Van Buren's run of one of the top cities in the state for volunteer work will continue after the city earned yet another award for 2018.

It was announced in November that Van Buren was selected as one of only four cities in Arkansas to receive a 2018 Arkansas Volunteer Community of the Year Award.

“They normally do around 12 to 13 communities but this year it was four,” said outgoing Mayor Bob Freeman. “It’s not just an award because we really do back it up with all the volunteers we have in this community. It’s fabulous.”

The prestigious award recognizes communities that exemplify the spirit of service by participating in city-wide volunteer initiatives.

The other honorees are Fairfield Bay, Greenbrier and Russellville.

According to Volunteer Program Coordinator Laura Jennings, the winners are selected based on the municipality’s “ability to identify its most pressing needs and demonstrate the community’s response to those needs.”

This year’s quartet of winners demonstrated an outstanding ability to mobilize volunteers to participate in city-wide days of service, sustainability events and ongoing programs and showed a strong ability to overcome obstacles in meeting local areas of need.

A panel of distinguished citizens from across the state served on the selection committee.

The award presentations will take place at the Arkansas Municipal League’s Winter Conference, which will be held Jan 16-18 in Little Rock. The Arkansas Volunteer Community of the Year Awards are sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Communications and Community Engagement as well as VolunteerAR. The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department provides signs designating the winning communities as an Arkansas Volunteer Community of the Year. The signs will be placed at prominent locations along highways outside of the winning cities.

VolunteerAR promotes and supports volunteerism in the private, nonprofit and governmental sectors as a means of enhancing the quality of life for all Arkansas. 

The announcement honoring Van Buren was made about the same time one of its citizens, Lillie Aguilar, was named AARP State Volunteer of the Year for the state of Arkansas.