BY MELANIE BUCK –
The Mena Elks honored local citizens and Elks members at a ceremony held on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at the Mena Elks Lodge #781. They opened up the meeting with the installation of new officers and reported a record setting year for accepted membership applications.
In a program they began last year, the Elks honored a Deputy of the Month for the last half of 2016. Elks Exhaulted Ruler Brian Thompson said they began the program in light of all of the negative attention that had been given to law enforcement in the last couple of years, and they wanted to shed a positive light on our local officers. On Sunday, Sergeant Seth Smith of the Polk County Sheriff’s Department was honored as the Elks’ Deputy of the Year. The Elks thanked Smith for his unwavering dedication in serving the County’s citizens, as well as all law enforcement for protecting and serving those around them.
They also awarded a Citizen of the Year plaque. Pointing out the dedication and strong heart it takes to do the job, Thompson named Cynthia Martin, Director of CASA of the Ouachitas, as their Citizen of the Year. Martin is director over three counties and coordinates advocates for those counties’ foster children, which are often scattered across the state due to a lack of foster homes, amongst many more responsibilities.
For their ‘in-house’ awards, the Elks honored: Jewell Watkins as the Elk Officer of the Year; Clayton Wallace, Jr. as the Elk of the Year; Marty Caldwell for Outstanding Service Commendation; Brian Thompson, Outstanding Service Commendation and Making a Difference Special Citation; Cheryl Higgins, Outstanding Service Commendation; Nancy Warner, for dedication above and beyond her job duties.