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Congratulations to the Winners of Wilbur Smith Award and Idalee Hawkins Award [PHOTOS]

Wilbur Smith Award Winners
Wilbur Smith Award Winners
Mimi Campbell-McDaniel/Townsquare Media

Congratulations to all of the winners! The annual event to honor the winners of the Wilbur Smith Award and the Idalee Hawkins Award was recently held. The honorees are all very deserving for all that the do in our community.

The achievements of each recipient is below their photos–I bet you know some of these folks.

Leadership Texarkana recently celebrated local excellence in leadership at the 4th Annual Luncheon with Leaders at Texarkana Country Club. Awards were given out including The Idalee Hawkins Award and the Wilbur Smith Awards.

The Idalee Hawkins Award is given annually to outstanding alumni of the Leadership Texarkana program as selected by the previous recipients of the award. This award is given in memory of Idalee Hawkins who set a lasting example for her willingness to give of herself for her family and community.

The Wilbur Smith Award is given in memory of Wilbur Smith, noted community volunteer and historian. Celebrating the power of one to positively impact our community, the Wilbur Smith Award is given to an adult, a group and a youth recipient of the public-at-large whose actions have demonstrated exemplary leadership in the community.

Award Winners

Idalee Hawkins Award Winner
Jerry Black, Idalee Hawkins Award Winner
Mimi Campbell-McDaniel/Townsquare Media

This year the Idalee Hawkins honoree was Jerry Black. Jerry retired in May 2012 after serving in the field of education for 41 years. He worked six years in the Texarkana Arkansas School District, ten years in Texarkana Independent School District and twenty-five years in his beloved Liberty Eylau Independent School District where he was a driving force in the implementation of the foundation and alumni programs. Jerry remains an active member in Hardy Memorial United Methodist Church serving as the church treasurer and Lay Leader. He started the Faith Seeks class of young couples several years ago with six members, and that program has now grown to fifty members and he also ministers to the shut-ins and those who are ill within the congregation. Jerry remains an active member of the Texarkana Oaklawn Rotary Club having served as vice-president, president, past-president and member. He has also served as the secretary, treasurer, and chair of Leadership Texarkana. Jerry has received several awards among them the Texas A&M-Texarkana Distinguished Alumni Award, Leopard for Life Award and H.E. Markham Community Service Award.

Ann Nicholas - Wilbur Smith Award Winner
Ann Nicholas – Wilbur Smith Award Winner
Mimi Campbell-McDaniel at Townsquare Media

The adult winner of the Wilbur Award was Ann Nicholas. Ann is a committed public servant who is also known for her dedication and service to the community, especially in relation to the arts. Currently employed as the County Clerk for Miller County, as well as a ballet instructor at the Judith McCarty School of Dancing, Ann also serves on various Boards such as the Oaklawn Rotary Club, Texarkana Community Ballet, and HandsOn Texarkana. When she is not working or serving as a board member, Ann can be found out and about doing good in our community such as choreographing children’s theater, preparing meals for home-bound veterans, or working in the Agricultural Learning Center at the Four States Fair. An Interesting note, Ann choreographed the very first Wilbur Awards in which Mr. Smith himself danced.

Target - Wilbur Smith Award
Target – Wilbur Smith Award
Mimi Campbell-McDaniel/Townsquare Media

The Wilbur Award for service by a group was given to Target Store Community Volunteers. The Target Store Community Volunteers are among one of the largest and most active volunteer groups in the greater Texarkana area. Led by Renea Booker and Cheryl Gildon, there is seldom a non-profit event that Target is not participating in. They have volunteered for Harvest Texarkana’s Taste of Texarkana, as well as the Literacy Council Spelling Bee, Race for the Cure, United Way, and many others. Last year alone they were responsible for 34 events totaling 1702 volunteer hours through 470 volunteers made up of Target Team Members, families and friends.

Kelly Burnett - Wilbur Smith Award
Kelly Burnett – Wilbur Smith Award
Mimi Campbell-McDaniel/Townsquare Media

This year’s Wilbur Award for Youth Leadership was given to Kelly Burnett. Kelly Burnett is a senior at Texas High, in the first graduating class of the H. Ross Perot STEM Academy, and ranked second in her class of 394 students. She is involved with three honor societies and serves as an Ambassador for National Society of High School Scholars. Her original research has become a part of the curriculum and she is an author and illustrator of a children’s biography about Texarkana native and acclaimed investigative reporter Jerry “Boo” Mitchell, Jr. She has received numerous awards, including being named a 2012 NASA Aerospace Scholar. Kelly’s greatest legacy as a student leader may be the founding and direction of the Young Philanthropists’ Club. At the age of ten, Kelly became very ill and was out of school for over three years. When she came back, she gathered 25 of her friends and encouraged them to pool $10 per month each, to be used for community needs. Membership has now grown to over 70 members from two local school districts and the members have donated over $6,000.00 to organizations like Pennies for Patients, Opportunities, Inc., and Runnin’ WJ Ranch, as well as providing $500 cash scholarships for four local graduating seniors.

Chrystal Smith and family - Silent Smith Award
Chrystal Smith and family – Silent Smith Award
Mimi Campbell-McDaniel/Townsquare Media

This year, Leadership Texarkana added an additional award — the Silent Smith Award. This year’s recipient of the Silent Smith Award is Chrystal Sloan. For those of you who knew Wilbur Smith, you will remember that “Silent Smith” was his Rotary badge moniker — and that was definitely tongue in cheek! There are lots of people in our community who, although they may not be known to everyone, are making an impact beyond what is ordinary and Chrystal Sloan is one of those people.

The Silent Smith Award looks to the heart of giving, into the heart of those who gives, and is to recognize those “quiet” Wilbur Smiths who are sometimes in the forefront, but more often than not, serve from the background. A leader at heart, the Silent Smith recipient is someone who can bring people together, motivate our communities, and get things done.

Chrystal is one of two people responsible for mobilizing our community to win the national Bark for Your Park contest, and she also works for the two-legged community in a number of ways. Currently, Chrystal serves the greater Texarkana area through her participation in agencies such as the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium Commission, CASA of Northeast Texas, Inc, and Main Street Texarkana. With a passion for interesting and unique community projects, she recently co-founded Urban Renaissance, a downtown art group responsible for the Little Doors project designed to attract positive attention and conversation about downtown Texarkana. She works behind the scenes to encourage all Texarkana residents to work together for the greater good. Chrystal has an insight like no other person that I have met. She has the patience and the passion to see a project through. I am proud to know her and happy to be a friend too. Congratulations Chrystal!

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