Ross Cowling, Parks and Recreation Superintendent for the City of Texarkana, Ark., was just honored with an "Outstanding Volunteer Service Award."

Arkansas tourism partners from across the state on March 14, honored the winners of the annual “Henry Awards” during a luncheon at the 43rd Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held March 12-14 in Little Rock, according to a press release from the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism.

I couldn't have done it without some great volunteers. I love this city and this state.

The Henry Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the state’s tourism industry in the preceding year.

Governor Asa Hutchinson presided at the banquet and addressed more than 500 attendees about tourism issues in Arkansas. Kane Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, served as master of ceremonies and Miss Arkansas 2016, Savannah Skidmore, assisted in the presentation of the awards.

Cowling said it was an honor and a privilege to accept an award on the state level.

"I wasn't expecting anything when I took over this volunteer position for the city of Texarkana, Ark., but I wanted to find a way to keep some events going that I felt were good for this city.  It's a sacrifice to be away from your family while planning and organizing these events but to be recognized for all the hard work by the State of Arkansas made it all worth it," he said.

"I couldn't have done it without some great volunteers. I love this city and this state."

Facebook, Marsha Cowling
Facebook, Marsha Cowling

Other winners included:

  • Tourism Person of the Year: Jim Rice, Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, Little Rock
  • Media Support Award: Arkansas Living, Little Rock
  • Bootstrap Award: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs
  • Arkansas Heritage Award: Ozark Highlands Radio, Mountain View
  • Grand Old Classic Special Event Award: Arkansas Derby, Hot Springs
  • Community Tourism Development Award: The Unexpected, Fort Smith
  • The Natural State Award: West Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, West Memphis

The Henry Awards have been a feature of the annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism since their debut in 1981. The awards are named for Henri de Tonti, founder of Arkansas Post in 1686, and who is often hailed as the first “Arkansas Traveler.”

For more information, contact Kristine Puckett, Tourism Development Manager, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, 501-682-5240.

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