January 2022 ALT Magazine

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ALT magazine

22 TO WATCH IN '22

covering the ark-la-tex JANUARY 2022 ALT-MAG.COM

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ALT magazine

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From the Publisher New Year – New Resolutions

I am really bad about making New Year’s resolutions. I cannot seem to keep them – mainly because most involve exercise and losing weight, and I can’t make myself exercise or not eat what I want! I come up with all kinds of reasons – too tired, too hungry, too old – whatever I can think of that allows me to do what I want to do, not what I need to do! So here are some things I’ve considered doing this year and you might too. If there’s one New Year’s resolution that will help the most in the long run, it’s making a vow to save more money. Pay off all you can, save all you can. Make a budget! Everyone wants to eat healthier in the new year, but try to eat more diverse foods. After all, variety is the spice of life. Make sure you choose things that are easy to cook so you might actually cook them again – especially if your life is as hectic as mine. Try a new hobby or join a new club. There are lots of things throughout our area that are fun, creative, and enjoyable. Check out something new until you find the one that fits you perfectly. You will have fun doing new things and making new friends. Vow to eat more vegetables. They are especially good for healthy hearts and strong veins. We can always use a helping of veggies in our life. Plan a vacation – or two! Women who vacation at least twice a year have a lower heart attack risk than those that do so rarely. And researchers have found that even thinking about an upcoming trip can boost happiness for weeks. (Hint, hint, Mike Brower! You know you want me to be happy!) Drink lots of water! I have learned this already but still don’t drink as much as I should. Volunteer regularly. It always makes me happy to help someone else and see a smile on their face – more than giving to myself! So, make resolutions you can actually keep. Don’t sabotage yourself by making them unattainable. You will be so much happier as 2022 rolls through! Happy New Year!

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Liberty Bailey was inspired to be a nurse after the birth of her first child, Morgan, who is now 22-yearsold. Liberty is married to Ronny, and they now have two other children, Brycen (15) and Cooper (12). They also have a Goldendoodle, Owen. “My husband and children inspire me every day. My husband is a kind, supportive, family-loving man, and my daughter has overcome substantial health obstacles. However, unless you know her story, you would never know that she had ever been sick,” Liberty says. “And, my boys keep me lifted with their enthusiasm and desire to learn.” When Morgan was born, she was delivered at UAMS in Little Rock, weighing only 3lbs 5oz. “She had to receive care at Arkansas Children’s Hospital as well as Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. During all of this time, I witnessed teams of people caring for her and us as her family on a daily basis while they tried to determine the origin and extent of her illness,” Liberty says. “The compassion and attentiveness from the nursing staff were comforting and remarkable.”

the expense of my family due to how much time the program required,” Liberty says. “I withdrew from the program knowing that when the time was right, I could continue pursuing this goal.” Liberty has returned to her coursework and will graduate in December 2022 with a master’s in healthcare administration (MHA) through Utica College. “Going to school while raising a family requires dedication and sacrifice,” Liberty says. “I could not have done any of this without the support of my family, friends, and co-workers.”

After this experience, Liberty decided to pursue her career as a nurse. “The accomplishment that I am most proud of personally and professionally is being able to continue my education. I completed the Vocational Nurse Program at Texarkana College in 2001, completed the transition program to Registered Nurse (RN) at Texarkana College in 2006, and completed my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at Texas A&M-Texarkana in 2013,” Liberty says. “I want to be remembered as a good wife and mother, a good friend, and a good nurse.”

Looking back over her career so far, Liberty feels that she has benefited the most from starting as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) because she was able to learn about the nursing field from every aspect. “LVNs and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are a vital part of the team with the RN as the team leader. By starting out as something other than a RN, I have an appreciation for the other disciplines,” Liberty says. “While I am now in a leadership role, I feel like this has given me the ability to not only identify with the staff who work along with me but also to understand the challenges.”

Right after finishing her BSN, Liberty immediately started a master’s program. However, she realized that it was not the right time in her life to continue her educational journey. “The sacrifice was coming at

The most memorable advice Liberty ever received came after she received a grade on a paper that she did not feel was fair. “My instructor told me that


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H I N '22

‘Sometimes life gives you speed bumps,’ and I now use that in other contexts in life,” Liberty says. “God has a plan for my life, not my plan, but His. My favorite verse is ‘Be still and know that I am God’ Psalm 46:10.” Attending church is very important to Liberty and her family. They have attended church at Highland Park Baptist Church for the last 14 years, and through the church, they participate in various community events. “I encourage you to visit Highland Park Baptist Church if you do not have a church home,” Liberty says. “We would love to have you join us.”

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Liberty loves to be involved in her kids’ activities in her free time. “I also enjoy traveling and just having a lazy day on the couch binge-watching Netflix,” Liberty says. No matter what she is doing, Liberty says that she is 100% committed to every task she accepts. Right now, her long-term goal is focused on completing her MHA. “I don’t want to rush life by, but I am ready for the day when I know I have completed and submitted my final assignment,” Liberty says. “I do my best to balance home and work carefully. If I am lacking in any area, I have family, friends, and great co-workers who support me. I have a strong work ethic and am always willing to learn.”


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MAYOR TEXARKANA, TEXAS, AND COMMERCIAL LENDER AND PUBLIC RELATIONS AT RED RIVER CREDIT UNION Bob Bruggeman considers himself to be a positive person. He loves Texarkana and looks forward to each day that he can work to make our great city even better. “This keeps me going every day!” Bob says. “I want to be remembered as someone who worked hard to help others and exemplified Christian values.” Bob says that several important projects are currently underway in Texarkana that will shape our community for the next four to five decades. They include a new airport terminal, Hotel Grim redevelopment, new water treatment plant, Interstate 30 lane extension, State Line Avenue corridor project, and a new campus for Wadley Regional Medical Center, to mention a few of them. “The council members and I will continue to work with city staff and other entities in getting these projects completed,” Bob says. “We look forward to how these major projects will impact our community for the better.” One of the biggest challenges that Bob has faced during his time as mayor came during the pandemic. “ I was called upon to sign an unprecedented three Emergency Declarations during a twelve-month period. The declarations were for the COVID-19 pandemic, a cyber-attack, and the winter storm that occurred in February of this year,” Bob says. “The city staff, along with others, did an incredible job of assisting in addressing these issues.” Though he has had many memorable moments in office, Bob says that spending time with the late Mr. H. Ross Perot stands out. Bob attended several community events with Ross Perot and had other social occasions to visit with him. “His work ethic and passion for the military and our country were incredible. A true Patriot! He did many great things to support our community, such as providing funding for the 012

restoration of the Perot Theatre, supporting Texarkana College, Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, and other notable causes,” Bob says. “Every time I drive by his boyhood home on Olive Street. I say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Perot.’” On top of his other obligations, Bob is also very involved in the community. He is a member of First Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon, head usher, and finance committee member. “I am also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Texarkana and the Texas Association of Sports Officials – Texarkana Baseball Chapter. I am Chairman of the Bi-State Intergovernmental Advisory Committee and Texarkana Urban Transit Board,” Bob says. “I also serve on the Metropolitan Planning Organization, City Investment Committee, Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and AR-TX REDI Board of Directors.” To relax, Bob loves to play golf and umpire baseball. His “therapy” is mowing and landscaping his yard and washing and detailing his vehicles at home. He also enjoys spending time with his family. Bob and his wife, Jackie, have been married for 37 years. Jackie is a long-time teacher of the visually impaired. “We have two daughters, Elizabeth (Liz) Friday, who is married to Micah Friday, a local CPA. Liz and Micah have two children: Ava and Shepperd. Olivia is my other daughter. She is a local hairstylist at the Edge Salon A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

H I N '22

and assists with video productions,” Bob says. “My family has been very supportive of me during my service in city government. Over the years, Jackie picked up Olivia from dance or school activities when I had meetings or events to attend. My family has also helped to campaign for me during elections. I am very grateful for their help.” The personal accomplishments that Bob is most proud of include making six hole-in-ones and being a high school baseball umpire with 42 years of service. He is also honored to have been selected to work the state finals in Austin in 2010 and 2011. Professionally, Bob is extremely proud to have started his fifth term as mayor. He has a total of 16 years of City Council experience, and this is his way of giving back to the community. “I have also worked hard to build a cooperative working environment with our sister city, as well as Bowie and Miller counties. So much more can be accomplished by working together,” Bob says. “With the projects currently underway throughout the community, we are poised for many great things in the future. I am grateful to be a part of the process. This is an exciting time in the history of our great city.”

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BOWIE COUNTY DISTRICT CLERK Bowie County hired Lori Caraway through the work program her senior year in high school. “I was not sure what I wanted to do with my life, but as the years went by, I began to really love my job and the people around me,” Lori says. “I like to be challenged. I am always looking for new and more effective ways to do things. Although, I know in some situations, change might not always be necessary.” She started in the civil department but quickly moved over to the criminal department, where she has remained for most of her career. She was a supervisor for fourteen years before being promoted to Chief Deputy and later appointed as the District Clerk. “My greatest accomplishments in life so far are being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and most recently, being appointed as District Clerk,” Lori says. “It was such a great honor to be appointed by our District Judges. Their faith in me means so much.” One of Lori’s goals in her position includes staying in tune with new and more effective ways to do things. They are currently upgrading to a new jury program, which will be a more efficient way for jurors to claim exemptions, excuses, and fill their questionnaires out online. “Long-term, I just want to utilize the technology we have to its fullest but remain accessible to citizens that are not able to function electronically,” Lori says. “And I want to continue to represent Bowie County in a manner that is pleasing to the citizens, but most importantly, pleasing to God.” When Lori was a young clerk, she was asked by a wiser clerk, “Why do you do it this way?” and Lori responded, “Because that is how we always do it.” The other clerk said, “Don’t ever respond like that. 014

Always know what you are doing and why you are doing it.” This response has stayed with Lori for years. “She was so right,” Lori says. “You should always take the time to understand why you are doing something. If it does not feel right and you are questioning yourself, stop and take the time to research the situation or ask questions.” Lori believes that the most important part of her job is showing compassion for others and maintaining a positive work environment. “This is a public office, so we work with people daily. Whether it is simply helping them through the filing process or just being an ear to listen, we try to be there for the public,” Lori says. “We have some great employees in this office, and seeing them helping others each day brings joy to my heart.” Lori hopes to be remembered for her kindness and willingness to help others at the end of her career. “I truly want nothing but good for everyone,” Lori says. “It hurts me to see an individual struggling, so if there is something I can do to help them, I will try my best.” When Lori is not at work, she enjoys spending time working around her home with her husband, Joe, A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

TCH I N '22 and fishing. “We don’t get a lot of free time to go, but when we do, it is such a great time to get away and relax,” Lori says. Lori’s husband, Joe Caraway, works as a Lead Lineman for Bowie Cass Electric Co-op. Together, they have two daughters, Meagan Lindsey and Lexi Rico; a son, Bryer; and two granddaughters, Haven Lindsey and Tatum Rico. “We are a blended family, but our love for one another is whole,” Lori says. One of Lori’s biggest role models is her late grandmother. “She made such an impact on my life. She was a homemaker with a strong work ethic. She focused on God, her family, home, and she was a wonderful cook,” Lori says. “As a child and adult, we would have Sunday lunch at their home. This is something I will never forget. She taught me that family is so important, and I keep a photo of her and my grandfather in my office as a reminder of hard work and motivation.” Lori’s strong faith in God has always inspired her to remain active in the church. She is currently a member at Rock Creek Baptist Church. Over the years, she has served on many committees, including the children’s, youth, and building committees. She currently works in the nursery and assists with other duties throughout the church. Lori also serves as the Secretary for Christian Brotherhood of Outdoorsmen, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to bringing people of all ages together through Christ and the outdoors. “Being a part of this organization has been one of the bigger blessings in my life,” Lori says. “The biggest struggle I have is self-doubt. I work things over and over in my A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

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head until I just want to throw in the towel. But my faith in God is reassuring, and the people in my life are the ones who encourage me daily to keep doing what I do.” Lori’s greatest advice for others is to put God first in your interactions at home, at work, and in the community. “All glory goes to our Lord and Savior. There is no one perfect person in this world. We just need to try each day to shine a light for him and love one another,” Lori says. “Do we all fall short? Of course, but we serve a forgiving God. It amazes me that in times of struggle, He will come to me in different ways, such as through an individual, a song, or just a simple message. But He is always there, and He is always faithful.”

