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Doing your part: small efforts make big differences

With the recent water issues experienced in Arkadelphia during the week of July 15-19, I was reminded of a service project last summer where the Brighter Tomorrow Foundation helped provide water to residents in Flint, Michigan.

On April 25, 2014, the Flint’s municipal government decided to change its water service to the local Flint River to save money, but did not treat the water; this resulted in dangerous levels of lead leaching into the water from old pipes, and putting the public at risk. Flint’s local government eventually declared a state of emergency.

A Flint native, Asia Hill, lives in Arkadelphia, and wanted to help. Several Arkadelphia law firms provided the funding, and on September 9, 2018, the Brighter Tomorrow Foundation transported 500 cases of water to up to Michigan. The Daily Siftings Herald reported on the project, as follows:

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The contributing law firms received the following certificates for their efforts:

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While Arkadelphia’s water issues only lasted 4 days, the water system in Flint is still contaminated over 5 years later. State and Federal assistance totals are over $450 million. Here is what the EPA has done about it. Here is a way to help through the United Way.

I’m thankful to our local leaders and city employees who got Arkadelphia’s water issues resolved in only four days, which puts Flint’s water crises into perspective. I’m proud to have been a part of a project that contributed to the disaster in Flint, even if it was only a small part. Here is how you can make a difference.


Like last year, several members of the Arkansas Trial Lawyer’s Association helped with Arms Around Arkadelphia (“AAA”) in 2019. This year’s project for the ATLA crew involved stripping a wheelchair accessible ramp and repainting it:

Pictured above are Jay Neal (left) and Austin King (right) finishing up the paint job.

Pictured above are Jay Neal (left) and Austin King (right) finishing up the paint job.

Most of the work involved with the ramp above was getting the old paint stripped off, which required the efforts of those pictured below:

Pictured above from left to right: Ed Zellmer, Peter Miller, P.A.; Brian Trubitt, Taylor King & Associates; Jay Neal, Taylor King & Associates; Amanda Boulden, Arkansas Trial Lawyer’s Association; Taylor Chaney, Chaney Law Firm, P.A.; Jessica Mallett, Peter Miller, P.A.; Paige Edgin, Peter miller, p.a.; and austin king, taylor king & associates.

Pictured above from left to right: Ed Zellmer, Peter Miller, P.A.; Brian Trubitt, Taylor King & Associates; Jay Neal, Taylor King & Associates; Amanda Boulden, Arkansas Trial Lawyer’s Association; Taylor Chaney, Chaney Law Firm, P.A.; Jessica Mallett, Peter Miller, P.A.; Paige Edgin, Peter miller, p.a.; and austin king, taylor king & associates.

AAA completed several other projects across the community. The AAA program is an outstanding annual event taking place in late May and early June each year. If you're interested in participating in the AAA projects in 2020, contact David McAllister at d_mcallister@suddenlink.net. I’m already looking forward to it.


At the annual meeting of the Arkansas Bar Association in June, the Young Lawyer’s Section organized a service project bringing bar members together in partnership with The Pack Shack, who’s mission is to supply provisions and opportunities for our neighbors in need, as follows:

There were several tables with four people assigned to a funnel, with each person performing an assembly line task to make individually packaged meals, as follows:

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for every 1,000 meals made, someone banged the gong.

for every 1,000 meals made, someone banged the gong.

The entire legal community was represented as Circuit Judges, Court of Appeals Judges, Supreme Court Judges, and attorneys practicing in every area of law participated together. In just a few hours, we packaged over 10,000 meals for hungry Arkansas residents.

I hope the Bar continues performing service projects at the annual meeting, and starts doing them at the mid-year meeting in February each year.


Whether it was funding for water to help our brothers and sisters in need in Flint, Michigan, or repainting a wheelchair ramp for our brothers and sisters at home in Arkadelphia, or packaging meals for hungry Arkansas residents, being able to contribute in some small part has been fulfilling for all attorneys involved, and especially me. If you have a project in need of funding or in need of manpower to get the job done, please contact us.

ATLA partners with the Church of Christ Disaster Relief Team to help flood victims in Northeast Arkansas

On May 20, 2017, members of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association partnered with the Church of Christ Disaster Relief Team of Pocahontas to help a family in Success, Arkansas with cleaning out flood damaged parts of their home. Members traveled as far as Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Sheridan, Little Rock, Arkadelphia, and Jonesboro to assist the family after record flooding occurred during the week of May 8, 2017.

Seen above is the Haggard family home. The Current River is seen in the background, which rose to approximately the bottom of the open window on the left.

Seen above is the Haggard family home. The Current River is seen in the background, which rose to approximately the bottom of the open window on the left.

Pictured above from left to right, the Mike Haggard family (in front and back); in the front in the blue shirt, Sarah Jewell, Ryan Jewell, Shayne Dobson (kneeling), ATLA President Joey McCutchen, Margaret Dobson, and Becky Dent. In the back row beginning with the gray hat, Paul Ford, Mike Gaddy, Taylor Chaney, Lewis Strate, David Dobson, Joe Denton, and Joseph Gates.

Pictured above from left to right, the Mike Haggard family (in front and back); in the front in the blue shirt, Sarah Jewell, Ryan Jewell, Shayne Dobson (kneeling), ATLA President Joey McCutchen, Margaret Dobson, and Becky Dent. In the back row beginning with the gray hat, Paul Ford, Mike Gaddy, Taylor Chaney, Lewis Strate, David Dobson, Joe Denton, and Joseph Gates.

From left to right, Joe Denton and Sarah Jewell are doing their best to rip up the floors of the Haggard home so the concrete slab underneath gets the opportunity to dry out. Other parts of the home had wet joist underneath the floors. Parts of the floor were more stubborn than others, which required more elbow grease from multiple people to remove them. Here are some other tips for cleaning up a home after a flood.

The Church of Christ Disaster Response Team is immediately available to the local congregation(s) in the disaster stricken area. The purpose of the Disaster Response Team is to aid the local congregation in recruiting and receiving volunteers to assist with the emotional and spiritual needs of the disaster victims and to assist them in the clean-up and rebuilding stage. They offer a mobile kitchen, mobile shower trailer, trained coordinators, completely stocked tool trailers, health kits, clean-up kits, baby kits, and school kits.

The efforts of the Disaster Response Team are possible through the financial donations from churches and individuals across the world, and by the volunteers who work with the Disaster Response Team. You can help by donating here.