Independent Living Services, the organization serving community members with developmental disabilities, celebrated its 40th year of service in the area Thursday night.

The celebration took place in downtown Conway’s Simon Park.

Speakers were Rep. Linda Tyler, Sen. Gilbert Baker, supporter Al Coleman and Executive Director Jackie Fliss.

"I’m very happy to see so many people here tonight celebrating our 40 years of continuing service to this community," Fliss said.

As for the nonprofit’s future, Fliss said the organization would continue to grow to meet the area’s rising need.

The organization, which began in 1970 as a small group home for eight men run by volunteers, currently employs 375 central Arkansas residents.

"These are important members of our community. ILS is also a major employer. We recognize and appreciate that," Tyler said.

Independent Living Services provides housing, shelter, general health, rehabilitative and human services to more than 200 individuals with developmental disabilities.

"It does take a community family to meet the needs of the community and that is what this organization is all about," Baker said.

Centennial Bank provided food for attendees.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)