October 2021

TEXARKANA MAGAZINE October | 2021 | Volume 2 | Issue 10

44. S T Y L E Happiness is Homemade 52. L I F E Go Pink or Go Home 54. S T Y L E Halloween Soirée Style

38.

10. c o v e r/ B U S I N E S S We’re All in This Together 20. P O L I T I C S Meet the Candidates

26.

58.

38. S P O R T S Kickin’ it in Germany 42. E N T E R TA I NME N T Good Evening TXK

44.

26. C OMMUN I T Y So Much More 34. C U L T U R E How Music Shapes a Memoir

56. S H A R E T H E L O V E Milestone Celebrations 58. T X K R O O T S Caroline Cotten Grenier

4

What I love about fall…

CASSY MEISENHEIMER …FOOTBALL season! Flag football, high school football, college football,

TERRI SANDEFUR …cooler weather so I can f inally drive my 1998 Miata again because the AC doesn’t work.

KARA HUMPHREY …sitting by the f ire, hoodies and sweaters, the smell of people burning leaves, and Aggie football! It’s the greatest time of year!

LEAH ORR …cooler temps and sitting by a f ire!

professional football and fantasy football!

MATT CORNELIUS …sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes and Dillard’s holiday sale.

BRITT EARNEST …the illusion that cooler weather is coming! #texas

BAILEY GRAVITT …NOT the pumpkin spice lattes, that’s for sure!

TERRI GRAVITT …pumpkin spice lattes with LOTS of whipped cream!

MEGAN GRIFFIN …football season! #WPS

JOSEPH GUERNSEY …motorcycle riding and the leaves.

TIFFANY HORTON …cooler weather and hanging out around a f ire!

BRIAN JONES Really though, fall around here is just second summer.

PATSY MORRISS …the sound of a high school band drum line.

EMILY SARINE …f leece, food and football, in no particular order!

JONATHAN WEAVER …tailgates and grilling.

LIBBY WHITE …the colors! Fall is my favorite!

6

C O N T R I B U T O R S

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

2801 Richmond Road • Suite 38 Texarkana, Texas 75503 903.949.1460 letstalk@txkmag.com txkmag.com Publisher C A R D I N A L P U B L I S H I N G Staff C A S S Y M E I S E N H E I M E R cassy@txkmag.com T E R R I S A N D E F U R terri@txkmag.com K A R A H U M P H R E Y kara@txkmag.com L E A H O R R leah@txkmag.com M AT T C O R N E L I U S matt@txkmag.com B R I T T E A R N E S T britt@txkmag.com Local Sources C L A R E A N G I E R J O H N L U K E A N G I E R M A R Y C A R O L I N E A N G I E R

is on television, making him an automatic Meisenheimer and a perfect fit for our crazy football loving family. I am (mostly) always proud of my kids. But when I witness my boys busting their tails and trying so hard at something, my heart bursts with excitement for them. They do not have the natural genetics to be all- star athletes, but they have the heart to put their all into it. When either of them make a catch, pull a flag, score a touchdown… wave at me… basically anything they do, I am there cheering them on, letting them know their momma thinks they are A++ even though we may peak at very average. On the other side of the pride I get from watching them is the chance they get to learn humility, and that is an important lesson. When they miss the flag, drop the catch, or lose the game, they get the chance to exercise their character and integrity. Hopefully, as parents, we take advantage of the opportunity we have to exercise ours as well. When we see the disappointment on their sweet faces and we see them fighting back tears, empathy always saves the day. Hold on to that empathy and allow it to breed self-control. That can be a very important lesson for the parents of kids in youth sports. Sometimes it is easy to judge ourselves based on our best intentions, but harshly judge the actions of others. Giving grace to our kids and people in general and allowing them to make mistakes with dignity makes our community a better place and raises a kinder generation. Isn’t it amazing what you can learn from a football game?! As our family is in the thick of football season, our local healthcare workers have been in the thick of the ongoing, seemingly ever-strengthened COVID-19 pandemic. This difficult season does not seem to have an end-date in sight. Texarkana Magazine is grateful to have our incredible hospitals and staff working tirelessly to serve our community during this time. These great health systems are Texarkana’s winning team, and the grace and empathy of the excellent health care workers of this city are getting us through to better days.

John Henry, Cassy and George Meisenheimer

T his is a season I look forward to every year because it comes with a break from the heat, and yes, my friends, football season is finally here in full force. I know I am not alone in saying the seven long months between Super Bowl Sunday in February and the beginning of September without football are like spending time on the dark side of the moon. I truly think I function at full capacity during football season. Football season is a way of life at our house. We love flag, fantasy, college, professional and any other kind of football equally. We have Monday Night Football, which keeps us up too late on school nights. Flag football takes over our Tuesday and Thursday evenings with practice and most of our Saturdays with games. Fridays are spent cheering on our favorite local high school team. Saturdays, when not playing flag football, are for watching any college game on television, and Sunday afternoon football games get me through all the laundry and ironing required to get the next week started. Basically, if you cannot find us this time of year, you must not be at a football game. Anton, our German foreign exchange student, has just recently experienced his first American football game. He had heard about it, but now he “gets it!” This kid went from never seeing a game to wanting to attend every game he can and is equally obsessed with tuning in to whatever game

P H I L I P A N G I E R A N G E L A E V A N S J AY C E K E I L

TA M M Y L U M M U S V I C K I M C M A H O N H A N N A H M I L H O R N J O E R E G A N M O L LY R I L E Y

C R A F T E D I N T E X A R K A N A . E M P L OY E E OWN E D A N D L O C A L LY S O U R C E D .

