into our little world for an evening and allow them to feel and respond in a way they may not allow themselves to do in their world.” Along with performing opera, Donahue also performed at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. It was a single performance of “Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins” that was presented as a fundraiser. What’s interesting about this performance is the way she landed her role—it was all in the connections she had. “Florence Foster Jenkins and I grew up in the same town, practically, WilkesBarre, Pennsylvania. A colleague of mine, Dr. Timothy Smith, asked me to look at the play, not knowing I had this connection with her.” Donahue felt like she had been given a gift. “It wasn’t a matter of whether I was interested in performing the play; I had to do it.” Donahue started performing opera in 1976, and her last opera performance was in 2019. That’s 43 years performing, with a few gaps in between; however, you will not find Donahue performing today. “I’m getting older, my instrument is getting older, and it doesn’t respond the way I’d like it to respond,” she said. “I remember too well what I used to be able to do with my voice; it’s not as satisfying now.” Teaching is also a part of Donahue’s life. What’s interesting

is she didn’t decide she wanted to teach, rather it kind of fell in her lap. “I got a call from the University of Central Arkansas saying they were in need of an adjunct voice teacher,” she said. “One day a week became two days, then three days a week.” At UCA she taught voice lessons, diction (Italian, French, and German) and vocal song literature. After six years of adjunct teaching, a full-time tenured professor position became available. She spent the next 15 years as an associate professor of voice at UCA. Despite her retirement last May, Donahue has continued to teach once a week at the university; however, she plans

to be done at the end of this semester. At that time, she will have taught a total of 22 years. “The main things I love about teaching are the ‘Aha’ moments when the student gets the idea I’m trying to convey, as well as hearing the improvement in their voices from year to year.” From singing and performing, to dressing up in elaborate costumes, the opera provided Donahue with memories that will forever be with her. “Through my singing and music, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world (China twice!), meet interesting people, and enjoy lots of different experiences, cultures, and adventures. It’s been grand,” Donahue said.

Christine Donahue (from left) in “La Boheme” in New York; (top) Olympia in “The Tales of Hoffman” in Virginia; (bottom) Queen of the night in “The Magic Flute” in Houston; (center of pages) “La Traviata” in Cleveland, Ohio; (top) “Le Nozze di Figaro”at Hinsdale Opera; (bottom) “The Abduction from the Seraglio” at the Atlanta Opera; and, “Lucia di Lammermoor” in Lake George.

March 2022 | 25

Rob Harris (from left) received a Rotary International Vocational Service Award from Doug Cahill. Morrilton Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer also declared Feb. 1, 2022, as “Rob Harris Day” in the city. (Submitted photo)

Good Work

Morrilton Rotarian recognized with Vocational Service Award By Morgan Zimmerman

On Feb. 1, Rob Harris’ 50th anniversary as a Rotary Club

member, he was recognized for his many years of dedicated service with the Rotary International Vocational Service Award. The award is presented annually to someone in the community who has exemplified outstanding professional achievement while maintaining very high ethical standards. Harris and his family have been serving the Morrilton community for more than a century. Harris Funeral Home was started in 1905 by his grandfather and has been a staple in the community for more than a century, making it the oldest family business in Conway County. In 2014, the family made a substantial investment in Morrilton by building a new facility that will serve families for many generations to come. Morrilton Rotary Club President Doug Cahill said, “We were all so proud of Rob when he built the new Harris Funeral Home facility on Oak Street. It’s a fitting tribute to the first-class service he and his family have provided our community for over a century.” Harris, the third generation to take on the family business, graduated from Morrilton High School and then from Ouachita Baptist University before attending the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science and becoming a licensed funeral director. He said, “I always knew I would carry on the family business. As a kid of a funeral director, you just grow up working in the business. My daughter, Haley, is also a licensed funeral director and works with us at the funeral home now.” Harris, who has previously been honored with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow recognition for his significant

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contributions to The Rotary Foundation, is also a thirdgeneration Rotarian. He said, “My grand-uncle and my dad were both members and past presidents of the Morrilton Rotary Club. Rotary is a family tradition.” Harris said, “For me, Rotary is about the fellowship with the other members and business people of Morrilton. That’s what makes the club great – just getting to know everyone.” He added that the award came as a complete surprise. “I was really surprised and very honored. It made me think, ‘It’s kind of a weird thing to be the oldest member of Rotary Club.’ It’s a good feeling and also not a good feeling,” he said with a laugh. The Rotary Vocational Service Award recognizes individuals who exemplify integrity and high ethical standards in their vocation and in Rotary, use their vocational talents to serve the community, and participate in or lead club activities that enrich the membership. As a past president of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association, a past Funeral Director of the Year, and National Funeral Directors Association Committee Member, it is clear the impact Harris has had on his profession over the years. The impact on his community was further displayed when Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer declared Feb. 1, 2022, as Rob Harris Day in Morrilton. When asked what he loves about living in the 501, Harris said, “Being able to come back and make a living in our community and not having to leave or find another profession has been a blessing. I’m a hometown boy, and I feel lucky for that.”

March 2022 | 27

An Honor to Serve

Nurses Honor Guard celebrates lives of Faulkner County nurses By Meagan Lowry


aulkner County finds itself home to the newest chapter of the Nurses Honor Guard. Vickie Buckner, a nurse of nearly 30 years in Central Arkansas, has taken on the task of creating an honor guard for the profession. A Nurses Honor Guard is a group of nurses who come together to honor a nurse at the time of their death. A Nurses Honor Guard is similar to a Military Honor Guard in which they release the deceased nurse from their duties. "It has happened in the Northern States for several years, but no one knew much about it in the Southern States," Buckner said. She learned about the Honor Guard while attending a nurse's funeral a little over a year ago, and she instantly knew that she "had to know more about it." Once Buckner learned what it entailed, she felt compelled to bring the service to the nurses of Central Arkansas. When a Nurse receives their diploma, they repeat the (Florence) Nightingale Pledge, a modified version of the Hippocratic oath specifically for nurses. A nurse pledges their life to the service of others, and if the past two and half years of this pandemic have shown us anything, it's that nurses have genuinely put themselves on the front line. They have lived their oath. They have served faithfully. The Nurses Honor Guard is typically composed of four nurses dressed in white. The nurses come together and

repeat the Nightingale Pledge while holding the nursing lamp and a white rose. Afterward, they release the deceased nurse from their commitment and present the family with the lamp and the rose. "Families seem really touched by this service," Buckner said. "This service isn't just for the nurse who passed, and although they are the main person to sacrifice for the profession, they certainly don't sacrifice alone. Their families also sacrifice, and so this service is a thank you to them as well." While the Conway chapter is new, it has been in the works for over a year. The Conway Nurses Honor Guard performed their first ceremony last month, and it was a bittersweet affair. The nurse they honored was one of the first nurses in Faulkner County to join forces with Buckner to bring the Honor Guard to life. "It seemed like a wonderful, full-circle moment and a lovely way to pay tribute to a woman who spent her life in the service of her profession," Buckner said. This service is free and can be added to any nurse's funeral or memorial (including Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice Nurses). Local funeral homes have information on-hand, or families can send an email to

Mallory Belew RN (from left), Darrallyn Webb RN, Vickie Buckner RN and Mary Hagenlocker RN.

Photo by Mike Kemp

28 | 501 LIFE March 2022

March 2022 | 29

501 LIFE




Landon Crowley, 14, lives in Benton and competes in adult-level dirt-track racing. His mentor is his father who is a three-time ASCS National Sprint Car Champion. Pictured below at just two years old getting a feel for the equipment.




he ultimate irony of Landon Crawley’s rise through the ranks of auto racing isn’t his skill in adult-level dirt-track racing, his racing genes.. It’s the fact that the hottest thing behind the wheel in Arkansas right now can’t legally drive himself to the track for two more years. Crawley, 14, has shown talent in everything he’s steered over the past seven years, rising through the classes almost as fast as he burns down straightaways. But he isn’t the first in his family to feel the need for speed; everywhere the Benton leadfoot looks around the Crawley garage, he sees someone to emulate. “My uncle raced for a little bit. My sister raced a go-kart one time; she actually beat me, which wasn’t good,” said the teen. “My brother races mini-sprints and my cousin races a Mod lite. My dad’s raced forever it seems like.”

was three points away.” The sport takes the teen all over the region, racing tracks in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, and Mississippi. Races are on dirt, ranging from quarter-mile to half-milelong ovals. Size of track helps dictate top speed, but racing in a pack at 100 miles per hour is pretty common, a nerverattling proposition for most people. “[The speed is] not something that’s ever bothered me. You’re racing people that have done it all their lives. They’re plenty experienced,” Crawley said. “The more you race with them, you develop a trust with them. Yeah, you’re racing one, two, three feet away from them at pretty high speeds, but you know that they’re not going to hit you and you know you can trust them racing that close.”

Despite all this, Crawley wasn’t born a speed demon. In fact, he wasn’t even interested in the sport initially, but a vacation trip to Branson with a family friend changed all that.

Racing is still a family affair with Crawley leaning on his dad for guidance in the shop and for advice to improve on the track. He even runs under number 187, a tribute to his father who has always raced under number 87.

“At first, I really didn’t want to race. I had a go-kart in the shop but I never really wanted to race it,” he said. “When I was 7, I went to Branson, Missouri, and we rode go-karts. When I came home from that trip, that’s pretty much what made me want to race.”

“Between me and my dad, it’s mostly just us. We have some additional help this year,” he said. “I’m definitely not just a driver. I try to help, but Dad does a lot. He definitely is the main one. He’s the mechanic, car owner, crew chief, all of the above.

Shepherded by his father, three-time ASCS National Sprint Car Champion Tim Crawley, Landon was soon competing against other 7-year-olds and proved himself a natural. In just two years, he moved up into 600cc mini sprints. Two years after that, he moved into a full-size sprint car with a 305 engine in 2020. In his debut, he raced a field of 60 adult drivers, beating all but 11 of them. Anyone who might have chuckled at the modest youngster at the start of the race wasn’t so smug at the finish line – it’s hard to laugh at a guy when you’re eating that much of his dust. “There are a lot of kids in go-karts who started as young as I did, but once you get into the other classes, there’s not anybody that’s really young,” he said. “I just like going fast. The further along that I’ve come, I’ve really started to like the competition aspect of it. It’s a lot of fun even though you know that you aren’t going to win every race. I’m just looking for a challenge.” Also in 2020, Crawley dabbled in the more powerful 360 sprint car, a model he’d move into full-time last year landing multiple top-five and top-10 finishes. He also came in second in the American Car Series Mid-South Region points series, a whisker away from winning it all. “I had a pretty high chance of winning [ASCS Mid-South points] until the last race,” he said. “I ended up wrecking. I

“Both my parents have been supportive the whole time. My mom, Lora, was kind of hesitant about it, but she’s gotten used to it over time. I don’t think she’s as worried about me anymore. They’ve definitely helped me out a lot.” Landon Crawley Racing is also a brand, as one visit to the young racer’s website attests. There, you can see where he’ll be racing next, check out his roster of sponsors, link to video clips and social media, and even pick up some LCR branded merchandise. Marketing himself to sponsors has been another aspect of the racing game he’s had to learn, given the expense of his chosen sports. “We have had to market ourselves quite a bit, and luckily we’ve gathered some pretty good sponsors that have helped me out a lot. Actually, ‘a lot’ is really an understatement for what they’ve done,” Crawley said. “We couldn’t really race without them.” As for the future, Crawley said he plans to continue rising through the various classifications of racing, dreaming of running at the elite levels of the sport one day. “I know I can go pretty far in [racing],” he said. “One of my biggest goals is to make it to the World of Outlaws or NASCAR. Once you get that far, that’s about the peak of the mountain in the sport.”

March 2022 | 31

32 | 501 LIFE March 2022

A 501 LIFE Special Section

The best businesses are built on the vision of passionate people. Those businesses thrive because their talented staff is committed to hard work and quality service. Businesses that stand the test of time don’t do so because of luck. It comes from creativity, responding to customer’s needs and having an excellent reputation for Southern hospitality. In the pages that follow, we feature outstanding entrepreneurs, businesses and loyal employees that are the cornerstone of their success. The hard work and dedication of people is highlighted in this section of 501 WORKS.

g e t h o m e e n t e r t a i n m e n t that d o e s n ’t h a v e t o s t ay a t h o m e . s t re a m i n g t v | c l o u d d v r | l i v e s p o r t s | l o c a l c h a n n e l s | m u c h m o re Introducing ConwayCorpTV – delivering everything you love to watch – movies, shows, live sports, Wampus Cat coverage and more – on your TVs and mobile devices. No boxes. No cables. No limits. Make the switch today.


Powering Conway since 1929.


