Fifteen years ago, Jonesboro Fire Department’s Ty Damron brought a longstanding tradition to the city’s fire department when he founded Jonesboro Firefighters Pipes and Drums, the first of its kind in the state of Arkansas. Today, the seven-member group is in high demand for public performances and for honoring loved ones at funerals and memorials, particularly within the public safety community.
The tradition of bagpipes and firefighters dates back to the after-effects of the Irish Potato Famine in the mid-1800s, causing an influx of Irish immigrants to the United States. Many of them turned to public safety jobs because that was one of the only jobs available to them, at a time where being a firefighter was an extremely dangerous and often fatal occupation. Many Irish firefighters died on the job, and because there were so many instances of bagpipes being played at an Irish firefighter’s funeral, the Irish tradition became synonymous with firefighters and eventually public safety.
One of Arkansas Baptist Children & Family Ministries’ programs, Desired Haven Family Care, has been serving as a Christ-centered support system for vulnerable Jonesboro-area families since 2014.
The ministry first began in 1894, when Hannah Hyatt donated her home to vulnerable children in the state of Arkansas. Arkansas Baptist Children & Family Ministries (ABCFM) has since grown to include five areas of ministry, including Christian counseling, adoption, foster care, campus care and family stability and advocacy by way of Desired Haven Family Care. There are also plans to open a trauma-informed preschool in the near future.
Last month, the entire Occasions staff had the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy attending the 16th annual Red Dress Gala at Centennial Hall on the campus of Arkansas State University.
Although many of our staff members attend events in the community on a regular basis, it is rare to be able to get everyone together. Typically, we are either covering events or volunteering at events, but rarely are all of us in the same place at the same time.
For the first time in 15 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines for treating childhood and adolescent obesity. These recommendations emphasize that obesity is not just the result of poor eating habits, a lack willpower or of exercise. Due to scientific discoveries over the last few decades, obesity is now considered a chronic disease with many related causes, including genetics.
The 2023 Red Dress Gala was held Feb. 25 at Centennial Hall on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. This year’s honorees included Dr. Willie and Honey Hurst, health advocates; David Daniel, Ed Way Community Service and Support Advocate; Kim Hauge, Red Dress Ambassador; First Community Bank, Professional Community Service and Support Honoree (more than 50 employees); Occasions Publishing Group, Professional Community Service and Support Honoree (fewer than 50 employees.) The ‘80s-themed event included dinner, live music and live and silent auctions. Pat Wolover and Taylor Kelso chaired the 16th annual Red Dress Gala with Harold Perrin serving as emcee for the evening.