Friendly Neigh­bors gather to cel­e­brate 60th an­niver­sary

Westside Eagle-Observer - - FRONT PAGE - LARRY BURGE Spe­cial to the Ea­gle Ob­server

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.

LARRY BURGE

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...

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