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By Curtis Barnett, President and Chief Executive Officer

I have always believed that when you give of yourself, you gain in the process. That’s why I’m very proud that volunteering is part of our culture at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. We truly want to make a difference in the health of our communities and improve the lives of all Arkansans.

The 2024 Heart Walk will be held on Saturday, April 27, at the North Shore Riverwalk Park in North Little Rock. You can sign in by 8:30 a.m. to walk with your friends, co-workers and family at 9 a.m. To register, see page 3. It’s a great chance to get exercise and support a great cause. Doing good just makes you feel good.

In 2023, our employees logged more than 922 volunteer hours and supported 80 events throughout the state. We supported various scheduled charity walks and runs, but we also rolled up our sleeves and helped our neighbors after tornadoes ripped through our state. Our employees raise their hands whenever a need goes out. A great example is my friend Wanda King, our vice president for the Federal Employee Program & Medicare Advantage Operations.

Caring for others

Wanda has a servant’s heart. High blood pressure also runs in her family. These two facts might not seem to overlap, but Wanda is known for looking on the bright side. In this case, the American Heart Association’s 2024 Central Arkansas Heart Walk benefits by having her as a chairperson to raise funds and awareness about cardiovascular disease.

Caring for Northwest Arkansas

Candice Holt is another example of an employee who is involved in her community. Candice has embraced Northwest Arkansas, working on numerous charity walks and runs and other events. She hosted a clothing drive for Beautiful Lives Boutique, which supports local women’s shelters. Candice is so active that she was recognized as the 2022 Ambassador of the Year for the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce.

Sharing her joy

And finally, no mention of Arkansas Blue Cross volunteers would be complete without remembering Syreeta Ball. Her brilliant smile graced almost every charity walk and event for more than 17 years. Syreeta was a part of our employee committee, our Toastmasters Club and our choir. She embodied so many of the admirable qualities that make Arkansas Blue Cross unique. Syreeta passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, and she will be deeply missed, but her spirit lives on each time we get together to serve.

Serving others in our communities makes an impact, but the personal reward is priceless. It is through their giving that these three women have gained friendships, and connections and become a part of the communities they serve. And we all gain by improving our state.


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