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Mental Health Technician Clearview 1 year “I love working with the patients at . They are precious to me, and I always give my best to care for them.”


Breast Center

 Your Hometown Magazine 

 Your Hometown Magazine 

Issue № 1 j 2011




Toward The Goal


All Stars Team


Sports Team


The Entity Of The Team


Pass The Cranberry Sauce


The Turkey Hunt With A Vapor


Life Goes On


The Pursuit Of A Passion


No Holding Back


Life Lessons Through Tennis


Firehouse Heroes


Just Now

Beyond Boundaries Beyond Therapy


What Were We Thinking?


Heart Of A Child


Why I Started The Volleyball Team


54 “You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” ~ Shira Tehrani

Departments Publisher’s Note


Out & About


Dinner & A Magazine


Financial Focus


Living In Searcy


We The People




Fashion Fun



Games & Puzzles

On the Cover: Photos by Kimberly Brackins Al Fowler Searcy Living


Publisher Christine Walker Business Manager Paul Parker Art Director & Webmaster Garrett Johnson Graphic Assistant Ikey Ray Customer Service Stephanie McInturff Editorial Assistant Cherie Sewell Makeover Coordinator Christine Locke Contributing Independent Photographers Maggie Hendrix (501) 388-3256 Homan Photography (501) 268-2844 Kimberly Brackins (501) 279-1515 George Dillin (501) 268-9304 Kylie Akins (334) 447-9290 Cassie Jones (501) 230-0539 Contributing Writers Cecelia Wilson Jessica Ardrey Kylie Akins

Searcy Living is Locally Owned and Operated 812 South Main Street Searcy, AR 72143 (501) 368-0095 For subscription information go to

Copyright 2011 Shark Promotions LLC. Searcy Living, Cabot Living, and Your Hometown Magazine are trademarks of Shark Promotions. All rights reserved. Ownership, rights, and logos are property of their respected businesses. No part may be reproduced without written permission. Shark Promotions LLC is not responsible for claims, misprints, discrepancies, advice of any kind, or content in advertisements or editorials, but will rectify errors in forthcoming issues.

CopyrightŠ 2011 Shark Promotions LLC

Searcy Living Magazine is a subsidiary of Shark Promotions LLC.

 Your Hometown Magazine

Publisher’s Note

Sled Dogs and Tennis When I was in fifth grade, we lived half a block from my school, which was a big brick building with no windows on one side. Bored out of my mind one spring evening, I found an old wooden tennis racket in the closet and I walked over to the school and hit the tennis ball against the wall. Before long I had made a game of how many times I could hit the tennis ball, one bounce, in a row. This soon became a regular form of entertainment for me. (If you are reading this and you are a teen, don’t laugh - we did not have video games in the “old” days, which forced extreme creativity. FYI, I also taught my golden retriever to be a sled dog in my spare time - LOL!) That summer I went to visit my grandparents for a week and, knowing that my grandpa played tennis, I asked him to teach me. I had never played on a court before, which blew my grandpa’s mind since I did not miss a beat that first time out. We were on the court every night for the rest of the visit. That same summer I won the city tennis tournament for my age category. It was a very small victory as there was really not much competition, but it was a big deal to a shy 10-year-old little girl with the world’s lowest self esteem. I had a lot of small successes with tennis over the next few years. Nothing news worthy, but great confidence builders and life lessons about playing a fair game and experiencing the motivation that healthy competition can inspire. I won’t say how many years later, but I occasionally still pick up a racket and hit the tennis ball against a wall. Though now my reasons are a little different (exercise and stress relief!), I look back and know that tennis was an important building block that affected my future. I hope that you read page 54 of this issue and learn about a local doctor (Tim Kamerman) who, because of its positive impact on his life, is working to bring more tennis opportunities to the youth of this community. Several issues ago, we talked about the arts (and purple pigs) and how they are so important in helping kids along the way - and we know that sports can do that, too. We have featured plenty of sport-themed Searcy Living issues over the years, but this one has a bit of a different focus. As always, thank you for reading Searcy Living. I hope this issue has a positive impact on your life in some small (or large) way. We love our readers!

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good. ~ Vaclav Havel 


OUT&ABOUT Show your support for life and help raise money at the same time! Purchase an Official Choose Life Arkansas License Plate for the rear of your car. You can obtain one through direct purchase from the Department of Finance and Administration. Let’s make the readership of Searcy Living the BIGGEST supporters for life in the state!

“ Create your future from your future, not your past. ”

~ W. Erhard

10 Your Hometown Magazine

“ was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” — Ralph Emerson

Find more OUT&ABOUT on! 11

Never mind about tomorrow; It always is today. Yesterday has vanished; Wherever, one can say. Each minute must be guarded - Made worth the while somehow; There are no other moments; It always is Just Now. Just now is the hour that’s golden - The moment to defend; Just now is without beginning, Just now can never end. Then never mind tomorrow - ’Tis today you must endow; With all that’s true and noble, and the time for this is Now. ~ Author Unknown

12 Your Hometown Magazine

d nner

Recipe submitted by Tanya Leckie

& A Magazine Easy to make, easy to store, and easy to serve. Plus, it makes a great side salad or even a delightful dessert. I could honestly eat almost the entire batch all by myself... it’s that good! Hope the readers like it! (I wish they’d write in and tell about making some of the recipes and how they liked them!) My mother in law (who isn’t exactly partial to cooking … or anything to do with food prep) passed this recipe on to me years ago. I couldn’t believe apples and peanuts could taste this wonderful, but this is absolutely addictive.

Tanya Leckie

combine 3/4 c. sugar 1 Tbsp unbleached flour 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 8 ounces crushed pineapple, juice & all ½ c. heavy cream whipped to make 1 c. whipped cream 4 c. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped 1 c. salted dry roasted peanuts

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, flour, vinegar, and pineapple and cook on low until thick. Cool to room temperature then chill well and combine with whipped cream, apples, and most of the peanuts.


Pour into a pretty bowl and sprinkle the rest of the peanuts on top. Resist the urge to combine ingredients if they are not chilled very well… the heat will collapse the whipping cream and it’ll be “milky” and runny. This will be your new favorite salad, I’m pretty sure.

Tanya Turner Leckie’s cookbook, Cartwheels in the Kitchen, is available at Midnight Oil Coffee House, Harding University Bookstore, online at www.heylookicancook. com, and by contacting her at lazydaygourmet@sbcglobal. net.

Online Extra You can find more recipes on!

14 Your Hometown Magazine

Recipe submitted by Miguel Espina

grILLED mESQUITE DUCK Perhaps you would like to try a variation to the traditional offerings. This duck recipe is from El Paso, Texas. (They have as many avid duck hunters there as we do here.) When you buy the duck breasts, try to get fresh. If it is frozen allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for a couple of days before cooking it.

Miguel Espina


Put all ingredients except duck breasts in a small saucepan. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and allow it to cool. Place duck breasts in a re-sealable plastic bag.

Pour cooled mixture over duck, seal bag, and allow it to marinate in refrigerator for 6-8 hours.

Grill the marinated duck breasts to a nice dark brown, cook to medium rare.

Duck Breasts, 4 ounces ea. Olive Oil Lemon, juice Mesquite Marinade Worcestershire Sauce Fresh Garlic cloves, minced Thyme, dry Bay Leaves, ground Onion Powder Black Pepper Paprika Salt

8 1 cup 1 lemon 1/4 cup 1 TBS 3 1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp 1 tsp

Miguel is working on writing a cookbook with all the dinner party recipes at the Searcy Country Club. It will include at least 12 dinners, one for each month of the year, with each dinner consisting of 6 to 7 dishes, so you will be looking at not less than 78 mouth watering original recipes. 15

Financial Focus

with Jeff Kernodle

How Interest Rate Changes May Affect Your Investments The rise and fall of interest rates is one of the biggest factors influencing the economy, financial markets and our daily lives. It is important to have a basic understanding of how interest rate changes could affect not only your wallet but also your investment portfolio. Simply put, interest rates help control the flow of money in the economy. Typically the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates to jump-start the economy. Lower interest rates mean consumers may be willing to spend more money as the cost to finance a purchase is relatively inexpensive. This stimulates the economy in a variety of ways, including increased revenues from products sold to the consumers and taxes generated from those sales. Investors, on the other hand, have a different perspective. Bond Investors: As interest rates fall, the prices of previously issued bonds tend to rise. The new issues are offered at lower, less appealing rates. That makes bonds with higher interest rates much more desirable and that much more in demand. On the other hand, those who plan to hold their bonds to maturity aren’t really affected by falling rates, with the exception of reinvestment risk. One way issuers may take advantage of falling rates, is by calling their outstanding bonds and issuing new bonds at lower rates. Once the higher interest paying bonds are called, investors looking for a fixed rate of return are faced with lower yielding fixed income alternatives. To offset this risk, it’s important to have a diverse portfolio of fixed income investments with a variety of maturities and call features to withstand fluctuations in rates.  Stock Investors:  Falling interest rates tend to have a positive impact on the stock market, especially stocks of growth companies. Companies that tend to borrow money to finance expansions tend to benefit from declining rates. Paying lower rates of interest decreases the cost of the debt, which may positively affect a company’s bottom line. The stock prices of those companies may rise as a result, driving the market in such a way that prices of other stocks may follow suit. When the Federal Reserve decides to raise interest rates, its goal is usually to slow down an overheating economy. Changes in interest rates tend to affect the economy slowly – it can take as long as 12 to 18 months for the effects of the change to permeate the entire economy. Slowly, as the cost of borrowing increases, banks lend less money and businesses put growth and expansion on hold. Consumers may begin to cut back on spending as the expense of financing a purchase increases. This reverses the effects that lower interest rates had on the economy and, again, investors are affected differently. Bond investors: In a rising interest rate scenario, the demand for bonds with lower interest rates declines. New bond issues are offered at higher, more appealing rates, driving the price of existing bonds lower.  Stock investors: Rising interest rates can have a positive or negative impact on the stock market. In some cases, rising rates can send jitters through the market, resulting in falling stock prices. In other cases, the stock market may respond favorably. In addition, rising interest rates may affect certain industry groups more than others. For instance, growth companies often

16 Your Hometown Magazine

find it necessary to borrow money in order to expand. Rising interest rates increase the cost of their debt, which in turn decreases profit. As a result, the prices of their stocks may fall. If you’re interested in learning more about what changing interest rates mean for you, a Financial Advisor can help you better understand the effects interest rates may have on your portfolio. ú ************************************************* This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Jeff Kernodle in Searcy at 501-279-0101. Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC INSURED * NOT BANK GUARANTEED * MAY LOSE VALUE Stocks offer long-term growth potential, but may fluctuate more and provide less current income than other investments. Bonds offer a fixed rate of return and investment principal if held to maturity. In addition to market and interest rate risk, bonds are also subject to default risk, the risk that companies or individuals will be unable to make the required payments on their debt obligations. Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. ©2010 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved. 0410-1871A [83916-v1] 06/10 e6707

About Jeff Jeff Kernodle is a Senior Financial Advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC in Searcy located at 707 W. Beebe-Capps Expy. Tune in to News Talk 99.1 every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. to hear Jeff discuss investments and the economy. For more information on this and other articles, please call Jeff at 501-279-0101. 17

Story & Photos by Cassie Jones

in Searcy

The Huff Home “We moved to The Dominion for a little less yard work and to be closer to the golf course,” Bobby said, as we sat on the back porch listening to the sounds of the water flowing over the rocks of their waterfall. “I’m a big golfer,” he added with a grin. In 2009, Bobby and Milesa Huff completed their dream home in The Dominion, a new gated community located across from The Searcy Country Club. Shared with their daughter, Rachel, a senior at Harding Academy, and their dog, Honey, this home is not only beautiful on the surface, but the heart of the home, the family, is one that overflows with love for one another.

