Jim Davidson, founder of Conway Bookcase Project, was among those nominated for KARK-TV 4’s 33rd annual Community Service Awards.

Finalists met for a reception and awards ceremony Friday night at the University of Central Arkansas’ Reynolds Performance Hall.

Davidson, one of 12 finalists in the state in the individual category, was recognized for his efforts in Conway Bookcase Project, which provides area children with starter libraries.

Individual category winners were; Neta Stamps of Berryville, James Brown of Norphlet, Lorrie Linderman of Heber Springs, Rau’l Blasini of Pocahontas, Theodoshia Cooper of Little Rock and Stella Lowe, also of Little Rock.

Just recently, Davidson’s committee distributed 50 starter libraries and personalized book shelves to children at a Faulkner County Library ceremony.

Davidson said the program is a community effort to curb illiteracy percentages and drop-out rates.

"The oak bookcase will probably be the nicest piece of furniture in many of the children’s’ homes," Davidson said.

Regarding his nomination for the distinction, Davidson said he was humbled.

"The real credit goes to the members of the committee," Davidson said. "I’m the founder and chairman, but it wouldn’t have happened without the 13 individuals on the committee. Any one of them are deserving of what I’m getting."

Though Davidson was not among the six individual finalists, he said he was glad for their ability to be recognized.

"Our bookcase project has had tremendous news and TV coverage since we began and I have personally received more accolades than I deserve," Davidson said.

Davidson said recognition of the group’s cause has come slowly, but with momentum, the program is spreading to area communities.

"We’ve been doing this six years," Davidson said. "It takes a while to get anything new going. Our goal is to see every community in Arkansas have a bookcase project."

According to Davidson, the group is in the process of taking the idea to Pine Bluff, Stuttgart and Marianna. Wynne’s program recently presented 89 bookcases and libraries.

Sherry Middleton, director of the D.H.S. Division of Volunteerism said, "I fully believe the nominees do not do it for the recognition. They do it because of the ethic of service."

The Youth Humanitarian award was given to Matt Eckess of Maumelle.

The Small Corporate Humanitarian honor was given to Reynolds Forestry Consulting and Real Estate in Magnolia, and the Large Corporate Humanitarian, CenterPoint Energy.

This year’s Distinguished Citizen award was given to Freeman McKindra, Sr. of Little Rock.

Sponsors of the event were KARK-TV 4, the Duncan Law Firm, the Office of the Governor and D.H.S. Division of Volunteerism. 

(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)