Friendly Neighbors gather to celebrate 60th anniversary
SULPHUR SPRINGS — By half past noon, folks started to gather in the Sulphur Springs park south of the Green Building along Arkansas Highway 59. Many in small groups talked about old times in the park. Others met with friends they hadn’t seen for months or even years. By the dedication ceremony’s beginning, there were an estimated 120 people ranging from WWII veterans in uniform, service veterans, to families with small children and interested community members.
They had all come to celebrate and dedicate. The celebration stemmed from the 60th year anniversary of Sulphur’s Friendly Neighbors Club, and the dedication around a new flagpole and placement of a military veterans’ monument at its base. Friendly Neighbors president Martha Kreder declared the event open on time at 1:30 Saturday afternoon, March 17.
In a sense, this event had been in the making for 60 years, ever since the group’s creators met on March 5, 1958. At that first meeting, the group’s members set an easily achievable goal that they passed along for today’s Friendly Neighbor Club members to practice. Today’s Friendly Neighbors reverberate their founders’ actions by tapping into this same most powerful force, the force of unconditional love for others. That natural law of demonstrating unconditional love carries with it a naturally powerful force
because it can never do harm, and because this sharing of kindness can only show the result of spreading more kindness throughout a community.
Ever since 1958, the Friendly Neighbors of Sulphur Springs have used this love law to accomplish their mission. They show love within their compassionate hearts when a neighbor is down and out and needs a lift. Simply, they use this modest means to show how much they actually care about their neighbor’s predicament with no intent to gain from that which they give.
The published reason for this birthday party was to celebrate the 60th year since the group of concerned women met in each other’s homes. They met because they had discovered a need in their community that no one in the town had yet satisfied. That need centered around individuals and families who, by misfortune or illness, had suffered a setback in their lives. The need was simple and the solution profoundly simple as well. They showed that in Sulphur many people really do care about their neighbors.
This simple and doable need to show love toward neighbors has continued by the Friendly Neighbors Club for 60 years. Whether intended or not, the Friendly Neighbors brought recognition to their neighbor’s hurting and came together as a group to do something to help diminish that person’s or family’s pain. The group then found that lifting a person’s spirit and showing they care was often the best medicine available to help individuals heal and build community, as well.
The Friendly Neighbors have brought cheer to hundreds of neighbors by their gifts, like homemade quilts and blankets and “cheer baskets” full of colorful flowers, across six decades.
That same caring showed up during the 60-year celebration. The women of the Friendly Neighbors Club served up a well-organized program to include prayers, speeches, music and, after the dedication, a luncheon for more than 50 people at the Old School Cafeteria. The group also received recognition from the state.
While in the park, two local state congressional leaders presented the Sulphur Springs Friendly Neighbors Club members with individually framed and signed citations from the state’s house and senate chambers for their 60 years of dedication to the people of Sulphur. State Sen. Jim Hendren of Sulphur Springs presented the Senate’s citation, and State Rep. Kim Hendren of Gravette presented the group with the House of Representative’s citation. Both will be on display on the wall of the Old School Cafeteria.
The Friendly Neighbors wish to thank those who participated in the program and made donations by recognizing the following people and businesses: Sulphur Springs Mayor Shane Weber, State Rep. Kim Hendren, State Sen. Jim Hendren, Rev. Russ Hall of the Methodist Church of Sulphur Springs, Ada Maddox - music director of the Baptist Church of Sulphur Springs, Randy Query representing in song the Grace Meadows Fellowship of Maysville, and Pastor David Barber of Harbor Fellowship of Sulphur Springs.
They also thank those who donated time and items to make their 60year celebration a success. These include the Parker Family Foundation which funded the new flagpole, Emerson Monument Company of Springdale which donated and inscribed the monument stone, Empire Electric Company which dug the hole for the flagpole, and those individual donors and volunteers of time that made this 60 years in the making celebration possible.
Friendly Neighbor Club Members of 2018 include Rita Augustin (seated, left), Rhonda Barnett, Vera Moorman, Martha Kreder, Maurine Styles, June Stone (standing, left), Violet Augustin, Rhonda Baerwald, Mac Huntsman, Megan Roberts, Petite Parker, Ada...