April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and the City of North Little Rock is blessed to have so many volunteers that give their time to benefit the children, citizens and our community.
Police Athletic League
The following highlighted volunteers were nominated by NLRPD Officer Shelby Hunter, Director of PAL in North Little Rock.
Ken Abel: PAL Board Vice President
Ken has assisted PAL with field maintenance, repairs, and has overseen concession operations during EVERY outdoor sporting season since the program for the last 22 years, since PAL began in 1998! Ken serves as the true heart of this program and never says no to a request for assistance when it comes to PAL & PSL kiddos!
Greg Lindsey: PAL Board President
Greg has coached tee ball, baseball, and football for over 15 years and now oversees the operations of the PAL football program.
Amy Smith: PAL Board Secretary & City of NLR Employee
Amy and her husband, Brian Mitchell have coached tee ball, baseball, and football for over 15 years in PAL.
Sonya has coached tee ball for over 10 years in PAL and now coaches the PAL basketball team and still serves as an assistant coach in softball.
Gwen is the wife of Office Shelby Hunter, the Director of PAL. Gwen began as Officer Hunter’s assistant coach and team mom for tee ball in 2009, has overseen the PAL cheer program for the past six years and assists with organizing PAL events & fundraisers.
Congratulations to Ken Abel, Greg Lindsey, Amy Smith, Sonya Irving and Gwen Hunter. THANKS SO MUCH for your service to our city!
HAMILTON Boys & Girls Club employees
(Derrick Williams, Reco Bennet, Deborah Randle, Cortez Washington, Ty Robinson and Diann Profit)
The staff at Hamilton Boys and Girls Club in North Little Rock are employees but they have continued to work through the Pandemic when the Community Center was closed.
This awesome group has continued to work and minister unselfishly to at-risk youth in the area. Not only do they serve lunch each day to 60-70 children, they provide clothing, school supplies, tutoring and other necessities from their own pockets. Many of these volunteers have served their community for over 20 years, developing boys and girls into well-rounded adults and productive, responsible citizens.
Currently, the facility remains closed, but the staff is eager for the facility to reopen so they can continue to provide much needed services to our youth in need.
Bert Turner is the Burn Boss in the City of North Little Rock and has been volunteering with the Parks & Recreation Department for numerous years helping and coordinating trail work, prescribed burns, and sits on the board of Friends of the Old Mill. He is a member of the Central Arkansas Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners. Bert volunteers his time to oversee and coordinate the controlled burns in Burns Park. They have been a big part of maintaining the natural surface trails in and around Burns Park for many years. They also assist with our prescribed burns in Burns Park. Talk about dedicated to this job, Mr. Turner sent the following email to several people that helped out with the controlled burn last week: “On behalf of the City of North Little Rock I want to thank each one of you for the fantastic job you and your team did on the April 13, 2021 controlled burn at Burns Park. I also want to thank you personally for the excellent interaction between the agencies and the teams that made this one of the best burns we have had with such a mix of agencies! Please pass this thanks to all of your people who worked on this burn! Volunteers for the burn included: The Nature Conservancy with six people, Quail Forever with five people, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission with four people, Arkansas Agriculture Forestry Division with three people, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission with two people, Central Arkansas Master Naturalists with one person, and Camp Robinson Fire Department with one person who volunteered to come out on his day off. We also had a bunch of people who functioned in support roles like the North Little Rock Parks Department who blocked off the roads, blew fire lines, used social media and person-to-person interface to get the word out about the fire and kept facts front and center on social media before the rumor mill took over, and many other mundane tasks behind the scenes. The North Little Rock Communications Department in the Mayor’s office and several of the agencies sent out the news release. The North Little Rock Fire Department was on standby, the 9-1-1 communications center and other departments played behind-the-scene roles as well. Central Arkansas Master Naturalists put five volunteers out on the roads to help divert traffic, helped keep people out of the burn area, sat on the interstate overpass to keep an eye on smoke behavior, and maintained the command post. There is quite a lot of stuff to do in an urban burn, especially when the urban area contains the big bosses of most of the participating agencies.