18 Your Hometown Magazine

3 Milesa found a house plan she liked online about eight years ago and filed it away for a “hopeful” future home.

“We’ve been married almost twelve years,” Milesa explained. “I worked for Baptist Hospital down in Little Rock as secretary for six different people.” Bob, who is now Administrator of Family Practice Associates, and Administrator of Oncology at White County Medical Center, worked for Baptist Hospital at the time. They began seeing each other on a regular basis at the hospital and administration events. “I saw her through the window,” he added with a laugh. One day, he asked her out on a date and the rest is history. “Milesa’s a housewife,” Bob said of his wife. “A domestic engineer,” Milesa corrected him, laughter spilling over between the two of them. “I was working two jobs,” she said, “missing all of the kids’ school events while they were at CAC.” After they were married and they moved to Searcy, she was able to quit work and stay at home with her children. “I was very blessed,” she said. “From then on, I was able to attend all of their school events; attend parent teacher conferences. I was able to just be Mom.” Milesa found a house plan she liked online about eight years ago and filed it away for a “hopeful” future home. When they decided to build, she literally cut and pasted the things she wanted to keep about the house, had someone draw up the plans and they designed the house they now call home. They began construction on their new home in January of last year. After a few weather setbacks, the home was finally completed and they were able to move in. Styled with an old world charm, this home features three thousand square feet of living space, including a large living room, dining room and kitchen area as well as three bedrooms, two full baths, two half-baths and a “man cave”. Bricked ceilings and beautiful arched architecture give this home unique features unlike any other. The open living area provides plenty of room for large family gatherings and family time, but this family’s favorite spot is the back porch, where a covered stone sitting area looks over the tranquil waters of their very own waterfall. “We spend a lot of time out here as a family,” Milesa said as she rubbed Honey behind the ears in her lap. The entry way into the home is framed by large rock columns, providing a covered walk up to the large wood-framed glass doors. A private sitting area sits off to the right lined with small shrubs and a fountain. Walking into the foyer, high ceilings draw

5 Rachel, Milesa and Bobby Huff with their dog Honey.

5 High ceilings draw your attention to the elegantly designed architecture. 19

5 The home is styled with old world charm. your attention to the elegantly designed architecture. The ceilings are embellished with thick trim and several trays throughout the home. The large stone fireplace stretching from floor to ceiling draws the eye directly into the living room where the elegant furnishings are dark, contrasting with the neutral walls and providing plenty of sitting room for guests. The kitchen is framed by brick pillars and archways. A light stone countertop and dark cabinetry compliment the stainless steel appliances throughout the kitchen. The master bedroom, just down the hall from the kitchen, includes a lighted tray ceiling with thick, dark trim accenting the unique lines. Windows and a small sitting area overlook the back yard and provide beautiful natural light to the room. Just off the master bedroom is perhaps one of the most unique features of this home. In their bathroom, a brick ceiling arches over the large tub. It’s a great conversation piece as friends and family come to enjoy their home. Rachel’s room is across the house, and, just like any teenage girl’s room, is styled to fit her personality. With girly touches, this room remains young and elegant at the same time. Coupled with the same dark furniture that flows throughout the house, and bright colors, Rachel’s room is a reflection of the girl she is.

5A brick ceiling arches over the large tub.

20 Your Hometown Magazine

5 A light stone countertop and dark cabinetry compliment the stainless steel appliances throughout the kitchen. 21

6The family’s favorite spot in the home.

The Huffs often rotate holidays at their home and enjoy family games in the back yard. “The Huffs and the Anti-Huffs get together and play one another,” Bob explained with a laugh. “We have a lot of fun.” This family often enjoys fishing, canoeing, Razorback football, spending weekends at their cabin in Mountain View, Arkansas, and spending time with their children and grandchildren and friends in their new home. ú

Thank you to the Huff family for letting us feature their home. We strive to bring you new decorating ideas in every issue.

“When they decided to build, she literally cut and pasted the things

she wanted to keep about the house, had someone draw up the plans, and they designed the house they now call home.

22 Your Hometown Magazine 23

Online Extra Go to to see more home galleries! 24 Your Hometown Magazine 25

We the People Student Artists

Sidney Deener Elementary School congratulates Bethany Ellis for being our January Student Artist. Bethany is in 2nd grade and is in Mrs. Bonnie Davis’s classroom.

Sidney Deener Elementary School congratulates Piper Allen for being our November Student Artist. Piper is a 1st grader in Mrs. Kay Lawson’s classroom.

Sidney Deener Elementary School congratulates Daniel Jauregui for being our December Student Artist. Daniel is a kindergartener in Ms. Tammy Wheat’s classroom.

Meals on Wheels Success

Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Suites and Best Western would like to thank everyone who participated in our Meals on Wheels food drive. We were able to deliver your gifts of food and money to the Lightle Senior Center. We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication the staff at the Lightle Center provides. It is a well needed and well used resource in our community.

Making Good Choices

The counseling department of Westside Elementary School invited three Searcy firemen and two Searcy police officers to visit with students and eat lunch in the cafeteria with some of the 4th grade boys. After lunch in the library, the guests gave motivational talks about the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Leaders and making good choices. One officer stressed, “If you make good choices, good things will happen. If you make bad choices, bad things will happen.” This was a powerful message in simple terms. This particular group of Searcy leaders took time to inspire and encourage our students. We at Westside are looking forward to future visits and are thankful they were able to visit us.

Pictured: Brad Morris, Don Davis, Rachel Smith, Helen Daniel, Lauren Green, Terry Treece, Guy Grady 26 Your Hometown Magazine

Career Orientation

Detective Brian Wyatt and School Resource Officer Rachel Smith spoke to the 8th grade Career Orientation Class at Ahlf Junior High School. The students were able to hear about crime scene investigations and were able to participate by lifting fingerprints. The students were informed about the training and preparation that goes into a career in law enforcement.

The Searcy Police Department announced Rudy Ripka as the Officer of the Month for October. Rudy Ripka is a patrolman for the Searcy Police Department. Ripka was hired as a patrolman in May of 2010. He has a Bachelors Degree in History from Williams Baptist College and is married. Ripka enjoys being a police officer because it is not routine. Every day and every shift is different. His favorite part about working at the Searcy Police Department is the support of the officers and the helpfulness of everyone. Searcy’s Chief of Police, Kyle Osborne said, “Officer Ripka is one of our newer officers, but that has not stopped him from putting 100% into this job and into this community.”

Get Radical! ...those who say “it can’t be done” should get out of the way of those who are doing it. ~ From the book Radical by David Platt 27

We the People Officer Allen Hoofman was chosen as the 2010 Officer of the Year.

Single Parent Scholarships

48 White County single parents were awarded scholarships in 2010 from the White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund, Inc. The scholarships had a combined value of $27,300. 26 of these 48 scholars were recently recognized for their achievements at the annual WCSPSF Fall Scholar/ Donor Reception. Since its inception in 1999, the WCSPSF has awarded 301 scholarships with a value of $141,862. For more information about the WCSPSF, Inc., contact Executive Director, Dan Newsom, at 501-230-2414 or

Hoofman joined the Searcy Police Department in November of 2008. Hoofman is a Riverview High School graduate. He has earned Officer of the Month honors three times at the department. Hoofman has participated in numerous training classes and is part of the Searcy Police Department’s Bike Patrol. His favorite part about working as a police officer is the positive interaction with the community. Sgt. Steve Hacker earned the Top Gun title for the third consecutive year. The Top Gun award is given to the officer with the highest score in the year’s firearms qualification shoots. Lt. Roger Pearson and Sgt. Mike Jones received pins for 20 years of service. Officer Brandon Moody and Kara Longoria earned pins for five years of service.

Officer Allen Hoofman receives the Officer of the Year plaque from Chief Kyle Osborne,

Chief Kyle Osborne stands with 20-year service pin recipients Sgt. Mike Jones and Lt. Roger Pearson)

28 Your Hometown Magazine

Searcy Board of REALTORS® President Phil Hoggard and other members of the board recently presented Mary Lou Dunn of the Sunshine School with an $11,000 donation. The money was raised at the Board’s annual REALTORS® Bar-B-Que and Benefit Auction held at the Searcy Country Club.

Pat Downs and Cheryl Pinkley enjoyed the sites of Verona, Italy, and visited the balcony of Juliette. Legend says if you rub the right breast of her statue you will find true love. The onboard movie of the night was “Letters From Juliette” and our tour guide told us that the women of Verona do indeed answer these letters. We also saw the Colosseum used for the movie “Gladiator” starring Russell Crowe. 29

Helping Those In Need Employees of Chesapeake Energy and its subsidiaries, Nomac Drilling and MidCon Compression, spent several weeks gathering food for area food banks. On Friday, December 17, representatives from food banks in White, Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner and Van Buren Counties gathered at Chesapeake’s Searcy Field Office to receive the goods. Additionally, each food bank received a donation from Chesapeake in the amount of $1,000 to be used to buy additional goods.

Monkeys visit the Searcy Living business office!

30 Your Hometown Magazine

Locks of Love

The above picture is of Abbie Harrison donating her hair to Locks of Love. Abbie is the eleven year old daughter of Shane and Jennifer Harrison. Michelle Holloway of Holden and Co. cut her hair. Go to for more information on Locks of Love.

Waxing Poetic necklaces and charms found at Everett. Everett 103 W. Market Searcy, AR 278-4646 31

The Searcy Living Foster Care Boutique has now been in existence for two years. In these two years, we have been able to help over 600 children (most in foster care - some that just needed help) because of YOU. There are SO MANY who have donated to the Searcy Living Foster Care Boutique. We only caught a few for pictures, but we would like to tell everyone who has helped: Good job, well done, you are fantastic, you rock, and may God Bless You!!! During the holidays, Betty Jeffers decided to ask her family to make a donation to a cause that was near and dear to everyone’s heart. A former foster parent, Betty cared for well over 50 foster children during a period of approximately 5 years. Her daughter, Karen Churchwell, also fostered over 50 children during the 4 years her family fostered. So, they decided to buy socks and underclothes for the Foster Care Boutique. Betty and Karen both mentioned Betty Jeffers, Ashley Jeffers and what a blessing it would have been to them as foster parents if something Karen Churchwell. like the Foster Care Boutique had existed when they were foster parents.

The family; Betty Jeffers, her five daughters and all of their families.

Amber, Carla, and Angel Breaux donated clothing to the Searcy Living Foster Care Boutique.

Glad Tidings Missionary Baptist Church in Pangburn once again made a donation of much needed items to the Foster Care Boutique. Pictured (above) is Jimmy Smith who delivered the items to the Foster Care Boutique.