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TEXARKANA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND GENERAL MANAGER OF THE PEROT THEATRE Andrew Clark knew that his future involved art and music when he was only 14-years-old. He switched careers from church music and education to arts administration in 2008. “I am inspired daily by the ability for music and all arts to affect a community in positive ways—not only through cultural enrichment but also through economic development,” Andrew says. Andrew is also inspired by his parents, whom he has always looked up to. His dad has had roles as a national and international data and communications manager for AT&T and Amdocs. He is also proud of his mom and her ability to balance the roles of mom and professional elementary librarian and storyteller. “I also look up to my college’s School of Music Dean, Dr. Charles Wright. He had a huge impact on my life both in offering me leadership opportunities and supporting my continuing studies in graduate school,” Andrew says. “I also respected how he balanced his time as both a musician and professional arts and education administrator.” Andrew is married to Angela Hibbs Clark, and they are the proud parents of Drew (8), Preston (6), and Caroline (3). Finding balance is something that Andrew says is one of his struggles. “It’s hard to turn off my work brain and focus solely on my family. The demands on our time and the development of communications technology have made it so easy for us to be on a constant information overload--taking back our lives and focusing on a true work/life balance is critical,” Andrew says. “I believe the great irony of our day is that the global pandemic has helped reset some of our priorities, but also has provided an easy excuse to withdraw from society, church, and social events that are at the heart of what it means, in the words of Steven Covey, ‘to love, live and leave a legacy.’” Andrew and his family are involved with St. James Episcopal Church, where they are members, and


Andrew is the parish musician. They are also involved with St. James Day School, where all three kids attend, and Texas A&M University-Texarkana, where Andrew is an adjunct faculty member. In addition, Andrew’s kids play in the Texarkana Soccer Association, and Andrew has been a coach for Preston’s team for the last several years. Andrew loves the Texarkana community and is willing to continue to contribute to its future growth. “Economic development and growth in both blue and white-collar jobs are essential to our community,” Andrew says. “I am committed to continuing to invest in cultural opportunities; there are so many opportunities and potential.” Looking to the future, Andrew has several long-term goals. Personally, he wants to continue providing the best he can as a husband and father. “Professionally, my goal is to ensure that both the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra and the Perot Theatre are successfully positioned for an ever-evolving performing arts world and philanthropic environment,” Andrew says. “I also want to find more time for returning to one of my loves—presenting solo organ recitals.” The accomplishments that Andrew is most proud of are his three awesome children, his work as a full-time or bi-vocational church musician for 26 years, his service on the League of American Orchestra’s national board, and being a recipient of the Ouachita Baptist University Alumni Milestone Award. “I want to be remembered first and foremost as a good husband and father,” Andrew says. “Second, I hope people say that I made an impact on others through the use of my God-given talents and abilities.” A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

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22 TO WATCH IN '22 CHRISTOPHER DALY (DJ HOLLYGROVE) DJ AND OWNER OF SOUND PRODUCTION BUSINESS Christopher Daly’s passions are music and helping the youth of our community. “The youth of today are our future,” Christopher says. “My goals are to become one of the greatest DJs/entertainers in the world and to build a recreation center and fun park for the youth.” Christopher wants to be remembered for how much he entertained and helped many people. One of the most memorable moments of his career so far is when he was on the news for giving back to the community. “I have my own thing I do here. I give back to the kids a lot. Also, I have a backpack and school supply giveaway where I provide free haircuts, turkey giveaways, toy giveaways, and Easter Egg hunts. Plus, I’m a motivational speaker to the youth,” Christopher says. “I am inspired by God, first and foremost, and just knowing that I have a child and family who want me to succeed pushes me.” Christopher takes great pride in how far he has come in life and how many opportunities he has had to help and bless others in return. “One of my biggest struggles was moving to Texarkana from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It was difficult not having my mother fully in my life, and the move was just a total culture shock,” Christopher says. “But I’ve been blessed to have been raised by my grandparents. My grandma died when I was in middle school, but it’s a blessing to still have my grandpa, whom I take full care of today. I’m also grateful to have my father in my life.” The best advice Christopher ever received was from his grandpa, who told him to “Do what God has for you, and it will come true.” Christopher has many people he admires, but his grandpa is definitely at the top of that list. “I look up to my dad, my grandpa, my pastor, 018

Deacon Watson, my sisters, Tameka King and Ke Rich, my good friend, Ty, and many more. Each one of them gives me mental support, and that’s the biggest blessing,” Christopher says. “I also can’t forget my mentor, DJ Shelby, whom we lost this year!” Christopher says that the support and genuine love the family shares make them unique. “My family has been there every step of the way,” Christopher says. “I’m grateful to have an almost 9-year-old, and it’s a blessing to have his mother, who is just the greatest mom I could ask for. Of course, I’m so grateful to my grandpa, my sisters, my real friends, my church, and my family in New Orleans. I’m just blessed!” When Christopher isn’t working, he loves to just enjoy music and some of his other hobbies. “I love shopping, being around positive people, and fixing up cars,” Christopher says. “What makes me unique is that I love being me!” In his business, Christopher says that having integrity and trusting in God is important. “I would say to trust God first and never let anyone discourage you,” Christopher says.

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DISTRICT LITERACY COORDINATOR FOR PLEASANT GROVE ISD Kristi DeLoach became interested in education while attending the University of Arkansas. When working to complete her master’s degree, she studied the science behind teaching children how to read, and she completed a year-long student teaching assignment in Springdale Public Schools. “I was astounded by the amount of students that struggled to read and was inspired by the educators that worked tirelessly to build relationships with children and provide the gift of reading to each and every child they impacted daily,” Kristi says. “I knew then that my mission would be to inspire children to obtain a love for reading.” Kristi’s excitement for teaching children to read progressed into her own classroom and career. She continued to learn and research best practices for literacy instruction. “Now, my dream of growing a love for reading in children spans from ages 4-18,” Kristi says. “I am honored to be able to support teachers in providing the best literacy instruction for their students. Being in this position to have an impact on so many students is truly a dream come true!” When teachers and students share their excitement for learning, it inspires Kristi to continue her mission. “The collective responsibility of student learning that we share as educators in Pleasant Grove ISD is unmatched. ‘All of our kids are all of OUR kids!’” Kristi says. “Our mission in Pleasant Grove ISD is to ensure high levels of learning for all students. Working collaboratively with my peers to ensure a love of reading for all students definitely drives me to continue leading the charge to ensure high levels of


literacy success for all students.” Kristi believes that advocating for children is the most important aspect of her career. “If we are not doing right by kids, then we are doing the wrong work,” Kristi says. Though she has had several accomplishments at work, Kristi believes her greatest achievement is her family. Kristi and her husband, Stephen, have 6-year old twins, Bryce and Savannah. However, the couple struggled with infertility for several years. They were blessed with their twins on round two of IVF. “Those four years were very hard. My husband and I had to rely on our faith in God to get us through,” Kristi says. “Every time I see the smiles on Bryce and Savannah’s faces, I am reminded of what true blessings children are and how thankful I am that God trusts me to be their mom. Watching them grow and being their mom makes me so proud!” Stephen and Kristi are both from Magnolia, Arkansas. They love their hometown and all their memories from growing up there, but they moved to Texarkana in 2009. “We have made many great friends here, and Texarkana truly feels like home

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TCH I N '22 now. When I started working in Pleasant Grove in 2019, I knew it was where I was always meant to be,” Kristi says. “The small community feeling in our district reminds my husband and I of how we grew up in Magnolia. It is so important to us that Bryce and Savannah have the opportunity to be a part of this ‘family first’ community.” The twins started kindergarten this year, and Kristi has been amazed at how much they have learned and grown. Though they have always been right by each other’s sides, their individual personalities are really starting to show. “Savannah is really into dance. She takes jazz, tap, and ballet at Red Door Dance Academy. Bryce loves sports! He recently started a class at Wacha Resolutions, and coach Wacha is Bryce’s new ‘best friend,’” Kristi says. “Our family also loves everything Hogs, from calling the Hogs at home when watching baseball to going to the games in Fayetteville. Bryce and Savannah have no choice but to be Razorback fans!”

cheerleader in everything that I do!” Kristi’s long-term goals include continuing to positively work to influence adults and children in the aspects of literacy.” I want to be remembered for a positive impact on both students and teachers. Teaching, in my opinion, is one of the most challenging professions there is today,” Kristi says. “I want to be remembered as being committed to what is right for educators and especially the students they serve.”

Kristi models her own parenting style from her family’s support she received growing up. Kristi’s parents, Ken and Gail Miller, taught Kristi so much about the importance of treating people with kindness. Ken ran a local pharmacy, and Gail had an insurance agency. “They both worked with people every day. Watching their love for the people of our small town made me the compassionate person I am today. I am so grateful for them!” Kristi says. “Also, my sister, Melinda Henry, has always been my role model. She has never met a challenge that she didn’t face with a solution mindset. She is always the hardest worker and most positive person in the room. I have learned so much from her. She continues to be my loudest

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SKY METCALF-DO GIFTED AND TALENTED K-2 ENRICHMENT TEACHER FOR TEXARKANA, ARKANSAS SCHOOL DISTRICT Growing up, Skye Metcalf-Do always had wonderful teachers in school, and during her first year at the University of Arkansas, Skye realized she had a love for teaching. “Now, this is my thirteenth year in the classroom, and I am so glad I followed my passion,” Skye says. “It has been one of the best decisions of my life. Seeing my students learn is my driving force and motivation. I work with amazing educators and students every day.”

Skye also came from a family of educators who inspired her. Skye’s mother, Cordia Metcalf, is a retired teacher and former Texarkana, Arkansas School District Teacher of the Year. She retired from the Texarkana, Arkansas School District after 40 years of teaching. Skye’s father, Garry Metcalf, was a coach and teacher. His girls’ track team won state at Arkansas High School. He retired from the Texarkana, Arkansas School District after 38 years. Skye’s sister, Lea Metcalf-McDonald, is a former teacher and administrator. She is the Title One Coordinator for the Texarkana, Arkansas School District, and Skye’s oldest sister, Thelma Metcalf-Forte, is a former principal and teacher for the Texarkana, Arkansas School District. She was also a former Teacher of the Year for the district and Superintendent at Mineral Springs. She is currently working for Edmentum as an administrator. Skye also has a brother-in-law, Tracy Forte, an educator who works for the Texarkana, Texas Independent School District. Skye is married to Gary Do, the manager of the Arkansas Workforce Center in Hope. He is the youngest manager in the state. “I’m proud of the work 022

he has done assisting our community with employment during this pandemic,” Skye says. “I also want to say that I’ve had family members who have passed and family members who are still recovering from COVID19. I would like the community to know that I am very thankful for everything our front-line workers have done for us throughout this pandemic. Thank you for your support, love, and sacrifices you have made for our community and country.” Gary and Skye are extremely proud of their threeyear-old son, who just started pre-school. “I am most proud of being a mother and wife,” Skye says. “My husband and I struggled for years to have a child. In 2018, after seven years of marriage, the Lord blessed us with a son. Skye says that their family is unique because both Skye and Gary’s family can get together during the holidays and throughout the year as one big family. “It’s something my husband and I both enjoy and look forward to,” Skye says. “Also, I have such a talented and interesting family. My uncle Jim Barnes played professional basketball and won a Gold Medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. He also won a National Championship with the Boston Celtics and is in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. My uncle Leonard Person was recognized at the Pentagon for saving a pregnant lady who drove off into the Potomac River A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

TCH I N '22 because she went into a diabetic coma. My dad also comes from a family of professional football players. About 12 years ago, the state of Arkansas named a road after my dad’s family in Devalls Bluff, Arkansas.” Skye has always looked up to her mother, Cordia Metcalf, and her mother-in-law, Angie Bui. “My mother is the strongest person I know. She picked cotton as a child and went to a segregated school until high school. She has been through so much in her life, but she has never lost her faith. She has always been there to support, motivate, and encourage me,” Skye says. “My mother-in-law is a Vietnamese Refugee. She risked her life to come to America at the end of the Vietnam war. She spent days in the ocean on a small boat before she was rescued. She is also a two-time cancer survivor.” When Skye has some free time after working and spending time with family, she enjoys playing piano, decorating, and crafting. Earlier this year, Skye started running; at first, she could barely run half a mile. “After the birth of my son, I started to struggle with my weight. My diet was all wrong, and I stopped exercising. I noticed it wasn’t necessarily the amount I was eating, but it was what I was eating,” Skye says. “After spring break this year, I decided I needed to make a big change. I hired a nutritionist, changed how I was eating, and started exercising. I’ve lost forty pounds, and I feel amazing. I have so much more energy. It was a struggle at first, but it has been so rewarding. It helped because my husband and family have been supportive throughout the entire process. Now, I run between five and seven miles three times a week.”

proud my father, Garry Metcalf, was able to see me graduate with my first master’s before he passed away four months after the graduation ceremony.” Even though Skye is already a licensed and certified administrator, she is not content to be stagnant. Her long-term goals include finishing her current course work and continuing to service gifted and talented students. “I consider myself a life-long learner, and I am currently taking college courses again from Arkansas State University. My ultimate goal is to one day have a Ph.D. in education,” Skye says. “I hope I am remembered for being a Christian, a devoted wife, loving mother, caring daughter, supportive sister, dedicated educator, and a community member who loved and cared about others. I want to be remembered as an individual who was a positive example for the youth in our community.”

