2017 Wilbur Awards for Community Leadership

2017 Wilbur Awards for Community Leadership

Presented annually to individuals, organizations, and student leaders who exemplify the power of one entity or individual to positively impact our community and region as models of effective leadership and of working together with others to make best use of resources for our community’s best future. Named in honor of Wilbur Smith, anyone in the community is eligible to nominated for, or to be honored with, a Wilbur Award. 


Believe in Beverly Neighborhood Assoc

Charles Tyous formed a small group in 2012 to bring back the Beverly neighborhood. With the passion and drive from this faithful few, the love and community well-being of this neighborhood has grown exponentially. In 2016, Mayor Bruggeman and the Texarkana, Texas City Council members made this hardworking group official. Some of the activities they organize are: back to school cook outs to unite the community; clothing give aways; clean up days in which generous sponsors assist Beverly with their revitalization efforts; and a community garden. They also made their debut this year in the Christmas parade in which they were able to provide the neighborhood children a new and rewarding experience. Beverly’s participation in National Night Out overflowed into neighboring areas. Finally, this group is working tirelessly to reopen their Beverly Community Center for all to enjoy.

Brotherhood of Lonoke Baptist Church

The Brotherhood of Lonoke Baptist Church is constantly working on outreach to the community.  For the last several years it has been a group sponsor of the Martin Luther King Breakfast, ensuring that the Breakfast will continue to offer cultural riches for the entire community. The Brotherhood is also involved in Educational Excellence and Working Smart for our Best Collective Future by building a better community with peace for all citizens.

Gamma Kappa Zeta Chapter

of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Gamma Kappa Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority has been in Texarkana for 66 years, serving the community by volunteering at such events as Stuff the Bus, the College Fair, Race for the Cure, and TISD/TMS Precious Gems. For over twenty years, with brother organization, Phi Beta Sigma, they have recognized women yearly at a February banquet This sorority also makes donations to and/or volunteers with the TRAHC African American Committee, the Healing Place, CASA, THS DREAM program and Heritage Plaza.

Interact Club

The Interact Club has been an active community Service club for five years at Arkansas High. The Club currently has forty active student Members who participate in after school and weekend events with organizations such as: Opportunities, Inc., the Friendship Center, Habitat for Humanity, Running WJ Ranch, Race for the Cure, Keep Texarkana Beautiful, Community Clean Up Days, and Special Olympics. The last two years, the Club has become more involved in district-related events by assisting at Kindergarten Round-Up and Science Fair nights. The Club has participated in local festivals such as Railfest, the Dragon Boat Races, and the Mardi Gras parade. Another special focus is the Partners’ Club where general education students are paired with special education students to assist in completing various activities.

 The Scholars

The Scholars organization provides entrepreneurship programs for students to increase success and build skill. The Goal of The Scholars is to assist students in gaining knowledge for the world of business. Its guiding principles are organizational effectiveness, consensus, collaborations, and cooperation. In order to accomplish this, the Scholars believe in the investment of quality time, community service, and education. All of these are vital for students to succeed in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing technological world. The Scholars organization concentrates on Math, Science, the Arts, Community Service, History, and Life Skills. 


Tyeshekk Antwine

Ms. Antwine is the Mayor of Garland, Arkansas and an Apartment Manager in Texarkana Arkansas- Village Park South. She has worked to build strong communities, helping the citizens and residents to grow and informing them of programs available.

Tonya Dunphy

For the past five years, Tonya Dunphy has sponsored the Arkansas High Interact Club, a community service-based club for high school students.  She was instrumental in starting the club and making sure our high school students understand the importance of volunteering in the community. 

