Engineer Develops 'Extraordinary' Possibilities - People Helping People Series

Friday, November 10 at 03:00 PM
Category: People Helping People

Nov. 07, 2017 – Tom Jakobs’ professional aspiration is as daunting as it is admirable.

“I specialize in helping people with very severe disabilities to live more independently and to pursue their life goals,” said Jakobs, founder of the nonprofit corporation, Be Extraordinary* (Be-X).

It’s a pursuit easier said than done, but Be-X’s track record speaks for itself. According to the organization’s website – be-x.org – it has an 84% success rate in terms of promoting its clients’ quality of life through the effective use of technology. A bioengineer, Jakobs said that kind of success is determined on a case-by-case basis. “Sometimes success is just having a little more ability that what you had before,“ he said.

Jakobs is the 25th person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference.

In the case of Shawn Egan, Jakobs’ – and Be-X’s – charge was to give him the capability to use a phone. Egan suffered a spinal cord injury while cutting a tree that left him paralyzed. Through years of patience that included securing grant money in addition to numerous technical trials and errors, Be-X finally was able to find a solution that allows Egan to independently place and receive calls, as well as text.

The result is that he can help with his family’s rental business, and he also serves on a couple of local boards of directors. Having that capability is beyond what Egan set as a goal for himself after his injury. “When I got hurt back in 2011, that was my big goal then – and that’s still my goal – is to get my kids out of school,” Egan said. “Just be here long enough to see they get graduated, they become adults, and they move into the life that they want.” Even so, thanks to the efforts of Be-X, Egan is able to work from home and help his children with their homework, things that didn’t seem possible at different times after his injury. In his words, that allows Egan “to contribute to society.” And that’s a big win for all involved.

About Arvest Bank

Arvest Bank operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

  Housing Lender and Member FDIC.

Tags: Arkansas, Community Support, Fort Smith, People Helping People
 

People Helping People Video Series Earns Awards

Tuesday, November 07 at 04:00 PM
Category: People Helping People

Nov. 7, 2017 – MarCom Awards* recently announced the 2017 winners in its annual creative competition for marketing and communications, and Arvest Bank received two awards and an honorable mention for its People Helping People video series.

The series highlights individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference in the lives of others. The idea came from the bank’s mission statement: “People helping people find financial solutions for life.” Arvest won a Platinum Award for its overall People Helping People series.

The bank won a Gold Award for its video featuring Steve Ebert, a volunteer cross country coach for Central Junior High School in Springdale, Ark. 

 

The bank also received an honorable mention for its video featuring Marshal Grissom, head coach of the Caney Valley High School Bass Club in Ramona, Okla.

A total of 12 Arkansans, five Missourians and eight Oklahomans have been featured to date. Arvest’s entry was among roughly 6,000 submitted to the MarCom Awards for consideration.

“This series mirrors our overall mission of helping people every day, and we are honored that these individuals will share with us the great work they are doing in their local communities,” Arvest marketing director Jason Kincy said. “It’s our hope that these stories will inspire others to give back to their communities as well.”

MarCom Awards recognizes outstanding achievement by creative professionals involved in the concept, direction, design and production of marketing and communication materials and programs worldwide. Administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals, the competition is judged by professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

The People Helping People series launched in August 2016, and has received more than 400,000 total views. The videos are available via Arvest’s YouTube*, Facebook* and Instagram* channels. The bank will publish its 25th story on Friday, Nov. 10th. Arvest social media followers can help spread the word about these inspiring community members by sharing, liking and retweeting the videos. 

About Arvest
Arvest Bank, named by Forbes magazine as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” for 2017, operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, People Helping People
 

Breast Cancer Survivor Pays it Forward - People Helping People Series

Friday, October 27 at 03:20 PM
Category: People Helping People

Oct. 27, 2017 – When Bobbie Jo Sparks was near her lowest, four words changed her life.

“Call Angie with BCAP,” Sparks remembers being told.

BCAP* is the acronym for Breast Cancer Assistance Program, a 501(c)(3) charity that assists women affected by breast cancer. Sparks is a breast cancer survivor who in 2012 was diagnosed with cancer, then lost her mother and her job within a span of about two months. 

On top of that, Sparks had three children she feared wouldn’t get a Christmas due to all of the hardship. After taking the advice to call BCAP, however, Sparks got a much-needed boost.
 
BCAP, led by another breast cancer survivor, Angie Walters, paid the Sparks family’s rent and utilities. It even made sure the family had a Christmas dinner and gifts for Sparks’ children.
 
“Not only did they help my family,” Sparks said, “but they became family.”
 
Walters is the 24th person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference.

Walters’ determination to help breast cancer patients started when she was receiving treatment for her own illness. She heard fellow patients worry about meeting basic financial needs, and eventually formed BCAP to help address that issue.
 