Always Needed: Michael Robinson with his donation in the Foster Care Boutique.

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Robinson donated approximately 15 bags of socks and underclothes to the Searcy Living Foster Care Boutique recently. Michael works at ORR Toyota of Searcy. 32 Your Hometown Magazine

Thank you to Joan Beckwith who sent a donation all the way from Arizona for the Foster Care Boutique!

• Socks and underclothes. • Volunteers to sort (volunteer hours are between 1pm and 5pm M-F. Please do not call us to schedule this; just show up if you would like to help. We are located at 812 S. Main, Searcy Most Needed Now: Little girls sizes 5-7

H ady n’s G if t In a desperate attempt to teach our 4-year-old little girl, Hadyn, the “true meaning” of Christmas this past year, my husband and I began to tell her about what Christmas really is. We shared with her that this is Jesus’ birthday and the only gift He wants from us is to give to others and do His will here on earth. Hadyn was very interested in hearing about the birth of Jesus and how He came to be. We explained that instead of “getting” for Christmas, we should give. We have a real soft spot for the foster children of White County since some of our dear friends are foster parents here. We began explaining to her about these children and how there are some children that do not receive the amount of gifts she and her brother usually get for Christmas. She was very skeptical that children might not get presents, or that they may not have a home and a mommy and daddy to take care of them. So this year we decided to do something a little different. Hadyn began doing chores and helping out around the house, and with her brother, to earn money to buy a gift for a less fortunate little girl. Even her class at Tender Loving Care pitched in to help her out. Her teachers set out a jar and her classmates put in their pocket change and helped Hadyn raise A Rockin’ Way To Celebrate A Birthday! Briana McSpadden and Addison Butler celebrated their 9th birthday party together. The birthday guests donated socks for the Searcy Living Foster Care Boutique instead of bringing gifts.

We need to get Radical in White County! “After studying God’s care for orphans in James 1:27, we decided to contact the Department of Human Services and take responsibility for making sure they had enough families to care for the needy children in our county. They needed 150 families, and within two weeks 160 families from our church signed up for foster care and adoption.” ~Excerpt from the book Radical by David Platt

A Radical movement in White County could change the world...

money. She has worked very hard and we are so very proud of our little helper. God has blessed us with this awesome little girl and she has a heart to bless those around her. She earned enough money in 3 weeks to buy a beautiful baby doll. She ended up buying the one certain baby that she was wanting for herself. We could not be more proud of Hadyn. Christine at Searcy Living is helping Hadyn get this small gift to a little girl who hopefully will love it. So thank you to Christine and all the foster families in White county for blessing these children throughout the year. You are all Angels.

Mandy (Hadyn’s mom) brought the gifts to the Foster Care Boutique.

Katie Keith brought another donation of clothing from the First Christian Church. Thank you!!

To the 3,500 children in the Arkansas foster care system:

We love you! You’re my handful of flowers, My skippin’ rocks on the creek, My melted ice cream, Sweet kisses on my cheek. You’re my shining light, My little twinkling star, The bounce in my step, My last cookie in the jar. You’re the miracle of life, You’re the joy of first birth; And all because of you I’m the richest person on earth. ~Poem by Kim Meeder

From her book Hope Rising 33

Story by R.J. Taylor • Photos by Al Fowler

TOWARD THE GOAL Searcy has childrens’ sports programs that are among the most impressive in Arkansas. Harold Valentine, who was involved with youth baseball programs in Searcy between 1976 and 2006, says, “We’re doing a good job in lots of respects when we get an opportunity, and the opportunities are here for youth sports.” Between 300 and 350 young girls and boys play basketball at the Carmichael Center. Others play at three other gyms. Brian Smith, director of the center, said that there are 40 teams for boys and 40 teams for girls with an average of seven or eight players on each team. The Kiwanis started youth basketball in Searcy for boys in grades 4-6 in 1972. Smith ran the youth basketball program for them between 1974 and 2002 when the city’s Parks and Recreation Department took over from the Kiwanis. Smith said that between 80 and 100 volunteers work with the teams as coaches or assistants. With so many teams, the games are played at four gyms: Carmichael Center, Southwest Middle School, Searcy High’s annex gym, and Ahlf Junior High. The season goes from Nov. 1 through the end of February. Volunteers also serve as referees. For years, the busiest referee was Brent “Bo” Turner, who started when he was a junior at Searcy High School. He called about 20 games a week during basketball season for a number of years. With the children, he stressed discipline, respect, focusing on life, and staying away from drugs. He now ministers to youngsters through a church-related basketball program. Turner also umpired girls’ softball and boys’ baseball and helped the Parks and Recreation Department each May with a track meet sponsored by Hershey’s, the chocolate company. Local track winners compete at state meets, and state winners go on to a national Hershey track meet in Pennsylvania. Baseball is a big summer sport in Searcy. Darrell Casteel, who has worked i n the youth baseball program for seven years, said that about 750 boys from 5 to 14 years old play on about 65 teams. Randy Freeman of Searcy is the state director of the Dixie League baseball program in Arkansas. Searcy has had Little League, American Legion, and Dixie League baseball teams. In 2000, both the 9and 10-year-old and 11and 12-year-old teams went to the Dixie Youth AAA World Series in Marshall, Texas. They competed with the champions of 10 other Southern states and

34 Your Hometown Magazine

The Opportunities of Youth Sports

a team from the host city. The 11s and 12s won the Dixie League World Series in their division. The 9s and 10s lost that year, but the 10-year-olds helped Searcy win the World Series in 2001 as 11-year-olds. Dr. Steve Taylor, a Searcy dentist, was a coach on several Dixie League World Series winners. He said recently that the championship in 2000 was one of four straight championships (1998-2001) by Searcy Dixie League teams. He also said that 13 players on the 2001 team went on to play college baseball. Searcy’s girls’ softball program is the biggest in Arkansas. Philip Hays, director of girls’ softball, said that between 50 and 60 teams play each summer. Each team has two coaches, and girls six years old and younger get off to an early start in sports. Soccer is also popular in Searcy, which has 40 boys’ teams and 40 girls’ teams. Randy Harriman, who began coaching soccer in 1996, said that Searcy girls have won state championships three or four times. Searcy athletes play intown competition until they are about 10 years old, and after that they play out-of-town teams. Searcy is a member of the Central Arkansas Soccer Association. Harriman said that former Searcy athletes have played soccer for several colleges including Central Baptist College, Harding University, Lyon College, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is now helping coach the Searcy High School boys’ soccer team, which draws players who have played in the city soccer program. Searcy High School boys have won four state soccer championships in a row. Football is important to Searcy youngsters in the fall. Darrell Casteel, who works with the youth football program, said more than 350 boys play football each fall and they are supported by 160 cheerleaders. The football players play on third-and-fourth-grade teams or on fifth-and-sixth-grade teams. Casteel said that the youth football program is more than 30 years old. For several years, games were shown on a local television station. Casteel said that 80 or 90 percent of this year’s Searcy High School Lions football team played in the youth program. “Every senior on the Searcy High School football roster has played peewee football,” he said. Rounding out the youth sports activities in Searcy, about 50 boys and girls between 6 and 12 years old swim with the Searcy Sharks. They are coached by Chad Price, and last year they place second in the Arkansas State Championship meet. The team also includes several swimmers who are between 13 and 19 years old. This year, the team is participating in AAU winter swimming and will host a swimming meet in April. Swimming meets are scheduled for Jacksonville, Conway, Little Rock, and Paragould, as well as Searcy. Searcy Sharks teams have been competing for 38 years, Price said. “Swimming is a life-long sport that promotes sportsmanship and fitness and involves competing with yourself,” he said. Searcy’s young athletes and their parents are fortunate that the city provides such rich opportunities for children to participate in their favorite sports. And Searcy’s schools offer many more. ú

We want YOU and your sports team to be a part of this issue! Send us your sports pics for a online gallery! No copyrighted photos allowed.

E-mail to: Mail your cd to: Searcy Living Sports • P.O. Box 1922 • Searcy, AR 72145 You are never a loser until you quit trying. ~Mike Ditka 35


ALL STAR TEAM H H H H H 2010 9/10 Year Old

Pictures Submitted by D. Evans

We want YOU and your sports team to be a part of this issue! Send us your sports pics for a online gallery! No copyrighted photos allowed.

E-mail to: or mail your cd to: Searcy Living Sports • P.O. Box 1922 • Searcy, AR 72145

36 Your Hometown Magazine 37

By Betsy Bailey Searcy has always been what many would call a “sports” town. However, when my parents were students at Searcy High School in the 1960s, basketball, football, and track were the only athletic opportunities for students, and those were only for boys! Band, cheerleading, and drill team were options for young ladies, but that was the extent of extra-curricular activities. Today, Searcy High School offers a variety of opportunities for young people to participate in outside of the classroom. Searcy School District strives to provide ample activities that appeal to all different types of personalities and students. Of course, we still have our boys’ football team and basketball and track for

38 Your Hometown Magazine

5 #51 - Lance Duncan Searcy 8th grade football team

both boys and girls. In addition to these long-time athletics, Searcy High School offers baseball, softball, wrestling, girls’ volleyball, golf, tennis, cross country, chess, swimming, quiz bowl, and even bowling! Just this past year, Searcy High School brought back the Lionsteppers drill team, which has not been in existence since the early 1990s. One of our goals in the Searcy School District is to involve as many students as possible in extra-curricular activities. According to education specialist Charles Davidson, “participating in after-school activities is a lost art due to the computer and video game age.” He believes the benefits are immeasurable. The following are advantages to student participation: physical development, creativity, stress relief, self-confidence, team spirit and camaraderie, and time management. With the many issues children have to deal with on a daily basis, these after-school opportunities provide students with fun and entertainment, but they also teach life skills and encourage youth to become responsible, productive adults. We would not be able to provide all of these activities without the support of parents and the Searcy community. Searcy has always had a spirited community when it comes to athletic events. The “Mom Squad” is a group of athletes’ mothers who provide food and fun in order to promote team spirit, and community businesses are often gracious to host tailgate parties for our students and fans. I am always delighted at the crowds we have at our football and basketball games, and we are able to seat many fans at our new baseball/softball/tennis complex on the Searcy High School campus. I would like to encourage members of our community to find out more about the additional activities we offer for students in the Searcy School District. Athletic calendars are located on the Searcy Public Schools’ website at For more information about Searcy Public Schools’ athletics, please contact Betsy Bailey, school/community coordinator, or James Frank, athletic director. ú


This is Haden Birdsong scoring a touchdown in an 8th grade football game. You can’t see Haden in the 1st picture because he is behind #41 Hunter Wood. Hunter wrapped up Haden and carried him across the line. The second picture is Haden running off the field after he scored. 39

The Entity of the Team by Betina Ramsey • photos by “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” ~Michael Jordan

