The 2019 Community Awards have been opened. Below is a list of the Citizen of the Year nominees. We have provided a brief bio and some of the nomination submissions that were sent in.
Coach Brian Byrd
The University of Arkansas Rich Mountain announced Brian Byrd as their first Head Soccer Coach in school history on December 6th,2018. Coach Byrd came from Coastal Bend College in Beeville, TX where he was the men’s coach and officially started on January 1st, 2019 at UA Rich Mountain. He coaches both the men’s and women’s programs.
Nomination: Coach Byrd and his team have been a breath of fresh air in our community. His teams have competed well and have made big efforts to be an asset to our community. Coach Byrd has shown great dedication to all his players and I believe there are few individuals that could be credited with bringing more positive, trans formative impact into this community in the last year.
John Vacca and his wife Jolynn are the local owners of Janssen Park Place Bed & Breakfast. John is involved in several local organizations including the Mena Lions Club, ARCO, and UARM Foundation to name a few. John has been involved in several local projects to help improve the community, as well as participating in multiple local events.
Nomination: Since arriving in Mena, John has been active in various capacities but all with a common goal of improving the area, specifically in the way of Economic Development. He now chairs ARCO, has served on the A&P, and also serves on the UARM Foundation Board of Directors... and, again, these are just the ones I'm aware of.
Paulette Sherrer has been involved in Polk County education for over 25 years. She began her career as a 1st Grade teacher at Louise Durham for nine years. She then spent ten years at Holly Harshman Elementary as a 3rd Grade teacher before spending two years as the district literacy coach. She then was Principal of Holly Harshman Elementary for several years before moving on to the Assistant Superintendent position she holds now.
Nomination: Mena School District, Assistant Superintendent Paulette Sherrer is the epitome of SUNSHINE and LOVE! She was born to lead and teach, encourage and spur-on, and simply bring SUNSHINE to all she encounters. She has taught for many years in the Mena School District. She then moved on to Literacy Coach and then spent 3 years as Holly Harshman's Principal. She brought teachers, students, and community together in her 3 years as Principal. She then had the opportunity to serve in our Central Office and is now serving as Federal Coordinator/ Asst. Superintendent. She represents Mena WELL, with her love for education. During the 2009 Tornado, her home was destroyed and much of the community witnessed her THANKFULNESS and POSITIVE attitude that her family was SAFE. She ROSE above and gave God all Glory for her blessings, in the middle of the "storm". She served those around her and went to work helping others during this hard time in her life... she is the epitome of Servant Leader. She continues leading and paving the way for education. She loves God, Family, Friends, and this Community. I am very appreciative of her positive attitude in any situation, and also thankful for her love of God. I am proud to nominate Paulette Sherrer for Citizen of the Year. She is very deserving of this High Honor and would represent Mena well.
Mayor Seth Smith
Mena native, Seth Smith is currently serving as the City of Mena's Mayor. Mayor Smith is a military veteran, former volunteer firefighter and former Polk County Sheriff Officer.
Nomination: Since being elected, Seth has worked hard to make our community a better place. He’s initiated the filing of several grants for our community to help make the roads better, he’s always in attendance at events to support the community, and he is working to bring more opportunities to Polk County and Mena for its residents and tourists. He hit the ground running after he was sworn in and hasn't stopped. He has brought an exciting energy and enthusiasm to our little town and works 24/7 to improve the city and the life of our citizens. New and wonderful things have happened and continue to happen under his leadership. He’s working hard to make our community cleaner and more prosperous. He's working to improve the economy of Mena, attracting businesses that will provide jobs for the region. He’s a forward thinker who deserves recognition for all he’s done for our community.