Over the years, they have partnered with multiple community organizations including The Friendship Center, Harvest Texarkana, Running W.J. Ranch, Habitat for Humanity, CASA Color Run, Race for the Cure, Boy Scouts, and Special Olympics.  Tanya leads the Interact Club members to participate in our local festivals including the Dragon Boat Races, Mardi Gras Parade, and Railfest. In addition to working with community partners, the Interact club participates at other schools in the district to help with Fall Festivals, Science Fairs, and the district-wide Kindergarten Round-Up.  Mrs Dunphy not only contacts the local community partners to set up these volunteer opportunities, but she attends every service project with the students.  As an advocate for Special Needs students and adults, Tonya has arranged once a month for three years for the high school students to meet at the Elks Lodge to “hang out’ and dance with the adult residents of Opportunities.  Tonya is also very involved with Arkansas Special Olympics, is a Student Council sponsor, and has sponsored the campus Fellowship of Christian Athletes for three years.

 Gail Eichler

Gail has served Texarkana on the board of Randy Sam’s Homeless Shelter and is currently on the board of Cornerstone Retirement Center.  She is a member of Williams Memorial where she is involved in the Community Café to feed the hungry.  She and her husband began the Clay Eichler Memorial Fund in 2015, after the tragic death of their son, Clay.  The memorial fund provides financial resources to various nonprofits in Texarkana.  The first year, the proceeds funded four full four-year scholarships to students at TAMU-T. In 2016, the foundation provided seed money to start the ArkLaTex 100 Club, which provides immediate assistance to fallen police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty from Bowie and Miller Counties, and which has also provided training equipment for the officers. In 2017, Clay’s Golf and Guitars will again benefit our officers.

 Laney Harris

Mr. Harris is a member of the City Board for Texarkana Arkansas and a member of the Arkansas School board.  He helps to build strong outreach and help citizens become more knowledgeable of what’s going on in the city and the schools, helping to educate the community all around.

 Dr Brian Matthews

Dr Matthews is Assistant Professor of Management at TAMU-T.  He is a native of Texarkana and a graduate of Texas High School where he now serves as President of the Diversity Awareness Committee. He serves on multiple boards, including the Texarkana, Texas City Council (representing Ward 4), The Healing Place, CHRISTUS St Michael Rehabilitation, Partners in Education and Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.  He also has received numerous awards  including a Certificate of Appreciation- Bethel Seventh Day Adventist Church (2017),  Distinguished Gentlemen Award- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Dr GW Thompson Award from NAACP.  Dr. Matthews is very active in his church, Greater St John MB Church.  He serves as president of the Brotherhood and serves as a deacon.

Derek J Murphy

Pastor Derek Murphy has lived a life of helping to build people, of encouraging and mentoring people of all ages, whether it is through his sermons in his local church, speaking to countless groups, or volunteering through the Texarkana community.  He encourages through social media and his blog, Rewriting Murphy’s Law and Work it Wednesday posts.  His has been the speaker at the NAACP MLK Celebration and Community Candlelight Vigil and has sponsored events to encourage leaders: Be A Man-Men’s Conference in 2016 and the Leadership Summit.  His awards include Drum Major Award at the MLK Acts of Kindness Gala 2017 and speaker award at MLK celebration.  He is the author of three books: Christmas From My Point of View, What Leadership is Not, and Rewriting Murphy’s Law.

DeAnna O’Malley

DeAnna started volunteering for her community when she was 11 years old.  She created a program called DATE (Drug, Alcohol, Tobacco Education).  She learned at that early age that if youth stayed occupied in positive activities, it left little room for them to get involved with negative things.  Into her adulthood, she continues her role as a public servant by working many jobs that involve recruiting youth and adult volunteers to raise awareness about the issues in the community.  She has worked with anti-bully campaigns and hosts a number of National Night Out Block parties. She received the Arkansas State Employee Association (ASEA) award: Outstanding State Employee of the Year.  She serves on the boards of Neighborhoods, USA, Resource Development, Main Street Texarkana, among others.