This was a very successful burn and it accomplished everything we planned. Nobody was hurt, no equipment was torn up, no fire escapes, no surprises, no major complaints, no tasks left unfinished—just a well-executed burn with a broad team of very dedicated people! I was very happy and impressed with how we added a second (and very difficult) tract at the last moment and got it done. That feat showed a lot of professionalism and great interactions between agencies! I haven’t done the final analysis, but it looks like we hit or exceeded all of our goals. I’ve walked through a good deal of the units and they look great! These were our top three objectives: Burn 60-90% of the area in each tract – Reduce leaf litter and duff by 50% – Achieve 60-80% understory top kill.
All of you should be patting yourself and your team on the back for reaching those objectives! I could go on and on about how great this burn was, but the bottom line is you and your teams did a superb job in all aspects. I’m proud of you and look forward to working with all of you again! THANK YOU!”
David Barnes, Chaplain – NLR Police Department
David Barnes’ journey as a Chaplain in the North Little Rock Police Department appeared to begin in 2015 but it actually began 40 years prior. At 16, Barnes surrendered to God’s call to serve and has been obedient to serve vocationally in various capabilities throughout his life. David’s two sons, Blake and Eric, are both police officers, Blake at NLRPD and Eric at LRPD. As an act of support for his sons and their fellow officers, David attended the NLR Citizens Police Academy in 2013. The Citizens Police Academy opened a new door for Barnes and in 2015, David approached then NLR Police Chief Mike Davis about serving as Chaplain to NLR officers in addition to working as a Registered Nurse at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock. David’s philosophy is simple, “Be present as often as possible, whether on patrol, visiting at substations, or counseling officers and their families.” Barnes knew in order for the officers to open up to him, he has to understand their role, build a relationship with them, right where they were. As opportunities arose, Barnes made sure he was available to officers, spent time in patrol, and even served as a liaison between NLR officers and the administration. Barnes sends regular emails to all officers and their families, celebrates the births of children, and has even attended the Police Academy with the new recruits. Barnes knew making an early connection with the new recruits and their families would be a way to build a strong foundation. Barnes has participated in Orientation Night and also hosted a “Thriving & Surviving in Law Enforcement” dinner as well as a marriage manual for spouses of officers. Barnes counts it a privilege to “be there” for our officers and their families, no matter the need.
As a father of two officers and a daughter in ministry as well, Barnes and his wife have seen firsthand the effects Policing has on families. He has attended both individual and group Critical Incident Debriefing Training as well as Group Crisis Debriefing Training. Barnes considers himself a “resource” for NLR officers and is most proud of the Peer Support Group training that he has been instrumental in developing along with former NLR Police Chief Mike Davis.
David Barnes is one of seven Chaplains in the NLR Police Department that volunteers their time to serve our officers and their families. David Barnes, an outstanding man, husband, father, grandfather, nurse, North Little Rock volunteer and friend.
Randy Naylor, Chairman of Keep NLR Beautiful
Randy is the Chairman of Keep NLR Beautiful that meets once a month to work on how they can make positive results in our city. Randy attended the Keep America Beautiful national conference in 2020 and represented our city. Keep NLR Beautiful produces an annual Littler Survey and hosts The Great NLR Cleanup in the spring and The Great Arkansas River Cleanup in the fall annually. Randy organizes 250 volunteers to clean up the city and river. Keep NLR Beautiful also has access to grants for our city and installed cigarette receptacles in the downtown Argenta area.
Randy and the committee work with any group in NLR, including parole officers, that want to organize a special clean-up event by providing the supplies and some volunteers. Randy serves as a source and facilitator for people needing volunteer hours. He is the President of the Scenic Hill Neighborhood Association, oversees their Facebook Page and works to keep their neighborhood safe and clean by cleaning up the hill on a weekly basis and helping those that need help in his neighborhood.
Randy has become a source for NLR residents to call if they need help. Randy quickly gathers volunteers to help those in need. Over the last few years, Randy has given out over 2,000 trees to NLR residents, adopted Emerald Park to try and keep it clean, worked to keep trash from going into Shillcut Creek and into the river by installing trash traps and working with Arkansas Canoe Club to clean up waterways. He also reports tires and illegal dumps and people that I see throwing trash out windows to the Arkansas Litter Hotline Number. Randy even gives his time to mow yards for NLR residents.
