Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner has a compassionate heart

Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 10:41 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Rick Carter has worked as a funeral director for nearly forty years.

“Recently my mother passed away and she was out of state,” Traci Smith said.

Smith nominated Carter for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.

Smith recalls one of the hardest days of her life... the loss of her mother, Carolyn Barber.

“He meets people where they are, but somehow by the time you leave him in this circumstance, the burden and the weight of what you’ve been going through is lifted.”

Rick Carter has handled some pretty tough times—not the least of which was the Westside shooting and the burials of a teacher and children who were too young to die.

“It is so stressful and people don’t know what they’re gonna do,” Marty Boyd, Craighead County sheriff said.

Boyd has seen Carter work under the most difficult of circumstances.

“He is sincere with everyone that walks in the door and he is genuinely concerned about their well-being,” Boyd said.

“Everybody has a gift from God. But, Rick’s is dealing with people, meeting people, being able to comfort and console people in the very darkest time of their life,” Amy Carter, Rick’s mother, explained.

Mrs. Carter had six boys and two girls.

Rick, one of the middle children, found compassion at an early age.

“He wanted to bring all stray dogs home with him,” Mrs. Carter said.

Compassion is always his singular focus.

“It’s like he’s been with you all your life,” Rev. Dr. Charles Coleman, Rick’s friend, City Councilman, and long-time community servant said. “And whatever he says is so meaningful, and it sticks with you.”

Rev. Dr. Coleman says Carter works with his inner-city youth, teaches them how to make jelly, and provides food when needed.

“He goes and buys tons of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and sits out at our center and we give them away. This is all out of his pocket,” Dr. Coleman said.

Friends from all walks of life gathered to surprise Carter—after Smith nominated him for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.

She writes, “There isn’t a place in NE Arkansas that you will mention his name that someone won’t talk about the way he cared for their family in the darkest moments of life. He cares for Region 8 residents as he walks alongside them in the process of laying their loved ones to rest. He does that by providing dignity and care for the deceased and by helping a family honor the life of one who matters to them. He never forgets a name and leaves us feeling better simply by being present with us. He is the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are suffering. There is no better candidate than him.’

“He sees this as ministry,” Smith said. “And I will tell you as someone on the other end, that’s what it feels like.”

“Often the ministers will convey to a believer’s family: Think of what it is three days ago, two days ago when they died—when they entered heaven,” Carter said. “What I saw today was a foretaste of that because that’s going to be the people who are waiting on me and that’s the people I know and love.”