(501) 450-6000



March 2022 | 33

When someone is going through the home buying and selling process, they need to know they have someone in their corner who will "work" for them. I have built my career on providing top-notch customer service beyond purchasing and selling properties. I am committed to building long-lasting relationships with my clients. My proven, successful marketing plan gives my clients maximum exposure to buyers often resulting in above asking price offers. I am a proud business owner of the Karen Ferguson Team at RE/MAX Elite, a team of dedicated and trusted agents helping clients reach their real estate goals. During my real estate career, my biggest accomplishment was being awarded Rookie of the Year by the Faulkner County Board of Realtors my first year in real estate. The very next year, I doubled my sales to more than 11M. But the most crucial part is that I was able to do that while providing more than 400 hours of community service work. I sincerely have a passion for helping people. I believe in having a servant's heart. I volunteer at my church and The Ministry Center for the homeless, The Harbor Home for Women, and Hope Village for the homeless and veterans. Our team partnered with Conway Regional Hospital to "Feed the Nurses" for National Nurses week and partnered with Verona Italian Restaurant on the "Cook 4 Conway" project, which fed the homeless and others in the community. I also believe being successful means being a leader in your community. I am a Conway Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, a Hope Village Steering Committee Member, and I serve on the Board of Directors for Conway Juniors Volleyball Club and The Harbor Home for Women. With over 25 years of professional and educational experience in sales and marketing, I utilize exceptional customer service, communication and problem solving skills to ensure successful transactions for my clients. In addition, I pride myself on being a tech-savvy, market research-driven Realtor with solid marketing and negotiation skills, enabling me to deliver maximum value and exceed my client’s expectations. If you choose the Karen Ferguson Team, I make it my mission to educate you on the real estate process and utilize my expertise to exceed your real estate goals. At the same time, I'll provide you with an enjoyable, fulfilling, and memorable experience as you transition into the next phase of your life. Contact me today at 501.697.0042 or

My commitment to my customers, as well as to my community, is what sets me apart in today's vast world of real estate. - Karen Ferguson

2450 N Donaghey Ave, Conway, AR • • 501.697.0042

Throughout my years in the banking industry, I have been a teller, customer service manager, Vilonia Branch Manager and now I work in business development for Centennial Bank. I am so proud of our work and the great people I work with here at Centennial. I have scores of wonderful customers, many of whom have become my friends over the years. The interactions I have with those customers and my team are my absolute favorite part of what I do. I am particularly proud of the accomplishment that I worked my way up from a teller position to Branch Manager in Vilonia. It was such a rewarding moment to be asked to manage the branch in my hometown. Hopefully, I have helped build this branch into a successful location that will serve our community for many, many years. In the banking and finance industry, some days are challenging. However, I love helping people, which I can do every day. The customer service skills I have acquired at Centennial Bank are the biggest keys to my success here. My banking career has definitely taught me patience, discipline and empathy. The first piece of advice I would give any person entering this field is simply working hard. You should always give 100%! Kindness is another key. You will always go further if you treat people the way you want to be treated — no matter who they are! When I think back on my journey in banking, I have so many people I would thank for getting me where I am. I must begin with Louis Stell, who hired me straight out of high school to work at First State Bank. Also, G.L. Lieblong was my first boss there and always encouraged me. My friends in banking, Cynthia Frost and Greg Sanson, gave me opportunities that I will never forget. And lastly, I want to mention my mentor, Shelia Pruett. For the 50 years we have worked together, she has always encouraged me professionally and personally. If I can help you in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me today at or 501.808.6000.

I am pleased to be part of Centennial Bank, which ranked #1 on the Forbes 2022 'Best Banks in America' list for the third time. - Susan Cole

1040 Main St., Vilonia • March 2022 | 35

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C O N N EC T I O NS A R E Everything. Arkansans understand the value of community – caring for others is just our way of life. That’s why the First Security team is so proud to serve alongside volunteers, helpers and heroes throughout the state. From education programs and cereal drives to services that help small businesses thrive, we’re all about community support. Thank you for being part of it all.

Member FDIC

Before joining Ashley's Finds, Robin Lewis had worked for 32 years in administrative, accounting, and benefits departments in the corporate world. She retired from Acxiom Corporation in 2015. Then, for more than two years, she owned an estate sale business serving families in Faulkner County. Currently, Robin works at Greenbrier Public Schools and thoroughly enjoys the atmosphere, which is very different from her corporate past. "I believe I made a significant impact during my years at Acxiom, as I was fortunate to be involved in many important projects," Robin said. "In my current season of work-life, I don't have to worry about climbing any corporate ladders. Instead, I can enjoy each day as it comes and look for ways to be a blessing to at least one person." A decade ago, she met Ashley Norris, owner of Ashley's Finds, during the third Antique Alley Arkansas Antique Show. "Our crowd doubled our normal attendance, and I was overwhelmed," Ashley said. "Robin was visiting the show and noticed I needed help and dropped everything to help me. Over ten years and 55 shows later, Robin still saves the day, powers through multiple nights of little to no sleep, and helps keep my anxiety down as the shows have grown." Robin believes the key to success is a strong work ethic, integrity, taking responsibility, having a good attitude and showing up to work on time. She is well organized and remains calm in stressful situations. "I believe my diversified work experiences help me tremendously with any task that I need to do with the vintage shows." She also appreciates antiques and enjoys meeting customers at the shows. "I have always enjoyed antique and vintage anything!" Robin said. "History is so fascinating to me. Especially vintage and architectural décor. What fun it is to enjoy the work you do and always be learning something new! Like her customers, Robin enjoys hearing the backstories of antiques. She loves it when items are worth more than initially thought and when a creative person repurposes an object into something useful. "People in the antique and vintage world have special and unique qualities that are wonderful to experience!" she said. "I feel so blessed to have worked in this industry for the last ten years and to be surrounded by great co-workers."

What fun it is to enjoy the work you do and always be learning something new! - Robin Lewis

March 2022 | 39

Three years ago, Heather Sutterfield decided to start a new career and considers it one of the best decisions she ever made. At that time, her uncle, Brazos Roberts, convinced her to work for him in the family business, Roberts Real Estate, and last year, she grossed over $7.3 million in sales volume. "I love my job for several reasons," Heather said. "I get to help other people, and I enjoy working and talking with the public. I am passionate about working with first-time home buyers and giving them the key to their new home on closing day. "For sellers, I love the whole process of getting a listing, hiring a photographer, marketing their home, and then selling it," she said. "I love to make my clients happy! My job is very rewarding, and I wouldn't change it for anything!" Heather has been working since she was 14. To save for her first car, she worked as a Sonic carhop on roller skates in Greenbrier. The teen loved interacting with customers but wasn't the best at slowing down at their windows with a tray of food and drinks. On her journey to becoming a REALTOR®, she was a licensed massage therapist, a dental assistant, and also sold her paintings. She eventually made her way into property management. "I was a leasing agent for three years and also an assistant manager of an apartment complex before I went into real estate, and that prepped me for becoming the REALTOR® that I am today,” Heather said. “Marketing my clients’ houses is one of my favorite things to do.” She believes real estate is in her blood. Her grandparents, Edward and Martha Roberts, built many houses and subdivisions in Greenbrier. "I grew up around new construction homes and have so many memories of playing in the sand with a water hose and building forts out of the lumber as a child,” she recalled. "When I became a teenager and would come around the construction site, my grandma would hand me a paintbrush and put me to work on the trim. So, I've always had an interest in watching houses be built and seeing the transformation of the finished product." As a member of both the Conway and Greenbrier Chambers of Commerce, Heather stays abreast of housing and market trends in the region. To contact Heather today, call 501.358.9503 or email

I'm looking forward to doing a lot more work this year, and I'm excited about what the future has in store! - Heather Sutterfield

170 S. Broadview St., Greenbrier • 40 | 501 LIFE March 2022

March 2022 | 41


y wife and I met the most interesting and colorful lady who personifies how the "501 workforce" has the unique ability to reach all avenues of life — from nutrition to physical therapy, and lots in between! Talon Boyd, a doctor of physical therapy, is a perfect example of someone who shows compassion towards her patients and expresses a passion for helping each patient live as independently as possible. Boyd works at Conway Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. To help patients holistically, she uses her knowledge, resources, and genuine appreciation for life. "Anything that helps me learn a skill to promote good therapy, whether through gardening or getting patients outside, is a desire that I cherish," she said. Boyd and her husband, Phillip, a law enforcement officer at the University of Central Arkansas, have high goals. They want to promote local farmers, their crops, and local meat production. And one day, they desire to own a homestead business and teach the art of growing local produce, farming dairy cows for fresh milk, and raising chickens for eggs. She also manages two gardens at the Rehab Hospital. One is a floral therapeutic garden, and the other is a stand-alone herb garden, with everything from basil to parsley. The herb boxes are positioned outside patients' windows so they can observe them during a stay in rehab. Did I mention that she is a Certified Master Gardener? Having come from a family where her mother and grandmother were avid gardeners, she learned at an early age the value of good digestion, gut health, natural fermentation, and that quality is far more valuable than quantity in food preparation. Combining physical therapy with teaching helpful hints in cooking and gardening has always been "natural" for her. In this Entertaining feature, Boyd shares some of her favorite recipes: focaccia bread, sourdough bread, and a recipe that I found most intriguing — chocolate sourdough bread and bread starters. "Getting people outside is one of the greatest medicines," she said. So, with a slice of chocolate sourdough bread in hand, I think I'll go outside for a refreshing, medicinal walk!

Talon Boyd is

See pages 44 and 45 for these recipes


42 | 501 LIFE March 2022

Photos by Mike Kemp


sourdough loaf 2/3 cup active leaven (sourdough starter)* 1/3 cup bread flour 1/3 cup filtered water 1 tbsp sourdough starter 1 ¾ cup warm filtered water 2 ½ cups bread flour (hard red winter wheat or hard red spring wheat) 2 tsp sea salt ¼ cup rice flour

MAKE LEAVEN | Feed sourdough starter by mixing the ingredients in a clean jar to make a leaven. Leave the jar on the counter for 8-12 hours. MIX DOUGH | After the leaven has doubled in size and has bubbles dispersed throughout, mix the water, active leaven, and bread flour in a large mixing bowl. Allow the dough to rest on the counter for 1-2 hours in the bowl covered with a lid or damp tea towel. ADD SALT | Sprinkle the salt over the dough. With wet hands, press the salt into the dough using your fingertips. Let the dough rest on the counter in a covered bowl for 10 minutes. STRETCH AND FOLD | With the dough in the bowl, stretch the dough up and fold the dough over itself. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. Complete a total of 4 stretch and folds. Allow the dough to rest in the covered bowl for 30 minutes and complete 3 more sets of stretch and folds with 30-minute rest intervals between each set. BULK FERMENT | Allow the dough to rest in the covered bowl on the counter for 6-12 hours to ferment. The dough will double in size and become bubbly. SHAPE | Pull the dough out of the bowl and onto the counter. Stretch the dough out into a large rectangle on the counter. Be careful not to tear it. Fold the dough over into thirds horizontally and again into thirds vertically. Turn the dough over on the counter. With your wrists together, use the counter top to push and pull the dough back and forth while rotating (repeating 10 times) after each push and pull to create tension in the dough and shape it into a round ball. Once tension has been created on the surface of the dough, gently rub rice flour on the surface. Sprinkle a banneton or tea towel-lined bowl with rice flour and place your dough upside down into the container. PROOF | Cover the banneton or bowl and place in the refrigerator for 6-18 hours to proof.

44 | 501 LIFE March 2022

OVEN | When ready to bake, turn on your oven to 450° and place your dutch oven and lid into the oven to heat up for 30 minutes. SCORE | After 30 minutes of the dutch oven heating, pull your proofed dough from the fridge and turn the dough over onto the counter on a piece of parchment paper. Rub rice flour on the dough (this will emphasize the design scored into the dough). With a blade or lame, score the dough to make a design to allow the dough to expand when cooking in the oven and prevent cracking. LOAD DUTCH OVEN | Place your dough in the dutch oven for 25 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and lower the temperature to 425° for 20 minutes. COOL | Remove the dough from the dutch oven and place on a cooling rack for 2 hours to cool.


sourdough loaf 2/3 cup active leaven (sourdough starter)* 1/3 cup bread flour 1/3 cup filtered water 1 tbsp sourdough starter 1 1/4 cups warm filtered water 2 1/2 cups kamut or bread flour (hard red winter wheat or hard red spring wheat) ¼ cup sugar 1/2 cups dutched cocoa powder 1 tbsp sea salt ½ cup baking chocolate 1/4 cup rice flour

Instructions continue on next page. *Sourdough starter may be purchased online in dehydrated or active (wet) form or gifted from someone who has a starter.

MAKE LEAVEN | Feed sourdough starter by mixing the ingredients in a clean jar to make a leaven. Leave the jar on the counter for 8-12 hours. MIX DOUGH | After the leaven has doubled in size

and has bubbles dispersed throughout, mix the water, active leaven, bread flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Pour the contents of the bowl onto the counter and knead the dough for 5 -10 minutes until smooth.