Personally and professionally, Skye has many accomplishments. She is no stranger to setting goals and meeting them. “I am proud to be the first African American twirler at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. I twirled at the University of Arkansas from 2005 until I graduated in 2009,” Skye says. “I am most proud of obtaining my masters in administration from Arkansas State University and masters in kinesiology from Southern Arkansas University. I’m A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2




SENIOR AT TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL Olivia Grace George is currently a senior at Texas High School. She transferred to Texarkana Independent School District in the 6th grade. “My parents and I were impressed with all that TISD had to offer their students and the vast diversity of the student body. I’m forever grateful that I moved when I did,” Olivia Grace says. “All the other students in the various TISD elementary schools merged in the sixth grade, so no one really even noticed that I was the ‘new kid.’ I have thoroughly loved my seven years with TISD, and I’m proud to be a part of the Tiger Family. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger!” Even though she is only a senior in high school, Olivia Grace already has many accomplishments to be proud of. This year, she serves as the Captain of the Texas HighSteppers, Senior Class Treasurer, President of Rosebuds, Managing Editor of Texas High Yearbook, a member of National Honor Society, Teach TISD, American Sign Language Honor Society, THS Thespian Society, and Quill and Scroll. “I was also very blessed to have been cast in the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Texarkana Community Ballet 2021 production of the Nutcracker,” Olivia Grace says. Olivia Grace is also involved in the Texarkana community. She wants to be remembered for her character and her service to others. “I am a member of Richmond Road Baptist Church. I have been a member of Texarkana Community Ballet for the last ten years,” Olivia Grace says. “I have also volunteered with several local organizations like Runnin W J Ranch, Friendship Center, Mission Texarkana, Harvest Food Bank, Williams Methodist Church, Race for a Cure, CASA Color Run, Out of the Darkness, and 024

Phone Pros Community Events. My most favorite community service project that I’m currently working on is making homemade bread for Mission Texarkana!” In May, Olivia Grace will proudly graduate from THS with over 900 hours of community service. She says that many of those hours were opportunities provided to her through Texas High and the Miss Texas Organization. “I’m so passionate about community service that I even designed a community service website as my independent research project my junior year,” Olivia Grace says. Olivia Grace doesn’t have much free time with all of her community and school activities. She is a busy senior filling out college applications, touring colleges, and applying for scholarships, all while taking a full load of dual credit classes. But she would not have it any other way. “I love to stay busy, and I’m always going! Though, when I’m not dancing or doing homework or getting ready for college, I love to be outside!” Olivia Grace says. “I love hunting and fishing, and I also collect vinyl records. My favorite records are my Pasty Cline vinyls.” Though Olivia Grace is both mature and focused, she makes mistakes like every one of us. She says that her most embarrassing moment occurred last summer when she sliced her ankle open with a blade from A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

TCH I N '22 a blender! “I had to get five stitches and was on a scooter for over a month!” Olivia Grace says. “Public service announcement: be sure to take the blade out before you pour your smoothie.” Through all of her community service hours and obligations at school, Olivia says that her family supports her no matter what she wants to do. “Whether it be T-ball, theater, singing, dance, cheer, gymnastics, modeling, starting my own business, or even Jiu-Jitsu my family has been there every step of the way,” Olivia Grace says. “I always want to do everything to the best of my ability. I want to look back on what I do and know I gave it my all. And gave all the glory to God. I think of Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Though she has a lot to be thankful for, life has not always been easy. Olivia has struggled with letting • Hickory Smoked BBQ • Garlic Parmesan • Louisiana Rub • Lemon Pepper • Hawaiian • Mild • Spicy Korean Q • Original Hot • Mango Habanero • Atomic • Orange Szechuan • Cajun

people’s opinions get to her in the past. “Like so many young girls, I would let their thoughts and opinions shape who I thought I was supposed to be instead of who God designed me to be. Eventually, I learned that God’s opinion is the only one that matters,” Olivia Grace says. “I have learned not to let the negativity get in my head and to focus on the positive and rest in peace that I’m doing what He has planned for me.” Olivia’s next big goal is to graduate in May with her associate’s degree, and she plans to attend Louisiana Tech in the fall of 2022, where she will major in elementary education. “My advice for others is always to work hard. Never give up. Be yourself, and do what makes you happy!” Olivia Grace says. “Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or says about you. As long as you’re focused on the path God has set out for you, no one can distract you.”

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COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR FOR THE LIBERTY-EYLAU INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT Earl Gill, Communications Coordinator for the Liberty-Eylau Independent School District (LEISD), believes that the most important part of his job is engaging with people and making sure LEISD is getting newsworthy attention through all platforms and outlets. “I spend a lot of my free time considering more ways to be effective with marketing,” Earl says. “I want to be able to use all avenues available to make LEISD as attractive to potential parents in our community as possible.”

me a lot, especially when I’m on the fence with things.”

Two issues that Earl wants to improve in our community are child hunger and children’s literacy. “I feel very strongly about both of these issues. It saddens me to know that sometimes kids in our community are not eating. Studies have shown a direct correlation between food insecurity and a child’s development,” Earl says. “I also own a non-profit organization called Arkansas Elite 100. We use football as a driving force for families to pay for college. I’m a firm believer that education defeats poverty every single time.”

No matter what he is facing in life, Earl knows that he can count on Miche’le and his mother, sister, and grandmother to support him. “These women mean the absolute most to me. I know I can get whatever I need spiritually, physically, and emotionally from those four women in my immediate family,” Earl says. “I lean on them for advice and also for a different outlook when I feel I may be addressing a certain topic the wrong way. They hold me accountable and talk to me to get my attention in ways most can’t.”

Earl is driven each day by the desire to be the best husband and man possible. “I want to be an example for young men in my community, that with consistency and goals, anything is obtainable,” Earl says. “My motivation comes from knowing how extremely blessed I am and also, how much responsibility comes with my blessings.”

In the future, Earl hopes to become a father. He also plans to continue staying healthy in his daily fight with diabetes. He hopes that people remember him for caring about his wife, family, and all the people that he comes in contact with. His career goal is to give his all to Liberty-Eylau and his job each day. “My advice is to always stay true to your personal morale and never waver from that,” Earl says. “I try to think of every situation from someone’s point of view other than my own. Always be quick to listen and slow to speak.”

Earl is married to Miche’le, and he says that she’s really the boss. “She’ll always keep it real. Plus, she is someone who tells me what I need to hear, no matter the situation,” Earl says. “She helps 026

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Cathy Hardin Harrison currently serves the citizens of Miller County as their County Judge. Cathy first ran for an elected office as Miller County Tax Collector. “My employees and I achieved much success in the collector’s office where we re-organized and developed new policy and procedures that resulted in collecting over a million additional dollars in delinquent taxes,” Cathy says. Cathy says that she has been fortunate and blessed to achieve her lifelong goals and fulfill her responsibility in several other occupational positions before running for County Judge. “I sincerely strive to be the very best that I can be in any position I am in,” Cathy says. “I thrive at attempting to do it right and pleasing the customer, regardless of the position I am in. Cathy has a long list of accomplishments that she is proud of from her time in office. She is proud of Smith Park. They have installed seven culverts to get it out of the flood zone, created a pollination garden and Quail Habitat, and added restrooms and showers. She is proud of the renovation of the courthouse and grant acquisitions that put a new roof on the courthouse. She is proud to have built new bridges on MC 41 and MC 10 and raised a 300-foot section of MC 29 six feet. She is proud of the new community center, new sidewalks at the courthouse, and various grants for the Volunteer Fire Departments. “We’ve also upgraded equipment at the road department and updated and purchased new 911 equipment. We’ve also met and corresponded with Federal and State personnel that has led to grant funding,” Cathy says. “We’ve also 028

started a network of sharing resources with other counties.” Some of Cathy’s long-term goals are to restore and upgrade the courthouse inside and out and continue receiving grants for our bridges and roads and bring them forward as much as her budget will allow. “I also want to continue to drive Miller County into the 21st Century by continuing to update software and the implementation of an HR Department so that all employees are treated equally,” Cathy says. “In addition, I hope to continue to find more resources for our Volunteer Firemen and Emergency Management and seek higher salaries and benefits to retain and attract county employees.” Cathy says that one of the most memorable moments in her career hasn’t actually happened yet. She wants to see the complete restoration of the Miller County Courthouse. “When the pipes broke in February of this year, it was complete chaos trying to get the county offices relocated and set up for business. Now when we return to the building, we will be going back to a restored courthouse, and it will be well worth all the headaches,” Cathy says. “I am especially excited about the restoration of the two courtrooms and lobby areas.”

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TCH I N '22 For Cathy, the most important thing is not disappointing the citizens of Miller County. “They elected me and continue to support me in this position. Four generations of Hardin’s have been born and raised in Miller County, and I want Miller County to be the best in everything,” Cathy says. “Because of my roots here, I am harder on and expect more of myself than anyone else could.”

Cathy has had several struggles throughout her career, but for her, the obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic were probably the worst. In the beginning, getting the supplies (PPE) needed for the first responders and getting the COVID tests were tough while also trying to keep 200 plus county employees calm and at work. “Keeping the courthouse open to the public was also a major concern. The county government in Arkansas is a political subdivision of the state. You can’t shut or lock the doors to local government,” Cathy says. “We are blessed to live in a community where folks step up and help their neighbors. It took all of us working together to get through it. The pandemic made me get out of my comfort zone by making me speak publicly on a regular basis. I have never really liked public speaking, and I still don’t, but I now know that I can face my fears while continuing to move forward.” When Cathy is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family. Cathy is married to Bob Harrison, and together, they have five children: Todd, Teranne, Josh, Stanley, and Morgan. They also have two grandchildren: Megan and Sophia. “Folks that have lived in the area any length of time know my husband as Chief Harrison,” Cathy says. “Bob retired earlier this year from the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department (TAPD). He worked his way through all the ranks and served about 26 years as Chief of TAPD.” Cathy and Bob attend Beech Street Baptist Church, and Cathy currently sits on six local boards, including the REDI Board and the Southwest Arkansas Mental Health Board.“ I was also A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

honored to be appointed to the Arkansas Supreme Court Security and Emergency Preparedness Committee,” Cathy says. Though she really looks up to her father, Jimmy Hardin, there are several local individuals that Cathy looks up to. “When I have questions or need advice, I contact them because I know they will steer me straight, sometimes telling me things I don’t really want to hear. It’s important that I’m not surrounded by people who regularly agree with me but instead provide other viewpoints and opinions I wouldn’t have thought of on my own,” Cathy says. “I have come to appreciate the fact that you will always make better decisions and continue to grow as a person by being open-minded. I’m not sure who said it, but I have heard this advice all my life: ‘Any job worth doing is worth doing right.’” Cathy believes that big changes are coming soon to Texarkana on both sides of the state line. “With the development of the ARTEX REDI Group and the commitment of its founders, it WILL happen. The wealth of knowledge and their generosity is unprecedented. I am constantly learning,” Cathy says. “I am also excited about the new entertainment districts downtown. The downtown area continues to grow every year, and not being able to find a parking space downtown on Friday night is truly exciting. You must admit it’s a sign of a prospering community! It’s a blessing to see folks walking up and down our city streets.” In the end, Cathy wants to be remembered as the very best County Judge Miller County has ever experienced. “It is an honor to be the first female elected County Judge in Miller County and currently the only elected female county judge in the state, but to me, gender does not make the person successful,” Cathy says. “Doing what is right, having a servant’s attitude, and satisfaction of accomplishments is how I want to be remembered.”