I am sure most of you know that I am a sports fanatic. I love football, baseball, basketball, softball... anyway, you get the drift. In sports, what I love most is the entity of the team. The way they interact and perform to me is the neatest thing. And, to be a part of a team and to experience the highs and lows is even better. Now, there are a few players I may like more than others on a team; but the dynamic is the chemistry of the team – how they work together and how it shows in what they do. When I was younger, I loved the Chicago Bulls. And I mean LOVED. I really thought Scottie Pippen was “it”. But, no matter how amazing I thought Scottie was, he could not win the game alone. However, when you teamed him up with Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman – that was a different story! What a thing of beauty! On the court the 3 of them had an amazing chemistry that fired the Bulls, drove them to be a better team. When you throw that chemistry into the mix with a coach like Phil Jackson – WOW! The Bulls were fun to watch and I would sit in awe at how they worked together and how they were driven by their coach. Each time they stepped on the court, it no longer was about them (individually), it was about the game, about the team – each giving all they had in order to continue to move forward to that championship. They may have had individual accolades, but the bottom line came down to team performance. ú “There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” ~ Michael Jordan

Pangburn 6&U Baseball Team finishes Season Undefeated

40 Your Hometown Magazine

The Pangburn 6 and Under Baseball Team recently finished their district tournament and regular season undefeated. The team, finishing 12 and 0 for the year, was ecstatic after their last tournament game that Saturday at the Pangburn Sports Complex. Johnny Ramsey, Coach of the 6&U team said, “Our boys played hard all year. Their dedication to practicing showed as we finished our season so strong. I am proud of each and every player.” The team consisted of the following players: Tanner Galyan, Braxton Butler, Wyatt Rider, Jadyn Ramsey, Bennet Bolding, Brenden Grayum, Johnathon O’Connor, Jalen Strickland, Joseph Reynolds, Luke Rolland, K.B. Dale, Justin Deal, Guage Arledge, Jackson Bennett, Trent Nantz, Skyler Reaper and Miguel Garcia. Brian Deal was the Assistant Coach. The team was sponsored by Simmons First Bank.

me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and “I’llShow show you a guy you can beat every time.”

— Lou Brock 41

By Robert D. Ross, CFP® “The future quality of life in a community depends upon the further development of the people in a community.” When I saw this statement in a recent publication about giving, it caught my attention as being succinct, but with deep and permanent implications. It speaks to a general responsibility we can each assume—to be sharing, loving, positive and encouraging to those around us. It speaks to philanthropy in its broadest sense. But it also calls to mind some specific and unique ways that a community foundation can “develop people”. At the first level, a community foundation enables “ordinary” people to do what Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, the Rockefellers and Waltons have done—to leave a permanent legacy. By using pre-crafted documents and the expertise and economies of scale provided by WCCF (White County Community Foundation) through its affiliation with ARCF (Arkansas Community Foundation), people like you and I can set up endowments, family foundations and charitable trusts to send our own personal message of change to the future. At a deeper level, individuals who engage in the process of generational philanthropy experience a change in themselves and their loved ones. The process begins when a family visionary decides to get educated about how to use trusts, foundations or endowments to accomplish charitable goals in cost efficient, tax efficient, leveraged ways. White County Community Foundation can provide this educational experience. Then the visionary passes on the gift by engaging family members (or affinity groups) in what they have just learned, applying the legal, technical and mechanical resources of the community foundation to accomplish the family’s desired philanthropic goals. The resulting change is that there is then in place an “incubator” environment in the family unit to inspire vision for further development of people. The individuals begin to see themselves and the world in a different way. Imagine a holiday meal with the staples: favorite foods (but no cranberry sauce), football games, photo ops, reminiscing. Now throw in a focused, intentional round-table discussion about which charities should be the beneficiaries of the family’s foundation and/ or how their endowment has made someone else’s life better this year. A deeper gratitude infiltrates the gathering. It’s like adding the cranberry sauce. You can get by without it but why would you 42 Your Hometown Magazine

want to? Said another way, should we not only be teaching our children to be altruistic, but how to be altruistic? White County Community Foundation is designed to make it easy for donors to establish a permanent source of funds for the causes near to their hearts. This includes the ability to create a “family fund” or funds naming a specific charity(s). Funds honoring the memory of a loved one or funds to help the community in general can be established as easily. You, too, can become a change agent through philanthropy. The infrastructure is in place and waiting for you to apply to your vision through White County Community Foundation. Visit www. or call 501-827-4456, and say, “Please pass the cranberry sauce.” Robert D. Ross, CFP® is a member and past president of the White County Community Foundation Board. ú

Pictured from left are Becca (Van Patten) Smith, Irvin Van Patten, and Mary Kay (Van Patten) James. The Van Patten family established a scholarship in honor of their late mother, Kathryn Van Patten, who shared a deep love for music and education through many years of service to the Searcy Public School system. The scholarship is awarded to a graduating Searcy High School senior who demonstrates academic potential, character, and community leadership. Twenty-seven funds have been established with WCCF to date totaling over $1.4 million dollars. These funds provide a permanent source of money for scholarships, non-profit organizations, and familycontrolled charitable giving.

White County Community Foundation’s Giving Tree Endowment makes grants to non-profit organizations that help improve the quality of life for White County residents. Since 2004, the fund has awarded nearly $70,000 to 50 different organizations and programs. Grant recipients include: A Day of Caring (White County Medical Center) A New You: Health for Every Body Co-sponsored by WCMC Ahlf Junior High English (7th grade) Ahlf Junior High Exploratory Science Program Bald Knob Athletic Center Beebe Public Schools Best Friends for Life (Animal Rescue) Bread from Heaven CAPCA-Searcy Head Start CASA Catholic Campus Ministry Center on the Square Christian Health Ministry Domestic Violence Prevention Center Dr. Robert E. Elliott Foundation ELITE Program Friends for Life Medical Center Girl Scouts Habitat For Humanity of White County Jacob’s Place Homeless Mission, Inc K Life Literacy Council of White Co: Hispanic Education Mana Ministry McRae Elementary School Pangburn Schools Daycare Pangburn Schools Future Business Leaders of America Paws Inn - No Kill Animal Shelter Pleasant Grove Baptist Church/ S.A.C.K. Red Cross Training Program Riverview-Judsonia Elementary Library Safe Kids Coalition Searcy Lions Club Shepherd’s Center of Beebe Southwest Middle School Inclusion Program St. Mary’s After School Program The Reading and Learning Diagnostic Center The Sunshine School Trinity Full Gospel Church of Bald Knob UAMS / Kids First Westside Elementary School White County 4-H Shooting Club White County 4-H Wildlife Education Program White County Aging Program White County Children’s Safety Center White County Single Parent Scholarship

For information on how to apply, contact Kathy Murphy, Executive Director, WCCF, 501-827-4456. Or write the Foundation at P.O. BOX 8171, Searcy, AR 72145, 43

By Stan Louks


N MONDAY, November 9th, 2009, I was getting dressed for a trip to the hospital to be with family and my mom while she was to undergo heart surgery. As I looked through my shirts, I decided on a golf shirt that I had been given while attending the Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor’s Invitational Turkey Hunt 2009. I had only worn this shirt two or three times in the six months I owned it. During the night of November 8th, Mom had a series of heart attacks all through the night and was in much pain. The family and friends, along with many churches, were praying for her. There were a few times during the night that we were afraid we might lose her. But with faith and prayer God pulled her through. The next morning after meeting with the cardiologist, it was decided that the best course of action would be three stints where the blockages were. This would get her through the holidays, and then she would come back in for tests and possibly have a triple by-pass. The stint procedure was a success and Mom said she was feeling great. The surgeon came in and talked with the family about the procedure, explaining in detail what had been done. We of course knew that God had a hand in all of this. As Mom was moved into a private room, my cell phone alerted me to a new e-mail. Much to my surprise, when I opened the inbox I read an invitation to the Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor’s Turkey Hunt 2010. Anyone that knows me and knows how much I love to hunt would automatically know that my reply was a very immediate yes. The dates of the hunt were set for April 14-16, 2010. I stepped out in the hall and made a phone call to Judge Dean Linder in Alva, Oklahoma. Judge Linder was my host for the hunt in April 2009 and had also become a good friend. I asked Judge Linder if there was a mistake by me receiving the invitation for the hunt. He informed me that he had been involved in getting my name added to the invitation list. I informed Judge Linder I was elated to accept the invitation. I replied to the email from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office gladly accepting the invitation. It seemed like forever for April 14th to get here. I drove to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where I met Judge Linder along with a host of other friends. There we attended a luncheon with people from all walks of life and Lt. Governor Jerry Askins. After the luncheon our group proceeded to Alva, Oklahoma, to begin our hunt. I had a wonderful time, and got to see some friends that I had made during the April 2009 hunt. I had an awesome and successful hunt on Thursday and was ready to fill my second tag the next day. 44 Your Hometown Magazine

However, on Friday the 16th I was awakened by thunder and rain. We put on our rain gear and went out in spite of the weather. With no success during the first few hours of Friday morning, I decided to pack my belongings and start my journey home. After saying good bye to my Oklahoma friends and looking at my road atlas for the best route, I left Alva, headed home for Searcy, Arkansas. With the rains came slower travel for me. I have always been one to go full speed ahead and get to my destination as fast as I could. But, for reasons unknown to me, I drove at or under the speed limit on this day. I was driving east on Highway 412, which eventually became the Cimarron Turnpike, east of I -35. At about 1:30 p.m., I glanced at my fuel gauge and noticed I had a half tank of gas. Normally I would never stop to get fuel with this much in the tank, but as I approached the service plaza I slowed down, took the exit and stopped at the pumps. After filling my tank, I went inside and bought myself a coffee, then proceeded to pull back onto the turnpike.

“As I approached the passenger side, I saw that the passenger was deceased.” I remember pulling out next to a semi and a small silver passenger car. The car was in the left lane and I pulled in behind them. The semi moved ahead of the car and myself as we were traveling about 72 mph. The speed limit on the turnpike is 75 mph. But, due to the heavy rain that was falling, we were going a little slower. I had drunk about half of my coffee and the car was still in front of me when, at 1 mile before we reached the exit and toll booth for state Highway 99, it happened. I watched in what seemed to be slow motion as the car hydroplaned and turned completely around, now facing west. I quickly let off the accelerator and moved to the right lane in order to avoid hitting them. As the car continued in a spin, the right rear wheel made contact with the median, which was elevated and approximately 12 feet wide. This lifted the car over to the west bound side of the turnpike. The right rear quarter of the car struck the left rear wheels of a tractor trailer rig that was traveling west bound. The impact was horrific and caused me to swerve farther onto the right shoulder trying to avoid being in an accident myself. My truck was showered by parts of the car as the car was violently

thrown from the impact and came to rest facing north on the elevated median. The entire accident seemed to have taken less than 5 seconds. I grabbed my cell phone as I came to a stop on the right shoulder, turned my 4 way flashers on and called 911. I told the operator where we were and briefly explained what I had just witnessed. He informed me he would send help at once. I quickly grabbed my rain gear from the back seat and ran to the car. As I approached the passenger side, I saw that the passenger was deceased. I ran around the wreckage and came to the driver’s door. The driver was just regaining consciousness. As he looked me in the eye, I realized he was in shock. He then turned and looked at the passenger, then looked back at me and laid his head back and closed his eyes. I ran back to my truck and called 911 again and informed them it was a fatality but we did have a survivor. The operator told me he would inform rescue of this and try and speed them up. By this time others had stopped and were working to free the driver from the wreckage. When fire and rescue arrived they began extracting the driver to transport to the hospital. As I sat in my truck and looked at the accident scene, I bowed my head and prayed, “Dear God, Thank you for protecting me and please help the driver of that car with the things they will face and go through in the near future.” I waited until the Oklahoma Highway Patrol arrived and gave them my statement and contact information before leaving the scene. As I continued on my journey, I just kept thinking of what I had just witnessed and how quickly it had all taken place. A life ended before my very eyes. A soul had entered into eternity and how quickly it had all happened. And then I was reminded of the verse, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14) I have heard this all my life, but yet at 45 years old I finally realized just how true these words are. This passenger had no idea that morning while getting dressed that it would be their last day on this earth. They had no reason to believe that would be the blue shirt they would die in. Their life was over in an instant. How quickly it had ended, without a moment’s warning.

