The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce will host its annual banquet Thursday, Nov. 7, at Williams Baptist College. The banquet will begin at 6 p.m. in the Moody Room of WBC’s Mabee-Gwinup Cafeteria.
The keynote speaker is Bill Carter, a Rector native who now lives in Nashville. Carter has been an attorney, Secret Service agent, politician, lobbyist, security consultant, artist manager and television producer.
In 1962, Carter entered the U.S. Secret Service and worked as a special agent during the Kennedy administration. Upon Kennedy’s assassination, he was assigned to Dallas as part of the team investigating the assassination. He resigned in 1966 and established a legal practice in Little Rock.
In 1969, Carter helped Memphis entrepreneur Fred Smith get his fledgling Federal Express off the ground. In 1974 Carter intervened with the State Department, causing them to reverse their decision not to allow the Rolling Stones to enter the U.S. again. Their condition was that Carter personally implement the security plan for the Stones’ 1975 tour of the U.S., a plan that became a role model for the music industry.
He moved his law office to Nashville in 1981, where he represented celebrities as diverse as rocker David Bowie and country legend Reba McEntire. Carter guided McEntire through the five most crucial and groundbreaking years of her career. He also represented Lonestar, Waylon Jennings, Lari White, Rodney Crowell, Shenandoah and TV/radio personality Ralph Emery among others.
In 1995, Carter was responsible for establishing the Gaither Gospel Hour on TNN. He continues to serve as executive producer on the majority of the multi-award-winning Gaither Homecoming specials on more than a dozen commercial networks and PBS.
In 2011, Carter helped create the first annual Johnny Cash Music Festival to raise funds for the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Restoration in the Dyess Colony of Arkansas, and continues to serve as executive producer of the concert.
Recognizing the need to give back to the community in which they were reared, in 2006, Carter helped spearheaded the creation of the non-profit Rector High School Helping Hands Foundation to provide short-term financial assistance to low-income students in the Rector school system.
In October 2011, Carter received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Arkansas State University. In 2013 Carter received the prestigious Crystal Award from the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism for his production of The Johnny Cash Music Festival. Also in 2013, Carter was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame.
Carter’s memoir, Get Carter: Backstage in History from JFK’s Assassination to the Rolling Stones details his career. The book will be available at the chamber banquet.
Tickets to the banquet are available through the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce office at (870) 886-3232 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org . Reservations should be made by Friday, Nov. 1.