Category Archives: Inspirational

For foster parents, mercy triumphs over judgment

Andrew and May Baker were name Foster Family of the Year.
By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

On May 16, an awards banquet was held where no one really cared who won.

That was the day the Arkansas Foster Family of the Year and 10 regional winners were honored by the state Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS). They were honored for doing what foster families do: giving loving homes to children removed from their biological families, giving those biological families a helping hand during difficult times, and giving the taxpayers a heck of a good deal.

Foster families temporarily take care of many of the 5,200 children whom the state has removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect and other reasons. The arrangements can last from days to years. Sometimes the foster child is ultimately adopted by the foster parents, and sometimes the child is adopted by another family, but in most cases that’s not the goal. The goal is to provide support services to the children’s biological families so they can be reunited.

This family’s really super

Jeremy, Elizabeth, Kenneth and Miles Spann are ready to take flight at the Walk for the Waiting.
By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Superman was adopted. So were Batman, Spiderman, and Kenneth and Miles Spann.

You probably haven’t heard of Kenneth, 8, and Miles, 7, yet. But someday you might. They might seem like the ordinary children of Little Rock parents Jeremy and Elizabeth Spann, but they’re already developing their superpowers.

“We’ve had a lot of first birthday parties, first bike riding, first vacations, just seeing them grow into individual people, and they’re just amazing,” Elizabeth Spann said. “They’re the most resilient kids ever. They’re so bright, so funny.”

Spann made those comments on the football field at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock May 6 shortly before the family participated in the Walk for the Waiting.

Blessed is the peacemaker

Rep. George McGill, D-Fort Smith, left, and Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley, share an embrace after McGill’s speech.
By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Over the course of a three-month session, legislators make thousands of speeches at the Capitol. Last Friday, Rep. George McGill, D-Fort Smith, gave one of the most memorable – ever.

The issue was Senate Bill 519 by Sen. David Wallace, R-Leachville, and Rep. Grant Hodges, R-Rogers, which reserves each third Monday in January as a day to honor Dr. Martin Luther King.

This year, Arkansas was one of three states, the others being Alabama and Mississippi, that honored King and Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day – the result of an unfortunate historical coincidence along with a lack of sensitivity. In 1947, Arkansas made a state holiday out of Lee’s birthday Jan. 19. King’s birthday was made a federal holiday in 1983, which meant there would be two state holidays at about the same time each year. Lawmakers did not want state employees to have another paid vacation day, so in 1985, Gov. Bill Clinton signed a bill combining the holidays.

2016 wasn’t so bad

By Steve Brawner
© 2016 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

More than a few people are expressing their hopes for a happy new year by saying good riddance to the old – the basis being that they aren’t happy with the presidential election, along with the fact that a lot of famous people died in 2016, especially lately.

The truth is that famous people die every year, and it’s not the year’s fault. Also, whatever you think about the election, the good news is that we had one.

Consider that on March 1, almost 632,000 Arkansans went to the polls to help select the two major party candidates. Then in November, about 1.13 million Arkansans voted in the general election for one of those two candidates or for one of six others. In January, the current president will peacefully hand the Oval Office’s keys to his successor and become a private citizen, while the new president takes the reins of power only temporarily.