After a couple of hours had passed, I reached for my phone and called my 16 year old daughter. I asked her how her day at school had been. I told her I loved her very much, then told her I wanted to ask her a question. I told her I wanted her to tell me the truth, and she said she would. I then asked her this question: “Callie, if something were to happen at this very moment and you were to die, do you know for sure you would spend eternity in heaven?” Callie informed that yes, without a doubt she was sure she would go to heaven. I told her to stay that way and always have a close walk with God, because at the end of this life, that is all that will really matter. So I ask you, the reader, today, “Are you ready? Do you know where you will spend eternity?” The King of Kings awaits your answer. ú

“The entire accident seemed to have taken less than 5 seconds.” 45



Mollie Harrison Hernandez believes with certainty that God has chosen her for a purpose. A wife, mother of two and teacher, she knows He has blessed her throughout her life and now means for her to go out and share her story with others, to be a role model and an inspiration. She sees her life before her as a mission and has every intention of making the most of each day and holding her head high. Mollie is 33 and is going blind. Raised in White County, Mollie graduated from Searcy High School before going on to Arkansas State University where she earned a degree in Speech Language Pathology. She taught in the Searcy School District from 2000 to 2009 as a Literacy Intervention Specialist. But, Mollie had a secret that she shared with few people. During a routine optometric appointment as a sophomore at ASU, Mollie was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). According to“Retinitis Pigmentosa is the name given to a group of degenerative diseases of the retina. In RP, the rod and cone cells degenerate. Depending on the type of RP, the rate of progression varies. One of the earliest symptoms is often night blindness followed by loss of peripheral vision leading to ‘tunnel vision’.” It is, unfortunately, untreatable with no known cure. Though diagnosed in college, the course of action was a “waitand-see” approach. Coupled with a simple desire to hope for the best, Mollie graduated, married, started her teaching career and began a family, all the while not facing the facts of her deteriorating eyesight. Time, however, was not to be on her side. “After the birth of my daughter,” Mollie shares, “I really began to notice I had lost a lot of my vision.” After giving up driving, Mollie had walked to work, but even negotiating the sidewalk became an increasingly difficult task. In her position at Westside Elementary, her primary focus was helping students improve their reading skills. Ironically, the very teacher who was leading her students to read with more confidence was slowly losing the capacity to read with ease herself. Having less than a 20 degree visual field is considered legally blind; Mollie’s sight is now less than 5 degrees. She describes her sight as seeing through a straw and the sensitivity to light brought on by RP means that daylight and bright fluorescent lighting leaves her sight almost non-existent. Because she kept her situation quiet as long as possible, many co-workers and friends were surprised to learn of her condition. Mollie explains why she was reluctant to make the revelation: “I kept it hidden because I didn’t want it to be looked on as a weakness.” Reluctantly, Mollie gave up teaching in 2009, but has found that accepting support has made her seemingly dependent condition less so. She is monitored by the low vision clinic at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and has worked with a rehabilitation counselor at the Arkansas Services for the Blind. Special computer monitors and a portable version of the same have been made available to her to assist in reading. But, the one “lesson in humility” came in the form of learning to walk with a white cane. 46 Your Hometown Magazine

By Cecelia Wilson • photo by Kimberly Brackins

After learning the ins and outs of walking with a cane, Mollie experienced firsthand how people’s perceptions of her had changed. That earlier concern that her condition would be seen as a weakness had found some validation. “I felt that people were perceiving me differently,” she says. The truth was many people felt uncomfortable around her as a disabled person. Perhaps they didn’t know what to do to help or if they should assist at all, but the standoffish treatment she received was discernable. That all changed when The Seeing Eye, Inc. opened up whole new opportunities for her to live an independent, whole life despite her visual impairment. Ironically, “The Seeing Eye” was one of the books Mollie had placed in her own library in her classroom. Little did she know that the story of Morris Frank and his dog, the first seeing eye dog, would hit so close to home. Twelve times a year, 24 students at a time travel to the oldest existing dog guide school in the world, The Seeing Eye’s headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, to be trained to work with a seeing eye dog. The half Lab/half Golden Retriever Mollie was given proved to be the mechanism that broke the barriers the cane had built. Now, people on the street want to approach Mollie and meet her dog. Leaving her husband and two small children for an entire month’s worth of training was not easy, but the results were worth the separation from her family. “It was the most remarkable facility and the training was a challenge,” Mollie remembers her experience. She felt totally liberated as a result of working with her new guide dog. She arrived in New Jersey on a small plane, deplaned using stairs and had to be assisted through the airport and to her ground transportation by three special services assistants. But, on leaving New Jersey with her canine friend by her side, she flew home without any human assistance whatsoever. It was, literally, life changing. “I was brought up in a strong Christian household. [This impairment] has helped me find meaning and purpose. I have found that my weakness has been turned into a great strength. God has chosen me to go out and share my story with

others,” she says without hesitation. Knowing there is an underserved segment of students struggling with visual impairment, Mollie hopes to return to teaching with a new focus drawn from her own journey. She and her seeing eye dog stay busy traveling to schools and church groups where she speaks, putting her condition in perspective for those struggling with their own issues and providing a new direction for her own life. Despite the visual field she contends with now or what she may or not have in the future, Mollie has certainly learned to walk with her held high. Life goes on, her duties as a wife and mother continue, and, while Mollie’s four-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter understand that “Mommy’s eyes are broken,” they also know that “Mom sees a lot!” ú To learn more about seeing eye guide dogs, please visit: To book Mollie Harrison Hernandez as a speaker, you may e-mail her at:

“I have found that my weakness has been turned into a great strength.” 47

by Ikey Ray

“I get to pursue my dreams, goals and passion, only because of the love and support of my very understanding wife of 36 years, Sherry. She puts up with me being gone 35-40 weekends a year, including birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and more.” — Rick Lowe “It’s the only thing you do that the first time you go out you have to be perfect, and then, get better every week.” That was a quote from Rick Lowe describing one of his many jobs in a nutshell. You probably don’t know Rick Lowe personally, but it is possible you have yelled at him watching your favorite SEC team on Saturdays or even cheered him on because of a call made to benefit your team. Who is Rick Lowe? Rick is a father, a husband, a business owner and a referee in the SEC (Southeastern Conference). Rick began his officiating career locally, here in Searcy. It all started when one of his college buddies asked Rick to help him one Saturday. They arrived at a football field and his friend told him they were going to be officiating a few peewee football games. Rick was startled at first, but since he had only been married for 2 months, he could use the extra money. Although the pay wasn’t much, Rick enjoyed what he was doing. He began officiating peewee games regularly and was then informed that it wouldn’t take much to become a high school official. Rick soon became 48 Your Hometown Magazine

an official at the high school level and loved it. A knee injury his sophomore year in college ended his playing days, but with officiating he was able to pursue his passion for football, while giving back to the kids as well. Years later, Rick had worked his way up and was officiating a high school state championship game when he caught the eye of an NCAA “referee scout,” if you will, and was offered a chance to be an official at the college level. After working his way through the Sunbelt and Gulf South conferences (college level), Rick was given the chance to work in the best conference in college football, the Southeastern Conference. Aside from officiating college football, Rick also worked 12 years in the AFL (Arena Football League), traveling weekly to places such as New York, LA, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, etc. “I get to pursue my dreams, goals and passion, only because of the love and support of my very understanding wife of 36 years, Sherry. She puts up with me being gone 35-40 weekends a year including birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and more.” ú


with Rick Lowe by Ikey Ray Q: What drives you to go out there each Saturday in front of millions of people? A: Adrenaline. I’m an adrenaline junkie. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of walking down the tunnel into a stadium with 90-100,000 screaming fans. And also being on the field with some of the best college football players and coaches in the country.

Q: Do the officials that are in the replay booth have better/more views than we see on TV? A: It varies, sometimes they will have better views, and sometimes they won’t have the views that you are seeing replayed on the TV. The replays are sent to the booth from the TV truck. Whichever views are given to them is all they have available to make the call.

Q: How do refs find a happy medium on “letting them play” and trying not to make too many calls? A: In officiating, you use point of attack, advantage/ disadvantage, and does it effect the play? Is the foul at or near the point of attack (where the ball is) and is the player gaining an advantage or being disadvantaged? Example: A 350 pound defensive lineman is being held, and the running back is running down the sideline on the opposite side of the field. The hold is not at or near the point of attack, and he is not being “disadvantaged” because the chances of catching the running back [are] highly unlikely. But we always call any foul that relates to a safety issue.

Q: Is it a good idea to start officiating to try to make a career at the college or NFL level? A: No, most of the guys are just doing it because they have a passion for the game. The chances of getting into the SEC or NFL are very slim. I was very fortunate to have gotten my chance, but I started officiating because I love football and I happened to be at the right place at the right time. Also, you are only an injury away from ending your career.

Q: Which stadium in the SEC has the most electricity? A: LSU by far has the loudest stadium in the country. But, all of the SEC stadiums and fans are ecstatic. Nothing like a Saturday afternoon in an SEC stadium: “Rocky Top” being sang at Tennessee, “Roll-Tide” at Alabama, the “War Eagle” flying around the stadium at Auburn and, of course, the most famous of them all, “Woo Pig Sooie” at Arkansas.

