Walter E. Hussman Jr., chairman of WEHCO Media, Inc., the parent company of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, was introduced Tuesday during a news conference as Easterseals Arkansas' 2019 Arkansan of the Year.
Hussman will be honored at a banquet May 9 at the Little Rock Marriott hotel.
The Arkansan of the Year gala annually recognizes a distinguished leader who has given his time, talent and resources to improve the quality of life for Arkansans, Easterseals Arkansas spokesman Jillian Jacuzzi said.
"He has been good to Easterseals and has been a consistent donor and supporter of our organization," said Elaine Eubank, president and CEO of Easterseals Arkansas.
Easterseals Arkansas provides a variety of home and community-based services for children with disabilities, developmental delays, special needs and autism. It also provides adult-based services and resources, support, and education for family and caregivers.
Hussman spoke about the importance of having an organization like Easterseals, saying that "we cherish our children and go to great lengths to help them, and Easterseals is probably the greatest organization in America that does that."
The third-generation newspaperman said he hopes he can help make more people aware of Easterseals and its importance, and that being recognized by the organization is special.
"I never thought I would be named Arkansan of the Year," he said. "I have always supported Easterseals because I know they are the premier organization in America that helps kids with disabilities. A lot of kids with disabilities will grow up and have productive lives, and I am glad this institution helps make that happen."
Hussman toured the Easterseals facilities Tuesday, which was recorded on video and will be shown during the May 9 banquet.
"To be with these kids and to interact with them, you know that we are all children of God," Hussman said with tears in his eyes. "So doing something for Easterseals makes me feel really good."
Tickets to the banquet are $250 a person, and tables are available for purchase. The event will include a live auction where attendees can bid on numerous items, including an 18-person suite at AT&T Stadium -- home of the Dallas Cowboys -- in Arlington, Texas, for the University of Arkansas' football game against Texas A&M on Sept. 28.
Money raised from the banquet will go to Easterseals Arkansas' general fund.
"Last year we raised $600,000 gross," said Sheffield Nelson, chairman of the Arkansan of the Year event and a former honoree. "We don't set goals or anything, but we're trying to shoot to raise as much as we can."
State Desk on 03/13/2019
Print Headline: Arkansan of Year Hussman touts ‘premier organization’ during tour of Easterseals facilities