Congratulations to Batesville for Receiving the “Community Tourism Development Award” at the Arkansas Governor’s Conference

Kyle Christopher, Tourism Director at Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce

2018 Henry Awards presented at Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Photos available: www.ArkansasMediaRoom.com/press-releases/display.aspx?id=2789

Madison Murphy named ‘Tourism Person of the Year’

Arkansas tourism partners from across the state today honored the 2018 winners of the annual “Henry Awards” during a ceremony at the 44th Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held March 11-13 in West Memphis. The Henry Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the state’s tourism industry in the preceding year.

Kane Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, served as master of ceremonies and Miss Arkansas Maggie Benton assisted in the presentation of the awards.

The winners were:

— Tourism Person of the Year: Madison Murphy

— Media Support Award: AY Magazine, Little Rock

— Bootstrap Award: Visit Hot Springs and 61 Celsius

— Arkansas Heritage Award: Wilson (Town of Wilson and the Lawrence Group)

— Grand Old Classic Special Event Award: Warfield Concerts, Helena-West Helena

— Outstanding Volunteer Service Award: Keep Arkansas Beautiful, Little Rock

— Community Tourism Development Award: Batesville (Main Street Batesville, Batesville Chamber of Commerce, City of Batesville)

— The Natural State Award: Murphy Arts District (MAD), El Dorado

The Henry Awards have been a feature of the annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism since their debut in 1981. The awards are named for Henri de Tonti, founder of Arkansas Post in 1686, and who is often hailed as the first “Arkansas Traveler.”

For more information, contact Kristine Puckett, Deputy Tourism Director, at 501-682-1120 or email kristine.puckett@arkansas.gov.

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.