Q: When officiating, what is more comparable to the NFL, Arena Football or the SEC? A: Since I have not worked in the NFL, I am really not qualified to answer that question. The SEC contains many future NFL players, and the intensity of the players and fans [is] unbelievable. The Arena League contains both players that previously played in the NFL and many former D-1 football players. All the players are trying to get back into the NFL and the game speed is intense, especially with the rules being a bit different and the field being fifty yards shorter. ú 49

The Haley Richmond Story


By Cecelia Wilson

here is so much that adults can learn from children, the road ahead meant working with a variety of specialists to the least of which is adapting to the life that has been focus on the different issues Haley would have due to SMA. dealt us. Perhaps with age it is more difficult to accept Because the muscles are affected, so, too, are the bones and life’s imperfections, but the resiliency of children is remarkable lungs. Besides seeing a pulmonologist, Haley also sees an and Haley Richmond, who is just three years old, is a shining orthopedic physician for scoliosis and a watchful eye is kept example of not letting limitations hold her back from living on the young girl for any hint of pneumonia. At the first sign of a cold, Haley is prescribed antibiotics. life to its fullest with a rosy outlook. When the Richmonds returned to their home with their Shannon and Kristin Richmond’s first baby was delivered newfound knowledge on Haley’s condition, they were not the into this world as a seemingly healthy girl. There had been no signs prior to delivery that anything was amiss; no warning only individuals who had to become better educated on this that their idyllic world was soon to be turned upside down. rare disease. Their new pediatrician did as well and promised But, three to four months later, the young parents soon began to research SMA well for Haley’s sake. Besides her doctors to notice that Haley’s motor skills were falling behind children at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and in Jonesboro, Haley also her age. Concerned, the Brookland, Arkansas, residents has a physical therapist whom she sees three days a week. Despite the debilitating took Haley to doctors in issues Haley faces each Jonesboro for evaluation. day, Kristin is grateful that There was to be no obvious her daughter has a bright prognosis. When physical disposition, “She knows therapy was suggested, what’s going on, as well the Richmonds readily as she can for her age. But, agreed and Haley began everyone that sees her and therapy almost immediately. her positive attitude just With little progress being gravitates to her. What she made, the couple made sets out to do, she does and an appointment with a there’s not much she can’t neurologist in Jonesboro. do.” The support group Baffled, the neurologist sent “Families of SMA” has an them to Arkansas Children’s equipment pool which has Hospital where a series of proven extremely helpful tests were administered, in that endeavor. Haley has including one for botulism. a “stander” that assists her Nearing 14 months of in standing, special chairs age, Haley was unable to sit in and a power chair to stand or sit up without The Richmond Family for mobility. The group assistance and the months of also helps by providing medical mystery were taking information that can be shared and other parents with whom their toll on the family. That’s when a blood test uncovered they may communicate. the diagnosis: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). As a parent hopes for any child, Kristin’s main goal for her According to the “Families of SMA” website (“http://www. daughter is that Haley “leads as normal a life as possible.””, SMA is a disease that “…affects Despite her physical limitations, Haley is able to swim (with the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control, and swallowing. special floaties), play and has language skills far beyond her It is a relatively common “rare disorder”: approximately 1 in three years. While most of us might succumb to self-pity and 6,000 babies born are affected, and about 1 in 40 people are bitterness, Haley’s sunny disposition is a testament to the willpower and strength she possesses and the faith she and her genetic carriers.” Having found a diagnosis, the Richmonds were relieved, but family place in God’s will and protection. 50 Your Hometown Magazine

...It is that inner strength that will carry her

forward until she can stand on her own two feet.

Since SMA is genetic, the Richmonds faced the possibility that future children might also be affected by the disease. So it was that within two months of discovering Haley had SMA, the Richmonds learned they were expecting their second child. Though concerned, Shannon and Kristin knew they could do nothing more than “put it in God’s hands” and wait to see if their next child was healthy. Luke, now 11 months old, was born healthy and tested negatively. He is now an active young toddler, crawling and developing normally. Kristin admits she has worried how Haley would view her little brother’s active abilities next to her own, but it appears that Haley has taken that in stride along with everything else she has accepted in her young life. “Haley has learned that [with Luke learning to crawl and walk] he can get things for her!” Kristin laughs at the ingeniousness of her eldest child. SMA medication is being developed through clinical trials, but it may be 5 to 10 years before any medication or any real breakthrough is seen. Until then, Haley continues to use her intelligence, her wit and her inner strength to make the most of each day. While her physical strength may lag behind, there is not much this youngster is willing to let hold her back. Maybe it is because it is all she has ever known or maybe it is because she simply loves life, but either way, it is that inner strength that will carry her forward until she can stand on her own two feet. ú 51

By Dr. Tim Kamerman

Back in the mid 1970s my family was living in the state of wanting to move to Arkansas because some of the older players Colorado. My brother and I did the things most young boys like said they had no tennis courts in Arkansas and, in fact, ‘everyone to do, like baseball, basketball, riding motorcycles, and just being walked around barefoot.’ I was excited to see that even in little boys. We somehow crossed paths with another boy several years Searcy, Arkansas, they had tennis courts and, of course, they were older than we were, who seemed to take an interest in us. Maybe wearing shoes! Tennis has been a very important part of my whole life and I he liked dominating at bicycle dodge ball or just having us run errands to the local 7-11, but I tend to think that he actually had still enjoy playing today at age 46. Sure, it’s just a game, but it has given me discipline and patience, and has opened up many an interest in our lives. His name was also Tim and he was interested in playing tennis. doors that otherwise may not have opened. During Junior tennis, I So, if Tim liked tennis, we liked it, too. We probably never played all across the state, in cities like Fort Smith, Texarkana, Hot stopped to realize that this was an era when tennis wasn’t cool Springs, Jonesboro, and, of course, Little Rock. I was generally unless you were the elite or the country club set. For a middle- ranked within the top 10 of my age category and was even ranked class kid wearing ‘high-waters’ with the knees worn out, this was #1 in the state of Arkansas in doubles for several years. Traveling across the state quite a new beginning. allowed me to make friendships We always wondered why the and contacts with many different other local tennis-player kids ...Tennis is not just about the fun of boys and girls that I still see from called us ‘sport’ until one day it competition, but it’s in putting you time to time. It also allowed me dawned on us that we were playing to make contact with doctors, with the cheap Wilson sport rackets through a mental and physical test and lawyers, bankers, politicians, from what would now be Wal-Mart bringing out that person deep inside of and the like, which later allowed or K-mart. The irony was that we opportunities to open up in usually beat them with the sport you under pressure. business. racket. I remember the first “real” I never received any formal tennis racket that my brother and I — Dr. Tim Kamerman tennis training or coaching, with received from a local community the exception of my last year of tennis organizer. He opened up the high school when a lot of habits back of his trunk and pulled out were already ingrained. It is two rackets, and when my father heard that my brother’s Wilson Jack Kramer was $25.00 and my possible that, with early training and coaching, I may have gone Garcia 240 was $15.00, he gasped. That kind of money for a kid’s farther, but my desire and determination had taken me to that level, at least. My path, however, was not to have a career in tennis but tennis racket back in the mid-70s was kind of high. I’ve still got that Garcia 240 tennis racket with the red strings to have a career in chiropractic. So, I put the racket on a shelf and, and one single patched blue string going through the middle of it with the exception of a few years of adult team tennis, I became displayed in my office today - a reminder of a simple beginning. an occasional week-end warrior. That all changed when my oldest One of the local high schools in the city we lived in was across the daughter, Alexis, decided to take up tennis. She was going into street, so the tennis courts were just a short walk away. Next to the high school and so I called the high school coach, “Doc” Watson, tennis court was an indoor swimming pool that had a huge brick and asked about the possibility of my daughter playing tennis in wall that I spent many an hour hitting the tennis balls against. I the Spring. He mentioned that tennis is now in the Fall, which later learned that 75 percent of all tennis pros start off hitting on meant we only had a few weeks for Alexis to learn tennis. Oh, Boy! With a short amount of time and her moving slowly with the a backboard or a wall. Tennis soon became my favorite sport. I improved rapidly and private lessons she was taking at the time, I researched modern played in a few tournaments, and was doing well. Then, I learned teaching methods and informed her, “You have a new coach... my family was moving to Arkansas. I remember crying and not me!”

52 Your Hometown Magazine


Mama Gita, Lynne and So

She developed a nice game and enjoyed all the high school years of tennis, but never had the desire and determination that I had growing up. I discovered that one of the reasons for that, unlike when I was her age, was a lack of abundance of grass roots tennis players in Searcy. I then came up with the idea of starting a volunteer grass roots program to train boys and girls for future play. Knowing that you cannot improve your game without several different players with different styles to hone your skills, I contacted different parents and came up with six boys and six girls the same age as my next two children. I wanted to get a group of youngsters that were dedicated to improving their game. We had several fall by the wayside, until we got a core group that remained interested. We are called ‘The Searcy Tennis Aces’ and can be found online at www. It has been very time consuming and costly to say the least, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I have spent countless hours and literally thousands of dollars investing in this group. Even when my wife has asked what I wanted for Christmas the last few years, I have always stated, “Get me something to help train the tennis players.” I then had the idea that, if there are people willing to invest in traveling baseball and basketball teams, surely there were those who would be interested in developing tennis players in our community as well.

leb with Coach Kamerman

Jason, Justin, Henry and Ca 53

You see, for me, tennis is not just about the fun of competition, but it’s in putting you through a mental and physical test and bringing out that person deep inside of you under pressure. I hope that the players learn as much mentally as they do physically. In fact, one of the things that we do before each practice is talk about character traits from the Character First program, and, also, pray before each practice. I want them to excel in tennis, but I would rather them learn life lessons in tennis. We have been fortunate to have numerous sponsors at various levels that have allowed us to purchase equipment and training materials for the players, further allowing us to advance at a quicker pace. It is very difficult for one person to train twelve players, with a limited amount of hours available from my schedule. I can’t thank these sponsors enough, which are listed on our website, and hope they will continue in the future to invest in these kids. My next big goal is huge and will require a lot of faith. I plan to raise twenty thousand dollars, which will enable us to obtain several tennis ball machines and other equipment, as well as allow us to travel to several cities throughout the state to play in more tournaments this year. So what if it doesn’t happen? Hey, you’re talking to the guy who whipped up on kids with the K-mart Wilson Sport racket! My goal is for these kids to go first class in their tennis experience. I know that if I can get them hooked and loving the game, then it will truly be life-changing. It will open doors that might otherwise be closed and give life lessons that might otherwise be missed in competition. If nothing else, it is a sport of a lifetime that can be played even in your senior years, unlike many other sports. There is no pay except for knowing that I am investing back into the youth, as Tim did for my brother and myself many years ago in Colorado - to a couple of kids called ‘sport.’ ú

Sophie, Erica, Kristen and


Sophie (left) and Amanda (right) playing their first state tournament in Little Rock at the Rebsamen Tennis Center. 54 Your Hometown Magazine

We invite every fire department in the county to submit pictures of your fire dept. staff. We will keep running these as long as you send them. (One per dept., please.) Thanks for all you do to serve your communities! Fire Departments & Volunteer Fire Departments in White Co.:

Albion Antioch Bald Knob Beebe Bradford Center Hill El Paso Fairview Floyd-Romance Garner Georgetown Gum Springs Hickory Flat Higginson Joy Judsonia

Kensett Letona McRae Mt. Vernon North White County Pangburn Pleasant Plains Rocky Point Rose Bud Russell Searcy Southeast White County Velvet Ridge West Point

“It is never too late to be what we might have been.” — George Eliot 56 Your Hometown Magazine 57

