Fouke native Ann Fowler is a woman with plans. She may have just turned 80, but she doesn’t appear to be slowing down one bit.

Anyone who meets Ann Fowler is immediately aware of her vitality. Her silver mane is well coiffed, her smile ready and charming, her eyes friendly and yet full of fire. Upon meeting her, I knew she was a dynamo to be reckoned with.

Born in 1932, Fowler left Fouke in 1949 to attend business school. After she married, she lived in Mobile, Ala., Pensacola, Fla., and Shreveport, La. where she was a school teacher. Following her retirement, she worked for IBM for 10 years before moving back to Fouke.

Upon her return to Arkansas, Fowler realized that her beloved Fouke had changed dramatically from the time she’d left. “The quality of life had run down,” she says. “But we’re doing a lot to change that.”

Fowler became the executive director for the Citizens for a Better Community (CBC) and has since been using her post to help restore pride and unity at Fouke.

She has urged residents to join the cause and when the CBC finally sent their paperwork to the IRS to receive its 501(c)3 status, 45 people had signed up.

“Sometimes, all it takes to make a difference is planting some flowers,” Fowler says, remembering how the large pots of mounding annuals placed around different businesses in town turned heads.

“People saw that and started planting flowers at their own houses,” she says. “It’s the little things like that and the mayor’s clean-up days that started to make an impact.”

Fowler has helped the CBC with many community projects, including the installation of two welcome signs, fundraising to create two benevolent funds, installing the Veterans Memorial Park, and the organization’s current restoration of the historic Scoggins house which will ultimately become a library and events center.

Still, Fowler is quick to point out that she didn’t accomplish any of these things alone. “It takes the entire community to make a difference,” she says. Yet it doesn’t appear that she’ll shrink back from being a guiding force in Fouke any time soon.

“I hope I have half as much energy as you do when I’m eighty, Ms. Ann,” Mayor Terry Purvis says as the two of them drive me around the community, showing me all of Fouke’s new accomplishments.

“I hope to reach 100,” Fowler states as a matter of fact. With all the projects she’s working on, it is easy to believe that this determined lady will achieve her goal.

To find out how you can help Fowler and the CBC, call (870) 653-4427 or write Citizens For A Better Community, PO Box 689, Fouke, AR 71837.

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