JAMES HERRINGTON REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER AND GENERAL CONTRACTOR After graduating from Stephen F. Austin University in 1977, James Herirington began teaching at Grim Elementary in Texarkana Independent School District. At that time, teachers made $8,000 per year, and James remembers telling his wife, Debbie, that he had to do something to supplement their income. “A few weeks later, I saw an ad in the Texarkana Gazette from a young real estate broker offering a night class to help people prepare for the Arkansas real estate exam,” James says. “I figured that I had nothing to lose, so I took the course, passed the test, and became a teacher by day and a real estate agent by night.” James’ instructor called a few weeks later and asked if James wanted to quit his teaching job and work with him full time. “After talking it over with Debbie, I took his offer on a leap of faith. Things were changing quickly, and before I knew it, he invited me to join him as a partner in forming a new real estate and construction company,” James says. “Curt Green was that instructor, and 43 years later, we’re still partners. Like many, I had no idea what direction my career was going to take back in 1977, but if you keep working to better yourself and make a better life for your family, an opportunity will knock. Just answer the door!” James has always been the kind of person that gets bored with repetition, and he enjoys the fact that the real estate development business brings something new and challenging every day. “It makes it easy to wake up and start the morning knowing you’re going to learn something and be exposed to new opportunities,” James says. After 40 years in this business, James says that 030

the last four have been some of the most exciting as he made a big push into the Express Tunnel car wash business. “My two sons, James II and Clint, have taken a major role in leading our Max Alley development team in expanding Glide Xpress washes from Texas into Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, and beyond,” James says. “Seeing their success and working with an exceptionally talented staff inspires new visions and goals for the future.” For James, the financial collapse of 2008 was the most challenging time that he faced, both personally and professionally. “Commercial real estate prices collapsed by almost 40%, and it was devastating to a small company like ours. We went from a staff of around 25 down to half that and honestly didn’t know how things were going to turn out. We tightened our belts, took no salaries, and beat the bushes for new clients,” James says. “Fortunately, the Fed was cutting interest rates, and we somehow managed to survive until things began to pick up. It was a time of high stress, hard work, and lots of prayers, but the experience made us a better company and more aware of how quickly things can change.” Through the ups and downs, James has always felt the support of his family. He and his wife, Debbie, celebrated 44 years of marriage in November, and she remains his “best friend and confidant.” Their A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

TCH I N '22 oldest son, James, and wife, Christi, live in Dripping Springs, Texas, and gave Debbie and James their first two grandbabies: River Bell (6) and Hunter (4). “Our other son, Clint, and his wife, Amy, live in Rockwall, Texas, and just had a new baby boy, Miles Henry, in December. Then, our daughter, Haley, and husband, Randy Roeser, live in Texarkana and gave us our third grandchild, James Troutt, aka “Jack,” back in August,” James says. “We consider ourselves blessed beyond words with family and are appreciative they all choose to spend time together as a family in Texarkana at Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

James says that he has always been driven and motivated by family. “I think Debbie and I will both be quite satisfied to have lived a life of generosity and kindness to others and to have raised James II, Clint, and Haley to be good Christians, good parents, and good Americans,” James says. “I will need no other legacy.”

excited to share my passion with my kids and grandchildren,” James says. “Debbie and I also just bought a small motor home, and we intend to spend time traveling and enjoying this great country. If you haven’t seen our western states and New England in September and October, you have no idea what you’re missing.” James will turn 68 in February, so he feels like the idea of long-term goals takes on a new meaning. “With our business on a successful path for the future, I am going to take more time to spend with grandkids and travel with my wife while we are still blessed with good health,” James says. “The last two years have taught me that taking care of business from the road can be done successfully while looking at new real estate, inspecting jobs, and meeting with team members who are spread between Austin and Little Rock.”

The best advice James ever heard was, “If you will do what most people won’t for a few years, you can do what most people can’t for the rest of your life.” Though James says that he missed out on that in my school days, he now tries to apply that to his work ethic. “Mostly, I drilled it into my kids when they were in high school and college,” James says. “I wanted them to understand you don’t always get a second chance to take advantage of what’s right in front of you.” From both a personal and professional standpoint, James is most proud of the fact that he has been able to navigate the “treacherous waters” of having family involved in the business. “Anyone that has done it can testify to the challenge,” James says. “However, their involvement and work ethic gives me great confidence that our companies will continue to operate and grow successfully through another generation.” When he is not working, James enjoys being outdoors. “Hunting and fly fishing are my ‘golf and tennis,’ and I am at a point in life where I am super A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

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DE’JEUNE (DEE) KINCHEN CERTIFIED PASTRY CHEF, PERSONAL CHEF, AND OWNER OF JAM CONFECTION CO., LLC AND DEELISH - PERSONAL CHEF SERVICES Dee Kinchen has overcome obstacles and worked hard to make her childhood dream come true. Growing up, she cannot remember a time when cooking did not intrigue and inspire her. “When the other kids were watching cartoons and music videos, I loved to watch Emeril and Rachael Ray shows. I would stay up late to watch Iron Chef with subtitles,” Dee says. “I was amazed that the chefs could create tantalizing dishes without even a recipe.” In junior high, Dee researched the career of a pastry chef in her occupations class. “It sounded great, but I’d never known anyone who was a chef or how to get into the field,” Dee says. “At the time, it was just a dream job.” Though she didn’t quite know where or how to begin, Dee followed her passion for food and started cooking and baking sweets for school. Dee vividly remembers a time when she made snickerdoodle cookies for her friends. “They loved them,” Dee says. “Through this experience, I learned how giving sweets made with love could really make a person’s day.” In tenth grade, Dee took a cake decorating class, and it further ignited her passion for baking. Inspired by the class, she started decorating cakes and cupcakes for teachers and friends. Then, her senior year, Dee was gifted the baking pans of her talented grandmother, Mattie. “She had also baked and decorated cakes, including my very first birthday cake before she passed away,” Dee says. “At that point, I realized baking was not just a hobby, it was something that I really loved to do, and it seemed as though I was already headed in the right direction.” After high school, Dee was offered and accepted an opportunity to become the pastry chef at the prestigious Country Club of Little Rock. However, Dee decided that to be most successful in this industry she


would have to be a business owner, so she pursued a degree in hospitality administration at Arkansas Tech University. “An old friend once told me, ‘You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Imagine if Steph Curry never attempted shooting a 3-pointer because he was afraid of missing the goal.’ That really stuck with me,” Dee says. “I had to decide if my fear of reaching for an opportunity and being denied or trying something new and failing was worth being stagnant and never reaching any of my goals. From then on, I began to network with new people and try new things. More times than not, it has resulted in a win for me. Missing the shot doesn’t mean you’ve failed if you can learn from the error, readjust, and shoot again.” While attending Arkansas Tech, Dee created a mosaic with 300 cupcakes of the school’s logo for the homecoming football game. “Everyone was amazed and excited for the cupcakes,” Dee says. “I was so proud, and I decided to do an even bigger mosaic in the future. Then, in 2019, I created a 1000 cupcake tiger mosaic for Ouachita Baptist University.” Dee has also competed in and won several dessert competitions over the last few years, but she is most proud of winning the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Pastry Chef of the Year competition in 2019. “I love a good challenge, so my most proud moments came from times when I pushed myself to do something that would test my skills and creativity,” Dee says. A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

TCH I N '22 Today, Dee is glad to be back in Texarkana with her businesses, and she is proud to be active in the growth of the city. “I absolutely love that the downtown area is growing and becoming more of a destination for locals.

I’ve seen awesome downtown areas in other cities, and I believe we are on the path to creating that here. I have participated in holiday and food truck festivals around the city for the last few years,” Dee says. “I hope to continue to do so in the future and maybe even find a location to become a permanent vendor. It’s great to see participation grow each year as locals come out to support the small businesses.” For her unique and innovative recipes, Dee draws inspiration from what’s trending in the food industry; then, she puts her own creative spin on it. “I often take traditional flavor profiles and experimentally transform them into other desserts. My favorite medium is the cupcake,” Dee says. “I absolutely love being able to use my creativity to bring joy to my customers and their important life events. That joy is my daily motivation to keep creating.” Dee loves to travel and try new foods when she is not working. She especially loves chasing food trucks and trying out their unique items. “Since I was younger, my goal in life after retirement is to travel the country and try all of the best foods in each region. I am a serious foodie,” Dee says. “Beyond food, I also like to complete DIY crafts and to garden. I’m a really proud plant mother. I have come to love gardening over the last two years, experimenting with various fruits and vegetables. Caring for plants requires consistency and patience. I’m most proud of my avocado trees, although they won’t produce for several more years.” Though she has had many successes, Dee has actually faced an intense struggle that could have caused her to give up on her dreams. Very few people know this about her, but Dee was diagnosed with a neurological sleep disorder called narcolepsy. “I struggled with this from high school through college and finally got officially diagnosed my senior year,” Dee says. “Narcolepsy is different for each person, but I see it as having half the energy of a normal person. I’ve never wanted it to be an excuse for me, so instead, it’s my motivation to work twice as hard.”

Though she still battles silently with narcolepsy daily, being self-employed allows Dee to create her own schedule and work during her most productive days. “Although they don’t know it, on most days, it’s the idea of making my customers’ day that keeps me going,” Dee says. “The instant joy on their faces reminds me that I couldn’t let them down because they trusted me to BAKE their day sweeter.” In the future, Dee’s goals include creating a successful national brand that branches from her current sweets business. This would include creating cookbooks and online classes and selling baking supplies and merchandise apparel for chefs and bakers, some of which Dee already does. “I would also love to collaborate with local business owners along the way,” Dee says. “One day, I hope that I am remembered for my passion and dedication to my craft, and as a real life example that we can become or do anything we dream of. Even if people can’t see how dreams will work out, doing their best can create opportunities for them.”

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903-793-4831 219 N State Line Ave. Texarkana, Texas




DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AT TEXARKANA EMERGENCY CENTER & HOSPITAL Brooke Marshall, Director of Marketing at Texarkana Emergency Center and Hospital, is proud of where she works and the people she works with. “They are all professionals with big hearts for the people of Texarkana,” Brooke says. “Dr. Matt Young walks his talk, as do all of our doctors and staff. As longtime emergency room physicians, our physicians and staff understand the fears and frustrations that people feel when they have to visit an emergency room, and Texarkana Emergency Center has created a comforting experience for our patients. Check-in is fast and easy, and every patient is treated like family.” Brooke was able to join the team at Texarkana Emergency Center and Hospital from the very beginning, so she has been able to have a say in everything from branding to patient room design. “Very few people get to be involved in a business that makes them feel that they are making a difference in the community,” Brooke says. “I really look up to Dr. Matt and Cindy Young. They are good people who believe in giving back to the citizens of Texarkana. They are also an example of a great Christian married couple who have raised wonderful sons who adore them. I am grateful for their leadership and mentorship in my career and personal life.” As the Director of Marketing, Brooke’s main responsibility is to make sure people know about Texarkana Emergency Center and Hospital and all that it has to offer. “Texarkana Emergency Center and Hospital is a locally-owned facility that is always open, with trained physicians on hand to address patients’ health immediately,” Brooke says.