BULK FERMENT | Allow the dough to rest in a bowl on the counter for 6-12 hours and cover it with a lid or damp tea towel to ferment. The dough will double in size and become bubbly. SHAPE | Pull the dough out of the bowl and onto the counter. Stretch the dough out into a large rectangle on the counter. Be careful not to tear it. Press chocolate into the middle third of the dough. Fold the left third of dough over the chocolate and apply more chocolate on top of the left folded third. Fold the right third of the dough over the left third and apply more chocolate. Fold the dough vertically into thirds and turn the dough upside down on the counter. With your wrists together, use the counter top to push and pull the dough back and forth while rotating (repeating 10 times) after each push and pull to create tension in the dough and shape it into a round ball. Once tension has been created on the surface of the dough, gently rub rice flour on the surface. Sprinkle a banneton or tea towel-lined bowl with rice flour and place your dough upside down into the container. For the remainder of this recipe's instructions, refer back to Traditional Sourdough Loaf on left and follow steps for Proof, Oven, Score, Load and Cool.

Sourdough Focaccia

2/3 cup active leaven (sourdough starter)* 1/3 cup bread flour 1/3 cup filtered water 1 Tbsp sourdough starter 1 1/2 cups warm filtered water 2 1/2 cups bread flour (hard red winter wheat or hard red spring wheat) 2 tbsp honey 2 tsp sea salt ¼ cup olive oil Herbs and vegetables (decoration)

MAKE LEAVEN | Feed sourdough starter by mixing the following ingredients in a clean jar to make a leaven. Leave the jar on the counter for 8-12 hours. MIX DOUGH & BULK FERMENT| After the leaven has doubled in size and has bubbles dispersed throughout, mix the water, active leaven, bread flour, honey, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Allow the dough to rest on the counter for 8-12 hours in the bowl covered with a lid or damp tea towel. Allow the dough to rest in the covered bowl on the counter for 6-12 hours to ferment. The dough will double in size and become bubbly. SPREAD DOUGH | Generously pour olive oil into a large baking dish and spread the oil thoroughly. Pour the dough out of the bowl into the baking dish. Apply olive oil to the top of the dough and stretch the dough to cover the surface of the baking dish. PROOF | Allow the dough to rest on the countertop while covered and finish rising for 1-2 hours. OVEN | Turn the oven to 425°. GARNISH | Decorate the dough with fresh herbs and vegetables as preferred. BAKE | Place the dough in the oven for 30 minutes.

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March 2022 | 45

Matt Wilcox of First Security Bank (from left), Faulkner County Player of the Year Cooper Wilcox of Greenbrier High School, Jason Smith of American Safeguard Insurance and Coach Nathan Brown of the University of Central Arkansas.

Gridiron work rewarded

Faulkner County Player of the Year named at awards banquet H

Photo and story by David Grimes

erschel Hall in Greenbrier was the setting for the 2021 Faulkner County Player of the Year Award ceremony held Feb. 10. In its third year, the award is sponsored by American Safeguard Insurance and First Security Bank. During the regular season, a weekly winner was chosen from one of the five football-playing schools in Faulkner County. At the end of the season, coaches from each school nominated a player from their squad they felt was most deserving. Each school had two members on the selection committee. Fan voting, via social media, helped determine the overall winner, along with input from the 10-person panel. The player who garnered the majority of the 11 votes was deemed Faulkner County Player of the Year. Christina Munoz Madsen served as the emcee for the evening. The keynote speaker was Nathan Brown, head football coach for the University of Central Arkansas Bears. Brown congratulated each honoree and encouraged the players and the audience with a speech stressing service, respect, and sacrifice. He then announced the winner. Each of the five nominees received a plaque, while the winner received a championship belt and a customized pullover.

Cooper Wilcox of Greenbrier High School was selected as the 2021 Faulkner County Player of the Year. The senior quarterback completed 138 of his 234 passes for 2,449 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also rushed 130 times for 1,013 yards and 19 touchdowns. Overall, he racked up 3,462 total yards and 47 total touchdowns. A Greenbrier native, Wilcox was a three-year starter for the Panthers. As a senior, he led the Panthers to a perfect 10-0 regular season and the 5A West conference title. After defeating Maumelle in the opening round of the playoffs, Wilcox suffered an injury early in the Panthers’

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second-round victory over Wynne. But Greenbrier prevailed 14-0 to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2009. Despite a painful AC joint sprain, Wilcox played the following week against perennial power Pulaski Academy. The Panthers put up a valiant effort, but ultimately fell 38-28 to the eventual state champion Bruins. Greenbrier finished the year at 12-1. Wilcox was named to the 5A All-State team and has signed to play at the University of Central Oklahoma.

The other nominees were: Noah Gailey The junior quarterback from Mayflower completed 76 of 145 passes for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. He completed 52% of his passes, with a 16.5 yards/reception average. Gailey also ran 73 times for 348 yards and five touchdowns. He amassed 1,605 yards of total offense and 19 total touchdowns for the Eagles. Cooper Johnson A junior, he rarely left the field for Conway Christian. Playing multiple positions on offense, he had 108 carries for 535 yards and seven touchdowns to go with 14 catches for 82 receiving yards. He also threw for 11 completions, totaling 120 passing yards. On defense, Johnson amassed 38 tackles, had three interceptions, and forced two fumbles. Austin Myers The Vilonia senior signal caller completed 70% of his passes, going 232 of 332 passes for 3,291 yards and 45 touchdowns. The Eagles finished 9-2 and as the runner-up in the 5A West to Greenbrier, qualifying for the state playoffs. Myers was named to the 5A All-State team and has signed to play at the University of Central Arkansas. Donovyn Omolo Only a sophomore, the Conway lefty completed 60% of his passes, going 203 of 340 for 2,626 yards with 27 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 58 times for 294 yards and seven touchdowns. He accumulated 2,920 total yards and 34 total touchdowns. Omolo led the Wampus Cats to a 9-3 record and the Class 7A state semifinals.

March 2022 | 47

Photos by Donald Brazile

Rodney poses with Bogart, a female great horned owl. Bogart is a hard imprint which makes her non-releasable.


El Paso's Rodney Paul working to rehabilitate large birds By Judy Riley


hen Rodney Paul moved to Central Arkansas with his job in the aerospace industry, little did he know he would ultimately become a raptor rehabilitator, and a really good one at that.

birds relearn to fly. When baby birds arrive, he tries to keep them from imprinting on humans, even isolating them, so they will more easily acclimate to their natural habitat when released.

He began volunteering at the Little Rock Zoo and became fascinated with birds of prey, commonly called raptors. He either wanted to help injured birds or try his hand at falconry, a method of hunting small animals with trained raptors as hunting aides.

And he is quick to give credit to his volunteers. A short visit to the facility revealed an enthusiastic, energetic, and committed group of volunteers.

He knew he wouldn’t have time for both, so he bought a house and land in El Paso and began a nonprofit now called Raptor Rehabilitation of Central Arkansas, and is one of only six federally permitted raptor rehabilitators in Arkansas. Raptors are opportunistic carnivores, eating live or dead animals depending on availability, according to Paul. Common raptors in Arkansas are bald eagles, vultures, hawks, and owls. An often unnoticed but common raptor is the Mississippi kite. They are known to farmers as they follow farm equipment to search out insects. Katydids are their delicacies. Other raptors like vultures or hawks are commonly seen looking for a meal of mice, rabbits, or road kill. Paul has rehabilitated more than 2,000 birds since he began this business 20-plus years ago. He takes in sick, injured, or orphaned birds. They see injuries from road accidents, an occasional bird that is shot, or a baby bird lost from a nest. Their mission is to release as many birds as possible back into their natural habitat. The rehabilitation process can include surgery, bandaging, even reacclimating to their habitat. Paul erected a flight cage to help injured

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Tina Miller of El Paso is a registered nurse at Conway Regional Hospital but spends as much time as possible volunteering with Paul. Because of her nursing skills, she does much of the bandaging of damaged birds. She admits to being a parrot person but began assisting Paul about 10 years ago. Asked why, she said she has fallen in love with the birds, especially those who have become permanent residents. Larry Fliss, a retired accountant from Conway, got involved when studying to become a “Master Naturalist.” He volunteers several hours each week and is quick to do any chore assigned. The husband-wife team of Gary and Amber Morris can be seen every Saturday helping take care of the birds. Gary is a University of Arkansas-Little Rock graduate student in biology, and Amber is a UALR graduate working at UAMS. They admit to being “bird nerds” with 14 birds at home, seven parakeets, and seven pigeons. Hendrix, UCA, and UALR faculty refer students to Paul. He takes them through four days of training before trusting them to care for the birds. Birds who have lost their sight or were injured severely enough to lose their ability to fly, stay at the center and are

get f ra m e d at

Pa t t e r s o n E y e C a re LEFT: Zotay, a non-releasable Barred Owl was struck by a car. The owl is blind in both eyes. This type of owl is named for the barred streaks in its feathers. CENTER: This bald eagle has recovered from lead poisoning and a broken left ulna (a bone in the wing). RIGHT: A Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk is named is Hidalgo and came to rehab after breaking the left wing tip in the wild which is a permanent injury.

used in its outreach. Paul and his volunteers conduct programs for various groups to share knowledge about raptors’ value to the ecosystem. Every permanent resident bird has a name. The big horned owl is Bogart and is a favorite with school groups. Miller says they all have personalities and you get attached. One of the oldest residents is Phoenix, a Harris's hawk who is 26. Shaheen, an 8-year-old peregrine falcon, can fly up to 200 miles per hour and uses sheer force when attacking his prey. Currently, there are two bald eagles being rehabilitated. One has a wing injury; another a spinal injury. No state or federal funds are available to support their effort, so they depend on donations. Feeding the birds is costly; food for an eagle can cost $6 per day. For more information or to support the upkeep, contact the center through its website Raptor Rehab of Central Arkansas or Rodney Paul directly at Next time an eagle soars by in the sky, it just might be one rehabilitated with care and concern, right here in Central Arkansas!

2505 Donaghey, Ste 102 • Conway, AR


March 2022 | 49



t Central Baptist College (CBC), Dr. Kateryna Pitchford is teaching her students marketing and business skills in a real-world environment. Her classes are gaining applicable skills they never would have acquired through traditional textbook learning. “I like to learn myself and stay current,” Pitchford said. “Things change quickly, and textbooks become outdated fast. I like to keep my students up-to-date.”

of Business at CBC. She teaches International Business, Business Communications, Principles of Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Organizational Behavior, and other courses related to management and marketing disciplines. She also serves as president of the Arkansas College Teachers of Economics and Business.

Pitchford, an Associate Professor of Business at CBC, sees teaching as giving back to her adopted country and state, while also preparing her students for the workforce the best she can.

One of Pitchford’s frequent teaching methods is to connect theory with practice; she has invited numerous community and business leaders into her classroom. CEOs, presidents, and other leaders of top industries and corporations have spoken to her students. One example is Bret Carrol, CEO of Conway Corp, who was a guest speaker.

Pitchford was born and raised in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. She moved to the U.S. in 2004, and lived in Heber Springs. She now resides in Conway.

In her upper-level marketing classes, in particular, she forms partnerships with businesses to give students tangible business experience.

“I have had so many opportunities here in my new home, and I want to be able to give back,” she said. “I am always looking for opportunities to stay current and share the latest information with my students. I want my students to be ready to launch.”

“Being from Ukraine, when I moved to Heber Springs, I didn’t know a lot of people, so I joined Rotary,” she said. “I established a lot of really good connections, and I would start bringing successful business people into the classroom to share their stories with my students.”

Since 2015, Pitchford has been an Associate Professor

When business leaders discuss projects, it helps students Photo by Mike Kemp

Dr. Kateryna Pitchford (from left), Macy Jordan and Tom Brewley with Adventure Trail RV discuss a new a type of shower he invented and patented.