By Cecelia Wilson

Wto mind are sterile hospital environments, the smell of hen one thinks of therapy, the first images that come

antiseptic, the quiet hum of activity in rooms and hallways, lab coats and stethoscopes. So, it might be surprising to learn that there is a particular form of therapy that is practiced outdoors, far from the traditional settings of medical practices and involves a beautiful tool for treatment – a horse! Founded in 2003, “Beyond Boundaries” is a non-profit therapy center that offers unique, specialized equestrian therapy known as “hippotherapy” and the results have been impressive. Rather than having disabled clients, ranging from adolescents to adults, confined to indoor facilities and a myriad of exercise equipment, “Beyond Boundaries” offers an outdoor arena set on three acres in Ward, Arkansas. Totally covered, the arena is open year round for the 60 – 65 clients that come each week for therapy. While each session varies by the needs of the particular client involved, on average clients and their mounts experience 30 minute sessions each time they visit the site. And, for many, therapy sessions may continue anywhere from six months to 3 years, depending on the regimen prescribed. The facility’s barns stable a selection of well trained, carefully evaluated horses. Each horse is provided by either a free lease or by donation to the organization, with the knowledge that each is coming from good home and going to another. All horses are taken on a trial basis to “evaluate soundness, temperament, suitability and reliability.” Just as our daily environment affects our attitudes and motivations (how much better do you work or play on a beautiful, sunny day in autumn?), so, too, do the surroundings affect those in need of speech, occupational and physical therapy. Fresh air and the stimulation of riding a beautiful animal and putting it through its paces (under the careful guidance of a Therapeutic Riding Instructor) not only boosts one’s physical and mental activity level, but simply works its magic on many an individual. Beth Stamp is founder and Executive Director of Beyond Boundaries, as well as a physical therapist and owner of Allied Therapy & Consulting Services. Beth grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and has been surrounded by horses all her life. She 58 Your Hometown Magazine

and her father worked side by side with children and horses on their farm and witnessed firsthand the emotional bond that was created between the horse and rider. And, while the initial research and study on hippotherapy came from England, it has rapidly made its way across the Atlantic. So, by the time she had come to Arkansas, Beth brought that equestrian concept with her. Complete with a Board, certified therapists, corporate and civic partners, committed administrative staff (Beth particularly cites Stacey McMinn, Office Administrator) and a host of volunteers, the nonprofit stands today as a specialized facility that is making a difference in the lives of Arkansans. With contract staff of registered hippotherapists (physical, occupational and speech therapists), Beyond Boundaries partners with Allied Therapy, the University of Central Arkansas and Arkansas Children’s Hospital as only one of five “accredited fellowship locations in the nation for pediatric physical therapy.” They are only one of two facilities in Arkansas that offer an Advanced Instructor Training Level through a therapeutic riding coordinator. While clients enjoy the experience, the skills they learn certainly propel each session to more than a glorified “pony ride.” Beyond Boundaries’ next goal: to become a Nationally Recognized Research Center for Hippotherapy. Numerous volunteers provide much needed assistance in caring for the horses, sweeping out barns, and fund raising efforts to insure the non-profit’s doors remain open. Whitney Dickens is a volunteer who is using her marketing background to help promote the organization’s annual fund raising effort. The “Mane Event” changed venues this year to the Little Rock River Market Pavilion. In addition to food, drinks and live music, the fundraiser’s silent and live auctions featured art from local and nationally known artists. While Beyond Boundaries hopes the casual, fun-filled event will help raise much needed funds for their specialized training expenses each year, spreading the word that the therapy is available to special needs individuals throughout Arkansas is also a primary focus. All donations to the 501c3 are tax deductible. Clients are referred from a variety of avenues: schools, families, doctors’ offices and through other therapists. For example, Beyond Boundaries has worked closely with Harding University’s speech

3 Stacey McMinn (Board Member & Event Chair), Whitney Dickens (Event Chair), Spence Hart (Beyond Boundaries Volunteer) 4 Madison Hart & Sterling Saul of the Saul Cats. They are 14 years old & have played at the Mane Event every year. Madison Hart and Sterling & Spencer Saul (twin brothers) of the Saul Cats have been playing together for more than 5 years. therapy program and The Sunshine School in Searcy. But, anyone seeking therapy is encouraged to contact Beyond Boundaries directly for more information by contacting Program Director Jamie Carman-Reagan at 501-941-1522 or obtaining additional information through their website: Oh, sure, the old saying is that a dog is man’s best friend. At Beyond Boundaries, many people might disagree with that sentiment. A dog may be a great companion, but a horse may just be man’s best therapist! ú

3 Anthony Ponder (Board Member) & Beth Stamp (Founder & Executive Director of Beyond Boundaries) 59

By Joy Van Winkle

“We’re Crazy!” is what we looked at each other and said when my friend, Denise, and I were on a plane headed to Africa. Two young women, no group, no men to protect us, what were we thinking?! It hit us while we were flying over the ocean with no way to turn back. We wanted to go help orphans. So that’s what we set out to do! The year before I had gone to Nairobi, Kenya, but I was with a group and my mom, thank goodness. We worked with a charitable group we found online. The orphanage there takes kids off the street (there are 40,000 homeless children just in the town of Nairobi) and takes them to the country to live. A lot of the children huff glue (a real strong glue like airplane glue) to stop their hunger pains. Beggars on the street, with their first few cents they buy the glue in case they don’t get enough for a meal. Then at least it won’t 60 Your Hometown Magazine

hurt as bad and it deadens their senses so they don’t feel the cold at night. The kids are taken about an hour away so it will be harder to run away once they start going through withdrawals. The workers at the orphanage said it has the same effects and withdrawals as cocaine, so some can’t take it and want to run. Watching these kids in the streets dig through the heaps and heaps of trash was horrible. That’s where they lived at night, snuggled up to the trash for warmth. The older homeless people would melt down whatever food the kids brought to them: a slice of banana, a few fries dropped on the street, whatever else was found in the piles of trash. They stirred it together and ate it as a family. They were very sharing and everyone seemed so happy, except me. I couldn’t grasp all of this and felt helpless. There was a 4-year-old boy there who had no toes. Every one of them were bitten off by rats when he was a baby. His dad had died of AIDS and his mother became an alcoholic and left him as a

baby with his older brothers, who would run off and leave him with the rats who wee’d everywhere in the sewer, which is where they stayed. Fortunately, this is one of the families we got to help and this is where I started seeing hope. We got the 4-year-old and his four brothers and mom a place to live in; it was just a shack, but heaven to them! They loved it and $150 (U.S. dollars) covered their rent for a whole year! We helped the mom get a charcoal business started so she would be able to pay for rent and food for her family in the years to come and the oldest boy got a cart so he could make a dollar a day hauling stuff for people, which is the average pay if you can get a job. We also helped a seven year old boy get into an orphanage and off the streets, and I started to see how things could change and lives could change. Thirteen lives were changed just while we were there, and people go there to help all year round so 40,000 kids on the street don’t remain helpless.

screamed at the people in the movies, ‘Don’t get in the car!’ And, there I was in the car, possibly in a scary movie.” So, back to my friend, Denise, and I getting off the plane in Africa. There was one detail we had not worked out - don’t ask me why! We had a one night layover at Johannesburg and didn’t know where we were staying. We went through customs and came out into chaos! When we stepped out there were so many people asking us things, like... taxi? hotel? eat? ...all pretty much yelling, trying to get us to pick them. We were freaked out! Because, of course, they were speaking another language than us and it was dark. I don’t suggest doing this, but we picked out someone that seemed trustworthy and got in his car. He said he was taking us to a hotel, which, most things said were in one word increments and he told us “yes” a lot. While we were driving, I couldn’t help but think about all the scary movies I’ve watched. I always screamed at the people in the movies, “Don’t get in the car!” And, there I was in the car, possibly in a scary movie. We pulled up to a house, not a hotel... a little scarier now. When we got in the house, there was another guest sitting in the living room watching TV and a nice African lady cooking us supper. Wooo! We relaxed a bit as we found out she opens her house up like a bed and breakfast... we slept.

The next day we were back on track on the plane, then off the plane at Mozambique. We stayed two weeks in Pemba at an orphanage with about 500 kids. We played, helped with their homework, watched them eat fish heads, and were amazed how they worshipped. Six and seven year olds were so engaged with their time with God. They would stand there with their hands in receiving position or would raise them, or they would be on their knees spending time with God for such a long time, with no one making them. It was awesome. I know God was touched. I learned from them. From there, Denise and I went onto Chenrai, India, where we got to work with Anton Cruz is the head of the orphanages. He is an amazing man of God. He was friends with Mother Teresa and used to pick up babies out of the trash with her and take them in. He is now responsible for over 10,000 kids who are now in orphanages instead of the streets, or worse. These kids are amazing as well! Anton teaches them that they are not orphans, Jesus is their daddy! And boy do the kids believe it. They know without a doubt that if they need anything all they have to do is ask their daddy! It was a whole new meaning for child-like faith for me. These kids have seen God do so much - from crippled people walking to the blind seeing. It’s not supernatural at all; it’s natural for them, and they pray with such authority. They know who their daddy is. When you get off the van for the first time, you have all these little hands on you praying for

you, it’s awesome! We had no idea what they were saying but we knew they meant it and we were so blessed and humbled. We learned a lot from the kids. They had a prayer tower there where prayer was going on 24/7. The kids would go up in pairs and pray for an hour and then switch off, even through the night. Some of the kids were from the tsunami, some from the streets and some were kids of lepers, who had to give them up and go live at the leper colony. One little girl named Kitaka was seven and had been severely burned. I’m not sure what village she was from, but when she was very little her parents became Christians. The village killed her parents and then put her in the fire. Thankfully, someone got her out, but not before the fire got most of her body. Now, she is one of the happiest little girls you will meet. There was another girl named Hannah, who was four. She was thrown in the trash because she was born with all her intestines on the outside of her. There were also more complications, but Anton found her and after lots of surgeries she’s doing a lot better! Going to the leper colony an experience I could keep having. I didn’t even know leper colonies still existed, but there were probably 40 lepers living at this colony. These people were so eager for us to pray over them and didn’t want us to stop. And, yes, we did touch them. (Everyone asks us that question.) I just thought how Jesus died [for us]. He reached out and touched the leper. For a leper to be touched was huge because they were considered “dirty”

what heaven will “ be like, but I knowexactly that when we die and it

comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ Rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’ — Mother Teresa 61

sharing and everyone seemed so happy, except me. I couldn’t grasp all of this and felt helpless.” and hadn’t been touched in a long time. Jesus knew that, he’s so sweet! We wanted them to feel human again, and loved. They were surprised, though, and yes, it was a little unnerving. None of them got out of there without prayers. They ate them up. They told us that when our friends were there about eight months before, after they prayed a few of the lepers started healing and others were excited because the leprosy stopped progressing! Praise God! I learned a lot of things and am still learning. At first my dad was afraid for me and didn’t want me to go, but I remember telling him I would rather die over there trying to help someone, than die here in a wreck on my way to the mall. I’m so glad I went, but he was right when he said there was plenty of things I could do in my own backyard. There is so much we can do here in Searcy, and that’s one reason I love Searcy Living magazine. In every issue there are articles telling about something we can help with - from Jacob’s Place to being a foster parent. I want to thank everyone who helped me prayerfully and financially to go on some missions. ú

feeling of being unloved.”

62 Your Hometown Magazine

poverty is loneliness, and the — Mother Teresa

can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.” — Mother Teresa

we gather for worship on a Sunday morning, almost a thousand children elsewhere die because they have no food. We certainly wouldn’t ignore our kids while we sang songs and entertained ourselves, but we are content ignoring other parents’ kids.”

the numbers became real... and personal. We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” Excerpts from his book Radical

A Radical movement in White County could change the world...