Another aspect of Brooke’s job also allows her the opportunity to go out in the community and talk to people of all ages about their health. “Representing a business that I believe in wholeheartedly is the greatest joy,” Brooke says. Brooke enjoys spending time with her husband and twin boys when she is not working. Brooke is married to Todd Marshall, Director of CTE and STEM Education for Texarkana ISD. Todd has worked in education for 15 years, starting in Texarkana ISD, with stops in Atlanta and Pleasant Grove ISD, and now back to Texarkana ISD. They have 4-year-old twin boys: Luke and John. “As a family, we enjoy doing things together, either at home playing in our backyard or taking a trip to the aquarium in Shreveport,” Brooke says. “Recently, John and Luke have become very interested in the different holidays, so we have spent time riding around to look at everything from Halloween to Christmas decorations.” Brooke takes great pride in being a mom, and though her life has changed since the arrival of the twins, she would not trade it for anything. “John and Luke have changed and continue to change my life daily,” Brooke says. “No matter what positive or

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TCH I N '22 negative experiences the day may bring, I am truly blessed to call them mine.”

complete their post-secondary goals to become part of the Texarkana community and workforce.”

In an effort to be the best mom she can be, Brooke says that she has to struggle to find a good balance between work and family. Finding a way to separate her work life from her home life is a constant goal. “My children are the greatest gifts from God, and Todd and I want to raise them to be good people,” Brooke says. “I also want to make sure we get to do fun things as a family. From traveling to working together on projects, celebrating holidays, attending church regularly, and being a close-knit family are some of our future goals. I plan to accomplish these goals by continuing to be intentional in balancing work and family.”

Looking back, Brooke is extremely proud that she chose to make a career change from the field of oil and gas to marketing. “As the director of marketing at Texarkana ER and Hospital, I have been a part of this local business since day one,” Brooke says. “I am very proud to have played a part and witnessed the growth and impact it has made to patients and the Texarkana community.”

Though she is a working mom, Brooke also carves out time to pour into her personal interests, friends, and extended family. When she has time, she enjoys seeing her two brothers and two sisters with whom she is very close. She also loves traveling, shopping, and researching the next fashion find for Lindsay Kate Designs. In addition, she also helps friends and family with interior design. “One that I am really passionate about that I am not only involved in through work but also personally is Junior League of Texarkana. I am a sustainer and love to help throughout the year,” Brooke says. “We enjoy being involved in so many community organizations that prioritize giving back to our local community, and I hope that I am remembered as someone who was always kind and willing to lend a hand to others in need.” Recently, Brooke also joined the Executive Committee for the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council. She is excited to work with others who believe and want Texarkana to continue to expand and grow. “I really think that Texarkana will continue to thrive in the upcoming years,” Brooke says. “I hope to see industries and businesses continue to choose Texarkana as their home, which will provide more jobs, grow our economy, and attract other businesses. I also want to see graduates of our local schools stay or return to Texarkana after they

Brooke is excited to see where the future may lead, no matter what it holds. As she navigates decisions, she will keep her grandfather’s words close to her heart. “The advice that I live by is, ‘Always do your best in everything you do,’” Brooke says. “My grandfather told me that at an early age before he passed away, and I have always tried to practice it in every aspect of life.”

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OPTOMETRIST AT THE EYE GUYS Growing up, Eric always enjoyed science and biology, and he quickly became fascinated with how the eyes work. “My grandparents had a lot of vision issues when I was younger, and that always hit home as a way I could potentially make a difference,” Eric says. “The most important part of my career is taking care of people with a kind, compassionate approach that includes our patients, employees, and families.” The most memorable moments of Eric’s career include passing his national boards and getting his optometry license, opening his own office in 2009, and partnering with Jeff Phillips in 2013. They have grown The Eye Guys business since then. “I always believe that you should work hard no matter the current circumstances because you never know when that hard work will allow you to take advantage of an opportunity,” Eric says. “I also believe that we should learn as much as we can because knowledge can never be taken away from us, and we should acknowledge that we can’t do everything on our own, and that’s okay. We are not the masters of the universe, and we should seek Jesus with an open and repentant heart.”

encouragement. Without loving, hard-working parents and the ongoing love and support of my wife and kids, I don’t think very many things in my life would have turned out like they are now,” Eric says. “When I married Leigh, I inherited another loving family of in-laws that love and treat me like one of their own, so that’s a huge blessing, too.”

Eric has always wanted to be known for being an honest, hard-working person, but that original motivation has grown into being a provider for his family and being a role model to them for what a Christian man and father looks like. “I am married to Leigh, my childhood sweetheart, and we have four daughters ages 14, 10, 7, and 4. I bet my house has the highest spoken word count per day in the 4-states area!” Eric says. “We also have five dogs and two cats!”

Eric and his family are new members of Christ Community Church. Eric’s papaw, John Watkins, always said to keep God first. “It’s tough to apply this wisdom consistently because pride, conceit, and sin tell me to put myself and my desires first,” Eric says. “Applying this is a challenge, but giving people the benefit of the doubt and being slow to anger are good daily targets to aim for.”

For Eric, growing up in a small town with lots of family nearby has made him the man he is today. “Having grandparents close by, and aunts, uncles, and cousins all around, you have a lot of emotional support and 038

When Eric isn’t at work, he enjoys spending time with family and going on date nights with Leigh. “I love being outside, building things, playing golf and cornhole, shooting guns, and making my wife and kids laugh!” Eric says. “I also really get a kick out of doing impressions.”

Through it all, Eric wants to be remembered for treating people kindly, being trustworthy and loyal, and being a devoted husband and father. “My longterm plans are just to keep life between the guardrails with the grace and mercy from God and the love and support of my family,” Eric says. A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

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Robby McCarver has worked in law enforcement since 1991. He started at the Texarkana, Texas Police Department when he was only 21-years-old, and realized that he truly loved the work. “In the early years, I was lucky enough to have several supervisors that made my future career possible. Lt. Pat McElhiney chose and trained me for specialized patrol duties that led to Captain Ronny Sharp selecting me for Narcotics, SWAT, and Criminal Investigator positions,” Robby says. “Both men were highly skilled in their areas, offering guidance and training that was unmatched in our area at the time.” In 2008, Sheriff James Prince offered Robby an investigator’s job with the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office. While working for Bowie County, he had the privilege of working under the previous Sheriff James Prince, District Attorney Jerry Rochelle, and the current Sheriff, Jeff Neal. “Law enforcement is a calling. Obviously, no one gets into this profession for the financial rewards. The opportunity to help others in their times of need is irreplaceable,” Robby says. “I believe the sheriff’s office has earned a reputation in our region that we should be proud of. We have a great working relationship with our district attorney’s office, our judges, and other local law enforcement agencies. We try very hard to serve the citizens of this county and will continue to improve that service at every opportunity. I encourage anyone with a concern to contact Sheriff Neal or me, and we will do our best to resolve it. Speaking on behalf of the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Jeff Neal, we want to provide the best service possible to our community.” Robby lives by the saying, “I can only control me.” Although seemingly simple, Robby says that the 040

saying is a good reminder of how to react in tough situations. “We all face difficulties or difficult people, and that is beyond our control. What I can control is my reaction to those people or circumstances,” Robby says. “I find that a measured response goes a long way to diffuse conflict.” Robby is proud of both his personal and professional accomplishments. Robby and his wife, Detra, are approaching their 27th anniversary. They have three grown sons and a long-haired Dachshund named Maximus. “Our oldest son, Addison, earned his Ph.D. focused in molecular biology and is married and living in the Fayetteville area. Hunter, our second son, is married with three children and owns a thriving tattoo business in the Texarkana area,” Robby says. “Carson, our youngest, is a junior at Baylor University majoring in mechanical engineering. Each of our sons is accomplishing their own goals and making their own way, which is more than a parent could ever pray for.” Professionally, Robby is proud to be a graduate of Texas A&M University-Texarkana with a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences, a graduate of the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration (ILEA), and a current attendee of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT). “I am also very proud that Sheriff James Prince trusted me enough to promote A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

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Robby and Detra’s faith in God is an important part of their lives. They are active members of First Baptist Church and, more specifically, the Café Class. “The church and our Bible study class are integral parts of our lives that help us to live out our faith,” Robby says. “We also both volunteer for the ArkLaTex 100 Club and Clay’s Golf and Guitars (Clay Eichler Memorial Fund). These two great organizations have given generously to our community and local first responders. I encourage you to research both of these organizations and become a member or volunteer.”

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Another cause close to Robby’s heart is the national attack that he feels law enforcement has been under the last few years. “Thankfully, we do not experience this in our community. There will always be individual concerns that need addressing, and we should always be willing to engage in those conversations because we literally work for the citizens we protect. However, staffing levels have been difficult to maintain as there are fewer applicants for law enforcement positions,” Robby says. “While this is a trend nationwide, I believe there are still individuals called to this work. We can offer the ability to work in a field dedicated to honor, integrity, and sacrifice for others. This will not appeal to everyone, but to those whom it reaches, we would love to hear from you.”

When Robby leaves this profession, he hopes to be remembered as a dedicated, hard-working, loyal deputy. “I love this county and the people that I work with,” Robby says. “With a degree of humility, I do hope that the discussion for my replacement will at least include some concern over finding someone that will work as hard and be as dedicated.”


Even though Robby has a lot to be grateful for, he recently faced a difficult struggle when his wife, Detra, was diagnosed with life-ending cancer. She eventually underwent a bone marrow transplant as a medical last resort. “Thankfully, MD Anderson and some wonderful doctors were able to provide a level of care that was truly miraculous,” Robby says. “It would be impossible for either of us to discuss overcoming cancer, especially me. She did all of the work, and God did all of the healing through His physicians. She is alive and in remission because God had a different plan.”

In the future, Robby hopes to complete the coursework for LEMIT and become a graduate of their program. He also looks forward to helping Sheriff Neal continue improving the Bowie County Sheriff’s office. “We have many motivated, highly trained deputies in our office, and we desire to prepare them to eventually take over the responsibilities of this office,” Robby says.


me to the rank of Captain of the Criminal Investigative Division,” Robby says. “I am equally honored that our current Sheriff, Jeff Neal, selected me as his Chief Deputy.”





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CHIEF OF POLICE OF NEW BOSTON, TEXAS Garry D. McCrary, Chief of Police of New Boston, Texas, always wanted to be in law enforcement and the military. He joined the United States Marine Corps and retired from the service in the early nineties. “One of my greatest struggles was adapting from military life to one of an ordinary civilian. In the military, you were expected to perform a job using the least amount of time and do the job to the best of your ability, but it seemed that in civilian life, things were a little more laid back. Forcing someone to perform to your satisfaction was out of the question,” Garry says. “I had to learn how to use more tact, persuasion, and leading by example to accomplish certain tasks.” Soon after returning from the military, Garry was approached by the Chief of Police of DeKalb, Texas. “He told me about a friend of his that was hiring jailers for the newly constructed Bowie County Correctional Center. I was interviewed and got the job,” Garry says. “I thought that the job would get me as close to a law enforcement job as I would ever get.” Everyone who got the job as a jailer was taken to the Southwest Center in Texarkana to participate in various types of training, and at the end of one week, they were certified. “I guess from my military experience, I was promoted to the rank of Corporal, a supervisory position,” Garry says. “After approximately six months, I was approached by former Sheriff Mary Choate, and she asked if I would like to become a Bowie County Deputy.” The sheriff’s office sent Garry to Kilgore, Texas, for the police academy. After completing the academy, he began working as a Bowie County Deputy, and Garry learned a lot from the position. “The person I look up to is Sheriff Mary Choate because she was such a great organizer; she knew just how to make things work,” Garry says. “She was largely responsible for the building of the Bowie County Correctional Center. During the nineties, the Correctional Center brought 042

millions of dollars to the county and employed hundreds of individuals.” When he retired from the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office, he was hired by the New Boston Police Department. “The most memorable moments of my career is when the city council members of New Boston voted for me to be the Chief of Police; it was an honor that I never imagined,” Garry says. “I am very proud to serve the citizens and the city of New Boston. Honestly, it was a great honor just to fulfill my dream of becoming a police officer. I never in my wildest dream thought that I would ever become a police chief.” Garry feels that the most important thing about being a police officer is meeting the needs of the people that they serve. “Being a police officer is a 24-hour job all day every day regardless of weather or any natural or unnatural disaster you can think of. If you look around, there will be a police officer on duty protecting and serving their community, city, or state,” Garry says. “I am inspired every day working with the New Boston Police Department officers. They are a great group of people, and together, we form a team that is more like a family unit.” Garry enjoys spending his free time reading or hunting when he is not working. “I am a Louis L’amour fan, and I think that I have read every western novel that he has ever written,” Garry says. “Also, my father bought me a 410 shotgun (my first gun) when I was 9-years-old, and A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

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he taught me how to hunt deer and squirrels. I never really enjoyed deer hunting, but I loved squirrel hunting and still do it today.” Garry’s long-term goal centers around changing the negative perception of law enforcement in today’s society. He wants to build back the trust and respect between law enforcement and the great people of New Boston. “I plan to accomplish this by abiding by the same laws that we enforce,” Garry says. “No one is above the law.” Garry also wants to leave his office in a much better place than he received it. “I want better equipment, better uniforms, and more schooling for officers so they can better interact with the public,” Garry says. “I want to be remembered as treating everyone firmly, fairly, and with dignity, and to let everyone know that we are here working for them. I want to be remembered as a person that people feel comfortable coming to with any problem that is bothering them, and together we can come to a solution to solve it by all lawful means available.”