50 | 501 LIFE March 2022

gain business, marketing, and entrepreneurial experiences on topics like new project launches, social media marketing campaigns, and business expansions. “I wanted to give students different ways of learning through stories and actual experiences. I can talk about the organizational culture of a company, but if I can provide the CEO of the city’s utility company, he can tell how the company develops their mission and core values, and the students remember that better,” Pitchford explained. “It’s just good to put a face to a name, and help their networking experience,” she said. The majority of students do not have connections starting out, and they can use the connections made in the classroom for future internships. Besides Conway Corp., other companies that have collaborated with Pitchford include: Dave Creek Media, Adventure Trail RV Inc., Safety before Skill Co., the Emerge Surfacescapes, and Conway Ace Hardware Store. “The speakers bring business cards and make personal contact. Then when students need an internship, they can follow up and let that person know they are looking,” she said. Since CBC is a smaller school, there are usually 12 to 15 students in an upper-level class, which allows more personal connections to be made. In the spring of 2021, Pitchford served as a faculty advisor for CBC’s Christ Light team at the Arkansas Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition. The team included two accounting majors, Daniel Hopp and Colton Ryan, and they placed second in the small business division. They won a $10,000 award. -

“I was honored to be their faculty advisor,” Pitchford said. A recent project for her Principles of Marketing class includes a social media marketing campaign in partnership with the company, Adventure Trail RV, Inc. The campaign is for the launch of a new product called “The Overland Shower.” “Tom Brewley with Adventure Trail RV invented a type of shower and patented it,” Pitchford said. This semester, the marketing class will be divided into four teams with the goal of developing a social media marketing campaign for the shower. “We will run the ads and see how they do, based on feedback and data,” Pitchford said. Last fall, the class was divided into teams to create a company logo for Adventure Trail RV and introduce a new product to the market through a social media marketing campaign. The winning team received cash prizes. Pitchford, herself, has an impressive resumé. She completed her PHD in Leadership Studies from the University of Central Arkansas in 2015. She received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Harding University, and her Bachelor's of Business Administration and Labor Economics from Dnipropetrovsk National University in Ukraine.

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She is also an active member of her community, serving in the Conway Noon Rotary Club, and is chair of the Jeff Farris Leadership Academy. She keeps in touch with many former students, and has seen a number of them receive job offers from connections they made in her class, and then she sees them thrive in those careers. One former student told Pitchford something that made her extremely proud and confident that she is on the right track with her curriculum. “He told me that every day he uses something that I taught him, and that motivates me to keep going,” she said.

March 2022 | 51

present the

Stories by Levi Gilbert and Mark Oliver Photos by Mike Kemp

Meet the 2021-22 501 Basketball Team Alexa Booher (Clinton), Mya Bradley (Beebe), Karley Brown (Mayflower), Amira Calvin (Morrilton), Calle Citty (Harding Academy), Kaitlyn Crafton (Wonderview), Sara Daniel (Searcy), Carl Daughtery Jr. (Maumelle), Ben DeSalvo (Nemo Vista), Cooper Ellis (Conway Christian), Aubrey Evans (Bigelow), Jackson Fox (Harding Academy), Kylie Freeman (Nemo Vista), B.J. Gilliam (Mayflower), Russ Hensley (Clinton), Halen Hoelzeman (Sacred Heart), Jaylea Hooten (Heber Springs), Taylor Jo Hooten (Quitman), Faith Johnson (Cabot), Kalayna King (Conway), Trinity Kussmaul (Guy-Perkins), Dwayne Lockhart (Conway), Rylie Marshall (Beebe), Jacob Mathis (Greenbrier), Maggie Mooney (St. Joseph), Piper Peterson (Mount Vernon-Enola), Joseph Pinion (Morrilton), Luke Pope (St. Joseph), Emma Rehm (Greenbrier), Sam Reynolds (Wonderview), Caleb Ross (Maumelle Charter), Alyssa Rudolph (Perryville), Nic Shue (Quitman), Gavin Smothers (Mount Vernon-Enola), Cade Spinks (Perryville), Jasiah Stubbs (Guy-Perkins), Jake Swindell (Sacred Heart), Zach Thomas (Heber Springs), Madeleine Tipton (Vilonia) and Josie Williams (Conway Christian).

CALEB ROSS MAUMELLE CHARTER Winners of 17 games this season, Maumelle Charter surpassed last season’s wins, putting the Falcons in prime position to challenge for the Class 5-2A conference title. Leading the charge this season is senior point guard, Caleb Ross. Last year’s leading scorer, the AllConference and All-State honoree entered his final season on a mission to prove that last year’s first-round regional tournament exit was just a fluke. “Caleb is a one-of-a-kind player that coaches dream of,” Maumelle Charter head coach, Josh Sensabaugh, said. “He always goes the extra mile and does everything I ask of him. He pushes his teammates to be the best they can be, and he praises


52 | 501 LIFE March 2022

them through good times and bad.” With his ability to turn steals and turnovers into points, the speedy Ross has often been the difference maker in close contests this season. “Caleb’s best qualities on the court are his shooting, ball handling, and basketball IQ,” Sensabaugh said. “My expectations for him this year are to be a better leader on the court and in our locker room.” Even more impressive than his skills on the court are his abilities off the court. The senior is a friend to all, and he is proud to represent the community of Maumelle. “Caleb is polite, and he cares for others,” Sensabaugh said. “He’s willing to do his part in the classroom to help others grow and learn. He also gives back to the community by completing volunteer work in school each year.”

Forty players were nominated by their coaches and selected by the 501 staff, and the nominations were weighted equally between on-the-court and off-the-court attributes. Sponsors for this year’s team are Conway Regional Health System, First Security Bank, Moix Equipment & Toy Company and Velda Lueders of Coldwell Banker RPM Group. We featured half the players last month and half in this edition.

Kaitlyn Crafton (from left), Caleb Ross, Sam Reynolds

KAITLYN CRAFTON Wonderview When it comes to basketball, just about everything Wonderview touches has turned to gold this season. According to Lady Daredevils senior point guard, Kaitlyn Crafton, the team’s secret to success is simply great chemistry. “Despite just two seniors and three juniors, we have an experienced sophomore class,” Crafton said. “We’ve played tough conference games, went to overtime and pulled out some really good wins just by playing together as a team.” As one of two seniors this season, Crafton thrives as a leader on and off the court.


“If anything needs to be done on the court, or if a teammate needs to be encouraged or lifted up, Kaitlyn is going to be the one to do it,” Wonderview head coach, Alaina Ford, said. “Whether it’s a big shot that needs to be knocked down, getting a teammate the ball, or slowing down the offense and getting everyone settled, she is our go-to player to take the reins of the team.” In addition to basketball, the versatile senior plays softball, and runs track for Wonderview. In the classroom, Crafton leads through Beta Club, FBLA, FCA, FFA, and Student Council. “Kaitlyn is one of the hardest workers I have ever had the opportunity to coach,” Ford said. “She gives it her all, no matter what she may personally be going through, and pushes her teammates outside of their comfort zone. She is respectful and encouraging to teammates and is very coachable.”

SAM REYNOLDS Wonderview With a dominant start to the season, Wonderview has put last season’s state tournament exit in the rearview mirror and appears to be in cruise control heading toward the Class 1A state championship game. Led by All-State junior guard Sam Reynolds, the Daredevils have not only flexed their muscles against tough competition this season, but have also proven that they’re one of the hardest teams to beat in the 501. “My teammates and I never feel like we’re out of a game and keep trying to do everything we can do to be successful until the final buzzer,” Reynolds said. “We were down by 20 points in [two


games this season] and were fortunate to come back and win both of those in a tight game.” “Sam is an unbelievable teammate,” Wonderview head coach Jerod Squires said. “He’s a great scorer, passer and defensive player and makes those around him better. There’s not much that Sam can’t do on the court.” Although the team is driven to compete for a state championship this season, Reynolds puts equal importance on his evolution as a team leader. “My goals this season are to be the best player that I can be and to do whatever it takes to help my team win,” Reynolds said. “As a team, we want to be classy and represent our school and our savior, Jesus Christ, in everything that we do on and off the court.”


Alyssa Rudolph (from left), Cade Spinks, Taylor Jo Hooten, Nic Shue, Zach Thomas and Jaylea Hooten

ALYSSA RUDOLPH Perryville Alyssa Rudolph, a junior point guard for the Perryville Lady Mustangs, earned all-conference honors last year as a sophomore. This year, she set goals on personal improvements (for example, shooting 80% or higher from the free throw line), but her focus went beyond just the scoreboard. “My goal is to continue to be a humble player while trying to score more,” Rudolph said. “I would love to be remembered as someone who simply worked hard every chance I earned to be on the court. My favorite thing about basketball is what I learn from that sport and being able to do something I love for my God.” Rudolph is committed to her


teammates and the game of basketball. “Alyssa gives a 110% every day,” Perryville Head Coach Troy Denn said. “She leads by example, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to make the team better. She is our best defender, and she has great court vision. She is the definition of a team player.“Alyssa drives almost an hour every day to school, and she is never late to 7 a.m. practices.” Rudolph has previously won the 3A-5 district cross country meet and finished fifth in the 3A state tournament meet last year. She was also named all-state in cross country. She also plays softball for Perryville. Beyond athletics, Rudolph participates in Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; Beta Club; Future Business Leaders of America; Spanish Club; and chess club.

CADE SPINKS Perryville Perryville senior guard, Cade Spinks, has seen it all over the past 11 years. From struggles, to successes, the senior has made many memories that will last a lifetime. This season, Spinks has seen the Mustangs rise from adversity to find a silver lining on the court that will prepare the program for its bright future ahead. “Our team has dealt with multiple coaching changes, as well as teammates pursuing other things,” Spinks said. “We had a slow start this season, but since then, we started to come together and work as a team. I’ve enjoyed stepping on the floor with some of


54 | 501 LIFE March 2022

the guys I’ve played with since second grade and enjoying the last ride we’re having together. Most importantly, I hope that I can make the team better and show our younger guys things that will help them for the next few years.” “Cade is going to do whatever is best for the team to win,” Perryville head coach, Wesley Kuhn, said. “He is extremely unselfish and cares only about the team’s success.” Off the court, Spinks is involved with Beta Club at Perryville High School and plans to attend college after high school. “Cade is a tremendous young man and a Christian athlete who is liked by all,” Kuhn said. “You will always be treated with the utmost respect when he is around you. Cade will never put himself first, and he takes his role on the team personally. He is, overall, a great young man.”



Taylor Jo Hooten has helped continue a legacy of athletic success at Quitman. Entering her senior season as a three-year starter at point guard, Hooten helped lead Quitman to a 91-16 overall record the past three years, which also included a state championship appearance and two other 2A quarterfinals appearances. But for Hooten and the Lady Bulldogs, there’s still one goal left to accomplish. “Our goal this season is to become the 2A basketball state champions,” she said. “To do this, we plan to stick with what we know, work hard, and play as a team.” In addition to being named all-conference in basketball the last



three years, Hooten is also gifted in other sports. She is an allstate setter in volleyball, a three-time all-state selection in cross country, and an all-state selection in four events in track. She also plays catcher on the softball team. She’s also active in Future Farmers of America and Beta Club. “She’s an excellent 3-point shooter and also a great drive guard,” said Timothy Hooten, her father and head coach. “If you watch her play, you will see she is the floor general and has a great knowledge of the game. She’s also a tremendous defensive player as she has shut down the supposedly best guards in the conference. She was Quitman’s No. 1 3-point shooter last season and leading scorer. She also led the team in assists and steals and was second on the team in rebounding.”


Nic Shue has learned a lot in his final season with the Quitman CONGRATULATIONS FROM Bulldogs. From overcoming injuries, to becoming a better leader for his teammates, the senior point guard has turned each lesson into an opportunity for growth both on and off the court. “Nic is our most athletic player and our hardest worker,” Quitman head coach, Brandon Burgener, said. “That’s not often a combination coaches get lucky with. His motor never stops once the ball is tipped, and he walks off the floor knowing he gave everything he had. Nic’s competitive drive and natural leadership qualities push every one of his teammates to be their best every single day.”

Most importantly, Shue learned to cherish every moment with his basketball family this season. “I’ve enjoyed getting to play with my senior teammates this season,” Shue said. “The four of us have played together since the third grade, and I have grown up with all of them.” Off the court, Shue is involved with Beta Club, FBLA, FCCLA, and Gifted and Talented at Quitman High School. The senior runs cross country and track, and he gives back to his community through Sulphur Springs Missionary Baptist Church and volunteer work through Quitman Community Connection, PTO, Quitmanfest, and many other city events. “Nic is very active in the Quitman community,” Burgener said. “He volunteers at our annual Quitmanfest working stands and running in the 5K. He helps raise money for several school clubs and parent organizations.”

ZACH THOMAS Heber Springs Before his senior season began, Heber Springs senior forward, Zach Thomas, set three goals for himself. First, Thomas wanted to deliver the Panthers’ first 10-win season in years. Following last year’s winless season, the task appeared ambitious, but through hard work and dedication, Heber Springs got it done. “We haven’t had a very good record in the past two years,” Thomas said. “New head coach Jordan Riley] has done an outstanding job, and we’re looking forward to the future for these young guys.” Second, Thomas wanted to help create a positive environment for Heber Springs basketball to flourish for years to come.


“I try my best to keep a positive attitude at all times,” Thomas said. “I hope it’s something that I’m remembered for after I’m gone. We have a great community that provides for us. Being able to represent Heber Springs with a winning tradition is something we all expect.” Third, Thomas set a goal to become the best leader he could be for his teammates and his community. “I don’t want to be the guy that does everything,” Thomas said. “I just want to be the guy who is there for my team and can give them whatever they need the most.” “Zach bleeds Heber Springs red and is always willing to lend a helping hand to those around him,” Heber Springs head coach, Jordan Riley, said. “He is a great leader and is always willing to do whatever is needed for his team to be successful.”

