Long­time school em­ployee hon­ored with piece of his­tory

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By Sarah Perry [email protected]­ton­courier.com

Out­side the Bryant School Dis­trict main­te­nance and trans­porta­tion build­ing, sev­eral dis­trict em­ploy­ees, fam­ily mem­bers and Ben­ton Mayor Tom Farmer (long­time Bryant Schools em­ployee) gath­ered Mon­day to honor long­time Main­te­nance Di­rec­tor Bob Pad­gett for his con­tri­bu­tion to the dis­trict.

As part of a sur­prise cer­e­mony, a statue was re­vealed fea­tur­ing a school bell and a plaque hon­or­ing Pad­gett.

The bell was once part of the for­mer Col­legeville School that was lo­cated off of Arkansas 5 and Hill­dale Road. The school was used for ed­u­cat­ing stu­dents un­til the 1957-58 school year, Bryant Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Karen Wal­ters said dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion.

Shocked by the trib­ute, Pad­gett was emo­tional as he ad­dressed the crowd.

“I can as­sure you that I know that the Lord has blessed me with a great deal of love for this school dis­trict. I can re­call many moun­tain top ex­peri

ences and I can re­call those down in the val­ley, but the main thing I can re­call more than any­thing is see­ing this school dis­trict reach­ing out to ev­ery stu­dent,” Pad­gett said.

He com­mended ev­ery­one in at­ten­dance, as well as all of the pa­trons of the dis­trict.

“I’m just re­ally grate­ful. Words are re­ally be­yond show­ing my love for what you’ve done and what you are do­ing. Thank you. Thank you very much,” he said.

This trib­ute has been in the works for about three years with the help of sev­eral peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to James Kidd, who con­trib­uted.

The project was cre­ated be­cause of an idea by the em­ploy­ees Pad­gett su­per­vises. Wal­ters com­mended em­ploy­ees with the main­te­nance and cus­to­dial de­part­ments, in­clud­ing Kidd and Pete Moix, as well as Rob­bie Col­lie and Terry Harper for their work to honor Pad­gett. The project was com­pleted also with the help of gen­er­ous do­na­tions from lo­cal busi­nesses.

A plaque on the statue lists the po­si­tions Pad­gett has held. He was a mem­ber of the dis­trict’s first foot­ball team and grad­u­ated from Bryant High School in 1955. Work­ing closely with for­mer Su­per­in­ten­dent Ed Love, Pad­gett served on the Bryant School Board for 15 years and he has worked for the dis­trict as main­te­nance di­rec­tor since 1988.

Wal­ters said Pad­gett “has served as an in­te­gral part of build­ing the Bryant School Dis­trict.”

Along with list­ing Pad­gett’s roles in the dis­trict, the piece is etched with a quote from Pres­i­dent Calvin Coolidge: “No per­son was ever hon­ored for what he re­ceived. Honor has been the re­ward for what he gave.”

Kidd said he chose the quote be­cause it rep­re­sents Pad­gett well.

“I al­ways felt like he is an out­stand­ing man,” Kidd said.

SARAH PERRY/THE Saline Courier

Main­te­nance Di­rec­tor Bob Pad­gett, right, and Deputy Su­per­in­ten­dent Todd Sellers share a hug af­ter Pad­gett was rec­og­nized for his more than four decades of ser­vice to the Bryant School Dis­trict.

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