Two years ago, Tim Tyler was named Greenbrier's Volunteer of the Year. On Thursday, he honored his sister, Kim, as the city's 2017 Citizen of the Year.
"When y'all [Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce] voted her to be Citizen of the Year, it was a true honor," Tim said during the 26th Annual Greenbrier Awards Banquet moments before handing his younger sister her trophy. "It was a true honor just for me because I love her and I thank you for doing that for her."
It was an emotional moment in Greenbrier's crowded junior high cafeteria as Tim thanked the city for recognizing his sister.
Having her brother pass on an honor from a city she loves so dearly was a surreal moment, Kim said.
"[That moment] occupied my heart tremendously," she said. "It was very meaningful and appreciated. My first thoughts were, 'Wow.' [This award] meant a tremendous amount coming from a family member I've worked alongside all my life and who knows me so well."
Tim said he doesn't know anyone who loves Greenbrier more than his sister does.
"If she was to bleed right now, she's going to bleed Greenbrier blue," he said Thursday night, noting his sister holds a special place in her heart for everyone she comes across. "If you ever had her as a teacher, you'd know what kind of teacher she is ... she remembers so much about each of her students."
Kim has a strong history within her community. She has served as Greenbrier Natural Resources Advisory Board chairman, Faulkner County Home Builders president and served as a Conway Noon Lions Club board member and currently serves as the Faulkner County Home Builders Association president.
Kim said she attributes her drive to her parents, Bill and Cathy Tyler, who instilled in her at a young age to always strive to learn and further herself.
Earning an "approval stamp" from the Greenbrier community was an honor Kim said she'll never forget.
"Faith, family and community is where it's at with me," she said. "To know people care that I care about them ... is a surreal stamp of approval. I want everyone to have quality of life."
Greenbrier's zip code — 72058 — is a number that Kim said has a deeper meaning from just numbers in a postal code.
"Every time I see those numbers, I think of five words: God chose me to serve," she said.
Kim said writing letters is a hobby she appreciates dearly. She said she likes to hand write the addresses, noting it adds a personal touch. She also said each time she writes out 72058, she automatically thinks of home. And as she finishes up each letter — even when she's sending off her utility bills — she said she takes a moment to pray for the letter's recipient.
Greenbrier resident Verna Higgins was also honored during Thursday's awards ceremony.
Chamber members voted Higgins the city's 2017 Volunteer of the Year. Justice of the Peace Jerry Boyer, one of Higgins' close friends and a former Greenbrier Citizen of the Year, said he was honored to recognize Higgins on Thursday.
Higgins, who spent 10 years with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and also worked for the Greenbrier School District as a substitute, has served on a handful of committees throughout the city and the county over the years. Boyer noted she is known for documenting many events through her photography skills, and also thanked her for sharing the moments she captures with others.
Boyer teared up as he thanked Higgins, who has lived in the Greenbrier community for 27 years with her husband, Randy, for her service with the Immanuel Baptist Church.
"Tonight, we are just plain proud to honor a worthy, a deserving and our most precious Volunteer of the Year, Verna Higgins," he said Thursday night.
Higgins said she was thankful of the accolade and said volunteering her time to others is something she will continue to do.
"Thank you so much," she said to banquet attendees as she hugged Boyer and her husband on stage. "I enjoy volunteering all the time. I wish I could do more of it. I would do it all the time if I could."
Greenbrier High School Senior Andrea Xiaojing "Andie" Finley was named Student of the Year during the 2018 Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.
Finley is ranked third in a class of 245 students and maintains a 4.25 GPA.
Two other Greenbrier residents — City Attorney Dustin Chapman and Greenbrier City Event Center Director Shellie O'Quinn — were recognized Thursday.
Mayor Sammy Joe Hartwick thanked the two for their countless hours of volunteer service to the city and awarded both with the Mayor's XM award.
Hartwick said this award is dedicated to people "who go the extra mile."
Thursday's event opened with a prayer by retiring board member Spencer Hawks. David Bazzel, a 2014 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee and co-host of the Show with No Name on 103.7 FM, was the featured guest speaker.
Bazzel shared stories about his time playing for the Razorbacks and other stories from his time spent as a co-host on the Show with No Name.
He also said volunteers are what make all the difference in Greenbrier.
As he spoke to those in attendance, he shared a story of the moment he realized what volunteering means to those who give their time to others.
He said he was living in an apartment complex focused around senior residents. One night, around 10:30 p.m., an elderly woman got on the elevator at the same time he did. The woman was carrying a potted plant and a balloon. This, he said, stood out to him and made him curious enough to start asking questions.
He learned the woman received an honor for volunteer hours at the Veterans Affairs Hospital. Before he asked how many hours this woman had served, he said he'd already estimated she put in around 100 hours of community service into getting this award. However, he learned she'd put in more than 1,600 hours.
It turns out, the woman's husband died during WWII. During his conversation with this woman, he said he learned that she vowed to volunteer her time and serve others. This was when he learned just how precious volunteering is, he said.
Bazzel said he was overcome by several different emotions during his encounter with this woman. The first, he said, was guilt. But also, he said he was amazed.
"As I stood there and I looked at that potted plant, I thought, 'How offensive it is ... this woman gave 1,600 hours to that hospital and they gave her a potted plant and a balloon,'" he said. "That's the greatness of this story. Do you think she did it for that stupid plant and a balloon? No. And that is what I love about true convictions."
Bazzel said he encouraged attendees to selflessly serve others just as the elderly woman he met years ago did.
"Take pride in your community, because people are saying positive things," he said. "You're not loosing half your population like a lot of towns around Arkansas. You've got a good thing going here. So continue it, but don't get satisfied. Don't be happy where you are, do more. You've got a good community here and you should be appreciative of it but also raise the bar."
Thursday's awards presentation also recognized four local businesses:
The Castle at Harmon Ranch was named New Business of the Year.
Graham Brothers Electric was named Small Business of the Year.
The CALL (Children of Arkansas Love for a Lifetime) located in Faulkner and Conway counties was named the Non-Profit/Service Organization of the Year.
Greenbrier Nursing and Rehab was named Business of the Year.