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
 

Bryan Promoted in Fort Smith Market

Wednesday, July 12 at 05:00 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Ian Bryan has been promoted to business development officer in the Fort Smith, Ark. market.

Bryan, who most recently worked as an administrative assistant, primarily will serve the Russellville, Clarksville and Paris areas. He will office at the downtown Russellville branch. Bryan will work with both individual customers and small businesses to identify bank products and services that will meet their unique needs.

“We couldn’t be more excited to see Ian moving into his new role,” said Shawn Bates, Arvest’s community president for the River Valley region. “His energy and enthusiasm, along with his knowledge of ways we can help both individual consumers and small businesses alike, should be a great benefit to our customers.”

Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in business management/administration from University of the Ozarks, where he also played baseball. In addition to being a 2017 Leadership Russellville graduate, Bryan is a member of the River Valley United Way Board of Directors, University of the Ozarks Alumni Association Board of Directors, University of the Ozarks Hall of Fame Committee and New Life Church Russellville production team

He and his wife, Lauren, live in Russellville.

 

Tags: Arkansas, Associates, Fort Smith
 

Q&A with Amber Mascuilli with River Valley Food 4 Kids for 1 Million Meals

Wednesday, April 26 at 06:05 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

For three years River Valley Food 4 Kids* has been helping children in Pope County in Arkansas. It’s a pleasure to partner with them for our seventh annual 1 Million Meals initiative to raise one million meals for the children, elderly and others in need across the 120+ communities we serve. 

To learn more about River Valley Food 4 Kids, we did a Q&A with Russellville High School teacher, Amber Mascuilli. 

What’s your involvement with River Valley Food 4 Kids, and how did you get started?
The Russellville High School has been maintaining a food pantry for our high-need students since the fall of 2012. Originally we were almost completely stocked with Rice Depot food and donations from teachers and students, but once Rice Depot became financially stressed, our program nearly went under. River Valley Food 4 Kids’ involvement in the school food pantry became a pivotal partner in our success. When they discovered the Russellville Schools, and several surrounding schools, were in dire need, River Valley Food 4 Kids jumped in and immediately made us a priority. 

We have seen the number of kids served at the high school grow each year, and this year we are regularly serving 40-44 students each week, not to mention providing snacks in classrooms where many students spend their day. It is a huge undertaking to make sure these kids choose to stay in school to get their diploma which will serve them in their future, rather than dropping out to have enough to eat. River Valley Food 4 Kids positively impacts these kids’ lives far beyond full bellies – they are facilitating their learning.

What’s a compelling experience you’ve had during your time with River Valley Food 4 Kids? 
I had assigned a summary of an article for my students to work on, and they had time over the long Labor Day weekend to complete it. One of my students did poorly on it, and she came up to me after class apologizing for her poor grade. She had apparently had no food in the house over the weekend, and found a bag of sugar in the cabinet. She drank sugar water all weekend. Long weekend, with no food, and the equivalent of nectar to sustain her. Her father had not paid the child support, and her mother was trying desperately to save the house. Through River Valley Food 4 Kids, I was able to load her up with food over the next few days, and keep her in food throughout the year. This organization changes lives. It gives hope. It supports those who want more for themselves than the hand they were dealt.

How can people get involved with River Valley Food 4 Kids? 
Of course donations are greatly appreciated and super simple through River Valley Food 4 Kids’ website*, but because they are very local, you can actually be involved in sorting, packing and delivering food to the schools. During the summer, you can help pack boxes for families who come to pick up food for their kids in our community. This organization thrives on community support, and those who are involved are rewarded with knowing kids aren’t going to bed hungry.

We’d love to have you involved in our 1 Million Meals initiative to help River Valley Food 4 Kids* and our other food partners.  

Four Easy Ways to Donate:
  • Donate via Phone – Customers can make a $1 (or more) donation by calling (866) 952-9523. Funds will be drawn directly from your Arvest account.
  • Donate via Mail – Mail a check to Arvest Bank Operations, ATTN: 1MM, P.O. Box 799, Lowell, AR 72745. Include 1 Million Meals in the memo line of the check.
  • Donate in a Branch – Stop by your local Arvest Bank branch. Cash and check contributions accepted.
  • Donate Arvest Flex Rewards™ – Customers can redeem points for a 1 Million Meals donation. Log in at arvestflexrewards.com, and click on the banner for 1 Million Meals to get started!
We’ll Donate $1 Each Time You:
  • Follow us on Instagram.
  • Like or share our 1 Million Meals Facebook posts.
  • Retweet our 1 Million Meals tweets on Twitter on April 21 and May 10.

