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Mayor McCaslin Announces 2nd Quarter Outstanding Citizen Award Recipients

Posted: August 01 2017

Press Release

Date:  July 12, 2017

Contact: Mayor McCaslin 
Phone:   (479) 271-5966

Mayor McCaslin Announces 2nd Quarter Outstanding Citizen Award Recipients

Bentonville, AR – July 12, 2017…Mayor McCaslin is pleased to announce the 2017 second quarter winners of the Mayor’s Outstanding Citizen Award are:  Sreekumar Gopinathan, The Bentonville Public Library Teen Advisory Board and The Walmart Merchandising Administration Team. 

Sreekumar Gopinathan was nominated by Jason Ross.  Jason has known Sreekumar for 5 years as a friend and co-worker.   Jason says that he has been impressed every year at the heart Sreekumar has for his community and for those in need, plus the passion with which he serves.  Sreekumar has volunteered 952 hours at 170+ events (on weekends and after work) during these 5 years supporting various non-profits.  Some of his kind gestures include assisting elderly with cleaning and mowing lawns, collecting donations for earthquake victims in Nepal, and assisting in recovery efforts in Mayflower and Vilonia, Arkansas following them being hit by a tornado just to name a few.  Additionally, he has volunteered as a driver and done loading/unloading of snacks to 5 elementary schools in NWA School Districts (for 300+ children) almost every month for a total of 25+ trips over the past 2 years.  Sree won the Helen R. Walton Community Award three years in a row, in 2014, 2015, & 2016.  Sree was introduced to volunteering by his parents as a 5 year old child in India.  He said, “They taught me the value of helping others.  I feel joy in my heart from serving.”  He further added, “Community work has been my passion ever since my childhood, and that’s part of the culture here at Walmart.”  Through the Volunteerism Always Pays program, Walmart matched many of Sreekumar’s volunteer hours with charitable donations to the organizations he served. Jason closed his nomination with these words, “It’s hard to quantify the number of people he (Sreekumar) has personally influenced to get involved, but I can speak that I have been influenced by his leadership and volunteering in the community and hope that you will consider Sreekumar for the Outstanding Citizen Award.”  

Sarah Gowdy Herford nominated The Bentonville Public Library (BPL) Teen Advisory Board.  The Teen Advisory Board’s mission at BPL is to suggest services, materials, and programs that are needed by Benton County teens, and to work with library staff to provide these services.  This ten-member team is selected annually by an application and panel interview process.  This past school year, these talented, dedicated and generous teens accomplished the following:  Conducted a community-wide book drive titled ‘1,000 Books for 1,000 Readers’, successfully collecting over 1,000 books and distributed them to youth groups throughout the community; created and facilitated a monthly “STEAM Saturdays” program to encourage teens to explore science and technology through fun and educational programming; volunteered at BPL’s Ten Year Celebration; updated Teen Advisory Board bylaws to reflect the current needs of the library, and created two new positions to initiate a working relationship between all library partners. 

The group volunteered a total of 814.75 hours from August 2016 to June 2017.  Sarah ended her nomination with these words, “The Teen Advisory Board of Bentonville Public Library is an awesome example of the magic that can happen when we empower our teen volunteers to lead in our communities!” 

Marisa Snow, Counselor at Barker Middle School nominated Francie Higby and the Walmart Merchandising Administration.  Five years seems to be a common thread in this quarter’s nominations.  Marisa met Francie five years ago at a community event, where they were both volunteering.  Francie asked how she might help at Marisa’s school, and it all went from there, says Ms. Snow.  The Walmart division volunteers make our snack pack program continue to exist.  Every week, they spend an hour packing food to send home with the Barker Middle School students.  The group has donated money, food, time and huge caring hearts to our students.  During holidays, they find extra ways to provide even more for the long breaks.  Ms. Snow said, “Our program would not be as strong if we didn’t have their support.  They are giving back to our Bentonville community daily.” 

The Outstanding Citizen Award program was initiated in January 2011 to recognize the exceptional volunteer contributions of Bentonville residents.  There are three award categories: adult, youth and community group.  Third quarter 2017 nominations will be accepted until September 15.  To obtain a nomination form and additional information, please visit the City’s website at www.bentonvillear.com.