Searcy Living would like to remind you that there are organizations such as Compassion International who have programs set up and missionaries in place where you can help by financially adopting a child or family. Go to for more information. Compassion International has a four star rating by Charity Navigator. Go to for more information about other mission organizations with four star ratings. 63

Heart of a Child

C ha r i t y B e n e f i t 48th Annual Searcy Junior Auxiliary Charity Benefit Go to for date and time Robbins-Sanford Grand Hall Dress: Cocktail attire suggested

Since 1962, Junior Auxiliary of Searcy has provided service to the children of White County. Our chapter has a proven tradition of excellence, and in these tough economic times our services have become crucial to the children that we serve. This past year the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy has been serving the community with 31 active members, 7 provisional members and active life and associate members. The Junior Auxiliary of Searcy hosts an annual Charity Benefit in order to raise funds for community projects throughout the year. This will be the 48th year the event has been held and it needs the continued support of the community to go on. It is amazing to us as JA members to see the community coming together for an event that helps families in White County. JA members work hard in acquiring items to be donated for the live and silent auctions and requesting businesses to become corporate sponsors for the event. The support from the local businesses is incredible and we are thankful for them. You may be wondering how you can contribute. We will have many items that you may be looking for. By bidding on these items at our auction, you are helping to support your community through the Junior Auxiliary. We already have several items donated: Hopkins Orthodontics has donated a set of braces, the War Memorial Stadium has donated the stadium to host a birthday party, many restaurants have donated gift cards, and every year many local photographers donate a photo session. These are only a few of the hundreds of silent and live auction items that will be at the event. Our benefit first starts with the local businesses sponsoring the event and donating items, but it ends with the community coming 64 Your Hometown Magazine

out and bidding on the items. We want to thank all of our sponsors, all of our auction donors and the community for working together to help make our event successful throughout these 48 years and allowing us to continue to donate our time to the children. There is one purpose and one cause of Junior Auxiliary and it is to help the children of White County. They are our future. Sponsorship positions are still available. If you would like to donate or volunteer in any of our projects, please contact Nicole Hopkins at (501)230-1194.

Tickets are $55 per person or $100 per couple, in advance, or $60.00 a person the day of the event. For dates, times, and more information, go to Tickets may also be purchased at Blackbird Clothing Store and The UPS Store on BeebeCapps Expressway. Ăş Jennifer Holzhauer - President Susannah Streit - Vice President Nicole Hopkins - Finance Chair Elena Quillen & Audrey Chandler - Ball Chairs Lindsey Walker & Emily Anne Dumas - Auction Chairs Kindness is always fashionable ~ A. E. Barr

“You never know where the first day of school and a backpack of supplies will take you.” The first time I was aware of Junior Auxiliary was my first year of teaching at a local elementary school. I was told backpacks full of school supplies were in the counselor’s office for us to grab if we had students who didn’t have supplies. My first thought was, “Oh, that’s nice,” but then I had a student who didn’t have school supplies on her first day of school. Emily Anne Dumas

Nicole Hopkins

“When she came back, she almost had tears in her eyes when she saw a backpack sitting on her desk.”

After I took my kids to their activity period, I went and got her a backpack. When she came back, she almost had tears in her eyes when she saw a backpack

sitting on her desk. She got to be like everyone else when we started taking up all the school supplies for the year. The next morning, I had a thank you note on my desk from her, explaining she wasn’t going to be able to get new supplies this year and how grateful she was. After wiping the tears from my eyes, I knew that I wanted to find out who put those backpacks together and how to join that organization. Four years and many more backpack stories later, I am now the co-chair for the annual Junior Auxiliary auction. This is the initial project that brought me to JA; but through sorting food for families, buying Christmas gifts for kids and playing with kids at the sunshine school Halloween carnival, I know I am in the perfect position to help the kids of White County. You never know where the first day of school and a backpack of supplies will take you. ~ Emily Anne

“We do what we do for the kids. It is all about them.”

“It gives me the opportunity to give back to a community that I love.”

My favorite project is Food Baskets. We give families a meal so that they can enjoy Thanksgiving this year. So many times I think we begin to take certain things for granted. Many children do not have a big turkey for Thanksgiving, along with too many sides to decide which ones they are going to eat. They are lucky to have any food on the table, on any given day. This past year we provided 318 families with large boxes of nonperishable food items. We are giving these kids more than a meal - we are giving these kids hope and these kids’ hearts need hope. ~ Nicole Hopkins

Being a member of Junior Auxiliary gives me the opportunity to give back to a community that I love. It just feels good to know that by working together we are making a difference in the lives of local children. Our annual charity benefit is the lifeline to funding the various service projects that JA sponsors throughout the year. It really touches my heart that so many people support this event and partner with JA to make it a success! ~ Elena Quillen

Elena Quillen

Lindsey Walker

“I can definitely say the rewards are never ending.” I feel blessed to be a part of an organization with such wonderful women who focus on the children in our community. Of all the different service projects we provide, I would have to say my favorite is the Angel Tree project. There is nothing more special to me than to watch a child open presents on Christmas day. I never realized until becoming a member of JA the number of children who don’t get that opportunity. Angel Tree allows these children to have their Christmas wish. After the completion of this project and we see how many children JA helped to receive presents, I get overwhelmed with happy emotions and I am 100% positive I can speak for every single JA member. As a member of the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy I can definitely say the rewards are never ending. ~ Lindsey Walker 65

“I get to be part of an organization that has children at the center of each project.” Growing up and living in Searcy the last 24 years I have watched JA do some amazing things. Now, being a member, I get to be part of an organization that has children at the center of each project. I am thankful to be a part of these children’s lives, the JA ladies, and a community that supports us. ~ Audrey Chandler

Audrey Chandler

Projects that JA participates in: DAY OF CARING

JA participates in the annual community outreach “Day of Caring.” In 2009, we served sack lunches to 1,100+ people.


Each year JA awards $3,000 in scholarships to local college bound seniors involved in community service.


Our Covering Kids projects give area students coats, clothes, and backpacks at the recommendations of school counselors. In 2009, JA provided 28 backpacks to students and provided 32 other children with clothes this school year. During the Day of Caring, we also distributed undergarments to 509 children in need.


Child Lures is a week-long course presented to third graders in area schools, aimed at preventing child exploitation and related crimes.


The Angel Tree project provided Christmas presents to 500+ children in White County in 2009. The members sit with the “angel tree” in various locations around the community and encourage citizens to adopt angels for Christmas. The Junior Auxiliary then purchases gifts for any un-adopted angels. We then coordinate delivering the angel tree gifts of clothes and toys to the parents. 66 Your Hometown Magazine


Food Basket projects gives large boxes of nonperishable food items to local families during the Thanksgiving holiday. This year 318 food baskets were distributed. Searcy Schools collects canned good for Food Baskets during a food drive, then the JA members pick up the cans, sort them and organize boxes for each family and coordinate the distribution to needy families in White County.


At the heart of Junior Auxiliary’s service to children of the community is the Sunshine School. JA championed its establishment in 1966 and continues to offer all forms of support to this school for special needs children. We enjoy hosting and assisting in various Sunshine School events throughout the year. We help paint pottery and teach swimming at their Camp Wyldewood Day Camp. We host a fun-filled Halloween Carnival for the students and parents in October and throw an Easter party in April. The teachers at Sunshine School are amazing. Each year we serve them a homemade Teachers’ Appreciation Luncheon. We enjoy helping the Sunshine School raise funds with their annual Flea Market. We also make hundreds of sandwiches for the Region 6 Special Olympics. Pottery made by the Sunshine School at their Day Camp will be up for auction at the Charity Ball. 67


Dear Searcy Living, My makeover experience was right up there in the top 10 of the most exciting experiences I have ever had! I started out the day very much afraid that it would end like a lot of my shopping trips lately... going home with nothing more than sore feet. I had just got to a place where I couldn’t find anything I felt good in anymore. With the help of Stephanie (from Searcy Living) and Hays Clothing of Searcy, I found the perfect outfit. Then Addie at Symmetrix seemed to have an eye for just what I needed done to my hair. Thank you, Addie! I love it! I got the perfect jewelry at Unique Boutique with the help of Diane. Then Doris at Cosmetic Studio showed me a face I didn’t even know was there! Thank you, Doris, ever so much for your help and expertise! Searcy Living put me at ease and I found myself having the most fun, even doing a photo shoot with them. Photo Shoot! Me! Now THAT’s something I thought I’d never do! But, I loved it. You made it the best! Thanks to Searcy Living and everyone involved for one of the best experiences of making new friends I have ever had! ~ Peggy Sterling

68 Your Hometown Magazine


3005 E. Race St. • Searcy (501) 268-0800

(501) 268-4540 2904 Hawkins Dr. • Searcy

1211 E. Race St. • Searcy (501) 268-1700 See page 60 to read a story by Peggy’s daughter, Joy Van Winkle.

Heart & Soul Plaza 1623 E. Beebe-Capps • Searcy (501) 279-2526 69

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Games & Puzzles



1. Participation in

teaches life skills and encourages

3. Toward the


youth to become responsible, productive adults.

5. Life goes on for Mollie


7. White County


. Foundation.

4. Author of “The Turkey Hunt With A Vapor”


6. Family that established a scholarship honoring their

10. Group dedicated to improving their tennis game.

late mother.

Searcy Tennis

8. Positive attitude and bright disposition describes Richmond family member diagnosed with SMA. 9. JA Charity benefit “Heart of a

of a Child. .

11. A father, a husband, a business owner and a referee in the SEC.

STUMPED? Get the answers, play games, download wallpaper and tons more online at!


What English word retains the same pronunciation, even after you take away four of its five letters? If your sock drawer has 6 black socks, 4 brown socks, 8 white socks, and 2 tan socks, how many socks would you have to pull out in the dark to be sure you had a matching pair?

72 Your Hometown Magazine

Why I Started The

Searcy Volleyball Team! By Krista Nolte

Before moving to Searcy I played volleyball for the Lady Bisons in Buffalo, Missouri. I had played for 5 years, including club volleyball. When I moved to Searcy my freshman year, I was devastated when I learned that they did not have a volleyball team. When school started many people said Searcy was going to get a volleyball team next year. Well, next year came around and still no volleyball. So the rumors continued throughout my sophomore year. At the end of my sophomore year, I decided to start it myself because then I would know for sure we were going to get one. It was a long process and took a lot of my time, but it was so worth it. When I first started playing volleyball, I knew that this was the one thing that I could get scholarships for and play in college. However, when I learned that volleyball was not offered in Searcy, I felt I had lost the opportunity to get a scholarship and to play for a college. I’m aware that I most likely started a volleyball team too late in my high school career to have a college want me and offer me a scholarship, but I also know that, in the future, volleyball will give a future Searcy student the opportunity I never got. I love the game and I know that in the future my hard work to get the volleyball team together will all pay off. With every bit of improvement the past 2 years, it shows that Searcy will be great in the future. I am so glad that I was a part of the first ever volleyball team. ú 73

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76 Your Hometown Magazine

Profile for Searcy Living

Searcy Living Hometown Issue  

Hometown Legends, Hometown Inspiration, Hometown Sports, Hometown Causes

Searcy Living Hometown Issue  

Hometown Legends, Hometown Inspiration, Hometown Sports, Hometown Causes