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Annual golf-ball drop planned for Sept. 7

By Tammy Keith

This article was published August 28, 2017 at 10:11 a.m.

Elissa Douglas, executive director of Independent Living Services in Conway, and Robert Wright, director of development and supportive employment for the nonprofit organization, throw golf balls into the air at Centennial Valley Country Club in Conway. The 12th annual ILS Golf Ball Drop is scheduled from 5:30-7 p.m. Sept. 7. The person whose golf ball is closest to hole will win $2,017. Tickets for numbered golf balls, which will be dropped from a Conway Fire Department bucket truck, can be purchased online at, at the nonprofit agency at 615 E. Robins St. or at the event.

CONWAY — It’s been a soggy summer, but on Sept. 7, it will be raining golf balls at Centennial Valley Country Club in Conway.

The 12th annual Independent Living Services Golf Ball Drop will take place from

5:30-7 p.m., and the Conway Fire Department’s ladder bucket will release golf balls at 6:30 p.m. ILS board president Josh Linden will be in the bucket to help with the release.

The grand prize is $2,017 for the ball closest to the spot marked with an X; the person whose ball is farthest away will receive $20.17, plus a basket of “goodies,” said Robert Wright, director of development and supportive employment.

Tickets to purchase numbered golf balls are $10 for one; $25 for three; $50 for seven; and $100 for 20. Golf balls can be purchased at; at the Independent Living Services office, 615 E. Robins St.; or by calling Wright at

(501) 580-0098. Tickets will also be available at the event. Tickets require a name, email and phone number so participants do not have to be present to win.

Everything else is free, Wright said.

“Centennial Bank will do the food — hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and drinks. We also have a bounce house for the kids,” he said. Wright said the Fire Department has been asked to bring its smokehouse, where children can learn how to crawl out of a house that’s on fire.

“It’s just a fun day,” he said. “It’s a community activity.

Everybody’s invited — the more, the merrier. They’ll have enough food for hundreds of people.”

Elissa Douglas, executive director, said she has been to all the golf-ball drops.

“We just love it; it’s a fun way for ILS to raise money and interact with the community,” she said. “We have neighbors walk over from Centennial Valley who have walked over for years; it’s a fun evening.”

The proceeds from the event will go to ILS to support transportation services, Wright said.

Independent Living Services, which was founded in 1970, provides transportation to about 250 people ages 18 and older — referred to as consumers — to and from the program each day, as well as to the grocery store, medical visits, movies, ballgames and other activities.

“Probably 95 percent of the individuals we serve can’t drive or don’t have a driver’s license because of their disabilities,” Wright said.

Douglas said the organization has about 50 vehicles in its fleet. “We transport folks all over Conway all the time,” she said. Drivers were being trained this week, she said.

Some of the consumers work in the community through Community Access Supported Employment. The agency has classroom-type environments in areas such as computers, advocacy, home economics, arts, crafts, music, and health and wellness. ILS also provides occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy to consumers.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or


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