ARA Conference 2012
Arkansas Rehabilitation Association Hosts Annual Southwest Regional Rehabilitation Association Conference
The ARA/SWNRA Conference was held May 23rd-25th at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs. The conference theme was “Back to the Future: Cherishing Our Past, Embracing Our Destiny!” The conference was well attended by 178 participants from Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Many of those attendees were employees of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, and they shared that the learning opportunities provided during the conference were useful and informative. Many ARS employees provided high quality presentations, and several of them helped work the registration, silent auction, and booths at the conference. Highlights of the conference were keynote addresses by Senator Linda Pondexter-Chesterfied, Dr. Keith Vire (an advocate and CEO of Arkansas Support Network), and Commissioner Robert Trevino (Commissioner of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services). Mr. Ed Buckner, Chief Meteorologist for KTHV in Little Rock, spoke about “Living with Tourette Syndrome.”
The conference included opportunities to earn Ethics and General Sessions CEU/CRC credits. This year the agenda included multiple sessions designed to appeal to a wide audience, including administrative staff, supervisors/administrators, counselors, educators, and community based service providers. Participants also had an opportunity to attend Exhibitor’s Booths which highlighted services and products dedicated to the field of Rehabilitation. A highlight of the Exhibit Hall was the inclusion of a large number of Silent Auction items. Silent Auction proceeds are used to highlight student scholarships.
The ARA President’s Reception hosted by the Counselor’s Association and Rick Fleetwood, was held on the roof of the Downtowner. Highlights included attendance by two former Senators, Pam Adcock and Judy Smith. Other highlights included dancing, food, and networking.
A highlight of the conference was the Awards Banquet. The Banquet was a mixture of silly, somber, and touching moments. Some of the sillier moments were provided by Debbie Wooten, who was an MC, Dale Turrentine who played Marilyn Monroe, and Lisa Murphy who was Charlie Chaplin.
One of the more touching moments occurred when scholarships were awarded to undergraduate or graduate students who are pursuing degrees in rehabilitation-related fields. Arkansas Rehabilitation Association is unique in that if offers 6 scholarships to deserving students. This year the following scholars were awarded scholarships at the Banquet:
◊ Erica Hill, a senior rehabilitation services major at Arkansas Tech.
◊ Ada Floyd, a masters in vocational rehabilitation student at U of A, Fayetteville
◊ Tekesea Williams, a masters rehabilitation counseling student at UALR
◊ Tasha Quentella Flennaugh, a junior rehabilitation science major at U of A, Pine Bluff.
◊ Ardelia “Dee” Rodgers, a masters in rehabilitation counseling student at UALR
◊ Pam Johnson, a vocational rehabilitation student at U of A, Fayetteville
Several other awards were presented at the Banquet, and these included:
Cathy Thomas, counselor, Fayetteville field office, was named Counselor of the Year.
Kathy Mansker, administrative specialist, Hot Springs field office, was named Support Staff of the Year.
Laura Allen, administrative specialist, Little Rock/Corporate Hill field office, was awarded the Cheryl O’Dell Scholarship.
Marco Palafox, ACTI student, Construction Technology, was awarded the AARTS/
Ken Musteen Scholarship.
Kathy Mansker, administrative specialist, Hot Springs field office, was awarded by the ARA President’s Award.
Debbie Wooten, retired counselor, was awarded the ARA Life Time Achievement Award.
Debbie Wooten, retired counselor, was awarded the SWNRA President’s Award.
Cheryl O’Dell, purchasing specialist, ACTI, was awarded the SWNRA Voyle C. Scurlock Award.
Rick Fleetwood, CEO of Snell Prosthetics, was awarded the SWNRA Meritorious Award.
During the Awards Banquet the following individuals were honored for their contributions and hard work that made the conference possible. These individuals were: Keith Vire, Debbie Wooten, Chet Stuart, Felix Eason, Wayne Marsac, Carrie Woodall, Kathy Mansker, Jo Ann Martz, Carolyn Turner, Becky Hartley, William Garner, and Jim Spragins.
In conclusion, the conference provided multiple opportunities for learning, networking, and socializing. The next ARA conference has been scheduled for May 20-22nd at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Little Rock.