JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Usually, celebrations follow a big win but a gala at Arkansas State University Friday night was meant to keep a winning game plan moving forward.
Hard work pays off. For weeks, preparations have been underway for the inaugural Resident Appreciation Gala hosted by the North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative.
But it's what Jonesboro citizens have done for years that made the event a possibility.
"I want to take my hat off to you all," Mayor Harold Perrin said. "Of all the work that you've done on the planning, designing and giving us a vision."
Dozens of North Jonesboro residents were honored for their dedication to the part of town that Mayor Harold Perrin admits has had it's fair share of hard times.
"A lot of economic development people say 'why is things not happening in North Jonesboro?'"
But Perrin said changes are coming. A new Bill's Fresh Market at the corner of Johnson and Main is set to open in a few weeks and plans for development at the corner of Johnson and Rogers are underway.
It's what the future holds, thanks to the hard work of the men and women of North Jonesboro, that had keynote speaker Dr. Charlotte Lewellen-Williams honored.
"When local residents invest their time, their talent and their treasure, that's how you can really have a kind of environment that you want to live, raise your children and stay forever," Dr. Lewellen-Williams said.
Dr. Lewellen-Williams, a North Jonesboro native, now living in Central Arkansas, says her parents instilled the importance of civic duty in her and her siblings.
She said knowing dozens of people were going to be honored for the same thing made her proud of her roots.
"That's something that every community should be able to look at and to replicate. Individuals who make a commitment to a lifetime of civic engagement," she said.
The North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative plans to make this an annual event.