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ACADEMIC ADVISOR AT TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL As a little girl, Patty would “play teacher” with her stuffed animals. Her dad set up a whiteboard and gave her some of his wax pens he used at work so that she would have a “chalkboard” for her stuffed students. Patty always told her parents that she wanted to be a teacher, but she took several business classes in high school and decided to pursue a business degree while in college. However, education was always on her mind. “After spending several years in the business world and having my last child, I decided to listen to my calling and get into the education field. But by this time, I was 37-years-old with three sons. Going back to school to get my teaching certification was not something that I felt I had the time to do,” Patty says. “Someone I knew in Texarkana ISD told me about a job opportunity at Texas High School as an academic advisor. I looked into it and knew immediately this was what God wanted me to do. I interviewed and took the position, and now 20 years later, I am still doing what I love and what I feel I was called to do.” Patty is inspired by working with students from all aspects of life and seeing them grow into young adults realizing their dreams or just discovering who they are. “I love working with students that have their plan figured out, but I also get my inspiration working with students that do not have any idea of what they want to do or even realize what they can do,” Patty says. “To see the ideas form and start to materialize in their minds, and to help the students to believe in themselves and start to see their goals become achievable---these are the reasons why I get up and walk through those school doors every day. And years later, it is so rewarding to see my students graduate, start the second phase of their lives either in college, the military or workforce, start to have families of their own, and become active in their community.” Patty understands that kids have so many trials and tribulations during their teenage years, and when she is privileged enough to help them work through them and persevere to become successful, it makes every single 044

sleepless night she endured worth it. “Because yes, there is not a single educator out there who does not go home and forget their job. We continue to worry and pray over our students because we have had them for such a long period of time that we have developed such a strong relationship with many of them. We love them and care for them as if they were our own students,” Patty says. “And every single one of my students knows that my expectations for them are as high as if they were my own child because I believe in them.” Having and raising a family while also working and having a career is what Patty believes to be her biggest accomplishment. One time, Patty was called a “parttime mother” because she worked and sent her kids to daycare. “I consider people that work as truly full-time parents. We still raise our children even though they do have child care, and we are supporting our children in several different ways,” Patty says. “And I have been so fortunate to work for a school district that understands that we are moms and dads at home as well as employees. TISD is one big family and believes that family comes first.” Patty believes that we all face adversity and struggles with day-to-day life, and she believes that it makes you stronger as a person. Patty’s first husband died in a car wreck nine months after they were married. “Those were the darkest days of my life. My family, friends, and the grace of God helped me through those days. I am not sure where I would be today without my faith in God,” Patty says. “We don’t always know why some things happen, but I am here to tell you that God takes A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

TCH I N '22 care of us. He wants us to be happy. And he made me happy again by blessing me with another wonderful husband to spend my life with. I thank him every single day for my happiness.”

Today, Patty is happily married to Kevin McDonald, whom she met, ironically, through mutual friends of Patty’s first husband. Patty and Kevin have three “handsome, smart, and hardworking sons.” Garrett is 25 and works in the cattle industry with Kevin. Gage is 22 and will graduate from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville this coming May. He will join them in the cattle industry. Karson, their youngest son, is almost 20-years-old and a sophomore at the University of Arkansas, majoring in Political Science. “Our empty nester fur baby is Oakley, a two-year-old Goldendoodle, who is the boss of our household,” Patty says. “Since I am getting close to being able to retire, I would like to travel and help take care of ’a long time in the future’ grandbabies,’ but I love what I do so much that it may be a while before I retire.” Patty is actively involved in her church and community

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when she isn’t working. Her family is members of First Lutheran Church, where Patty was raised since birth. “I have been a Sunday school teacher, VBS teacher, youth leader, and have served on several committees. I am also in the choir, bell choir, and sing in the praise band,” Patty says. “I have served as a volunteer for CASA, was a board member for Texarkana Arkansas Baseball Association, and even coached a T-ball team.” When they can get away, Patty and Kevin spend a lot of time in Fayetteville visiting their sons, Gage and Karson. “We enjoy tailgating with our crew and Calling Those Hogs! WPS!!” Patty says. “We also love to camp, but my favorite vacation is laying on the beach listening to the waves crash in. I am an avid reader and a huge sports fan. I love to cheer for the Texas High Tigers, the Arkansas Razorbacks, and the Dallas Cowboys.” In the end, Patty would like to be remembered as someone that was always there for her family, friends, and students. “I hope they know that they could always count on me and trust in me to be there for them,” Patty says. “I love BIG. And I pray everyone knows how BIG I love them.”




CHIEF DEPUTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY FOR MILLER AND LAFAYETTE COUNTIES Connie Mitchell was initially offered a position as a prosecutor for Juvenile Court in 1996, and she quickly realized prosecuting crimes was her true calling. “I find the work challenging, yet rewarding,” Connie says. “My daily inspiration on the job is in working to make our community a better and safer place by seeking justice for the victims of crime. In my experience, punishing those responsible not only makes our community safer but also often helps victims get closure and begin the healing process.” During one of Connie’s more challenging cases, she had a young victim that was being cross-examined pretty aggressively about whether or not he was telling the truth. “When I was given a chance to question him again, I only had two questions. I asked the victim what happens when you lie and, he replied, ‘You go down ‘there,’ pointing to the devil.’ When I asked what happens when you tell the truth, he answered, ‘You get to go to Heaven and live with Jesus,” Connie says. “There wasn’t a dry eye on the jury, and, of course, they believed him! For this case, I didn’t get the conviction – my victim did.” Because Connie feels as though she has had many blessings in her life, she likes to take on the causes of the vulnerable. “I have the attitude that my struggles are the struggles of others – especially children and animals. I contribute to and support multiple charities and causes and, fortunately, have a career that allows me to offer direct help to those who may be struggling as a victim of crime,” Connie says. “Again, it’s all about trying to make a positive difference in our community! If I were going to offer any advice to someone, it would be to fight for what you know is right and fight for those who can’t.”


Connie tries to live by the sayings that grace her home and office signs. “The first one says, ‘At the end of the day, you have traded a day in your life for what you leave behind. So let it be something good.’ The second says, ‘Focus on what you can change; let go of what you cannot.’ I try each day to avoid spending my time and energy being unproductive,” Connie says. “I always strive to be productive and positive!” Connie was born in Texarkana and was raised here for most of her life. A 1982 graduate of Texas High, she received a bachelor’s degree from East Texas State University (now TAMU-Texarkana) and a law degree from The University of Arkansas at Little Rock. However, Connie is most proud of the successes her daughter has achieved in school and now in her post-graduate career. “Co-parenting can be tough, but her dad and I worked hard, and our daughter is proof of that,” Connie says. “She is an amazing young woman!” Family is important to Connie. She considers her immediate family to include “her guy,” Ken, a retired Marine. He just retired from the civilian workforce this past summer. “There’s also my daughter, Christian, who is engaged to a fine young man named Morgan A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

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and currently lives in Austin, Texas. There’s also Ken’s daughter, Julianna, and her husband, Jacob, who live in Lakeland, Florida,” Connie says. “We don’t have any grandkids yet, but we have our ‘other’ kids – my animals. I have four dogs, Max, Maggie, Nora, and Ringo, and two cats, Jack and Bubbles. All my animals are rescues, which is another cause that’s important to me.” Connie looked up to her mother, Alice, for most of her adult life. “She is a true inspiration. She’s always been strong, independent, and incredibly resilient through every challenge life has thrown at her,” Connie says. “Mom is also feisty, funny, and a great friend. She’s the perfect example of what every mother should strive to be. Love you, Mom!” Like so many others during the pandemic, Ken and Connie bought a travel trailer, and they try to get out and explore Arkansas and the surrounding areas whenever they can. “That RV gets pretty crowded when we take all our critters along!” Connie says, “Recently, though, a lot of my free time is spent on my campaign for Prosecutor. I’m trying to get out as much as possible to meet my fellow citizens of Miller and Lafayette Counties.” Connie’s long-term goals include continuing her legal career as the elected Prosecutor for Miller and Lafayette Counties. “I have been fortunate to be a member of this great team for over 20 years and would like the opportunity to lead the team,” Connie says. “The election is in May 2022. Be sure to vote for me!” In the end, Connie would like to be remembered as someone who made a positive difference in the lives of her family and community. “There’s too much negativity in the world already, and I don’t have any intention of adding to it,” Connie says.

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TEXARKANA, TEXAS CITY MANAGER Growing up, David Orr’s family instilled the importance of giving back to the community, and when David attended the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, he studied political science for his undergraduate degree and graduated with a master’s in public administration. He is currently the Texarkana, Texas City Manager. “My passion is to work with our outstanding team at the city to improve our community each and every day,” David says. “Texarkana is my hometown, and to make it a better place for our three children one day is my greatest motivation.” Professionally, David is honored and humbled to lead “Team Texarkana,” which includes, at the moment, 531 employees. “Our daily mission as city staff is to provide customer-focused public services and regional leadership that serves our residents and visitors while offering a safe, vibrant, and welcoming community,” David says. Although he has had several accomplishments in his career, David says that his greatest accomplishment is his family. “I am married to Laura, and we have three kids: Ellison (7), Ollie (4), and Adley Claire (1 ½),” David says. “My family has been a huge support system in my career at the city. Many nights are spent at public meetings or events throughout the city. My wife and kids attend as many family-friendly events as possible, and my mom rarely misses a speaking engagement.” David says that he and his wife, Laura, had the unique opportunity through a Rotary Ambassadorial Program to live, learn, and work in Cape Town, South Africa, for a year, early in their marriage. “That experience gave us a new global perspective that we work to instill in our kids,” David says. “We have friends through Rotary that we still keep in touch with and that our kids know as their South African grandparents.” From a leadership perspective, David has always admired Nelson Mandela and his work to build a new 048

South Africa. “He took over a country on the brink of civil war and led the country through a relatively peaceful transition of power. My wife and I lived in South Africa the year he passed away,” David says. “It was an honor to be there to witness the tributes to his life and the generational impact his leadership had on the country he loved. ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done,’ is one of my favorite quotes by him and one that inspires me daily.” David’s goal is for Texarkana to continue to be a thriving regional center for education, business, and culture that attracts and serves its residents and visitors. David says that it will take continued investments in all three areas to accomplish this. “We have some of the best K-12 and higher education opportunities with two major university systems and an award-winning community college located in Texarkana,” David says. “From a business perspective, we have an outsized number of local small businesses that continue to grow and expand by adding jobs to our employment base. We also have a team that is working on expanding our entrepreneurial networks and business opportunities by developing a Texarkana Creator Space (business incubator). From a cultural perspective, David says that Texarkana has a number of arts and historic institutions that provide a wide range of programming for our community. “I’ve had the honor of chairing for almost

