April 2021



V olunteers are not paid-not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless. With most of us leading busy lives, the idea of volunteering may seem impossible. How can we fit anything else into our already jam-packed schedules? Why would we do that? Despite all the other important things that compete for her time, Joan Carter, our own hometown treasure, has made it her mission to do exactly that. She is a woman who has made it her mission to lighten the burden for thousands of Texarkana residents for over five decades now. She has a gift for seeing a need and with tenacity, determination and perseverance, she steps in to do what she can to make things better. Judy Morgan, friend and partner in many of her volunteer efforts, shares, “Joan is someone who looks to the future with optimism, who sees the glass as half full, who finds the positive about every situation. She recognizes that the job one can do is only as good as the people on the team. From her conviction that people are everything, [she] magnifies all impact as a master of bringing out the good of every individual on the team at every level. The

essence of her superior leadership skills coupled with a servant’s heart is just the way she lives her life—whether it is in the workplace or not. Texarkana is a better place because Joan lives here and serves here.” Carter was born in Clarksville, Texas, where she had a “wonderful” childhood. She met her husband, the Honorable Jack Carter, in high school when he moved to Clarksville from Detroit, Texas. After she attended Paris Junior College, they married in 1964 when he was starting law school at the University of Texas. In 1967, they moved to Texarkana, and he began his legal career. They have three children: Sondra, Clay and Justin. Although not a native of Texarkana, she immediately found ways to give back to her new community. It all started when she became involved with the Junior League of Texarkana. Carter says, “The Junior League offers outstanding training opportunities and encourages volunteerism. I took advantage of the training and workshops on goal setting and time management, as well as many others.” She served on the Board of Directors for several years and went on to serve as their President. The

Junior League encouraged its presidents to serve on community boards, so this opened the door for an invitation to serve on the Texarkana Special Education Center Board of Directors. She says she was “surprised and astounded by the many services and programs that were offered to the community that she was unaware of.” As a member of the Board of Texarkana Special Education Center, Carter encouraged the center to hire someone to do public relations and fundraising. “I thought the community should be made aware of the many programs and services available to help those in need, such as training, transportation, meals, housing, therapies and many others, as well as to raise much needed funds to support their programs.” She did not realize then that she had just written her own job description! After a few months, Patty Smith, Administrative Director, and Frances Holcomb, Program Director, asked her to consider taking a part-time position as Development Coordinator until they could find someone to do the job. Joan took that position, and her life became a mirror of her favorite quote, “Find something you love to


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