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Mayors honor service, volunteerism at Clinton School event

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published April 1, 2014 at 12:42 p.m.

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From left, Wrightsville Mayor McKenzie “Mack” Riley, Ward Mayor Art Brooke, North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith, Maumelle Mayor Michael Watson, Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs and Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh listen as Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola speaks Tuesday at a Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service event outside the Clinton School of Public Service.

Mayors from seven cities including Little Rock and North Little Rock paid tribute to volunteerism Tuesday at an event outside the Clinton School of Public Service.

Mayors Mark Stodola and Joe Smith joined city leaders from Batesville, Bryant, Maumelle, Ward and Wrightsville for the event recognizing service and how it helps cities overcome various challenges.

"One thing that signifies and is a signature of Americans is their ability to give back voluntarily through the effort of service without expectation of compensation, knowing that you're going to help your fellow man and woman improve their lives," Stodola told the crowd, which included dozens of volunteers active in local efforts.

Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School, called service the "common denominator for humanity" and a "unifying force" that brings people together.

"In this year — and it is an election year in Arkansas, and it's an election year throughout the country — there are many issues that divide us, many issues that cause us to differ," he said. "But there is one thing that brings us together, that has nothing to do with partisanship, that has nothing to do with where you live or who you are. It is the desire to serve and to help others."

The Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service event was part of a national movement involving 1,700 mayors who represent about 110 million residents.

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