Bentonville, AR – April 12, 2016…Mayor McCaslin is pleased to announce several recognitions that will be taking place during National Volunteer Week. National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, 2016, a program of Points of Light, is about “inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.”
The 2016 first quarter winners of the Mayor’s Outstanding Citizen Award are: Tregg Brown, Allyson Kay Kempf and First Landmark Baptist Church.
Tregg Brown was nominated by the Boys & Girls Club of Benton County. Tregg has served on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Benton County (BGC) for approximately 10 years. During his years of service, he has held several officer positions, as well as serving on various committees. Tregg has been instrumental in their revenue increasing by nearly 10%, as well as mentoring teens through the Youth of the Year program. He has also hosted several employee appreciation events for BGC staff. In addition to serving at the Boys and Girls Club, he also serves on the Bentonville Parks & Recreation board and was involved in the planning of the new Bentonville Community Center. Tregg spends countless hours investing back into the Bentonville community. During his free time, he can be found with his family supporting local businesses and events on the Bentonville Square or running on the trails or in a charity event race. According to the Boys and Girls Club, Tregg is a great example of what a strong community member looks like, and it is because of individuals like Tregg that Bentonville is such an incredible community.
Allyson (Ally) Kay Kempf was nominated by Megan Taylor, the school counselor at Mary Mae Jones Elementary where Allyson is a 3rd grade student. Allyson’s teacher challenged the class to support our community. One student raised his hand and suggested granting a wish. Ally chose to share a personal story in response to her classmate’s idea—a story wrought with pain, heartache and darkness. Her story is now bringing hope, healing and light to not only the hearts of her third grade class, but into the dark corners of the hearts of those with a loved one battling childhood cancer.
Ally’s brother, Mason, lost his courageous battle with cancer. Before his passing, the Kempf family connected with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It costs an average of $8,000 to grant a wish through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Ally’s class has set a goal to fund an entire wish by the end of the 2015-2016 school year. When the nomination form was received, they had raised more than $2,000 towards that goal, by selling raffle tickets and hot chocolate in front of Sam’s Club. Additionally, Ally and her family designed a Christmas light show at their home, which included a wishing well glowing with a light where visitors were able to make a donation to the Make-a-Wish project. They also held a hat day on December 17 at Mary Mae Jones Elementary School. Ally truly demonstrates the Leader in Me initiative that Mary Mae Jones Elementary strives to inspire within each student. Ms. Taylor states that Ally has turned a story of heartache into a story of hope, and THAT is something to celebrate. As of today, the students have earned in excess of $6,600 towards their $8,000 goal. They have another event scheduled on April 23.
The First Landmark Baptist Church was nominated by The Salvation Army emergency Shelter for the compassion the members have shown towards the homeless in our community. The group started volunteering at the Shelter approximately a year ago. They have poured out their heart to the homeless in their community and have extended a hand of grace by offering to commit to serve the homeless by not only providing a nutritious and delicious meal once a month, but a meal that is served out of love for their fellow man. Danny Camarillo from the Shelter states that the group arrives with enthusiasm and eagerly puts their belief into practice that “it is better to give than to receive.” Everyone works together to create a synergy for the betterment of their ministry team. One can see that their satisfaction is found in giving. According to Danny, this group goes above and beyond by purchasing the food, preparing it, cooking and serving it, and cleaning up afterwards. There is no doubt that their endeavors to provide physical food for the needy means so much. However, even those endeavors are lovingly overshadowed by the compassion care and concern that this group of volunteers displays for the residents of the Shelter. A smile, a kind gesture, and an encouraging word from the group feeds the soul of the homeless unlike physical food ever will. It is this type of giving that nourishes the soul and gives hope to the hopeless.
During the Outstanding Citizen Award recognition event, the Mayor will present a National Volunteer Week proclamation to the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter. In 2015, Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter reported almost 7,160 volunteer hours, given by 1,087 volunteers with a value of over $165,000 to our community.
Also taking place during the National Volunteer Week, Mayor McCaslin will present a Certificate of Appreciation to Mr. Aaron Wise and the 9th grade Civics classes at Bentonville High School. On October 3, 2015, 350 students volunteered a total of 875 hours at City of Bentonville’s Memorial Park and Orchards Park during the first Civics Community Involvement Day, organized by BHS civics teacher Aaron Wise, to teach kids about good citizenship. Mr. Wise wanted to find an activity for these students to make a difference in their community since many of these students are not old enough to get a job. They lent a hand with park maintenance, trimming overgrown vegetation and mulching trees in The Legacy Orchard at Orchards Park.
The Outstanding Citizen Award program was initiated in January 2011 to recognize the exceptional volunteer contributions of Bentonville residents. There are three award categories: adult, youth and community group. Second quarter 2016 nominations will be accepted until June 15th. To obtain a nomination form and additional information, please visit the City’s website at www.bentonvillear.com.