FOLLOW US ON SOC I AL MEDI A

#txkmag

Texarkana Magazine is a multimedia publication showcasing the Texarkana area and is designed and published by Cardinal Publishing, LLC. Articles in Texarkana Magazine should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Ideaology, products and services promoted in the publication are not necessarily endorsed by Texarkana Magazine .

8

P U B L I S H E R ’ S L E T T E R

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER BY L IBBY WHITE Over the past year, it has become normal for “COVID talk” to creep its way into everyday conversations. Whether it’s with someone who is venting their vaccine opinion, or with another whose loved one is struggling on a vent in the Intensive Care Unit, it has become normal to accept that COVID-19 has crept in and decided to stay awhile. This unwelcomed guest has brought a myriad of challenges to our local health systems, and in a recent conversation, we were able to sit down with two women who are leading on the front lines. Dr. Loren Robinson, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System and Shelly Strayhorn, Chief Nursing Officer at Wadley Regional Medical Center shared their viewpoints on topics such as getting the vaccine while pregnant, the truth about Ivermectin and revealed the current state of Texarkana’s hospitals. Surprising yet heartwarming was the underlying unity these women, and the health systems they represent, are demonstrating behind the scenes. Having two unique health systems in a smaller town is a rare but an invaluable resource for our community. Pull up a chair and join our conversation.

photo by Matt Cornelius

submitted rendering

10

11

B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

“ FromDecember 2020 toMay 2021, we administered over 25,000 vaccines. ”

What was the path you took to your current role?

Shelly Strayhorn “I started as a nursing assistant over 34 years ago on the Progressive Care Unit at Wadley [Regional Medical Center] while I was in nursing school. My nursing experience includes roles as Director of Critical Care, Surgical Services Medical/Surgical Unit, and the Director of Regulatory Compliance and faculty at Texas A&M-Texarkana. I have been the Chief Nursing Officer of Wadley Regional Medical Center and Wadley Regional Medical Center of Hope since 2011.” Dr. Loren Robinson “My path has been a winding one. I went to medical school thinking I wanted to do Patient Care, which I love. I love patient stories which I think motivated me to go into medicine. The change for me came prior to working for CHRISTUS St. Michael. I wanted to improve health care at a more administrative level. I served as the Deputy Secretary of Health for the State of Pennsylvania. I am currently the Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System.” How has COVID-19 affected you personally over the past year? Dr. Loren Robinson “I think in our personal lives it’s as big an experience as in our professional lives. I think everyone has their own story. For me, the thing that totally changed was that we became pregnant last fall. We have a two-year-old son, and we were so excited to welcome the newest member of our family this June. In the middle of all that, the vaccine was rolled out. I was nervous because it came out fast, and it came to Texarkana quickly. I was sure I was going to have to go to Dallas or some big city to get this vaccine, and then it showed up on the hospital’s doorstep. We were expected to get it to our associates and patients and offer it to the community. Then they started talking: ‘What about pregnant women?’ And there just was not enough information. I was nervous, so I waited to get more information. I think we had this natural experiment where the

—Dr. Loren Robinson, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs

CHRISTUS ST. MICHAEL HEALTH SYSTEM

12

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

whole world got to see what happened to those who went first. I had colleagues, I had doctors, administrators and nurses, who took the vaccine because they wanted to protect their families, and I got to see they were okay, and they remained COVID-free. Or, if they got sick, symptoms were mild. So, I felt comfortable making that decision for myself, and I got vaccinated in April 2021. I was about 32 weeks pregnant, and I think the main reason I did that is because I wanted to make sure I could protect my baby. I knew I would not be giving a newborn a vaccine right away. That was off the table. But I found out that it’s true when pregnant women get vaccinated, they pass antibodies on to their babies. Those antibodies are also present in breast milk. So here were two ways that I could get just a simple vaccine and a sore arm, maybe a little bit of fever, but totally worth it to me to make sure my baby is as healthy as possible. I had hoped COVID would be gone by now, but now that the Delta variant is here and we know more variants are coming down the line, I’m so glad I made that decision. Every time I look at my baby who is laughing or smiling or trying to roll over, I think, ‘You can do that because you’re healthy, and you are healthy because I made the decision to get vaccinated.’” Shelly Strayhorn “It has been a whirlwind since March 2020. I have spent many more hours at the hospital planning, developing, revising and implementing procedures to ensure quality care is delivered to our patients, than I have at home with my family. My nephew lives with us, and he was doing remote learning. It was difficult because I would get online to make sure he was doing all his assignments, and I would follow up after working a full day. It was 2:00 a.m. sometimes when I was trying to make sure Jacob was doing okay, and all was well with school. Trying to balance everything was a challenge.” What is the reality of what we are currently facing with COVID-19 in Texarkana? Shelly Strayhorn “The health care facilities are stretched to the max, and the staff is growing weary. It is not just physically demanding, but emotionally demanding as well. Currently, because of the need for inpatient beds, elective, non-emergent cases are evaluated daily to ensure hospital beds and staff are available. We must get our vaccine rates up. Around 90% of all admissions to our hospital are unvaccinated. We are seeing younger patients and children in need of care. Availability of children’s beds is extremely tight. Since they cannot yet be vaccinated, we must take all precautions to keep our children safe.” Dr. Loren Robinson “Nobody anticipated this summer would look worse than last summer. We really thought that COVID-19 would be in a more manageable place. Instead, our numbers are higher than ever in terms of our outpatient visits to clinics and folks getting tested and testing positive. Looking at who is coming to the hospital, our patients are younger than before. Most of them are unvaccinated, and that’s sad because we are seeing young people pass away. We’re seeing people in their 20s, 30s and 40s pass away. And they