Marsha Mosenthin and Phyllis Killeen of NLR Friends of Animals
Marsha Mosenthin and Phyllis Killeen are part of NLR FRIENDS OF ANIMALS. Marsha and Phyllis were nominated as Outstanding Volunteers by David Miles, Director of the NLR Animal Shelter.
Marsha Mosenthin – President of NLR Friends of Animals
Marsha spends countless hours promoting adoptions and fundraising for the NLR Animal Shelter’s Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Program as well as animal and shelter needs.
Phyllis Killeen – Member of NLR Friends of Animals
Phyllis volunteers weekly at the shelter by assisting NLR Animal Shelter veterinarians with the spaying/neutering of our adopted animals. Phyllis also keeps the NLR Spay/Neuter Clinic stocked and organized.
NLR Parks and Recreation Commission
The NLR Parks and Recreation Commission members together have served over 85 years as commissioners. The NLR Parks and Recreation Department and the entire City of North Little Rock is fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers serving and receive little recognition. Thank you for your service to the citizens in our city.
Top row, left to right:
- Neil Bryant (Vice-Chair): 10 years+ (served previously and returned)
- Don Skrivanos: (4 years)
- Randall Bradley: (8 years)
- John Hay: (3 years)
Bottom row, left to right:
- Laura Juels (Treasurer): (4 years)
- Vicki Stephens (Chair): 28 years
- Otistene Smith (Secretary): 28 years
Bill Trousdale and Preston Cowan
Bill Trousdale and Preston Cowan have been disc golf players and volunteers for more than 30 years. Bill helped get the first 9-hole course established in Burns Park back in the early 1980s. Preston arrived on the scene shortly thereafter. They have helped change and evolve disc golf in Burns Park over the years to an 18-hole course and then to two, 18-hole courses. They have been involved in assisting, not only Burns Park, but other parks in Central Arkansas with course design, layout, and promotion of disc golf. Bill and Preston have volunteered and recruited volunteers over the years to host tournaments, clear debris, install baskets and tee pads, and more. Disc golf has grown leaps and bounds over the last several years and many groups and clubs have been formed by other players and volunteers. Bill, Preston, and others such as James, Wesley, Matt, Randall, Doug, Lori, John, Ted and Susan, Robbie, and many others have helped make disc golf at Burns Park what it is today. Burns Park now has three disc golf courses (Two, 18-hole and one, 9-hole course) and there are baskets and several neighborhood parks as well.
NLR Neighborhood Association Presidents
In North Little Rock, our neighborhood association presidents are an integral part of our neighborhoods and our city. Mayor Hartwick began meeting with the neighborhood association presidents when he took office in January of this year. To date, Mayor Hartwick has met with half of the presidents and has plans to meet with the other half of the presidents by mid-summer. The feedback the presidents provide to the Mayor and the city and their dedication to their neighborhoods is very important to addressing the needs of our entire city. Congratulations to the following people:
- Michelle Holt, Amboy Neighborhood Association
- Paula Lively, Amboy Crime Watch
- Katie Gleason, Argenta Neighborhood Boosters
- Harlan Hunter, Baring Cross Neighborhood Association
- Suni McClellan, Cobblestone Crime Watch
- Stephen Hart, Cypress Crossing Neighborhood Association
- Belinda Burney, Dark Hollow CDC
- Dr. Tracey McElwee, Dixie Addition CDC
- Earnest Franklin, Dixie Addition CDC
- LaQuanda Thompson, Faulkner Crossing Neighborhood Association
- Tim Deloney, Glenview Neighborhood Association
- Joy Cameron, HOLT Neighborhood Association
- Stephen Whiting, Indian Hills Neighborhood Association
- Tap Pace, Lakewood Neighborhood Association
- Michael Davis, Meadow Park Crime Watch
- Tammy Small, Melrose Community Outreach
- Juanita Henderson, Military Heights Community Center
- Deborah Rhodes, NAACP
- Doug McDowall, Neighbors United for Levy
- John Gregan, Park Hill Neighborhood Association
- Michelle Johnson, Ridgeroad Village Neighborhood Association
- Ken Abel, Rose City Neighborhood Association
- Randy Naylor, Scenic Hill Neighborhood Association
- Artis Boykin, Sherman Park Neighborhood Association
- Cedric Vaughn, Stonelinks Property Owners Association
- John Santoro, Willow Beach Neighborhood Association