JAYLEA HOOTEN Heber Springs For Jaylea Hooten, her junior season has been all about building bonds and improving on the court. “No win or conference championship could compare to the memories made in the weight room,” Hooten said. “The atmosphere created by the team is what helps us bond over the years. I love the team aspect of the sport. Being around a group of girls I’ve known my entire life and fueling our bond to become a family has been a fantastic experience.” Hooten gives the Panthers the best of both worlds in size and athleticism. “Jaylea was the bulk of the attention last year,” Heber Springs


Head Coach Spencer Gay said. “When she walks on the floor, you have to know where she is. Her athleticism and size demand so much attention from the other team. I expect Jaylea to step up and grow into the leader that I know she’s capable of being. She’s already come so far, and that’s more than exciting. But I know that Jaylea is going to transform her game. “Jaylea is an incredible athlete. She possesses incredible explosiveness to get past defenders. She has an unbelievable motor, allowing her to score in numerous ways. She can stretch the defense by stepping behind the arc, and she can take defenders off the dribble. She’s a matchup nightmare for opposing teams because of her abilities.” Hooten also competes in tennis and track for the Lady Panthers. She’s a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Renaissance Club.

EMMA REHM Greenbrier Emma Rehm first got into basketball all the way back in kindergarten doing Little Dribblers, and she never looked back. “I love the intensity and energy basketball has and the complete team aspect of it,” Rehm said. “I want to be remembered as a team player, hard worker, and a good teammate. I want to be fun to play with and watch.” Last year as a junior, Rehm helped lead the Greenbrier Lady Panthers to a 5A state tournament appearance. She led the Lady Panthers in scoring and assists and earned her second straight all-conference selection. “Emma is a hard-working student athlete that gives her best


in everything that she does,” Greenbrier Head Coach Payton Edmondson said. “This year, she’s our team captain. She can score at all three levels. She plays hard and gets others involved. She continues to be one of our leading scorers, takes on more defensive responsibility, and has been a leader on and off the floor.” Rehm is a member of Beta Club at Greenbrier High School. She’s also a multi-sport athlete for the Lady Panthers, playing soccer in addition to basketball. She also picked up tennis in her senior year. She has committed to play soccer at Central Arkansas. “Being a multi-sport athlete has been a disadvantage at times because I’m not getting to completely focus on one sport as others do,” Rehm said. “Although I believe it has made me a better basketball player at the same time.”

JACOB MATHIS Greenbrier It has been a season of peaks and valleys for Greenbrier. After a promising 8-0 start to the season, the Panthers have faced adversity, resulting in only a handful of wins. With the postseason on the horizon, the Panthers know it only takes a spark to help the team get hot when it matters the most. Jacob Mathis leads the Panthers on the court this season. A strong motivator through his play, the senior guard has earned the confidence of his coaches and teammates down the stretch. “Jacob is one of the better leaders that I have coached,” Greenbrier head coach, Mike Simmons, said. “He leads by


example with hard work and effort and always gives 100%. He doesn’t miss school or practices, and his teammates respect him.” Mathis has improved with each game this season. From his quickness, to his ability to frequently block shots and steal the basketball, Mathis is well-known for giving opponents fits, defensively. “Jacob was a starter last year and has the potential to be our best defensive player and rebounder this year,” Greenbrier head coach, Mike Simmons, said. “His ball handling has improved, and he will be one of our better drivers on offense.” Off the court, Mathis earned All-State honors at wide receiver and tight end for Panthers football this season, and he maintains a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. After high school, Mathis committed to play football at Hendrix College in Conway.

AMIRA CALVIN Morrilton Senior forward Amira Calvin is a source of constant encouragement for the Lady Devil Dogs. “Amira is a great teammate on and off the court,” Morrilton Head Coach Carin McNabb said. “She plays hard and does her best daily. She’s a super sweet kid that everyone likes. She makes people laugh and smile with her great personality. Selfless and humble.” The Morrilton Lady Devil Dogs finished the regular season 18-5 and placed second in the 4A-4 conference. The secondplace finish earned them a first-round bye in the 4A-4 district tournament and an automatic bid to the 4A North regional tournament.


C&C McNabb Designs

The team finished in the 4A state semifinals a year ago. Calvin contributed as a scout team player on last year’s squad. “She was a great scout team player and gave energy during all our games,” McNabb said. “My expectation for Amira this year is that she is ready to give it her all when she is called upon to do so.” With the goal of making a return trip to the state tournament within reach, Calvin is focused on soaking in every last moment of her senior season. “I’m cherishing every moment because you never know when it’s about to be over,” Calvin said. “I’m trying to get better with each and every practice and game. I want be remembered as that teammate who was a nice person and had a great attitude. [I’m thankful to the] Lady Devil Dog basketball program for making me everything I am.”

JOSEPH PINION Morrilton After a three-point loss in last year’s Class 4A title game, the Morrilton CONGRATULATIONS FROM Devil Dogs have taken the Class 4-4A conference by storm this season. They charge into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the 501. Senior shooting guard, Joseph Pinion, has been a key factor in the team’s success this season. “Joe is a great leader with a very high basketball IQ and a very nice feel for the game,” Morrilton head coach, Keith Zackery, said. “He works at his game tirelessly, showing teammates he’s a guy that doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks it, too.”

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A versatile leader, the future Arkansas Razorback is known for setting the tempo early and taking control of games late. “Joseph leads by example and has earned the respect of his teammates,” Zackery said. “When he speaks, they listen. He is an unselfish person who wants to see everyone flourish. Every night, I expect him to embrace the pillars in which we have tried to build our program on. I know he will do just that.” Pinion’s leadership abilities go beyond the basketball court. “Joe is an academically sound honor roll student,” Zackery said. “Several of his teachers have spoken with me about his politeness and his ability to go the extra mile helping others. I’ve even seen him helping his teammates with math in the locker room. He is a well-mannered, respectful young man that excels in various facets of his life.”


Emma Rehm (from left), Jacob Mathis, Amira Calvin, Joseph Pinion, Mya Bradley, Rylie Marshall

MYA BRADLEY Beebe Last season, the Beebe Lady Badgers punched a ticket to the 5A state tournament. Mya Bradley averaged 12 points per game that season for Beebe. “She was a big part of helping us get to the state tournament last year,” Beebe Head Coach Greg Richey said. “Mya was our second leading scorer last year, and we have looked to her to carry that load again. She has capabilities of being a very good defensive player and has been called on to step up more as a defender this year. “Mya is an excellent shooter from 3-point range and also very good penetrator to the basket. She is a good teammate on the floor and wants to see everyone do well. She is very vocal in


practice, and she is a good leader to all the underclassmen. She is good at pointing out things to other players and helping them to understand.” This year as a senior, Bradley’s focus has been on leaving a legacy as the consummate teammate. “I want to be remembered for being a good teammate and team player,” Bradley said. “And for building up my team. My favorite basketball memories include all the lifelong friendships I have made through my years of playing.” Bradley also runs track for Beebe and set the conference high jump record last year. She earned all-conference and all-state in track as a junior. She’s a member of Health Occupations Students of America, Future Business Leaders of America, and National Honors Society.

RYLIE MARSHALL Beebe In order to be the best, you have to beat the best, and Beebe is ready to turn heads when it matters the most. Leading the way for the Badgers this season is senior point guard, Rylie Marshall. An All-State and two-time All-Conference honoree, Marshall owns Beebe’s single-game scoring record with 43 points, and he has become known for his ability to drain three-pointers from anywhere on the floor. “Last season, Rylie led the team in scoring, defended well, and put us in great positions to win games,” Beebe head coach, Roger Franks, said. “This season, we expect Rylie to be a great leader, to make his teammates better, and to be a complete player in


rebounding, scoring, passing, and defending.” “Rylie has never met a shot he didn’t like,” Beebe play-by-play announcer, Shane Smith, said. “He’s not afraid to take a 25-foot shot, and he’s not afraid to share the ball with his teammates.” For Marshall, leaving a lasting impact on his Beebe community is just as important as his legacy on the basketball court. “Rylie always positively represents Beebe everywhere he goes,” Franks said. “He is heavily involved in our peewee basketball program and spends extra time with his teammates to improve their game.” After high school, Marshall will continue his basketball career at Harding University in Searcy. “Rylie is a great shooter and defender,” Franks said. “He sees the floor very well and gets his teammates involved. He works hard, is always attentive, and holds others accountable.”


Carl Daughtery, Jr. (from left), Sara Daniel, Kalayna King, Dwayne Lockhart, Faith Johnson and Madeleine Tipton

CARL DAUGHTERY, JR. Maumelle Maumelle senior guard, Carl Daughtery, Jr., remembers the lights. He remembers the crowd, and he remembers the sounds of last year’s Class 5A state championship game in Hot Springs. Most importantly, he remembers watching his opponent capture the Class 5A state championship crown. This year, he’s ready to be the one celebrating, and he won’t let anything stop him and his teammates from holding up the trophy. This season, Maumelle doesn’t just win games, they dominate, and with Daughtery’s ability to drop 30 points on any given night, the Hornets are focused on finishing each game with no regrets.


“Carl’s best qualities on the court are his ability to shoot from anywhere on the court, his rebounding, and his high basketball IQ,” Maumelle head coach, Michael Shook, said. “He’s a hard worker and a coachable leader with high character. He was our leading scorer last year and was a big help with rebounding and leadership as a starter. This season, we’ve expected him to help us have a successful season by being a leader, a scorer, and playing great team defense.” Daughtery impresses off the court, too. In his free time, the senior loves giving back to the Maumelle community and setting an example for the next generation of Hornets. “Carl gives back to the community by feeding the homeless, helping out at local retirement homes, reading books to elementary students, and helping run basketball camps,” Shook said. “He is a helpful leader and a great student.”

SARA DANIEL Searcy It’s been a challenging sophomore season in the wins column for Sara Daniel, but she’s staying positive for her Searcy Lady Lion teammates. “The relationships I make with my coaches and teammates are my favorite thing about basketball,” Daniel said. “I have met so many great people through basketball. I want to be someone that my teammates and coach can count on during games.” The Searcy Lady Lions are working to build a program of success, and Daniel is the type of underclassmen that they can build around and upon. “Sara is kind, hardworking and focused,” Searcy Head Coach


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Kim Sitzmann said. “Sara plays with such tenacity. She is very determined and does it all to help lead her team. Sara is very unselfish. She also doesn't mind doing the grunt work. She is uplifting to her teammates as well. “For a sophomore, she is already doing a great job. We expect her to continue to put the team above herself, maintain her efforts of doing it all on both ends of the court and to have fun.” Daniel is a multi-sport athlete for Searcy. In addition to basketball, she is active in soccer, volleyball and cross country for the Lady Lions. She is also involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and attends First United Methodist Church in Searcy. Daniel is just as committed in the classroom. “Sara is kind to everyone, attends class and makes great grades,” Sitzmann said. “She is currently holding a 4.0 GPA.”

KALAYNA KING Conway On a team that is stocked with an incredible amount of depth and a wide mix of basketball talents, senior Kalayna King fills in an invaluable role on the nationally ranked Conway Lady Cats. “Kalayna does all the things on the court that nobody wants to do,” Conway Head Coach Ashley Hutchcraft said. “She gets every hustle play, she is one of our best rebounders, she has a high basketball IQ, she is a vocal leader, and her energy and effort are contagious. “Kalayna is a star at her role on our team. She put the team first.



If it requires her to guard the best player or sit on the bench, she is willing to do whatever for our team to be successful. She is a leader on and off the floor for us.” King earned 6A Central all-conference honors as a junior. The Lady Cats have lost in three consecutive 6A semifinals, and King and her teammates are looking to close the deal in March. “My personal goals for the season include being one of the leading rebounders for my team, bringing energy on the defensive end, and contributing on offense,” King said. “Our team goals and expectations are to go undefeated in conference and win a state championship. We will achieve these goals by pushing each other in practice every day and not letting adversity set us back.” King is involved in Caring Cats and the Chamber Choir at Conway High School.


Dwayne Lockhart has been a consistent and reliable presence for CONGRATULATIONS FROM the Conway Wampus Cats during a two-year run that has been as chaotic as it could get because of COVID-19. “Dwayne is an unselfish teammate,” Conway Head Coach Salty Longing said. “He sets the tone in practice through his tireless work ethic and his positive leadership. His sophomore year, during our championship run, Dwayne played very little but was the biggest supporter of his teammates. Now, he’s the one playing and supporting the kids that look up to him.” Lockhart, a senior point guard for Conway, is a two-year starter for the Wampus Cats.