shouldn’t have passed away. These are folks who were previously healthy. Interestingly, even though our hospitals are not connected as a health system, we each have the same rate in terms of admitted patients who are vaccinated versus unvaccinated. Only one in ten people who are admitted to our hospitals with COVID-19 are fully vaccinated. Meaning, if you admit ten people into the hospital, nine of those people are not vaccinated. So, if you’re vaccinated, your chance of actually having to be admitted into the hospital is much lower. If you get COVID and you’re vaccinated, you’re more likely to have fewer symptoms and be able to manage that at home and get back to work and back to life as normal, as opposed to being admitted to the hospital and maybe ending up in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or on a ventilator. I think that’s the thing that is so different this time—we’re seeing so many more young, healthy people getting sick quickly. It has been slower for us to get the help we needed at the hospital in terms of those extra nurses coming from the State. We have those now, and I think that’s helping. It’s helping us open our surgery schedules. But it changes so much day to day, that it is really a challenge and continues to be something we are working on every single day.” Are patients able to remain in local care? Shelly Strayhorn “We have been able to effectively and safely care for patients of all ages in our community, ranging from non-critical to critical. Of course, there have been times we have transferred to a higher level of care or to a long-term care facility. And young children are typically transferred to a children’s hospital.” Dr. Loren Robinson “As the COVID numbers continue to go up, there’s this question of ‘Is the hospital still a safe place for me to receive care?’ And I would say, ‘Yes!’ Both for Wadley and CHRISTUS St. Michael. So much so that some of the smaller hospitals are calling and asking to transfer their patients in. I think one thing that is a blessing about having both hospitals in the area is that if one of us gets very busy and gets full, for whatever reason, the other hospital isn’t as busy or as full at that exact moment. Having that ability and being able to lean on each other, knowing we are just a phone call away, is an invaluable resource. It may seem that I’m pushing the vaccination, but it’s very striking to me when I see the news, that these ICUs are filling up. Specifically, if you look at pediatrics. If something were to happen and a child needed severe ICU or pediatric specialists, we’d want them to go to a pediatric hospital. But when you see that Texas Children’s in Houston is full, Dallas Children’s is full, Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock is full, Vanderbilt’s Pediatric ICU in Nashville is full. Where would our babies go? We are having to look as far away as Chicago and that means there’s a challenge. We want to make sure that by being vaccinated, we can keep people out of the hospital. We can help keep these ICUs empty, so if a child is really sick, we can easily transfer them to one of our centers close by, whether Dallas Children’s Hospital or Arkansas Children’s Hospital. We need for them to open up, and for that to happen, the solution is for people to get vaccinated.”

14

15

B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

“ Around 90%of all admissions to our hospitals are unvaccinated. ”

—Shelly Strayhorn, Chief Nursing Officer WADLEY REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER

photo by Brian Jones

How many vaccines has your hospital distributed locally? Shelly Strayhorn “We have administered over 2,500 at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana and 200 at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Hope.” Dr. Loren Robinson “At CHRISTUS St. Michael we were excited to administer about 2,000 vaccines to our employees, physicians and local frontline workers. Then, in February 2021, the State of Texas recognized the hospital as a vaccination hub. The State was sending us vaccines every single week. From December 2020 to May 2021, we administered over 25,000 vaccines. That was really exciting for our area because we know that we have fully vaccinated folks who are trying to get back to their new normal. It was interesting because we had people come from outside Texas and our region even. We had someone come from Spain, some who came from Mexico, and I’m glad we were able to deliver care to those folks. Sometimes people discount small towns and think they can’t get top care there, but they can! We led the region and are a leader in the country in terms of how we did our vaccinations.”