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TCH I N '22 the past decade our downtown Arts & Historic District that was named a Texas Cultural District in 2016,” David says. “Our team has completed a number of projects over the years from the Scott Joplin Mural, Kress Gap Murals, and most recently working with the Leadership Texarkana Strategic Doing Team to complete the U.S. Post Office and Federal Courthouse improvements.” However, it has not all been easy to accomplish the projects helping restore downtown Texarkana. One struggle that David now enjoys telling the story of is the redevelopment of the Hotel Grim. “I personally, along with our team, worked on the project for over a decade with numerous developers and project proposals. Many days fell away with nothing to show,” David says. “There were more failures than victories for the better part of the decade; however, over time, things started finally falling into place. With seven different sources of financing, it was a very complex historic preservation project but one that was so important for our community. It was also a huge accomplishment for our team that took on an almost impossible project and found a way to make it work. We now have the privilege of telling the Hotel Grim redevelopment story locally to civic organizations and at conferences across the country.” Looking into the future, David has both long-term and short-term goals that focus on the economic development of our region. “We’ve seen growth in a number of areas of town over the last several years, and the resurgence in our downtown has been fun to be a part of,” David says. “However, there is much more to be done, and to accomplish that, we have an incredible regional economic development team that includes AR-TX REDI, TexAmericas, Texarkana College, TAMU-T, and a number of other organizations working to grow our region.” Besides his daily work at the city, David also gives his time to many community organizations. “I serve A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

as Chairperson of the Texarkana Arts & Historic District, and teaching adjunct at Texas A&M UniversityTexarkana since 2009. I’m also a member of the Wilbur Smith Rotary Club, a founding former board member of For the Sake of One, a board member of both the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra and the Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council,” David says. “Our family attends Heritage Church, and there we serve as small group leaders in Kid City.” When he does have free time, David enjoys coaching flag football, leading a cub scout den, and volunteering on a Rotary Club flag route. “Also, although a Texan, I’m an avid Arkansas Razorback fan, and we try to attend several football games each year in Fayetteville with family. Woo Pig Sooie!” David says. Through it all, David wants to be remembered for both his community service and his role in his family. “I would like to be remembered for a life well lived as a public servant, and, most importantly, as a dad and husband,” David says.



3107 Richmond Road • 5600 Summerhill Road • 1224 County Avenue 903.838.2567 903.792.0198 870.7 73.4072 049



DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, VICE PRESIDENT AT FARMERS BANK & TRUST When Rachael shows up to work at Farmers Bank & Trust, she knows that no two days will be the same. “I live a pretty crazy schedule that changes daily, which is the way I thrive! Something different inspires and drives me every day depending on what is going on,” Rachael says. “Also, starting and completing the day with my husband and daughter is always the best piece.” It has always been important for Rachael to work for a company with strong core values, ones exactly like Farms Bank & Trust’s “HEART” core values. “HEART stands for Honor, Excellence, Adaptability, Respect, Teamwork. These values guide all our decisions to be a bank that has a strong vision to grow within communities, help communities, and grow team members,” Rachael says. Rachael is extremely proud to have been a part of four acquisitions at Farmers Bank & Trust. “Each one is memorable because of the hard work each requires, yet they are all very rewarding as we bring a new community and team into the Farmers Bank & Trust family,” Rachael says. “There is nothing more exciting than a new acquisition announcement!” Professionally, Rachael is extremely proud of helping Farmers Bank & Trust triple in size in eight years. However, she is also proud of her personal accomplishments. “I have completed my BBA, MBA, and CFMP certification,” Rachael says. “Then, I am so proud of my awesome family. I have been married to Josh Potter since 2017; he works at the Potter Law Firm. We welcomed Alice into our family in July 2020.” Rachael and Josh had a pandemic baby, which meant only the two were allowed at the

hospital. “Josh and I both come from large families that make all holidays and big events very fun,” Rachael says. “We had over 120 family members to invite to our wedding, so welcoming a baby into the world with just us two was very unusual for us.” Becoming a mom has changed many elements in Rachael’s daily practices and mindset. “I have always had a very supportive family. As a working mom, I have had to rely on my family more than ever before. We are very lucky to have so many family members that live in Texarkana and can constantly support us when we need it,” Rachael says. “In the past few years, I have really worked to not say ‘no’ at work. I have learned there is usually a ‘yes’ in every situation if I think positively and creatively.” Rachael looks up to the example set by her grandparents, Nancy and Shirl McCoy. “They have been married for 60 years and still manage an active, healthy lifestyle in their 80’s. All great things to aim for!” Rachael says. The best advice that Rachael has ever received was said by her mom, and many of us have heard it as well. “She always said, ‘Life isn’t fair,’ Rachael says. “As I get older, I understand that it is better to

TCH I N '22 understand that and move forward positively in order to enjoy each day. The advice I give others is to always prioritize reading and exercise, which can either solve or prevent most problems.”

When Rachael has some free time, she enjoys traveling or planning travel. “Other hobbies include working on Peloton classes, reading, and keeping up with the Arkansas Razorbacks,” Rachael says. “I was a twirler at the University of Arkansas during the 2005-2008 football seasons. I still taught baton twirling until I became pregnant with Alice in 2019!” Rachael is also involved in the Texarkana community. She currently serves on the board of directors for Eagle Impact at Texas A&M University- Texarkana, Leadership Texarkana, and CASA Women of Hope and Courage. She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Texarkana, Ashdown Church of Christ, and First United Methodist Church Wednesday night Bible

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study. She also served on the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Conference Committee for the past two years and is a member of the current Leadership Arkansas Class XVI (graduate May 2022). “Since I am currently in the Leadership Arkansas class, I’m learning more and finding new passions as we go along. I look forward to involving myself in new interests when the class is over,” Rachael says. “I do hope Texarkana manages to still have minimal traffic yet still have thriving, high-quality businesses and restaurants to improve our quality of life throughout.” Through it all, Rachael wants to be remembered for “getting things done and having fun along the way.” She also has long-term professional and personal goals. “I want to continue to work at Farmers Bank & Trust and make an impact on the company’s vision for the future,” Rachael says. “Also, I want to continue to raise a family and enjoy life in Texarkana!”




ASSISTANT TAX ASSESSOR COLLECTOR AT BOWIE CENTRAL APPRAISAL DISTRICT (BCAD) Sha Spear was originally hired at the appraisal district as a collections clerk in 2004 and was inspired to learn how the collections and appraisal process worked because of that position. “I was promoted from within to work different positions before getting the opportunity in 2013 to do what I am currently doing now,” Sha says. “I just want to help people understand the property tax system. So many people purchase property without understanding anything about property taxes. As a young adult who didn’t know anything about it either before working at BCAD, I want to help people have the correct information about what we do and how we operate.” Especially in a position where she has to deal with the public daily, Sha wants to be remembered for her kindness and patience. “I don’t believe in any situation that anyone should be rude, and working with the public, no one understands what is needed better than the people who do the job daily,” Sha says. “Most people just need someone to be kind and help them understand what they need. Some of the most memorable moments in my career have come from seeing how everyone comes together in our office when someone is in need, even if it is not asked or expected. Sha says that her greatest accomplishments in life are her children. She has two daughters: Alexia is 17-yearsold and just graduated high school, and Makenna is 4-years-old. They also have two dogs, a Minpin named Tiny, who just turned 11-years-old last month, and a Chiweenie, who will be 3-years-old in January. To round out the family, they also have a cat named Marley who Alexia found outside her job when Marley was just a kitten. “I am always proud of my two girls no matter what, and everything I do is for them,” Sha says. “ I am proud to show them life is not always easy, but the things you work the hardest for are the things you end up cherishing the most.” 052

Sha has modeled this work ethic for her girls while working hard to obtain her degree while still working a full-time job and being the best parent she can be. “I try to lead by example and show them that you can find a job that can be so much more than just a place to gain a paycheck,” Sha says. “I started at BCAD when I was nineteen and have not only grown with it, but now, I have become a family to the people I work with daily.” Growing up, Sha faced struggles that molded her into the woman she is today. When Sha was only 17-yearsold, both of her parents passed within two months of each other. Sha was already working part-time, so she ended up having to quit school to work full-time. She also lived with her brother, who was only a couple of years older, in their family home, but he had an infant and was newly married. “I realize now that things could have turned out so much differently than they did. I didn’t have anyone but myself to be accountable to, and I wasn’t hanging around the best of people,” Sha says. “I had my first child a couple of years later. At that time, I realized I didn’t want to be that parent: the one who was a high school dropout and was never around. I wanted to be someone my parents and daughter could be proud of.” So when Sha’s daughter was two months old, Sha was blessed with the opportunity through a temp agency A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

TCH I N '22 to work for Bowie Central Appraisal District. It turned into a full-time job shortly after. About a year later, Sha enrolled in junior college and slowly worked towards her bachelor’s degree in business. “Looking back, I see how different my life could have been had I not decided I wanted to be better,” Sha says. “I could have blamed circumstances like so many people do and ended up with a totally different outcome in life.” Sha said that she has had a lot of support through the years from her siblings, her kids, extended family, and family “by choice and not by blood.” She says that they have been there no matter what she has needed over the years. “Whether it was to cheer me on when I graduated college or got a promotion at work, to cheer me up when life got me down, or to babysit for whatever reason, they have always been there,” Sha says. “Sometimes it can just be as simple as needing someone to be there with you through a situation, even when you didn’t realize it or know to ask for it.” Sha says that her long-term goals are simple. “I plan to raise my girls to be the best people they can be, and I

hope to continue working for BCAD as long as they will have me,” Sha says. “I plan on doing these two things by continuing to be kind and considerate, by learning and adapting to change, and just by treating people the way I wish to be treated.” In the future, Sha hopes Texarkana will get more things for families to do. “It seems that we always get new restaurants, hotels, and even car dealerships,” Sha says. “We need things for families to do locally instead of having to go out of town to entertain our children.” Through it all, Sha continues to live by the best advice she ever received. Sha’s mom told her that no matter what, just treat people how you want to be treated. “I use this daily, especially working with the public and raising my own kids. This is the best advice I could pass on,” Sha says. “No matter how anyone treats you, it always leaves you feeling like you did everything you could if you just treat someone how you would have wanted to be treated if the situation were reversed.”


Homeownership It’s not too late to give yourself the gift of homeownership this holiday season. I can help you assess your financial situation and guide you on the next steps towards getting into the home of your dreams.

