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Mayor McCaslin Announces 3rd Quarter Outstanding Citizen Award Recipients

Posted: October 10 2017

Press Release

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

Date:  October 10, 2017

Mayor McCaslin Announces 3rd Quarter Outstanding Citizen Award Recipients

Bentonville, AR – October 10, 2017…Mayor McCaslin is pleased to announce the 2017 third quarter winners of the Mayor’s Outstanding Citizen Award are:  Arjun Krishna, Melanie Billing and The DEB Project. 

Arjun Krishna was nominated by Maolina Yang.  Arjun is a junior student at Bentonville High School.  Ms. Yang describes Arjun as a fun, easy-going student who has really instilled his passion for learning to others in the community.  Arjun serves many students within Bentonville Public Schools and the Bentonville community through his multiple roles as a teen volunteer.  He is a peer tutor at the Bentonville Public Library.  Additionally, he is a peer math tutor at Lincoln Junior High with the Math Counts after school program last year and currently.  He is also a student leader facilitator to the after school ROAR Program at Bentonville High School.   Ms. Yang says that Mr. Krishna has a genuine concern for other’s success and has initiated the Coding Club, as he wanted to give students who are intimidated or who did not have a chance to take coding classes to learn the fundamentals.  He saw how computers are used in every aspect of life today, and realized some basic computer knowledge will be useful to everyone.  His goal is to bring in guest speakers and eventually lead the Coding Club to competition level.  Ms. Yang added that Arjun is a passionate learner who is on the quest of instilling excitement in learning to his peers and nominated him because she felt it was time for him to get some recognition for his selfless effort. 

Irene Medrano, Executive Director of Sharing and Caring of Benton County nominated Melanie Billing.  According to Ms. Medrano, Melanie has been a devoted and generous volunteer with Sharing and Caring of Benton County for over 13 years.  Her tireless efforts, include creating decorations for many of the children’s fundraisers that assist Sharing and Caring in providing hundreds of children the most basic needs during the holiday season.  Melanie cannot stand to see any child go without clothing, shoes, and presents under the Christmas tree.  On distribution day, the recipient families typically receive some household goods in addition to Christmas gifts for the children. Melanie assists wherever needed on distribution day by passing out presents, guiding traffic or helping anywhere else she is needed.   Irene says that we can always rely on her help and support without question, and when Melanie commits to helping the kids, the sky is the limit.  Irene comments that Melanie shows so much kindness and respect to all the families, as well as all the volunteers that she works with.  In addition to Sharing and Caring, Melanie finds time to help other non-profits and is a Girl Scout troop leader. 

The DEB Project was nominated by Brandy Overton, a Bright Futures Advisory Board member.  The DEB Project was started in June 2012 by Sammy Laney, and achieved their 501(c)(3) status in April 2015.  The DEB Project stands for Deserving Enriched & Blessed.  Ms. Laney began the project by reaching out to foster parents in the area.  After noticing a greater need in the Bentonville area, she then reached out to the Bentonville school district to see how she could help more families and children in need with clothing.  Sammy believes that every child is DESERVING to be BLESSED.  Sammy and her team have put that concept into practice by making sure that children have one of life’s most basic needs, clothing.  Sammy is someone we all know that we can call on when we need to get a child’s needs taken care of, according to Ms. Overton.  The DEB Project has supported every school in the district that has called on them by finding clothing essentials for each and every child they have in need.  The DEB Project is supported by the community’s generous donations and volunteer time.  Ms. Overton states that The DEB Project has made a huge impact on countless children and families in our community. 

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.  Fourth quarter 2017 nominations will be accepted until December 15.  To obtain a nomination form and additional information, please visit the City’s website at www.bentonvillear.com.