What are your thoughts on alternative or preventative treatments such as Ivermectin that have become popular? Dr. Loren Robinson “I think Ivermectin is a hotly debated issue. Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug. It’s most popular for use in horses and dogs for heartworms. But especially in our area, it is used on cows and horses. I think one challenge is that for medications for your animals, it is easier to get them than going to a doctor. What I’m cautioning people about is don’t take medicines that are made for animals. The concentrations are different. You are not a horse, so do not take horse medication! That being said, Ivermectin is available for humans and there are doctors who are prescribing it. If you are interested in that, talk to your doctor about it. I’ve talked to doctors who are taking it for prevention. I think there is less evidence there for that. But what we do know is that there is some evidence that Ivermectin can work in the early stages of COVID-19; however it is not approved by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19. We don’t know exactly how, so I think some doctors are reluctant to say, ‘Yes, let’s do Ivermectin.’ I think it is a little premature right now, but I think it’s very important for folks to be talking to their doctor to find out if it’s something that may be right for you.”

16

B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

Shelly Strayhorn “Ivermectin is not authorized or approved by FDA for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health’s COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel has also determined that there is currently insufficient data to recommend Ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19. Clinicaltrials.gov has listings of ongoing clinical trials that might provide more information about these hypothesized uses in the future. My recommendation is good hand hygiene/hand washing, social distancing, wearing masks and getting a vaccination.” Do you have a message you would like to share with the community? Shelly Strayhorn “Continue to go to your doctor for primary care and preventative care. It is safe to come to the hospital. We take precautions, and we will take care of you. Also, it is ok to come to the hospital for emergency care because we see people waiting too long that are having STEMIs (ST-Elevated Myocardial Infarction, a very serious heart attack), that are having strokes that we could have taken care of, and the outcomes could have been different if they would have come earlier.” Dr. Loren Robinson “In terms of what we know right now in this moment, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is your best chance at avoiding getting very sick, of avoiding having to go to the hospital, and avoiding ending up on the ventilator. I think that’s the biggest message I would share with people. It’s easy to sit in my office and just look at numbers, but I spent last week in the ICU. And when you’re at the bedside of a family and see a child lose a mother, or last week I saw a six-year-old girl lose her dad. I will never, ever, forget that. It will impact the way I look at this pandemic for the rest of how long we work on this, and I will keep that little girl in my mind and say, ‘What can I do to make sure nobody else experiences that?’” As a woman in leadership, how have you seen the resiliency of those on the front lines who serve with you? Dr. Loren Robinson “I am extremely humbled by the people who get up and come to work at the hospitals every day. At the beginning of this, we hoped it might only last a few months. Or maybe it would be like the flu and just last a season. Now, we’ve been going at this break-neck pace for over a year, and people are still showing up. They’re showing up at CHRISTUS St. Michael and at Wadley; there’s no difference there. We’re all in this together, and we’re saying that we don’t know how this is going to end or when it’s going to end, but we’re going to take whatever steps possible right now, in this moment, in this day, to give every patient the best possible care and a fighting chance at getting over this disease.”

Shelly Strayhorn “I agree with Dr. Robinson. Our employees are the true heroes in the pandemic. They come back every day and have a smile on their face and take care of the patients. They continue to show up and give the best care possible in sometimes very challenging circumstances. I do whatever I can to assist them, to give them a little bit of a break because they are exhausted and growing weary. We’re just very lucky at both facilities, Wadley and CHRISTUS St. Michael, to have such dedicated employees who have seen us through this.” What has most impressed you regarding the hospital staff and community coming together amid the pandemic? Shelly Strayhorn “By far, it is the dedication I have seen in our nursing staff, as well as all staff who continued to come to work, even in the early days of not knowing exactly what we were facing. The nurses who volunteered to work in the COVID units, with all the risks associated with it, stepped up to the plate and honored their oath of taking care of patients in need. When there seemed to be too many dying of this terrible virus, they were holding hands, taking their phone into the room to let their loved ones talk to the patient. It was and is very emotional for our nurses and the staff taking care of these sick patients. I remember the first patient that we had in the COVID unit on a vent and ultimately was able to be discharged. We had staff from every department line the lobby with signs and cheer for this survivor!” Dr. Loren Robinson “The pandemic came at a time when I thought our nation couldn’t get more divided. Whether it was politics or racial strife, there was a lot in this country that really was pulling us in a lot of directions. If you ever took a survey, you’re rarely going to find 100% of Americans agreeing on much. But 100% of Americans would agree that COVID is bad. And so I use that as my starting point. I think that while COVID-19 is terrible, it has also brought out the best in humanity. I’ve seen some of the best in people who we probably had dismissed because they didn’t share the same political views, or they’re not from where we’re from. For me, that has warmed my heart. My family moved to Texarkana right before COVID-19 hit, and we didn’t really know anybody here at all. But the support that we have received from the hospital and this community has shown me that Texarkana is the place where I love raising my family. I felt comfortable having a baby in the middle of the pandemic because I knew I would have excellent medical care and excellent support from the folks I work with. I think it has just shown us the best in both of our hospitals, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

So as we look back from the beginning of this terrible disease with all the unknowns and dark days that ensued, may we learn what we can, forget what we need to and fix our gaze on what is ahead. Because, as Dr. Robinson so beautifully stated, “We’re all in this together,” knowing that the frontline heroes who lead us will continue to show up for us, no matter what may come.

