BY JACLYN ROSE –
Lawana Callahan is a middle child, sixth in a blended family that totals eleven children and it is a position she holds very dear to her heart. “I love being in the middle of my brothers and sister because I have managed to have a close relationship with all of them. Family is so important to me and I love being able to ‘bridge that gap,’” Callahan explained.
A native of California, Callahan moved to Hatfield, Arkansas with her father and several siblings in 1969. She started school at Hatfield Public School as a 5th grader and continued there until her graduation in 1976. It was there that Callahan met her husband, Michael. “Michael was two years younger than me and I was friends with his older sister, Diane, but he wasn’t ever really around. One day a friend of mine, Shirley Ryan said, ‘What about #22? He has muscles!’ and that’s when I noticed Michael, he had muscles and dimples,” Callahan said with a grin. “He was in the 10th grade, but was able to drive, so he asked me to go to one of his younger sister’s ballgames at the Hatfield Gym.” After dating for four years the couple married in 1979. “Marriage was a struggle, the first 12 years were hard, there were good times and bad times and then we divorced for a year. It was a rough year but through many people praying God restored us. It was by the grace of God… Ours is a story of family redemption, so this April 13 we will have been married for 35 years, with one year vacation.”
The Callahan’s have three children and six grandchildren. “I love being a mom. My children are such a blessing from the Lord, I loved being a mom when they were young, and I love being a mom now. My family is so important to me. I also have wonderful in-laws. It is from them that I was taught about Christianity and my faith. I am very blessed.”
Callahan was employed as the office manager for Dr. Sam Shanlever for 19 years, a job she loved, “Dr. Sam was a very good employer, and my co-workers were so much like family.” After Dr. Sam retired from his practice, she went to work for the Chamber of Commerce, “I loved working for the Chamber, I like people and helping people and I really felt like I was an investigator. My job was to help people who came in to the Chamber to find the best restaurant or the best place to stay. It was a lot of fun. Three years ago in April, a job opened up at Edward Jones with Ginger Sterner, someone I had worked with, and around, several different times. I love my job there, I still get to work with the public and see many friendly faces and I have such a great employer.”
Callahan is also a member of the Hatfield City Council and she sits on the Jubilee in June Committee. “All of my children also graduated from Hatfield High School, and I was a member of the Hatfield School Board. I really feel like our small town is going through a restoration and the community is really coming together. I love Hatfield.”
As a true people person, Callahan does not meet a stranger, “I love getting to know people, maybe I’m just nosy,” she said with a laugh, “my sisters joke that you can’t go anywhere with me that I don’t stop to talk to people. They asked me once if I knew someone I was talking to and I said, ‘I don’t know her yet, but I will before we leave.’ I enjoy hearing their stories.”
“I am very thankful to have raised my children in Polk County,” Callahan explained. “I love the closeness of the community and how everyone pays it forward and really reaches out to help each other. I know it’s been said time and time again but when times get hard, with bad weather, or if someone’s house catches on fire, this community pulls together and always helps each other out.”