Youth Honorees

Ricky Cooks

A senior at Texas High, Ricky has been an active volunteer in the Texarkana community (over 1100 hours in four years) and has been a great impact leader for the school and community over his years at Texas High.  Volunteer accomplishments include: Instrumental in creating the Thirst Project at THS, spearheading a campaign to raise $12,000 for a water well in Swaziland, Africa, volunteering at Community Café, Race for the Cure, Tiger Christmas Angel recycling projects at campuses in TISD, tutoring elementary students, serving as a valet at community events, serving as a mentor, volunteering at Randy Sam’s Shelter,  as a CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System Junior Volunteer, STEM Ambassador, and as Junior Counselor for over 100 student leaders across the state at various leadership workshops for TASC. As Vice President, Ricky adopted a state initiative to help children in elementary develop leadership and academic skills.  Ricky’s academic honors include: VP of the Texas Association of Student Councils, addressing over 6,000 people as state leader; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Rising Star, Rotary Club Leadership Award, THS Student Body President, selected to US Senate Youth program, National Honor Society, Member of Mu Alpha Theta and Quill & Scroll, U.S. Rep. Ratcliffe’s Congressional Student Leadership Program.

 Tyler Crane

Tyler is a student at Arkansas Independent School District. He has been an active participant in the Interact Club for the past several years; the Interact Club is a community service based club on the campus that allows students to learn the importance of giving back to their community. Tyler has participated in numerous Interact Service Projects, working at Randy Sam’s Shelter, Runnin J. Ranch, Salvation Army, Keep Texarkana Beautiful Clean-Up Days, Opportunities, dance with adult residents, Race for the Cure, CASA Color Run, Six-Leg Fun Run, and the Dragon Boat Races to name a few.  In addition to all of his community service work, Tyler is an excellent artist; he sculpts and has many unique sculptures that have been displayed in art shows.

Shelby Dunphy-Day

Shelby is a seventh grade student at North Heights Junior High School. She turned her passion for animals into a way to serve her community, promoting the spaying and neutering of pets and encouraging youth voluntarism. She began her community service work in elementary school by volunteering at a shelter and selling paintings she created to raise money for the shelter. In 2015, Shelby created the Six Leg Fun Run and 5K to raise funds to purchase a mobile adoption trailer to donate to the shelter.  Businesses and groups provide activities and games during the event which serves both competitive runners and walkers alike.  The shelter and other rescue groups bring adoptable pets to the event. More than 20 animals have been successfully placed for adoption during the two-race event. The mobile adoption trailer will provide a safe and convenient way for shelter pets to be showcased at community events and a greater opportunity for adoption. Shelby has been widely recognized for her efforts. In 2015, she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama and she traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive the Prudential Spirit Community award in 2016.

 Taylor Sexton

Over the past year Taylor has lived by the motto “Be the Change You Want to see in the World”. Taylor does just that by giving his time and efforts to children at church, school and in the community. He a true role model for the community as a whole. Taylor gives his time to helping with the homeless in the Texarkana Communities. He does everything from organizing feeding efforts at Randy Sam’s to buying coffee for the homeless. Taylor is a life-long Boy Scout and lives fully by the tenets of truth and knowledge scouting set forth. He is the Program Director for Cub Scout Summer Camp (Caddo Area Council), President of Arkansas’ High’s National Honor Society, Ruling Elder (First Presbyterian Church, Arkansas) and serves on various church committees. Taylor is a member of Key Club, is Drama Club president, 9-Star Thespian, Captain of Arkansas High School Quiz Bowl team, Eagle Scout, and number one in FBLA Region 4 for advertising and received an $80,000 scholarship to Baylor University.

 Jenna Williamson

Jenna is a Texas High freshman, enrolled in the Ross Perot Academy. Jenna developed a public platform a few years ago called KOOL TO BE KIND. She has volunteered more than 500 hours in the past 18 months, many beyond regular school requirements. She is a cheerleader, a freshman leader in Student Council, UIL Team, plays the piano, teaches Bible Basics to 2nd graders and loves to cook and sew.  Jenna collected 2000 pencils for a school in Africa and held donation drives for Randy Sam’s Shelter for the past two summers.  Jenna challenges others on social media to participate in the KOOL challenges. She held a KINDNESS pep rally, speaking to approximately 175 5th and 6th graders on the importance of KINDNESS. She has been asked to speak to a groups of young girls through a mentoring system. Jenna is a true role model and just the type of young lady that we need in our community for our youth. Jenna recently joined the International group Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and is RAKtivist (Random Acts of Kindness Activist).


*Lunch with Leaders YF

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