18

B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

November 2, it will once again be time to cast our ballots. Texarkana residents will have the opportunity to vote in the 2021 mayoral election and select between

two incredible, highly qualified candidates.

Bob Bruggeman is the city’s incumbent mayor and has served Texarkana since May 2012. Previously, he served as city council member for Ward 4 from 2005-2012. Dr. Brian Matthews is an assistant professor of management at Texas A&M University-Texarkana and served as a city council

member for Ward 4 from 2012 to 2017.

Make sure you get out to vote on November 2!

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

BOB BRUGGEMAN What motivated you to get involved with city government? I love my community. I have lived here my entire life. Serving in city government has allowed me the opportunity to give back and work to make Texarkana USA a better place to work and live. I was also encouraged by others who were involved in city government. I would want people to know Texarkana is a great place to live, work, worship, raise a family and attend college. The cost of living is reasonable, and we have great quality of life offerings such as parks, as well as bike and walking trail systems. What is your favorite thing about Texarkana? My favorite thing about Texarkana is its people. What a caring and giving community! Our great citizens strongly support non-profit organizations, What is one thing you wish people knew about Texarkana? schools, the arts and churches. I hear all the time from tourists and visitors how nice the people are who live here. I think the most pressing issue in 2022 could be health care services. COVID-19 has put a huge strain on our local health care resources. Current hospitalization rates are elevated. It will take some time for our health care resources to be replenished. Our local health care facilities are working hard to provide medical care to our citizens. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it? If I had $1 million grant to use for the city any way I wanted, I would probably spend half of it on demolition of substandard structures and the other half on street What do you believe is the most pressing issue in 2022?

Tell us about your family.

improvements. These are two areas where there

I have been married to my

wife, Jackie, for 37 years. We met at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. I was a student, and she was working part time in the Admissions

is more need than available funding.

If you wrote a book about your career so far, what would you title it? My book title would be Recalculating . When driving a vehicle following navigation directions, we sometimes pass by where our directions

Office. Jackie is a teacher of the visually impaired. I have two daughters.

Elizabeth, “Liz” is married to Micah Friday, a local CPA, and they have two children. Liz works at TISD. My daughter, Olivia, operates

are sending us, or when we make a wrong turn, we hear that familiar voice, “recalculating.” Life is that way too. We sometimes must recalculate

Olivia Claire Hair and Boutique and does video production and reporting. Do you have any mentors? I have two mentors who are no longer living. They are former Major League Baseball Umpire, Durwood Merrill and Billy Taylor. Durwood taught me proper positioning and on-field mechanics, and how to handle various situations. The umpiring skills I learned from him have helped me in my umpiring career. Billy

to make sure we reach our destination in life.

What was your very first job (that’s not on your resume)? The first job I had was during my high school years at Tom & Stan’s Automotive at Third and Ash Streets. It was an

automotive parts store. I delivered auto parts to

local garages. I also stocked inventory in the lobby and kept the store room in good shape. I learned there is a lot of work in running a business. A business must be competitive and provide superior customer service in order to stay in business. How do you handle undeserved criticism? When it comes to undeserved criticism,

Taylor was my Little League baseball coach. He not only taught me about baseball, but he taught me about life skills, such as how to treat others, work hard and give back to the community. I still use those life skills he taught me. I will always be indebted to him for making sure I was on the right track in life. What are your hobbies? My hobbies are playing golf, washing and detailing my vehicles and working in the yard, especially the flower beds. I enjoy being outdoors. Where did you graduate from high school? I am a 1980 graduate of Texas Senior High School. I played on the golf team.

I always try to take the high road. It stems back to my upbringing. My parents taught me there will always be those who criticize others.

What superpower would you choose for yourself?

I would choose to be Superman—just an ordinary guy who springs into action to help others in a time of need.

22

23

B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

DR. BRIAN MATTHEWS What motivated you to get involved with city government? What motivated me to get involved with city government was helping people. As a city councilman, one observation I made is that many of our citizens are the most gifted and charitable people you will ever meet. Other areas that motivate me are the untapped potential and vibrancy of Texarkana. Based on conversations I have had with citizens over the years, Texarkana is poised to experience great things and will see a rise in emerging leaders who will responsibly and smartly carry its legacy into the future. What is one thing you wish people knew about Texarkana? The one thing I wish people knew about Texarkana is the number of non-profit organizations we have. There are so many exceptional agencies that generously extend services to people in need in our area. Agencies like For the Sake of One, Literacy