“Dwayne is a great leader on the floor,” Longing said. “He is a gym rat. He loves the process. Open gyms, skill development, film work, weight room — he loves it all. His work ethic rubs off on his teammates. He can score the ball but also create for his teammates. “Dwayne is a great kid. Respectful, well-spoken, selfless, and the consummate teammate. His teammates have the utmost respect for him.” Lockhart took over the starting point guard role for the Wampus Cats last season as a junior and averaged eight points and four assists per game. He was the second leading scorer and led the team in assists. In his senior season, Lockhart has led the Wampus Cats in scoring and assists. Lockhart is an active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Conway High School and volunteers his time coaching his younger brother’s AAU team.

FAITH JOHNSON Cabot A two-point, first-round exit in last year’s Class 6A state tournament has served as Cabot’s motivation for greatness this season. In the highly competitive Class 6A Central conference, Cabot senior guard, Faith Johnson, understands the secret to success is working harder than your opponent. “Faith’s work ethic is exceptional as she gives 100% every single day,” Cabot head coach, Jay Cook, said. “She is internally driven to be the best she can be. The energy she brings to every practice and game is unmatched, while her passion and love for the game carries over to her teammates.”


As the Lady Panthers’ lone senior this season, Johnson leads by example, and she is all in at her last shot for a state championship ring. “Faith leaves both people and places better than she found them,” Cook said. “The way in which she conducts herself off the court is nothing short of amazing. The integrity she possesses and the positive example she sets demands the respect of everyone around her.” Off the court, Johnson gives back to her Panther community through AP Academy, Key Club, National Honor Society, and Spanish Club at Cabot High School. “Faith is the epitome of the word selfless,” Cook said. “She sets a great example for all of her classmates by working diligently to maintain a 4.1 GPA, while being involved in multiple extracurricular activities. She sets high expectations for herself and pushes her classmates to do the same.”

MADELEINE TIPTON Vilonia A semifinalist in the Class 5A state tournament a year ago, Vilonia eyes its return to the postseason with unfinished business. Led by senior forward, Madeleine Tipton, the Lady Eagles are faster and stronger than last year’s 24-win team and realize that reaching the state championship game will require everyone’s best effort. “Madeleine constantly works on her game and pushes our younger athletes to get better,” Vilonia head coach, Jeremy Simon, said. “From bringing her teammates to 6:30 a.m. practices, to the countless hours she has put in working on her shot, her game has improved tremendously.”


With great court vision and quickness in scoring, Tipton has been turning heads all season. “Madeleine’s ability to find the open player, whether on a drive and kick, or a dump to the post, has been an eye-opener,” Simon said. The road to the finals isn’t easy, but the Lady Eagles are confident they have the right pieces in place to accomplish their goal. “We have high expectations for Madeleine this season,” Vilonia head coach, Jeremy Simon, said. “I look for her to have a breakout season and to be a force in the 5A West. If we are going to have a successful season, we need her at her best. She has put in the work. She has the ability to take over a game, and when she is on top of her game, she will make everyone else around her better.”


“Be Still and Know” Valari and Allen Bristol create home of tranquility By Stefanie Brazile


his time last year, Valari and Allen Bristol broke ground on their "Be still and know" home in Van Buren County. Valari affectionately refers to their vacation home this way because it's tranquil. "We wanted something where we could get away and sit back and relax," she said. "The home has a gorgeous view. It's a little glimpse of God's handiwork, and I call it my 'Be still and know' home based on my favorite verse from Psalm 46:10." The couple has lived in Greenbrier for many years, and Allen runs his business, Bristol Fabrication, Inc., from shops on the property. He is also a deacon at Bethlehem Baptist Church, and Valari is the treasurer. She is also a sales manager/mortgage loan officer for Bank of England

Photos by Mike Kemp

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Mortgage in the Conway Branch. They have two adult sons who live out of state. The couple enjoys interacting with people during the workweek but decided they needed a place to escape on the weekends. After months of searching, they found an acre on an overlook where they could see a mountain and three rivers. Construction started in March 2021 and was completed in November because of supply delays. A general contractor built the home, and Allen put his welding and fabrication skills to work to finish the trim, make a unique bed, and the legs/framework of a one-of-a-kind dining table. A cottage-style, 1,400-square foot home, it has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The vaulted living room

ceiling and tall windows allow them to enjoy the natural setting. "It's a gorgeous view. As we talk, I'm watching an eagle fly by," Valari said. She enjoys looking beyond the cozy fireplace through the large windows. Allen trimmed out the fireplace in a shiplap style and made the mantle. "For me, it's been really nice," she said. "My husband hasn't gotten to relax yet because he is still finishing some projects." He will add decks and an outdoor space and has already created a custom fire pit. The Bristol's "Be still and know" home is decorated in a coastal style, with lots of Pure White and Repose Gray (Sherwin Williams' colors). Valari added Chinese Porcelain Blue (PPG Paints) in the kitchen on the bottom cabinets. The floating shelves, range hood, and a sliding barn door are made of alder wood and stained mocha brown. The backsplash is tin ceiling panels that were powdered coated white by Allen. He also built the barn door. "In my work as a mortgage loan officer, I'm looking at real estate a lot, and I've noticed that white appliances are coming back, so I used them in the home," Valari said. She chose white quartz for the cabinet tops and decorated the home in a river theme, with coastal and grassy items and boat oars, all items symbolizing a relaxing retreat. They hosted close family on Christmas Eve and friends on New Year's Eve. "We feel very blessed to have this home to share with our family and friends," she said. In the meantime, they plan to escape on the weekends and be still and know that God is all around them as they enjoy the beautiful scenery that He created in Van Buren County.

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P O S T E R , E S S AY A N D V I D E O C O N T E S T E

lectricity powers our lives. We rely on it 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support the life we enjoy. 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 chargeable gadget like your cellphone, the clock radio that jolts you awake, or the TV that brings you the latest entertainment. The water heater that keeps your shower hot and the refrigerator that keeps your soft drinks 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.

All pre-K through12th grade students who live in the Conway Corp service area are eligible for entry. Students can ask school officials or visit EnergySmartContest for an entry form and contest rules. Poster and essay entries should be submitted to participating teachers or postmarked to Conway Corp, P.O. Box 99, Conway AR 72033 by Monday, April 18. Essay entries can be shared via Google Docs or emailed to marketing@ Video entries must be shared via Google Docs. A copy of the entry form plus contact information must accompany all electronic submissions. Write “2022 Energy Smart Contest” in the subject line. For more information, including entry forms and complete rules, visit or call 501.450.6000.

What powers your day? Students, show us how Conway Corp powers your life by entering the annual Conway Corp Energy Smart Poster, Essay & Video Contest.

POSTER CONTEST The poster contest is open to students in prekindergartenfourth 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.

ESSAY & VIDEO CONTEST The essay and video contest is open to students in fifth12th 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.

Attention Conway Corp customers!

All winning submissions will be featured on Conway Corp’s website and social media. Winners will be announced in 501 LIFE’s August edition.

Now you can catch Stefanie Brazile, co-owner and editor of 501 LIFE Magazine, each month on Channel 5's Here and There with Whitney Long each month.

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APY* * APY= Annual Percentage Yield. Rate effective as of October 25, 2021. One withdrawal allowed during the year with no fee. Any additional withdrawals $5.00 each. Maximum deposit amount in the Christmas Club is $5,000 with a limit of two accounts per household.

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501 LIFE




A Thunderbird of many talents By Becky Bell


here isn’t much Sofia Couvertier, 10, cannot do if she sets her mind to it. She can dribble a basketball, build a cellphone holder out of Legos, or answer a question on her Quiz Bowl team. She attends Guy Perkins Elementary School in Guy, about 25 minutes north of Conway. As a fourth-grader, Sofia is the kind of student who gets noticed by her teachers and even her principal. “Sofia is a great example of what we expect our Thunderbirds to be,” said Tammy Murry elementary principal. “She is respectful, responsible, quick to help others, and she always works hard. She is a joy to have at school.” Because COVID-19 canceled the school’s peewee basketball season last year, this is the first year Sofia played with other fourth- and fifth-grade girls. Her father, Jonathan Couvertier, and grandfather, Robert Stewart, coached the team. Jonathan came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico when he was 15. Later, he gained a scholarship from Central Baptist College and that’s where he met Sofia’s mother, Kimberly Couvertier. They have four children, Sofia, Kruz, 7, Jagger, 6, and Zoe, 4. Sofia gets tickled when she tells the names of the family’s cats — Hocus and Pocus. She said she’s never seen the Halloween classic “Hocus Pocus,” but her older cousin named them. Kimberly said that Sofia is interested in STEM curriculum, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Educators are always glad for female interest as there are often more male students in these programs. “STEM is something the superintendent has called me

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about, and I’ve told him she loves to build a lot of Legos and we have discussed how important that is,” she said. “There are not a lot of kids on the engineering side, and he would like us to explore that more.” National Honor Society, Beta Club, and the National Young Scholars Program are other groups that keep this fourth-grader busy. “Beta Club is where we help our community with projects, different things like that,” Sofia said. “We pick up trash and help in other ways. It’s a leadership program and it’s by invitation.” Educator Petrina Baker wrote a letter recommending Sofia to the National Young Scholars Program. The program includes a chance to travel to Houston for a workshop and is open to only highly motivated students who show exceptional maturity, scholastic merit, and leadership potential. Kimberly is not sure if Sofia is going to be able to spend the night for the event though, after all she’s only 10. But being 10 in her household gives her the privilege of staying up later than her siblings so she can read books, which is one of her favorite hobbies. The house rule is that the lights go off at 9 p.m. and the books do too. “A lot of times I stay up a little later reading my books until 10:30,” she said, giggling. “I probably shouldn’t say this.” Her mother does not scold her and instead talks about how proud she is of her girl. “Sofia has always been a good leader naturally, a good responsible kid just naturally. I am proud of Sofia. She’s got a lot of great qualities and she is a godsend.”

Photo by Mike Kemp

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Chase Race and Paws S

lip on those running (or walking) shoes, load up the fur babies — don’t forget leashes — and head to Simon Park in downtown Conway on Saturday, March 12, to join the 17th annual Chase Race and Paws nonprofit fundraising event. The Chase Race starts at 8 a.m. and is a 2-mile, Arkansas RRCA State Championship Grand Prix approved race. That may sound intimidating to those newer to the running world, but don’t be deterred. The course is straight, flat, and a great way to get a short race in the books. All age groups receive awards five deep for male and female. If that doesn’t sound exciting, perhaps the Paws Race, a fun 1-mile trek for runners or walkers with leashed pets, is more appealing. Bring the pooch, a raccoon in a stroller (yes, it’s been done) or some other paw-footed, furry friend. During the Paws Race, which starts at 8:30 a.m., judges will determine the top three best pet costumes from among the participants. Don’t run? Prefer not to walk the course? No problem. Attendees may still enjoy an assortment of refreshments, giveaways, community vendors, and even pet adoption as they encourage their favorite competitors. Chase Race and Paws memorializes Chase Potter, a local teen who suffered the effects of traumatic brain injury and died in March 2005 at 13 years old. “Chase was a happy kid and a typical boy. He loved running, animals, and taking in rescues. He always had a pet, mostly dogs,” said Courtney Williams, Chase Race director. Chase’s parents, Don and Cheryl Potter, wanted a way to honor their son continually. Since they were runners, creating a race involving pets seemed the best way to combine two things Chase really loved. Proceeds from the event benefit a special needs nonprofit school or an organization for the welfare of animals. This year, proceeds will benefit both Compass Academy and Conway Animal Welfare Shelter. Potter served as race director from its inception until passing the baton to Williams in 2019. “Don is still active in the event. He still runs/walks almost every day in his 80s, but when he decided to retire from the race, a mutual friend put us together,” Williams said. “They thought [the race] would be a perfect fit with the school.”

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By Rita Halter Thomas

Besides being the race director, Williams is the director of Compass Academy, a private nonprofit K–12 school in Conway for children with special needs. The school gives students a unique learning environment designed to help them thrive at their own pace in a way that is best suited for the child. “Don says he wishes the academy existed when his son was alive because perhaps we could have helped him,” Williams said. Compass Academy has grown from zero to 91 students in just six years and now needs a new building. “Our students are primarily from Faulkner County, but we have some from other places, including Little Rock. One family drives from Bauxite every day. Another family even moved from Missouri just so their child could attend Compass,” Williams said. The school is unique and isn’t a part of any network from which to draw funding. “It literally started six years ago with a group of parents who approached me with an idea about a school that didn’t exist, had no money, no students, no staff, no building, no name, and no mission,” Williams said. The proceeds received from the race will put them closer to making a new building possible. Williams also makes sure her students are present and involved in the event. “They have full ownership of the tasks we give them at the race. So often, special-needs kids aren’t given a lot of tasks, so I want them to be involved and they want to help,” she said. Pet adoptions will also be available at the event with the help of the Conway Animal Welfare Shelter. The shelter is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare of animals throughout Conway by educating people, providing needed resources, reporting animal abuse, hosting spay and neuter clinics, conducting animal rescues, and much more. While Chase Race and Paws is a competitive race, it is also meant to be a fun, family-friendly event intended to get people involved in the community. Find more information about the race, entry fees, and registration at and conway/chaseraceandpaws.

