Day 90: Dr. Ruth Hawkins

 

Dear Ruth,

Before there is creativity, there must first be a creator.  To the great shock of many, there is no magic fairy with pixie dust who makes the big stuff happen.

In a world where so many just want the limelight and credit, it’s comforting to remember there are some who just keep getting things done, oblivious to all the accolades they truly deserve – they just keep plowing new ground.

Dr. Ruth Hawkins. Pioneer. Mentor. Friend.

Thank you for making a difference in everything you’ve ever touched. You were raising real charitable money with real numbers long before the charitable fundraising business learned how to inflate its numbers and exaggerate its impact for its own glory. You were seeing amazing opportunities on the distant landscape before most ever saw land. You were venturing down unknown avenues where no one ever set foot, and that most of us in retrospect now say, “…of course, it was there all along.” Truth is for so many expeditions, you drew the map.

It’s been a privilege in the years I’ve known you to watch a modern-day pioneer blaze so many trails. Thank you for being someone we all can admire.

A hundred years from now when our grandchildren take their children on a long weekend getaway through Arkansas they’ll visit the places where your fingerprints will forever remain. The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza, Lakeport Plantation in Lake Village, the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, and the Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess. I have no doubt you’ll leave your mark on the Sultana project in Marion. It would be easy to cite more, but there are too many to recount.

And with sincere gratitude, thank you for all the opportunities you gave me along the way. From interviews to a young college newspaper reporter, to summer intern, to employee, to counselor in business, and so many other ways you contributed to my livelihood. I am grateful beyond measure. You never, ever forget the people who give you a chance.

Happy birthday to one of my most favorite, admired and respected people ever.

Your fan,

Steve Watkins

 

 

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