What do you believe is the most pressing issue in 2022? I believe the most pressing issue in 2022 is responding to and navigating the

saving money since I was responsible for buying any luxury things I wanted like a pager (it was the 90s). How do you handle undeserved criticism? The way I handle undeserved criticism is just not focusing on the scrutiny. As an educator, the behavioral theories I study are foundationally based on the origin of ideas and feelings. I think that once you understand the genesis of another’s disapproval, the easier it is to convert the criticism into motivation. What superpower would you choose for yourself? I would choose the superpower of multiplicity and duplicate myself to meet and visit with multiple citizens at the same time. Tell us about your family. I am the oldest of four siblings, one brother, Dez Matthews, and two sisters, Alesha and Amber Garrett. My parents, Al and Deborah Garrett, live here in Texarkana and are both retired from Domtar. I have one son, Bradley Matthews, who is 15 years old and is in the ninth grade at Texas High School. Do you have any mentors? I have mentors for every area in my life including spiritual, political, educational and professional areas. I affectionately refer to my group of mentors as my “professional war chest”. Notably, I have been mentored by Robert E. Quinn, a renowned author, researcher and authority on organizational culture, and John Donovan, former CEO of AT&T Communications.

unpredictability of COVID-19. If you received a $1 million

grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it? If I received a

$1 million grant, I would not only demolish dilapidated

homes in derelict communities but would rebuild houses to replace those torn down to provide opportunities for homeownership and a sense of community.

If you wrote a book about

your career so far, what would

you title it? Because my research interests are organizational behavior, leadership and management dynamics, and motivation, the title of a book about my career would be entitled How to Get Away with Management . Next year, I plan to write a book that provides leaders with ways to manage employees effectively using the guise of leadership.

Council of Bowie and Miller Counties, HandsOn Texarkana, Harvest Texarkana, CASA, and many others that work heroically to enrich the quality of life and provide resources for those they serve.

What are your hobbies? My hobbies include writing, drawing and playing basketball.

What is your favorite thing about Texarkana?

My favorite thing about Texarkana is the small-town feel the city has. Compared to larger cities, Texarkana is peaceful, quiet and serene and has a personality that is all its own. Our city has a unique welcoming and nurturing virtue that other cities lack.

Where did you graduate from high school? I am a 1997 graduate of Ashdown High School.

What was your very first job (that’s not on your resume)?

The very first job I had that is not on my resume is working at Sonic Drive-In as a cook when I was a senior in high school. Working at Sonic taught me the value of budgeting, spending and

24

B U S I N E S S & P O L I T I C S

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

D isability activist Robert Hensel, who holds the Guinness World Record for a six-mile wheelie in his wheelchair, has said, “There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more.” While it has been seen and proven that people with disabilities bring success, diversity and increased motivation to any workplace, they sadly are still fighting against decades of stigma and discrimination. More companies are slowly coming around and seeing the benefits of fully inclusive hiring, but there is still a great deal of work to be done! Jennifer Lewis, who has been Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Texarkana Resources for the Disabled, Inc. since August 2016, fiercely and passionately faces this challenge head on every single day, showing companies in our area that individuals with

BY TERRI GRAVITT PHOTOS BY MATT CORNEL IUS

In 2016, Jennifer Lewis accepted the Chief Executive Officer position at Texarkana Resources for Disabled, Inc. The center is the outgrowth of a program established over 50 years ago and has been helping individuals with disabilities learn to help themselves in the Texarkana area since 1968.

27

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

disabilities are indeed more! A Southern California native, Jennifer moved across country in her early 20s to Washington, D.C. She received her Master of Arts in Education and Human Development degree from George Washington University, where she also gained expertise in vocational evaluation, traumatic brain injury and autism spectrum disorder. From an early age, Jennifer has been passionate about people with disabilities and volunteered her time serving in the Best Buddies Program in high school and as a leader in a disability partnership program with the volunteer and service center on her college campus. However, her journey eventually led her to working at a police department, which she did while obtaining her undergraduate degree in criminal justice. While doing this work, something inside began to shift for Jennifer and she shared, “I realized then my heart was hardening and the compassionate side of me was fading. I realized my heart wasn’t in law enforcement like it once was and I decided to try to make a career out of the volunteerism I had always loved.” With her mission in life revealed more clearly, she soon became the manager of the Goodwill of Greater Washington Vocational Rehabilitation Services and was responsible for disability employment operat ions , including launching a new model project search program for transitioning aged youth with disabilities at the Department of Education,

the Department of Interior and George Washington University. She discovered her passion lay in education, advocacy and reform and her true gifting was in educating individuals about the abilities of individuals with disabilities, veterans and individuals with other barriers, as this is the way change and progress can truly occur. She wrote programs, curricula, websites, training modules and led committees to move her mission forward. These programs both assisted individuals with disabilities in gaining independence and educating the non-disabled community on integration, accommodations and debunking disability myths. Whi l e Jenni fer was thr i v ing professional ly, something new and completely surprising was about to happen for her on a personal level. In 2014, a friend invited her to Ashdown, Arkansas, to be Maid of Honor in her wedding. There, she met Trey, who later became her husband. They attempted a long-distance relationship, but after a while it was obvious it was time to go all in. “I decided to quit my job, sell my apartment and move to Foreman [Arkansas] to give it a go.” It is now seven years later, and Trey and Jennifer have been married for five years and they have two children, Lily, who is four, and Wyatt, who is two. In 2016, Jennifer accepted the CEO position at Texarkana Resources for Disabled, Inc. The center is the outgrowth of a program established over 50 years