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

Tags: 1 Million Meals, Arkansas, Charitable Giving, Consumer Protection, Fort Smith
 

Q&A with Jacquelene Ott with Johnson County Community Foundation for 1 Million Meals

Wednesday, April 26 at 05:10 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

We’re kicking off our seventh annual 1 Million Meals initiative with Johnson County Community Foundation (JCCF), an affiliate of the Arkansas Community Foundation, which  has been serving people in Johnson County, Ark. for 14 years. Our initiative seeks to raise one million meals for the children, elderly and others in need across the 120+ communities we serve in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Jacquelene Ott, executive director with JCFF, got us up-to-speed on the great work her organization is doing.

What's your involvement with Johnson County Community Foundation, and how did you get started?
I am the executive director of JCCF and have served as such for three years.Before that, I served on the board of directors for 11 years. I learned quickly that JCCF is an effective, efficient way to make the biggest impact for people in Johnson County in the most helpful ways. Understanding this, I have been a part of this organization now for the last 14 years.

What's a compelling experience you've had during your time with JCCF?
JCCF provides grants to all legitimate nonprofits in Johnson County, Ark., including schools, government entities, all 501(c)(3) organizations, churches, food banks, etc. As executive director, I have seen thousands of people fed during the holidays. I have had the pleasure of providing freezers to local food banks for added storage capacity. I have seen families lined up outside churches waiting for food. In particular, I talked with a little boy on Christmas Eve and told him that in just a few minutes he would be served a lot of wonderful food and sweets later. His response to me was extremely sad. He looked up and said, "I don't ever think about food, that way I don't get sick so much when I don't have any."

How can people get involved with JCCF?
We have a Stop Hunger Endowment that has a little over $1,000 spendable balance. If people could contribute to this endowment, the spendable balance will grow and (in tum), we will feed more people. We try to provide funds for food banks, churches, and school backpack programs twice a year to keep families and children fed as best we can.

To donate to JCCF:

  • Contact Jackie Ott at (479) 754-5842.
  • Contact the Arkansas Community Foundation Office at 1400 West Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72201 or arcf.org* or (888) 220-2723. Tell them you want to contribute to hunger relief in Johnson County, Ark.

We’d love to have you involved in our 1 Million Meals initiative to help Johnson County Community Foundation and our other food partners.  

Four Easy Ways to Donate:
  • Donate via Phone – Customers can make a $1 (or more) donation by calling (866) 952-9523. Funds will be drawn directly from your Arvest account.
  • Donate via Mail – Mail a check to Arvest Bank Operations, ATTN: 1MM, P.O. Box 799, Lowell, AR 72745. Include 1 Million Meals in the memo line of the check.
  • Donate in a Branch – Stop by your local Arvest Bank branch. Cash and check contributions accepted.
  • Donate Arvest Flex Rewards™ – Customers can redeem points for a 1 Million Meals donation. Log in at arvestflexrewards.com, and click on the banner for 1 Million Meals to get started!
We’ll Donate $1 Each Time You:
  • Follow us on Instagram.
  • Like or share our 1 Million Meals Facebook posts.
  • Retweet our 1 Million Meals tweets on Twitter on April 21 and May 10.

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

Tags: 1 Million Meals, Arkansas, Charitable Giving, Community Support, Fort Smith
 

Foti Shares Arvest’s Commitment to the Community

Friday, April 07 at 07:55 AM
Category: Arvest Community News
Rick Foti may be retired, but he still carries a business card. 

"Rick Foti. Retired. 40 Years in Education. 8 Years Feeding the Hungry."

Those are the words on Foti’s card, and its sentiments resonate in a particularly strong way this time of year. That’s because the fact many children don’t have access to the same meals during the summer that they receive at the schools they attend during the academic year is one of the reasons Arvest Bank is conducting its 1 Million Meals campaign during April and May for the second consecutive year.

Foti served as CEO of Community Services Clearinghouse in Fort Smith, Ark., for eight years. Among its many programs that benefit five counties in Arkansas and two in Oklahoma, Clearinghouse currently serves more than 2,400 children with its Meals for Kids/Backpack Program.

When Foti retired, Arvest gave him two small tokens of appreciation for his impact on the community and fighting hunger in particular – an Arvest ball cap and an Arvest beanie. Since then, Foti has traveled all around the globe, taking his Arvest headwear nearly every step of the way.

From sporting the cap at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii to donning the beanie in Iceland, Foti has taken the Arvest name far from its four-state footprint. It was during a walk around his neighborhood lake, though, that Foti almost lost one of his treasured hats.

A gust of wind, it seems, blew the ball cap into the lake and out of Foti’s reach. Resigned to the fact he’d lost the cap, Foti continued his walk, only to spot it washed ashore farther along his path.

Now Foti is ready to take his Arvest caps on new adventures, and we applaud his spirit. More than his fun-loving side, though Arvest salutes Foti’s longtime commitment to his community, one that we and Clearinghouse share.

If you’d like to show your commitment to the community by joining our fight against hunger, please visit arvest.com/millionmeals to learn how you can help. 
 
Tags: 1 Million Meals, Arkansas, Community Support, Fort Smith

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