By Rob Patrick
Norma Bishop, Chris Holmes, Ken Young, the Bryant School District and the Bryant Chamber of Commerce were all inducted[more] into the HomeTown Heroes Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 30, at a dinner hosted by the Bryant Boys & Girls Club at the Center in Bishop Park.
The first HomeTown Heroes dinner, sponsored by Landers Auto, was held to salute “the many heroes in our community who have played such an important role” in the success of the Club.
Emceed by former Bryant School Superintendent Dr. Richard Abernathy, a longtime supporter of the Club, the event featured a charming presentation by Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady of Fort Smith that included her talents as a singer and ventriloquist.
In addition to the Hall of Fame induction, HomeTown Hero Awards were presented to Abernathy, Melody Gately, Katherine Johnson and the City of Bryant. Champion Awards were presented to Rodney Plack and Landers Auto, Barbara Riggan of Iberia Bank, Joel Smith of DataMax, Dr. Adam Carson, Gay Sellers of the Bryant School District and Rae Ann Fields, executive director of the Bryant Chamber.
Also, president of the Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors, Laryssa Calley, a local Shelter Insurance agent, and Club executive director Suzanne Passmore were honored.
A description was presented regarding each award. Of the HomeTown Hero Hall of Fame Award, it said, “is the highest honor given to those whose dedication to serving youth is unparalleled. These recipients are the testimony to the Boys and Girls Club belief that enduring lessons are taught by example. Their exceptional acts of service and dedication to the young people of our community and club include, building a house in our honor, ensuring our financial stability, having the vision for a club for young people, donating land for this Club, and opening their doors so that our community can offer a Positive Place for kids. These inductees’ names will be placed on a wall to be remembered for years to come.”
The HomeTown Hero Award “is presented to the individuals and organizations who have opened doors and helped lead the way for the Club. They have a commitment to our mission and the guiding principles of our Club. Their outstanding leadership, vision and generosity have provided our young people with the opportunity they need to succeed. They are true heroes who have made a significant and positive difference in the lives of young people, our community and the Club!”
The Champion Award “is given to dedicated individuals who have supported the Club through continuous monthly giving, sponsorships, organizing fundraising campaigns, and a belief that a ‘helpful hand’ can make a positive difference in the lives of young people, our community and the Club. They are the Champions of our community!”
The evening began with Club member and Torch Club president Jessica Miller welcoming everyone and introducing Dr. Abernathy. The Torch Club is a leadership group at the B&GC.
Another Club member, Rebekah Curtis recited the Club’s Mission Statement then Calley recited the Club’s Vision Statement.
Two more Club members contributed to the proceedings. Holly Warner sang God Bless America and Luke Douglas led the gathering in a pre-meal prayer. A slide show featuring the activities at the Club was shown during dinner and Diane McPherson shared her volunteer experience at the Club.
Abernathy thanked the Club staff and members of the Bryant Hornets football team for volunteering to serve the meal then the Staff entertained, performing the Evolution of Dance.
The evening concluded with a stirring performance by James Kidd, a Hornets football play and Club mentor, who sang “You Raise Me Up”.