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Honor the Fallen

Support the Living By Vivian Lawson Hogue


n these days of events of conflict around the world, we find many organizations that strive to help those who have served in our military services, be they man or beast. Only a few of these are the Disabled Veterans of America, the Gary Sinise Foundation and K9s for Warriors. Included in a list of 46 veteran support organizations under the Department of Defense is the American Legion. It has been around long enough that most citizens have experienced in some way its efforts to promote its causes. One of the many roles it has played was in the establishment of the G.I. Bill and the Military Family Tax Relief Bill. The American Legion has many national and local programs, such as baseball leagues, Boys State/Nation, Operation Comfort Warriors, oratorical contests, scholarships, women vets, Boy Scouts, disaster help, and Cadet Law Enforcement. The patriotic organization follows its mission statement “to enhance the well-being of America’s veterans, their families, our military and our communities by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.” Its motto is “For God and Country.”

Our city’s own Legion, the 0016 Theodore Campbell Post, once held meetings at the Legion “hut” near downtown. It had been a surplus building at Camp Robinson, where it had served as a prisoner of war workshop. The National Guard moved it to Conway and placed it at 1410 Caldwell St. in 1948. Longtime residents recall with great affection the many school dances, private parties and reunions held in that simple community building. It was razed in 2011 to become a parking lot. The Legion has an illustrious and fascinating beginning with a large, diverse group of American military men of the American Expeditionary Forces after World War I ended. They gathered for a meeting in an old opera house known as the Cirque de Paris in Paris, France, in 1919. And surprisingly, we find there was a connection between the naming of this new American veterans’ organization created in a faraway land and a family in Conway, Arkansas! In about 1960, my mother was invited to speak at a meeting of our local Legion Post. I will let her words tell the story. “The Armistice, or cease-fire between the Germans and

After World War I ended in 1919, a group of American military men of the American Expeditionary Forces gathered for a meeting in an old opera house known as the Cirque de Paris in Paris, France, and began what became the American Legion.

the Allies, was declared on the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. The men were very impatient while waiting for transportation back to the states. They had to make the crossing by surface vessels, which were slow and scarce. While trying to do something constructive during this period, it was suggested that they form an overseas organization. An old opera house was the chosen meeting place where they gathered March 15–17, 1919, during a caucus of representatives of various divisions of the AEF. Maj. Maurice Kirby Gordon of Madisonville, Kentucky, who was my father’s first cousin, was inspector general of the 36th Division with which he was seated. It was he who rose and moved that the new organization be called The American Legion, with the idea that the name stemmed from the Latin word “legion,” which in its literal translation means “representatives from the whole people.” He felt that anyone who joins the Legion should pledge to remain a member for life.”

May 27. The red poppy is a recognized symbol of sacrifice worn by Americans since World War I, but it also honors those who served or died for our country in all U.S. wars. Because of the massive destruction of cities and countrysides in the United Kingdom, it has its own occasions of recognition with many ceremonial events and poppy-wearing on their annual Remembrance Day. Many of us in our own city recall selling poppies downtown as teenagers. Citizens donated a few cents or a few dollars and they proudly pinned their red bloom to their suits or dresses for the day. Millions of Americans since 1775 have suffered life changes or lost their lives so that we could keep our 246-year-old, hard-won freedoms. May the 102-year-old American Legion and its humble red bloom continue to help keep this uppermost in the minds of our grateful citizenry.

Maj. Gordon, who died in 1974, was a third-generation attorney before WWI and well into his advanced years, later becoming a judge. His nephew, also Maurice Kirby Gordon, is an attorney of the 4th generation who practices near Madisonville. After World War I, there were fields of red poppies blooming rampantly along the Western Front of Europe. Scientists attributed this to soils becoming rich with lime from war rubble. The flower was first worn and promoted by an American woman, Moina Michael, after she read a WWI poem, “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written in 1915 by a Canadian physician, Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D., while serving on the front lines. Each year, American Legion Auxiliaries sell red paper poppies to raise money for veterans, active-duty service members, and their families. The 2022 event will be held on American Legion ‘Hut’ on Caldwell St. in Conway circa 1948.

March 2022 | 69


Allan M. IrizarryGraves, Sr. By Susan Peterson

Photo by Mike Kemp

70 | 501 LIFE March 2022

We all want to feel accepted, to fit-in. In his recently published book, “A Quest for Belonging: Overcoming Abuse, Abandonment, and Identity Crisis,” Allan Irizarry-Graves Sr. recounts his struggle to know himself and to belong. Allan Irizarry endured a turbulent childhood in Youngstown, Ohio. At the age of 4, he and his two brothers were placed in foster care when they were taken from their drug-addicted parents. Separated from his brothers, he found himself in eight foster homes in six years. He recalls that he found lots of ways to seek attention so others would notice him.

Allan did well in school, and his teachers and professors encouraged him to enter the field of science or law. But Allan was always drawn to the ministry. Today he holds degrees from Youngstown State University (Associate and Bachelor) and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (Master) and will soon receive his Doctorate of Human Services in leadership and organizational management at Capella University. In 2017, he moved from Ohio to Arkansas to serve as the youth and college pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in North Little Rock and Conway. He loves it here in Central Arkansas and feels it was meant to be. Today, Allan says his greatest accomplishment is being a husband and father. He met his wife, Antoinette, who is from Chicago, when they both attended a church training session in Tennessee. They were married four years later. The couple live in Maumelle with their son "A.J." Allan, Jr., age 2.

In his book, he recounts his foster placements, including one that was nearly fatal because the family did not allow him to receive a much-needed blood transfusion. “In all my placements, I experienced a lot, both good and bad,” he says.

Years ago, Allan legally added the Graves name to his birth name rather than change it. “I didn’t want to forget where I came from. That’s still a part of me,” he said. He is still on his journey of recovery from the long-term effects of abuse and neglect.

Allan was smart, and in third grade he was tested for the gifted program. But much was going against him. The pressures of living in the hood, the desire for easy money and quick highs, were hard to ignore. Also, being of mixedrace parentage made placements difficult and increased his confusion as to where he belonged.

Allan started writing his memoir as a spiritual journey, as a way to “take the Band-Aid off the wounds.” It took him about six months to complete, often writing in the darkest hours of the night, from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. He self-published his work on Amazon in December.

In 1998, he was placed with the Graves family. His new foster mother, Sandra Smith-Graves, was a school principal and challenged him to go beyond what others expected of him – to live “beyond his birth.” She set high aspirations and gave him the realization that education and faith were a means to a better life.

One reviewer suggested that “A Quest for Belonging” could be used by youth groups or in counseling sessions or youth mentorships. Another wrote, “I pray this book truly helps bring comfort, empathy, and change for children who couldn’t choose the misfortunes they face.” “A Quest for Belonging” is available on Amazon. It is dedicated to children in foster care and those without a voice.

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March 2022 | 71


athletic excellence By Dr. Robert Reising

Fans swamped Nix to offer congratulations after a Catholic High game.

Saline County's

Bobby Nix

He lived just 59 years, yet his life seemed much longer, so numerous were his friends, fans, and achievements. In death, as in life , he remains almost iconic — gifted and genuine, charismatic and cordial. Bobby Nix burst upon the nation’s athletic scene as a promising middle-schooler, and always thereafter, on or away from the playing field, he brought respect to the city, the county, and the state he thought incomparable.

72 | 501 LIFE March 2022

total of 315 points. On 588 carries, the workhouse back had gained 2,671 yards. Accolades galore accompanied Bobby to graduation. He earned All-State honors a second time, added an AllSouthern plaque, and emerged with the nation’s most coveted high school football distinction: a berth on the AllAmerican High School Team, the first awarded to a Benton player. Congratulatory letters from key area, regional, and state officials filled his mailbox, and dozens from fans far and wide flooded it. He and his gridiron excellence were celebrated across the continent, and countless football recruiters toiled hard to gain his commitment. Nothing could shake his resolve, however. Thus, he joined the parade of gridiron talent that legendary Frank Broyles attracted to Fayetteville and Arkansas’ “Flagship University.” History was about to be made, with Bobby playing a crucial, unique, and unselfish role. After a year on Arkansas’ freshman team, he advanced to three letterwinning varsity seasons in which he specialized in punting and blocking. He excelled in both roles. Twice he was the Southwest Conference’s leading punter. The Associated Press declared he was a “devastating” blocker, “making the Razorback offense go.” Coach Broyles publicly conceded that Bobby was the one player “we couldn’t do without.” The Razorbacks won the National Championship 1964.

Born in Hope on Sept. 13, 1944, Robert Albert (Bobby) Nix moved to his beloved Benton six years later. Living a block from C.W. Lewis Stadium, he was on its sidelines seemingly from the moment he could walk, kicking and punting a football, skills that served him admirably throughout his playing days. His loving parents delighted in the hours he spent in the park. They were his first fans, his mother a dutiful housewife, his ex-athlete father, also his first coach. The latter worked long hours, first as a store manager and later as a tax assessor, but like his wife, always found time to support Bobby and his younger brother in their sports endeavors. For Bobby, football never stood alone. Baseball was an early favorite, occupying his summers while basketball and track monopolized his out-of-class hours after every gridiron season. While excelling in all four, Bobby quickly demonstrated that a special luster characterized his performances in the fall sport. Numbers did not lie. He capped his junior high play by registering 119 points and by earning his first athletic letter in the eighth grade. “It was very obvious when Bob was in the seventh grade that he would turn out to be a great football player and a great athlete,” proclaimed Tom Hardin, Bobby’s coach in both junior and senior high. Soon thereafter, his punting garnered superlatives. Rainbow-like lofts carrying 75 yards were not unknown. Many a punt traveled so far and/or so high that it allowed opponents little or no return yardage. Foes respected Bobby as a formidable runner no less as a fearsome punter.

During Bobby’s varsity years, the team claimed 26 victories, two Southwest Conference Championships, two bowl appearances, and a national championship in 1964, the school’s finest season ever. Five of the 10 Razorback victories during that memorable campaign were shutouts, including the final five. During the first five wins, only two foes tallied more than a single touchdown. Unfortunately, The Associated Press and the United Press International polled before Jan. 1 and prematurely selected Alabama as the nation’s best, only to watch the Crimson Tide fall to Texas (a team the Hogs had whipped on Oct. 17 in Austin) in the Orange Bowl. On New Year’s Day in the Cotton Bowl, the Razorbacks followed with a triumph over Nebraska, to emerge as the lone unbeaten and untied team in the country. Coach Broyles and his charges exploded into Hog Heaven, as one writer noted. They brought sheer delight to their countless followers nationally and unprecedented, undiluted ecstasy to virtually every resident of The Natural State. The Razorbacks reigned as intercollegiate football’s royalty, a distinctive contingent that won 2010 induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. In his final season, Bobby captained the team, continued his eye-catching blocking and upped his punting average to more than 40 yards per kick. Against Southern Methodist, he set a school record for punting in a single game, 506 yards on 11 punts. The squad moved through another unblemished 10-win season, but a heart-breaking Cotton Bowl loss to LSU ended not only their chances for a second consecutive national title but also their streak of 22 consecutive victories.

In high school, his superior play continued. He proved to be all that Coach Hardin had predicted— a three-sport stalwart and a sensation, one of the nation’s best, on the gridiron. In his sophomore year, he led the Panther football team in scoring with 72 points, the Arkansas Gazette labeling him “the outstanding sophomore player in the state.” As a junior, he was even more impressive, scoring 123 points on touchdowns and extra points, collecting 1,026 yards on offense while averaging 7.4 yards per carry and 40.6 yards on his numerous punts. Bobby’s collection of statistics earned him a place on both the All-3A and the All-State Teams.

Disappointment had hardly left Bobby when he received an invitation to continue his stellar play in the Canadian Football League. He declined. His dislike of flying and, more important, his desire for life in Arkansas with his wife, Barbara, and his infant daughter triggered his gracious rejection. After graduation, he secured employment first as a high school coach in Fayetteville and five years later as an assistant coach at his alma mater. He yearned for a return to Benton, however, and two years later secured a post at the Benton State Bank. Finally, a position in Benton automobile sales lured him, and in it he excelled for years, his everpresent smile infectious, his affable, accommodating personality ingratiating.

It also added to the number of colleges and universities following his play. He disappointed none of them. By the time he accepted his diploma the following spring, he had scored 41 touchdowns and kicked 69 extra points for a

On Oct. 20, 2003, a massive heart attack unexpectedly claimed the life of the man Broyles eulogized as “a great player” and “a model citizen,” one certain always to remain a source of pride to Benton, Saline County, and the 501.