Darla Mattson is someone whose life has been changed through the Texarkana Resource Center. Mattson came to the Ross Parker Training Center in 2020. She wanted to gain employment skills to obtain a job in the community so she could live as independently as possible. After a year of training, she transitioned to the supported employment program in 2021. Mattson loves animals and wanted to find a job where she could work around animals while also earning a livable wage. She applied for many jobs, and Wisdom Animal Clinic hired her. After working there 90 days, she loves it and has successfully exited our program as an independent individual working in the community. Mattson shared, “Texarkana Resources taught me to listen and helped me learn new tasks. I wanted to work in the community with animals and make my own money. Texarkana Resources Supported Employment Specialist helped me write a resume, practice my interview skills and apply for a job at Wisdom Animal Clinic. Once they hired me, it was easy for me to prove my work ethic with the things I learned from Texarkana Resources while training. Now I work out on my own and have achieved my professional work goals.”

28

29

C OMM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

C O MM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

ago and has been helping individuals with disabilities learn to help themselves in the Texarkana area since 1968. The Work Center was originally in the College Hill area of Texarkana, Arkansas. In 1978, the Workshop Thrift Shop and upholstery program on Whitaker Street in Texarkana, Texas was discontinued to emphasize industrial-type work and subcontracts. After a year of planning, a small business administration loan was secured to build a new facility in the Industrial Park on East 19th Street in Texarkana, Arkansas. The name was also changed to Texarkana Work Center to reflect the Center ’s emphasis on “work.” In 1985, the Work Center began providing programs for Haven Home of Texarkana, Inc., an established residential program for men with developmental disabilities. In 1991, Texarkana Resources for the Disabled, Inc. a 501 (c)(3) charity, was established as an umbrella corporation with board members from both Texarkana Work Center and Haven Home forming one Board of Directors. The center’s mission is “to provide education, training and suppor t to enable all persons with disabilities to reach their highest level of potential and self-sufficiency within the community.” Several businesses in the community have remained loyal to the center’s mission and support of the cause for over 30 years now. These businesses include INPAC, LLC.,

JCM Industries, Sterno, HUMCO, Smith- Blair and new partners in recent years such as Cooper Tire. These partnerships were made in connection with United Way of Greater Texarkana. Services offered by the center have led many clients to successful independent living. The Ross Parker Training Center, named after its founder, is a vocational training center where individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to learn job skills. This is done by partnering with local businesses who send work for the trainees to complete and then it is shipped out. This is a perfect program for a person with disabilities who has never worked before but would like to. Trainees are taught both hard and soft skills of working and completing job tasks. The center also has several community custodial contracts where they go out on job sites and clean. Undertaking these tasks, participants are able to earn minimum wage or higher. Haven Home is the community living program that comprises an entire city block in Arkansas and provides housing for 15 people with disabilities. There is a community-living home that houses six individuals, two training apartments that house two individuals, and seven duplex apartments that house seven individuals. The goal of this program is to assist those with disabilities to live as independently as possible. They start in the main house that requires 24/7 staff support, and later

Another shining example of the success of The Ross Parker Training Center is Corey Williams . Williams has been coming to the center since high school, 15 years ago. He was living with his family then but recently came upon hard times and had no place to live. Without hesitation, Jennifer offered Williams to move into Haven Home. He has lived in Haven Home since April 2021. During that time, Williams has grown tremendously! He has learned how to cook for the first time, pump gas, do his own laundry and manage his own money. Williams has now transitioned to the Supported Employment Program and is actively looking for community employment. Williams shared, “Texarkana Resources has helped me to learn different tasks and now I am ready to work in the community. They have helped me meet new people and have friendships. I just moved to Haven Home this year and have been able to go on trips and do things I have never been able to do before. I feel very blessed!”

30

31

C OMM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

C O MM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

“ There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person asmore. ”

—Robert Hensel

Ryan Cameron has been with Haven Home and Texarkana Resources since 2003. Cameron is an outstanding example of someone who has mastered the skills taught and is truly living his most independent life. Cameron lives independently and has the least support staff. Cameron gets to enjoy the things he likes to do, mostly because of his great money management skills. This year Cameron went to Dallas to check out Comic Con! Cameron shared, “Everyday Haven Home and Texarkana Resources help me! The staff and other trainees are helpful. I came from my home in 2003 to the main home and then transitioned into my own apartment at Haven Home in 2006. I’ve gained more skills for independent living. Thanks to the support staff, I think living and working with Texarkana Resources has helped me in many, many ways. I manage my money and household independently, and that has helped me to become an adult that can take care of my own needs with minimal support.

transition to the training apartment where they do not have staff support at night. They then move up to a duplex apartment. The goal is to assist them with budgeting and finances, paying bills on time, grocery shopping and involving themselves in the community in a capacity they will enjoy, such as participation with a cycling club or a bowling league, or other such options. While so many lives have been touched and proven to be so much MORE through the efforts of Texarkana Resources Center, Jennifer’s dreams for the organization do not end there! They have just expanded their Resources Unlimited Training Center by renovating a new building with a state-of-

the-art ADA training kitchen and computer lab area. This expansion has allowed them to double the numbers of those they can serve in the community by having a new and much larger training space. Their next goal is to offer more housing options, as disability housing in this area is a needed resource. They would also like to expand their training and employment programs. Jennifer enthusiastically explained, “Keep your eyes out! We are up to great things!”

