Faulkner County residents as well as volunteers from neighboring counties and from across the state line have helped fill more than 65,000 sandbags in preparation of the historic 2019 Arkansas River Flood.
"The community has really come together," Conway Arvest Market President Skip Colvin said as he and other Arvest Bank representatives were onsite Thursday at the Conway Transportation Department to cook lunch for those volunteering and filling sandbags.
Local athletics teams including the Conway Wampus Cats, Vilonia Eagles and Greenbrier Panthers football teams were among volunteers who helped fill sandbags for Faulkner County residents in need.
A baseball team that traveled to Conway from Oklahoma to compete over the weekend put their competitive nature to the side and joined local volunteers at the Conway Transportation Department.
"The support we've been given is just amazing," Faulkner County Road Foreman Mark Ledbetter said.
The Oklahoma City Ambassadors traveled to Conway to compete in a tournament being held at local colleges. The tournament began Thursday and continues through Sunday.
Conway Police Department spokesman LaTresha Woodruff said the support from others was inspiring.
CPD officers also have lent a helping hand over the last week to assist in filling bags. Woodruff said this outreach is a way CPD officers and staff can help support the community they serve.
"Officers and CPD personnel have volunteered to fill sandbags and man the flood hotline," she told the Log Cabin Democrat. "Your Conway Police Department is committed to doing whatever it needs to do to help during this time."
Volunteers began filling sandbags on May 22 in preparation of the imminent flood. Since then, more than 65,000 bags have been filled across the county thanks to residents as well as city and county employees stepping up to help out.
Sandbag volunteering opportunities are available at:
Beaverfork Fire Department, located at 2 Beaverfork Road.
The Conway Transportation Department, located at 100 E. Robins St.
Highway 286 East Fire Station, located at 268 Highway 286 East.
There are also two self-filling stations set up for residents in need to walk up and fill whatever amount of sandbags they need at:
Mayflower City Hall, located at 2 Ashmore Drive.
The lot across from Red Robin, located at 1292 E. Dave Ward Drive.
Nearly 50,000 of the sandbags that already have been filled in the county were filled at the Beaverfork Fire Department.
Volunteer firefighters at the department as well as other organizers and volunteers offer sandbag delivery to those who cannot make it to the station to pick up bags to protect their homes.
"If you need them, we can bring them to you anywhere out in the county," BFD volunteer Jennifer Hutchinson told the Log Cabin.
Those who need sandbags delivered to their residence are asked to call BFD volunteers at 501-514-2302.
Lindsay Bradshaw, who is a science instructional facilitator at Conway Public Schools, helped fill sandbags Thursday morning at the Conway Transportation Department with her two sons.
The Bradshaw boys, 10-year-old Spencer and 6-year-old Collin, said they enjoyed being able to help out.
For Lindsay, she said she found it encouraging to see many of her students volunteering in a time of need on their summer break.
"It shows they can see beyond themselves," she said. "This is their summer break and they are doing manual labor to help others. It's a culture of caring."
North Little Rock resident Claire Hettinger, who was off work Thursday, opted to drive to Conway to help a community in need of assistance.
The work was eye-opening, she said.
"I had no idea just how bad it was until I started researching yesterday," Hettinger said.
A man who recently moved to Conway from Ohio said that while he was lucky as a Greenbrier resident not to be affected by the flooding event, he felt he should help those who did need assistance.
Larry Hicks said he was blessed through the tragedy and wanted to be there for the community that neighbors his home.
Fourteen-year-old Tracy Touts also filled sandbags alongside other volunteers. On Wednesday, the Conway student filled sandbags at the Beaverfork Fire Department. On Thursday, he helped fill bags at the Conway Transportation Department.
The soon-to-turn-15-year-old lives along Tucker Creek, after learning his neighborhood could be affected during the incident, he said it was time to get out and help others.
"I knew it was getting serious as soon as I heard Tucker Creek could flood," he said while encouraging others to support their neighbors as well. "Come out and help. Your house could be next."
The Arkansas Department of Corrections has brought prisoners to help fill sandbags and local 309 inmates have also helped with relief efforts.