JASON CREE Cell: 903.277.2726 Office: 903.223.5632

Branch Manager | Sr. Loan Officer NMLS #209270

jcree@swbc.com | www.jasoncree.com 3101 Kennedy Lane, Suite 200 Texarkana, TX 75503 © 2021 SWBC. All rights reserved. Loans are subject to credit and property approval. Other restrictions and conditions may apply. Programs and guidelines are subject to change without notice. Rates are subject to change daily. Corporate office located at 9311 San Pedro Avenue, Suite 100, San Antonio, TX 78216. SWBC Mortgage Corporation, NMLS #9741 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). 1060-A4314 01/21

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CRIME SCENE DETECTIVE WITH TEXARKANA, ARKANSAS POLICE DEPARTMENT Misty Tyler is a crime scene detective with the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department. She got involved in the field because she wanted to help people and be a voice for those who can not speak out or are afraid. “After beginning a career in law enforcement and having my first crime scene, I realized that was what I wanted to do. I love to learn, and this gives me that perfect opportunity because the processes and sciences are constantly evolving,” Misty says. “I have always been interested in oddities and the macabre. I believe this, mixed with my interest in knowledge for knowledge’s sake and how the human body works, makes the crime scene aspect so interesting to me.” Misty has accomplished many goals and overcame many obstacles to get to where she is today. She came from poverty; she had no home, no role model, and only saw crime and violence. “I knew that I wanted to break this cycle. Instead of staying, I left. I would go to school, walk to work, go to wherever I could find to sleep, and start over,” Misty says. “There were people that helped along the way, thankfully, so I wasn’t completely on my own.” After meeting her birth father at 18, Misty moved to Texarkana to be near her dad, stepmother, and stepsister. They accepted her into the family and pushed her to further her dreams. “My family is truly a blend and definitely unique,” Misty says. “They are my biggest supporters, and we all have our quirks. For instance, Thanksgiving was Viking-themed!” With that little bit of a push from her family, Misty continued. “I learned to strive, never to give up, even if it is not easy,” Misty says. “Coming from so little, and instead of falling into the vicious cycle that so many do, I am able to walk away and proudly say that I ended it.” Even though Misty was on her own a lot of the time, she also had so many people help her unexpectedly. Because of this, Misty knew that she wanted to do the same for others. “In this career, I can help others, whether it is 054

helping find a suspect or get a family closure,” Misty says. “I’m honestly just so proud of where I am today. If you had asked anyone in my school, the ‘homeless girl’ probably would not have made it anywhere. However, here I am, doing what I enjoy, with a great team and department beside me, a wonderful family (including those friends who are family) behind me, and I could not be more proud to help the citizens of this great town.” When she is not at work, Misty enjoys spending time with her rescue dogs, her reptiles, and her little girl, who is named Turtle. “The looks when I tell people about her are priceless!” Misty says. “I am also part of Beyond the Badge of Texarkana to help the families and those in law enforcement. I also recently joined the Miller County Dive Team, with a few others from TAPD. They specialize in search and recovery; I have learned that this is a great asset to our community.” Misty wants to continue to learn and grow in her profession in the future. “Chief Bennett and TAPD have been wonderful in helping me achieve my dreams in the crime scene. I want to be remembered for never giving up and being the best that I can be. I want to be an asset to the TAPD team, and in doing so, to the TAPD community,” Misty says. “My advice to others is that if it is something that you really want to do, it may not be easy to achieve, but you can do it. You have to put in the time and hard work, A LOT of work, but you can do it if you set your mind to it.” A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

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financial focus



A Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting a Family Meeting FAMILY AND LIFESTYLE

Where should you meet? What should you discuss? Who should be there? Consider these suggestions. Estate planning is more than just sharing wealth – it also includes the passing down of your family’s values and history to the next generation. And while selecting the right financial strategies is crucial to ensure your family’s long-term wellbeing, it’s just as important to prepare your loved ones for the responsibilities of managing the wealth they’re set to inherit. One of the best ways to start this preparation is by hosting a family meeting to have an open conversation about your family’s unique situation, needs and goals. Here’s a guide to get you started.

When and where should you meet? If you and your loved ones live near each other, picking the time and place for your family meeting may be as straightforward as inviting them over for an extended dinner. However, if everyone is spread out, finding a time to get together may take more planning. Do you have a family reunion coming up? Consider tacking on a day to your vacation to talk about the future and your wishes. When choosing your meeting location, think about where everyone will feel most comfortable. Perhaps it’s somewhere familiar like your home or a more formal setting like your financial advisor’s office. Maybe you’d prefer someplace completely

neutral like a hotel or an intimate restaurant or coffee shop.

Who should attend? This may depend on what you plan to discuss. Very personal matters may need to be addressed with immediate family first. Eventually, you may want to invite in-laws and grandchildren into the conversation; then include your professional advisors to help you take action on follow-up items. Sensitive subjects should be broached carefully in order to build consensus among decision-makers. As you invite the relevant players to the table, consider what role they’ll play. Is one more financially savvy, one the family historian, one more responsible than others? You may want to assign a different person to communicate with the family attorney, accountant or trustee; to update your financial advisor; to spearhead the family’s philanthropic endeavors; and to serve as the family educator. Capitalize on each person’s skill set to keep the lines of communication open, lend a sense of accountability and keep everyone engaged during the meetings. You can always switch up the roles in subsequent gettogethers so no one feels unduly burdened or left out. Consider assigning a family secretary to keep track of action items and to document what decisions were made.

What should you talk about? There’s a wide range of topics you may wish to cover with your family. Some may be harder to A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

talk about than others, but that just means they’re that much more important. Here are a few ideas to get the conversation flowing: • The importance of a job well done. Many families value hard work and integrity as antidotes to a sense of entitlement. • Intentions for your family wealth. Develop a mission statement together so you all know what values you hope to promote through philanthropic endeavors. • The value of higher education. Family support can help the next generation reach their educational goals. • Potential investment opportunities. One family member may be interested in stretching his or her entrepreneurial wings or investing in a growing business. Do you have the means to help, either financially or through introductions and networking? • Business plans. If you’re a business owner, have you planned for the succession of your business once you retire? How might your family or children play a role in that transition? • Health, mobility and caregiving concerns. Whether you’re the matriarch or patriarch or a concerned son or daughter, these very real issues should be addressed before they start taking a toll. Who will take care of whom, and for how long? Where will you live? What renovations may need to be made? Share your wishes and listen to each other as you navigate this topic.

• Points of transition. Family changes affect the conversation. How do you want to address survivors or changes in beneficiaries after births, marriages or divorces? What about inheritances for children, stepchildren or halfsiblings? While these discussions can be uncomfortable, it’s important to talk through them together and decide what makes the most sense for your family’s situation.

When should you reconvene? Like the other aspects of planning a family meeting, this depends on your family’s unique situation. You may find you need one or two longer meetings to get going, followed by shorter gatherings held semiannually or annually. Or perhaps you’d prefer casual but regular meetings held monthly or bimonthly. After your initial conversation, you may be better able to gauge what will work best for you and your loved ones.

Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange / SIPC, and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA / SIPC, are subsidiaries of Raymond James Financial, Inc. Raymond James® and Raymond James Financial® are registered trademarks of Raymond James Financial, Inc.

Local Rescues




Passion For Pooches


Boxer Rescue of Texarkana

BOXER RESCUE OF TEXARKANA Facebook.com/ BoxerRescueOfTexarkana MUTTLEY CREW GERMAN SHEPHERD RESCUE Facebook.com/ MuttleyCrewRescue PASSION FOR POOCHES (mostly small dogs) Facebook.com/passionforpooches TEXARKANA ANIMAL LEAGUE Facebook.com/ TexarkanaAnimalLeague


Texarkana Animal League A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

TEXARKANA HUMANE SOCIETY TexarkanaHumaneSociety.org Facebook.com/ TexarkanaHumaneSocietyInc


Muttley Crew


Fish Tales with Mike Brower Back Again Like a Bad Penny (I’m writing this in December…)

Debbie and I are going to Del Rio for Christmas and I will again get to fish on Lake Amistad in December. Once again I will see if the lake can live up to its former glory or live down to some mediocre lake that is now a shadow of its former self. I will be fishing with a local this time so I will have something to compare the last time to and determine if it was just me or did it really suck as a bass lake. I’ll report next month, but let’s review the last time there as a baseline. I was there in December of 2019 and fished hard for two days. The first day was really sucky, but I never have much luck the first day on a new lake. I fished out deep, up shallow and even midrange with no luck. I scanned several points, lots of shoreline and even the bridge looking for any kind of aquatic life. I found one place where there were millions on baitfish, but no bass, Most of the time, scanning was like scanning the desert looking for fish …..none to be found anywhere. The second day I changed sections of the lake and started mid-way back in the smaller pockets trying to establish where they wanted to set up while moving in to spawn. I started catching some bass at the back of pockets in about 2-3 feet of water with bushes in the middle of the pocket on a spinnerbait. I didn’t catch a bunch, but caught enough to establish at least some kind of pattern. All in all, the two days sucked at fish catching. Now going back with a local, I will get to see the lake from a different prospective and maybe catch some fish. I let you know next month.







Saturday, January 8th at 8:00am





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Suzie TK Snippets By: Suzie Tyler

Dieting vs. Healthy Eating If you are a female and breathing, you’ve probably been on a fad diet! Who remembers the boiled egg diet, the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, and the Israeli Army diets from the 60s and 70s? And those drinks from Metrecal, Sego, and Carnation Slender? They’ve not gone away, just renamed! Now it is Keto, Mediterranean, and Susan Sommers diet! You name it, and it’s out there! The word diet sounds like a dirty name, but it simply means the kinds of food a person habitually eats! A few years ago, we discovered that some people are allergic to gluten, so we added a gluten-free diet. Now a popular plan is eating plant-based foods, and I’m noticing plant-based items even in conventional stores, not just health food stores! It is different from a vegetarian diet and only includes items derived from plants and nothing from animals like butter, eggs, and bacon. You know! All those good-tasting foods! When my acupuncture doctor, who is also a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, suggested that I utilize that way of eating, I was like, “you cray-cray,” and immediately thought of my addiction to Dr. Peppers. I quickly added them to the plant-based list, though, because after all, they are bottled in a plant! Right?? I’m sure I am his worst nightmare and a most challenging patient, to say the least. He probably rolls his eyes at me behind my back. Have I complied? Do you want the truth, or do I lie to you! But I AM working on it! It’s difficult changing 78 years of eating habits overnight! Maybe by the time I’m a hundred, I will have it accomplished! Happy New Year! Eat healthily and enjoy 2022! Follow my blog online.suzietksnippets.blogspot.com

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This beautifully crafted, open concept 3 bed 2.5 bath custom home sits on 1.67 acres right on the Caddo River. This home features vaulted ceilings, with tongue and groove accents, 2 fireplaces, sunroom with panoramic views, large kitchen with custom oak cabinets and downstairs den that leads to the patio with deck perched right on the banks of the river, plus many extras!

Call me today for your private showing!

Phone : 870.356.8134

Email : angiejenkinsrealtor@gmail.com WWW.CADDORIVERREALTY.COM A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

Angie Jenkins Realtor 061

Hello January!

4th • Free CPR Class This is an open public class for all who would like to learn basic CPR/First-aid. Hands on equipment, knowledgeable instructor, and questions answered. Student participation is requried and you will include a book. A Printed Certificate of Participation will be given as this an American Heart Association class/curriculum by A.H.A-(B.L.S) Instructors. 117 Parkway Dr. Texarkana, Texas, 75501. Call: (682)233-4CPR (4277) for more information. 11th • Learn Microsoft Office & PowerPoint In this course, you’ll learn how to use PowerPoint to build a presentation, and Word to create documents in less time than you ever thought possible. We’ll also cover some PowerPoint best practices, presentation set up tips, animation elements, and tips and tricks to enhance your overall presentation experience to make sure you’re doing things the easy way. For the Word session of the course, we’ll cover documentation best practices, which will include tips and tricks for efficiently utilizing Word to enhance your skills and create time saving processes for documentation creation. This class meets Tuesday nights from 6-8pm for 4 weeks and you can register at Texarkana College. 20th • TRAHC Speaker Series: Joseph Raymond Joseph Raymond will be the first of seven speakers in our series this year! His subject will be Marketing Your Business/Art. This speaker is a full time sucessful artist in the Texarkana area who owns his own gallery. He will be talking about how to sell a product- specifically art. This would be a relevant topic for any artist who wants to sell their work but isn’t sure on the next step! 22nd • Texarkana Bridal Fair Whether you need to find a last minute photographer or want to plan your dream wedding from square one, the 2022 Texarkana Bridal Fair is the premiere event for brides-to-be, bringing wedding professionals and bridal fashion experts together with sophisticated modern style. Brides and their families can gather information, compare prices and services, register for Door Prizes, see the latest fashions, get great new ideas and just have fun! 24th • Wooden Sign Painting Looking for a fun night out with your girlfriends?! Come paint a wooden door hanger to make your front door a statement. No experience needed for this class! Each student will receive step-by-step instructions with an experienced local artist. Cost is $40 and you can register with Texarkana College.


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Bill Spradlin Realtor 903-748-3186

Tracy Spradlin Broker 903-748-2477

Jan Williams Realtor 903-277-5771


Pam Hollingsworth Realtor 903-277-1222

John Trubia Realtor 817-701-8402 Now Servicing the Dallas Fort Worth Area!

Ronnie Olson Realtor 903-280-6831

Amber Howeth Administrative Assistant 903-223-0710

Brenda Elrod Property Manager 903-559-1511

Stephanie Barthel Property Manager 903-559-1511 A LT M a g a z i n e | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 2

1356 N. Kings Hwy. | Nash, TX 75569 | 903.223.0710 billsprad@aol.com | spradlintd@aol.com www.ImpactRealtyOnline.com



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