March 2022 | 73


Daffodils are the charming heralds of spring T

he gray and gloomy days of winter are easing away into bright and warmer days. One of my favorite things to do on a spring day is to head out to the country and look for old, deserted homesteads surrounded by living heirlooms — daffodils. Daffodils are the charming heralds of spring. Even when the cold winds of February blow and snow is on the ground, they are the first green to appear. As the calendar flips to March, they pop their heads up and announce spring is on its way. Old Arkansas farmsteads have one thing in common, daffodils. If you take a drive in the countryside, you will see where long-gone homes, fencerows, and old flower beds have been by the surviving daffodils. Daffodils are Arkansas hardy. They spread easily in the wild. Deep in the woods of the Ozark National Forest is a mountain ravine that is filled with innumerable daffodils. The daffodil bulbs have migrated down the hill from an old home place. As time and weather have washed bulbs out of their original site, carrying them down the hill, they have settled and have filled the wooded forest floor.

74 | 501 LIFE March 2022

Story and photos by Linda Henderson

My quest for finding and photographing old homesteads and daffodils started when my husband and I found traces of an old home place on our property in Van Buren County. We had not hiked in this area during the springtime when spring flowers were blooming before. The evidence we found was a stone wall, which could have served as a pen for the family’s animals, and the remains of a stone foundation. Bordering the old foundation were blooming daffodils. These beautiful flowers were blooming and flourishing without any human tending. They were thriving with only God’s provision of rain, soil, and sunshine. These beauties were probably planted by a pioneer woman who settled in the Ozarks more than 100 years ago. Finding these daffodils and the ancient foundation started me thinking about the woman and other women like her who had cultivated and nurtured blooms around their home. They wanted to enrich their family’s home with lovely flowers that announce spring is on its way. These women are no longer living, yet something that they had done is still testifying to their presence on this earth. Daffodils have become the flower that reminds me of the people who have gone before. They cause me to ponder: What will be here to testify to my presence on this earth? I pray that my presence will reveal a woman who loved the Lord and that I made a significant impact on my family, friends, and acquaintances; that I have passed down the heritage of faith and Christian values; that I have passed along traditions, family history, and a belief that family is an incredible gift from God. Time will only tell. So, the next time you see daffodils blooming in the woods, may it remind you what evidence of your presence will be left on this earth.

March 2022 | 75

By Becky Bell

Cabot cheerleaders win National Championship “If we come, we will win.”

That is the message the Cabot Highschool cheerleading squad sent when they recently traveled to Dallas to compete in their first National Cheerleading Association (NCA) Championship. And compete they did! The Cabot Highschool cheerleaders won the 2022 Game Day Co-Ed Large Varsity National Championship. The squad is coached by Ashley Cooper and Kristen Sumler. The pair have been coaching for four years, and they are excited their team won the NCA title. “We just set our minds on a goal,” Cooper said. “We knew we couldn’t do it by ourselves, but we told them they could be champions, and they believed it, and for some reason it worked.” Growing up, both Cooper and Sumler were junior high and high school cheerleaders. Sumler also brings her collegelevel cheer experience, from Arkansas State University, to coaching the team. There were ten teams to contend with in Dallas. Competition was fierce, but the nearly 30-strong Cabot team worked together to win first place. “They can’t work by themselves. They have to work as a team,” Cooper said. “There are 100 props to carry with them counting every pom, every sign, every flag. They have to learn they might not be best friends, and they probably aren’t best friends, but when they are out there, they have to be a team. They have to learn how to work together. Everyone has a job. Do your job is what we say a lot.” The NCA Championship was not the first win for the Cabot Highschool team. In 2020, they were the Arkansas

76 | 501 LIFE March 2022

Activities Association (AAA) champions, and in 2021 they were runners-up. According to Cooper, Arkansas cheerleading is becoming a force to contend with. This year the National High School Cheerleading Championship competitions were held in Dallas and Orlando and people are seeing the capabilities of Arkansas cheerleaders. “This is not just about Cabot. I think Arkansas is known for a lot, and people have realized on a national level that Arkansas is coming in with full force,” she said. “Those who are competing in Orlando right now are showing everybody what Arkansas has to offer.” While there are 28 members of the Cabot cheerleading competition team, not all the cheerleaders are girls. Aaron Pena is a junior who helps the girls with stunting. He backspots for the cheerleaders, and you can find him placed in many positions while stunting, except flying in the air. “He is just an overall great addition to the team,” Cooper said. “He’s a very brave male cheerleader. You know he is pretty resilient. I think he takes a lot of pride in the girls, and he takes care of them, and they all love him. He’s very motivational.” The team hosts tryouts in March, and they are looking forward to next year’s competitions. Winning the NCA Championship did not happen overnight. It is something the team has been working hard toward. “It was years in the making,” Cooper said. “A lot of people don’t understand cheerleading and think it’s more just on the sidelines. We practice a lot for this sport.” And their persistence and practice paid off.


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March 2022 | 77

Registration opens at Pulaski County Special School District By Jessica Duff


egistration for the 2022-2023 school year is now open for new and returning students to the Pulaski County Special School District. PCSSD’s mission is to provide equity and excellence for all students through rigorous college and career readiness instructional strategies. We serve 27 schools across Pulaski County, which include 16 elementary schools, four middle school campuses, one junior high campus, four high school campuses and an online K-12 school. Particularly in the Maumelle area, there are three elementary schools, Crystal Hill Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary, and Pine Forest Elementary; one middle school, Maumelle Middle; and one high school, Maumelle High.

Returning Students Current PCSSD families can submit a letter of intent to return to the District next school year. The letter of intent will replace the need for returning students to re-register this year. The letter of intent can be found at

New Students Parents of students who are new to the district can register their children through the online registration portal. The NEW STUDENT registration portal is only for students K-12 who did not attend a PCSSD school in the 2021-2022 school year and reside in the PCSSD attendance zone. The online registration portal can be found on the PCSSD website.

Pre-K The PCSSD Pre-K program is part of the Arkansas Better Chance program and supported by the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. It provides students with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills to build on through kindergarten and into elementary school. Students must meet certain requirements. Contact for more information.

School Choice For families who do not live within the PCSSD school zone but wish to attend one of the schools, the Arkansas School Choice Act is an option. The Arkansas School Choice program enables a student in kindergarten through grade 12 to attend a school in a nonresident district. School choice applications are being accepted through May 1 this year. If you have specific questions related to registration and school choice within PCSSD, please contact the Office of Equity and Pupil Services at 501.234.2021.

78 | 501 LIFE March 2022

About PCSSD Pulaski County Special School District spans more than 600 square miles in Central Arkansas and requires highly skilled and passionate personnel to adapt educational policies and personalization to 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.

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March 2022 | 79

Conway Regional GI doctor advocates life-saving colorectal screenings By John Patton


olorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the country and yet it is among the most preventable. “People don’t understand how common it is, how potentially deadly it can be, and how preventable it is,” said Martin Moix, MD. A gastroenterologist at the Conway Regional Gastroenterology Center, Moix is a passionate advocate for preventive colorectal colonoscopy because of the lives it can save. He has been practicing medicine for more than 20 years. “A colonoscopy isn’t viewed as a pleasant experience, but it is something that everyone should do. It’s a tragedy when someone over the age of 50 gets colon cancer, because it could have been easily prevented,” Moix said. “The screening is very effective.” He added, “I don’t like to use the word screening because it is less likely to find cancer in a person without symptoms. I prefer to use the words “preventative colonoscopy.” Using high resolution video scopes, he can detect polyps as small as several millimeters during a colonoscopy. If found, the polyps are removed and later tested for cancer. “Polyps are a precursor to cancer, so, no polyps, no cancer,” said Moix “By getting people in at age 45, finding the polyps and removing them, we can prevent them from progressing to cancer sometime in the future. We also identify patients who are at risk for potentially developing more polyps.” He added, “Even if someone is at high risk for colon cancer, as long as you can stay in front of the polyp to colon cancer transformation, you can theoretically prevent them from getting the disease.”

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Guidelines Current guidelines from the American Cancer Association (ACA) have changed, lowering the age for colorectal screening to 45 for everyone, regardless of gender. Individuals with a family history should begin screening at age 40 or ten years earlier than the age their affected family member developed colorectal cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, a study of colorectal cancer data revealed national incidents of colorectal cancer in both men and women under the age of 50 increased two percent between 1995 and 2016. These findings led the ACA to lower the screening age. “There was a subset of people who were not getting routine screenings and they developed cancer,” Moix said. The SEER program is the authoritative source for cancer statistics in the United States. If a screening is negative and the person has no family history of the disease, the next colonoscopy can wait until they are 55. If polyps are removed, the person needs to be screened sooner, depending on the number and type of polyps. Moix has benefited from upgrades in video technology since he was in residency at UAMS. “The optics and electronics are better. When we were doing this in school, we were using a 13-inch screen, and now we’ve got an 80-inch screen and the image is in high definition. We have the ability to detect polyps down to a few millimeters in size.”

Symptoms of Colon Cancer: In most instances, people with pre-cancerous polyps do not have symptoms until cancers develop. The most prominent symptoms of colorectal cancer are:

• Persistent bleeding • Changes in bowel habits • Unexplained weight loss • Iron deficiency • Positive fecal screening

Martin Moix, MD, gastroenterologist at the Conway Regional Gastroenterology Center

Moix implores, “Come in and get screened before it gets to that point.”

Diet and Exercise A healthier lifestyle is helpful in preventing colorectal cancer. “Polyps and colon cancer are not purely genetic and, unfortunately, we live in an unhealthy region of the country,” Moix said. “If I look at the percentage of patients who have polyps nationwide, that number is tremendously higher in my practice.” Nationwide about 30 percent of men and 20 percent of women develop pre-cancerous polyps but that number is on the rise in the South. “I would say the number has doubled, maybe tripled, the national average in my practice and I attribute that to the same variables that lead people to get cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other types of cancer,” he said. Those risk factors are obesity, poor eating habits (not eating enough fiber, fruits, and vegetables), consuming high fat foods (such as smoked meats and fried foods), inactivity, and smoking. “I have found in my practice that smokers tend to have many more polyps,” he said. Colon cancer is also hereditary. “I have diagnosed colon cancer in a guy who was running marathons,” said Moix, “but it’s a lot less common to have healthy people develop polyps. As a general rule, people who eat right and exercise are going to have a lower rate of colon polyps and cancer.” He added, “Colon cancer screening is probably the part of my practice where I can make the biggest difference in someones life because I can prevent them from getting a horrible disease and that’s a good feeling. After all, we’re here to save people’s lives.”

March 2022 | 81





My experience as a mother is the most rewarding of my life. My children Miranda, Liam, and India have grown into incredible adults and spending time with them and their significant others, whether virtual or in person, is top of my list of priorities. And, I love my extended family in both Arkansas and the United Kingdom.


Although I was born in Little Rock, my high school and college years were spent in Jackson, Miss., at Wingfield High School and Millsaps College, where I majored in music and theater. I am most definitely an obsessive, lifelong learner and an enthusiastic student of life!


Executive Director and CEO of Arkansas PBS. I have been in my job for five years. Arkansas PBS is a place where creative ideas and innovation are encouraged and flow openly, and with such an incredible team, the years have flown past.


Thinking back through my different professional roles, what instantly comes to mind are the people I have had the experience of working closely with, many of whom are still in my life. Nothing happens in creative fields working on one’s own, and it is really hard to top the chance to work with motivated and creative people day in and day out. My New York theater days were a tremendous foundation for me. I’ve enjoyed my roles as a film and television executive and producer. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have led the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival from 2012 through its 25th year in 2016. And, I couldn’t feel any luckier than I do at this moment to be part of 82 | 501 LIFE March 2022

public media in Arkansas and across the country, and to serve my native state in state government.


Since 2017, Arkansas PBS has had 12 Mid-America Emmy wins, with five in the last year. We are pleased to be winning in the documentary categories for Arkansas stories and this past year, we were proud to be recognized for Overall Excellence in Community Service, reflecting our deep commitment to Arkansas. Our network won five national Public Media Awards, both in 2021 and 2022, including Excellence in Content, Community Outreach, Education, and Marketing. In 2020, our marketing team received two Public Relations Society of America honors, and our team member, Marty Ryall, received the National Advocacy Award from America’s Public Television Stations. The personal honor that has meant the most to me is the Lillian Gish Producing Award from the Women in Film national organization. Having had the experience of working with Lillian, one of the great silent film legends, in the very early days of my career, receiving the award named in her honor many years later felt somehow like a nod from her long after she was gone. I have also had the honor of producing two Primetime Emmy winning television films and gained an Emmy nomination as a Primetime producer. And, I am thrilled to represent Arkansas PBS on the national PBS Board of Directors and as vice-chair of the National Educational Television Association.


The round wooden table that commanded my grandmother’s dining room in El Dorado when I was growing up. It has taken on epic proportions in my memory. The stories told at that table and the meals shared by family and friends are part of me.

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