32

33

C OMM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

C O MM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

HowMusic Shapes a Memoir A SARINE THOUGHT… OR TWO COLUMN BY EMI LY SARINE

Have you ever noticed when a certain song comes on the radio or streams through your Spotify it can transport you back to a moment in time you would never otherwise recall? Maybe a past team won a big game and a particular song was playing at the restaurant where you went to celebrate? Or maybe there was a song playing in the background the moment you laid eyes on your future spouse, and something just clicked! We all have songs that

hold special places in our hearts because music is a powerful thing. Wherever music is applied, and it “strikes a chord” with us personally, you can bet that a memory is about to be born. Those memories become the brain children you can always recall, and they are worth their weight in gold! Maybe the memory isn’t super significant. Maybe it is just a moment in an otherwise normal day, but because it is accompanied by that certain song, it is marked for posterity. Or maybe it’s just the lyric to the song itself. I know I can remember every line to “Shameless” by Garth Brooks, “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips, the theme songs to “The

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Friends” and my middle and high school fight songs. It doesn’t matter where I am. If those tunes are playing, I’m singing along! I also feel the need to jump on a log and link arms with those around me like I did with my friends in the fifth grade as we would let the chorus rip every time we heard Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” Every. Single. Time. Maybe there is a certain feeling that is evoked from hearing a song or a tune. For instance, anytime I hear the song “Amazed” by Lonestar, I feel all weak-kneed and starry-eyed about my boo-kittee, Ross. That song was popular when we were dating, and we loved it. He even typed out the entire song’s lyrics and

emailed them to me one day out of the

34

C OMM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

T E X A R K A N A M A G A Z I N E

blue while we were dating long distance. SOOOO ROMANTIC! I died! Or when I hear the song, “Come On Get Higher,” by Matt Nathanson, I feel nine-months pregnant. That song was always on the radio when I was driving in the car to my OB appointments at the end of my pregnancy. Anytime I hear that song, my back aches, my stomach tightens and I get a craving for saltine crackers and yellow mustard. Music has also been a major help to me in learning new concepts. I mean, hello?! The Alphabet Song! Whenever I have to put something in alphabetical order, I always sing the ABCs in my head to make sure I’m getting the right file in the right spot. You know you do it too. My son is learning Spanish at school, and we’ve been going through the Spanish alphabet together. I still sing the song I learned from my eighth-grade Spanish teacher, Senora Caldwell, to make sure he is reciting all the letters in the correct order. I offered to teach him the song, but he took a hard pass on that one... RUDE! (Side note: He has since admitted that his class is learning the EXACT same song currently. I have been vindicated!) A musical tune helps you learn more than just the basics. As a Christian, music has brought Scripture to life for me so many times. I’m in the choir at First Baptist Church Texarkana, and a couple of years ago we sang a song called “Psalm 23.” That’s the title because it is literally that chapter of the Bible set to music. I now know an entire chapter of Scripture word for word because it was set to music. That is invaluable to me. Especially when I forget just how

blessed I am and how much God loves me. I can just start humming that tune, and the truth attached to the notes speaks right to my heart at just the right moment. Music also has the ability to unite people who otherwise would have nothing in common. School songs are great examples of this. I am a Fightin’ Texas Aggie, Class of 2003, and no matter where I am, if I hear the War Hymn start, I’m bent over with my hands on my knees belting it out as if to call the Ags to the gridiron battle ground. And this isn’t just true of me, it’s true of almost all Aggies. I’m sure it’s true for other schools too, but, obviously, Texas A&M’s song is superior. So, if music can make us feel, remember, learn and be unified, shouldn’t we be using this tool on the regular? I say most definitely! If you’re down, throw on Katrina and the Waves song, “Walking on the Sunshine.” You can’t help but feel better when you hear that tune. Or when you and your spouse have got a strong case of the “Meh’s” about each other, play that song that meant so much to you when you were first together, or that you danced to at your wedding. It will remind you that you picked this partner for a really good reason. Or maybe you’re trying to figure out how to help your kiddo learn all the planets in the solar system or the formula for a specific problem. Put a tune to the terms involved and watch their recall increase dramatically (bonus points if the tune actually sounds decent). Music is such a blessing, so turn it up, sing it out, let the memories wash over you!

36

37

C OMM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

C O MM U N I T Y & C U L T U R E

Page 1 Page 2-3 Page 4-5 Page 6-7 Page 8-9 Page 10-11 Page 12-13 Page 14-15 Page 16-17 Page 18-19 Page 20-21 Page 22-23 Page 24-25 Page 26-27 Page 28-29 Page 30-31 Page 32-33 Page 34-35 Page 36-37 Page 38-39 Page 40-41 Page 42-43 Page 44-45 Page 46-47 Page 48-49 Page 50-51 Page 52-53 Page 54-55 Page 56-57 Page 58-59 Page 60

www.txkmag.com

Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs