New president leads effort to aid youth

By Syd Hayman Published October 13, 2016 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: William Harvey

Alicia Hamner, president of the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy, said she joined the organization as a way to get involved in the community. She said her favorite Junior Auxiliary service project is the Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts for area children.

— Alicia Hamner joined the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy three years ago as a way to be involved in the community. Now she is the president of the organization and looks forward to leading the chapter in its upcoming service projects for White County youth.

This year, Alicia Hamner became president of the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy, which aims to give back to the children of White County.

“It’s important for me to be involved because without Junior Auxiliary, there are so many children and lives that we affect that I might otherwise not be able to affect,” she said.

Throughout the year, the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy participates in projects such as Food Baskets in November, a canned food drive; a charity ball, which raises money for the organization’s projects; and the Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts for children. Last year, the organization’s charity ball raised more than $24,000.

As president, Hamner ensures that service projects are being planned and executed in a timely manner.

“Basically, I oversee the chapter, make sure things are running smoothly, make sure the chairperson of each committee is getting their deadlines met,” she said.

Hamner, a Wilson native, moved to Searcy after studying marketing and management at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She is the retail sales manager at the AT&T mobility store in Jacksonville, and her husband, Robert, is the general manager of Western Sizzlin in Searcy.

“He and many of the husbands are good about getting involved and helping with our projects [as] needed,” she said.

She joined the organization three years ago as a provisional member — one who, over the course of six months, is trained to become a full member. Hamner’s mother-in-law, Fran Hamner, was a member of the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy and served as president from 1997-98. Hamner said she liked hearing the memories of projects her mother-in-law did while in the organization.

“I’m not from Searcy, so I really wanted to get involved with the community and know people,” Hamner said.

Natalie Horton, who became vice president of the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy this year, also said she joined the organization because she was looking for a way to get involved in the community.

“One of the things I’m passionate about is that it’s humbling to give my time and resources to children and families,” she said. “It’s a good feeling to know someone is being touched by what we do. It’s very important for me to pass [those lessons] on to my children.”

Horton said working with Hamner has been great.

“She always answers any questions I have, and she’s very good about getting in there and working,” Horton said. “Any project I’m at, she’s always there working it all. She doesn’t ask anybody to do anything she wouldn’t do herself.”

There are 23 Junior Auxiliary of Searcy members, plus 12 provisional members. Hamner said the members have different careers and household makeups but work well together.

“We’re all a lot different, but for the most part, we all get along really well,” she said. “We’re all there for one common cause, and that’s to raise money for the children of White County.”

Hamner added that one of the biggest takeaways she’s learned over the past three years is that helping others is a group effort.

“It takes the entire group of people working together, and that’s why it’s so important that everyone is involved in our projects,” she said. “That’s fun because we all get to work together, and we all get to have fun while doing it.”

This month, the organization will present a Halloween Carnival at The Sunshine School, and in November, the Junior Auxiliary will hold its Food Baskets canned-food drive.

“We deliver those food baskets to families who probably wouldn’t get a Thanksgiving meal without that,” she said.

One of Hamner’s favorite projects is the Angel Tree because when she was younger, her grandmother would take her to pick out an angel, and Hamner would pick out the gifts.

“Usually, I’d pick a little girl around my age, and I would pick something that I would like,” she said.

Members must complete 72 hours of service a year, but Hamner said they get to have fun while doing so.

“I think the greatest part is not only being involved in the community but also making lifelong friendships that I probably wouldn’t make otherwise,” she said.

Outside of the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy, Hamner is a member of the Women of AT&T, a nonprofit that aims to help its members achieve personal and professional goals and to bring about change in their business communities.

“The best part of becoming president [of the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy] is knowing they’re entrusting me to lead the chapter to be successful,” she said.

To learn more about the Junior Auxiliary of Searcy, visit

Staff writer Syd Hayman can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or

Staff Writer Syd Hayman can be reached at 501-244-4342 or

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