Old Independence Regional Museum – David Parker & More About Sports October 8th program (Posted by Ginger Smith)

More About Sports

The folks in Old Independence Regional Museum hope that readers will mark the date Sunday, October 8, 2 p.m. on their calendars. At that time David Parker will be its guest to share his involvement with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which formed back in the 1950s and continues now as the largest Christian sports organization in the world.

Parker is the FCA director for the North-central, Northeast, and East regions of Arkansas. His ministry focuses on coaches, campuses, communities, and camps that can inspire the lives of young people in the Christian faith.  The organization’s central values are integrity, service, teamwork, and excellence.

Its objective, according to Parker, is “to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes as they touch millions of lives one heart at a time.” He exudes enthusiasm, devotion, and energy in designing and leading programs which impact lives in a positive way. A graduate of Arkansas (now Lyon) College, he lives in Batesville with his wife Susan who leads the physical education program at Eagle Mountain Magnet School.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes offers various ways to encourage and inspire young people through huddle groups, regular meetings on campuses and within communities. They provide camps, devotionals, videos, and podcasts.

“We hope that church youth and youth workers who are involved in local FCA groups will attend the program and share what the organization has done for them,” invites museum board member Amelia Bowman.

This is the museum’s ninth program in a monthly series focusing on sports. Subjects have ranged from the history of sports, stories of local athletes, successful coaching, sports photography, local media and sports, recreation, and sports injuries.

Bruce Johnston, museum program chair, encourages people to watch for announcements of upcoming programs that will include Brooks Blevins speaking about sports in the Ozarks, three women who were former Red Heads basketball players, and a program of sports music.

All of these programs are a prelude to the arrival in Old Independence Regional Museum of the Smithsonian Institute’s traveling exhibit “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America” in December.

The program will be free and open to the public.  Normal museum hours are: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for seniors and $1.00 for children.  The museum is located at 380 South 9th street, between Boswell and Vine Streets in Batesville.

Old Independence is a regional museum serving a 12-county area: Baxter, Cleburne, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Marion, Poinsett, Sharp, Stone, White, and Woodruff.  Parts of these present-day counties comprised the original Independence County in 1820’s Arkansas territory.


Ginger Smith joined OGTC in 2014 as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, who own her heart, and three more heartbeat grands, Nico and Corbin of Washington, and a late granddaughter, Ginger Savannah. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.