Now, BCAP provides an average of about $1,500 to several cancer patients each month. The money comes from fundraisers such as the Pink Carpet Survivor Brunch and Fashion Show held earlier this fall.
 
Sparks, who now holds a fundraiser of her own to help support BCAP, knows firsthand how the organization helps those with seemingly overwhelming financial needs. After participating in the fashion show, Sparks knows about other benefits being associated with the group brings.
 
“I felt beautiful,” Sparks said. “I felt beautiful in my skin because all of those people allowed me to feel that way. Once I made my round and everybody is applauding and they know my story, it was amazing. ...You felt amazing. You felt like you were 10 feet tall.”
 
About Arvest Bank
Arvest Bank operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.
 
Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.
Tags: Oklahoma, People Helping People, Tulsa
 

Siloam Springs Volunteer Makes Tails Wag - People Helping People Series

Friday, October 13 at 06:15 PM
Category: People Helping People
Bittersweet may be the best word to describe the emotion Tina Berrios feels when she gets a text message from one of the local animal shelters she serves.
 
Berrios, president of the nonprofit, Tailwaggers*, Inc., said the texts usually convey this message: “Guess who got adopted?”
 
That message means one of the cats or dogs Berrios and other volunteers have spent hours befriending and socializing has a new home. It means the animal is leaving the shelter, which can be somewhat sad for those who have spent time with it.
 
The upside of those text messages, however, is greater.
 
“What’s most rewarding,” Berrios said of the time and energy she devotes to Tailwaggers, “is when there’s a dog that’s been there two or three months, when I get that text: ‘Guess who got adopted?’”
 
It’s been years since Berrios and her family moved from California to Siloam Springs, where she was surprised by how many stray animals she encountered. A longtime animal lover, Berrios began volunteering at the city’s shelter in hopes she could make some of thew animals more adoptable.
 

These days, Berrios not only volunteers her own time, but runs Tailwaggers. The organization’s mission is to improving the lives of pets and pet owners through education, spaying/neutering, fostering and adopting otherwise abandoned, abused and neglected animals.

Fundraising, beefing up volunteer lists, organizing educational outreach efforts and more can be a demanding – and sometimes thankless – job. When those text messages hit her phone, however, Berrios knows that all the effort is worth it.
 
“I love this job,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
 
Berrios is the 23rd person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference. 
 
About Arvest Bank
Arvest Bank operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.
 
 Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

 

Tags: Northwest Arkansas, People Helping People, Siloam Springs
 

Springdale Coach Goes the Distance to Volunteer - People Helping People Series

Friday, September 22 at 07:15 AM
Category: People Helping People
Steve Ebert wasn’t interested in becoming a coach as much as he was interested in spending some quality time with his daughter.
 
Ebert’s daughter was entering seventh grade at the time, and asked her father to start running with her because she wanted to join her junior high school’s cross country team. The two “did a lot of miles together,” Ebert said, and he felt good about helping her get an edge on her classmates when they showed up for the first day of practice.
 
When Ebert saw that his daughter was one of more than 100 kids at that first practice, however, he thought the team’s one coach might need some help. Fast-forward six years, and both the coach and Ebert’s daughter have moved on from Springdale Central’s cross country team.
 
Ebert, though, can still be found at practice – Monday-Friday at 6:45 a.m. – working as a volunteer coach.
 
“He loves the kids, he loves being out here, and… it was never about him, it’s always been about the kids and making kids having the joy of running,” said Chelsea Perry, the team’s current coach.
 

Ebert is the 22nd person to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference.
 
The videos are available via Arvest’s social media channels – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and the Arvest Blog – and the bank will make related posts each time a new story appears. Additionally, Arvest social media followers can help spread the word about these inspiring community members by sharing, liking and retweeting the videos. Ebert’s video will launch on Sept. 22.
 
“Hopefully if I can impact one person a year, then it's all worth it,” Ebert said. “So I continue to do that just because it's rewarding, but also… it’s a need (that) somebody needs to fill.”
 
Ebert’s impact has been felt by far more than one person a year. Perry and teachers at Central have noticed improvement in Ebert’s student-athletes’ drive and effort both on the cross country course and in the classroom.
 
So, even though both of his children have now progressed through the program, Ebert still spends all those early mornings – and countless other hours – helping the team members reach their full potential. Natalie Watkins was a member of Ebert’s first team.
 
“I don't think without Steve’s help I would be a good runner or kind of be the person that I am,” she said. “I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but I don't think I would have kept motivating myself to get better if I didn't have his encouragement all those years.”
 
About Arvest Bank
Arvest Bank operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.
 
Tags: Arkansas, People Helping People, Springdale

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