FORT SMITH – The City of Fort Smith continues to rack up awards as community leaders from across the state meet this week in the Arkansas Municipal League’s winter meetings. The city was named one of twelve Volunteer Communities Of The Year during a ceremony earlier today.
Other cities to win the honor include Benton, Siloam Springs, Greenbrier, Clarksville, Bentonville, and Marianna.
The Arkansas Volunteer Community of the Year Awards are co-sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Governors Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism (GACNSV), the Arkansas Department of Human Services – Office of Communications and Community Engagement, Channel 4, and the Arkansas Municipal League. These awards are designed to offer thanks and a reward to the communities as a whole (rather than as individuals within the communities) for their volunteer effort in serving their neighbors. Winners typically have overcome obstacles such as limited funding for projects, taking a new approach to an old problem or recovering from natural disasters. Cities that have been honored in the past can be recognized again for new accomplishments.
Nominations are solicited each summer, with a nomination period extending through early fall. Communities submit nominations describing their local volunteer activities and these nominations are reviewed by a panel of citizens representing a cross section of the state. Communities that are chosen each year receive signs on two of the town’s borders designating the city as a Volunteer Community of the Year for that year. These signs are donated to each city each year by the Arkansas Highway Commission. In addition, the cities, and their volunteer programs are the subject of a feature article in City & Town magazine, which is published by the Arkansas Municipal League. Many local newspapers, television and radio stations, and other media, pick up on the news as well, and the communities do receive a lot of recognition and publicity for their work.