[NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark.] Bill Abernathy, a lifelong resident of Mena, was honored Friday night in North Little Rock with a Champion of Rural Arkansas Lifetime Achievement award. The award was presented by Rural Community Alliance, a statewide nonprofit organization that supports and advocates for rural schools and rural communities. Abernathy’s award was co-sponsored by Union Bank of Mena whose president Philip Hensley said, “Congratulations to Bill Abernathy for his lifetime of work in behalf of rural schools.”
Bill Abernathy is currently the Executive Director of Arkansas Rural Education Association. Prior to his service with the organization, he served as a State Representative for Polk and Montgomery Counties for six years and was chair of the Education Committee and chair of the Adequacy Sub-committee. He was President of Rich Mountain Community College for 13 years and Superintendent of Schools in Mena and Greenbrier for 17 years.
Abernathy currently serves as chair of the Arkansas Rural Endowment and is a member of Mena Lions Club and Mena First Baptist Church.
He is the father of two sons—Robert from Conway who is a retired state auditor, and Richard from Bryant, who is Executive Director of the Arkansas Education Administrators’ Association—and a daughter, Melinda, from Houston, Texas. He is the grandfather of six grandchildren and has been married to Mary Maddox Abernathy for nearly 60 years.
Other 2014 Champions of Rural Arkansas honored at the event were Alenora Williams of Elaine, Senator Stephanie Flowers of Pine Bluff, Representative John Catlett of Rover, Heather Laster of Belleville, Representative Kelley Linck of Yellville, Greta Greeno and Michelle Cadle of Weiner, and Lifetime Achievement co-honoree Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Butch Calhoun of Des Arc.