Haley Tucker has veterans in her family, as most everyone does, but she wanted to honor veterans in a special way—and that led to a personal project at school to secure a designation of the North Hervey Street overpass at Interstate 30 in honor of all Hempstead County military veterans.
“My brother, Bobby Cobb, and my grandfather, Wayne Tucker, are both veterans, and I have always had a place in my heart for veterans,” Tucker said. “Me and Mr. Daniel, who teaches the EAST Lab at Hope High School, were just talking one day, and he said he'd like to see veterans honored, too.”
She took an earlier approach to the idea of honoring veterans.
“On Veteran's Day last year, I made pins out of safety pins and beads in the shape of the American flag and gave them to each veteran on the Hope High School campus,” Tucker said.
Tucker's first contact for her sign project was with City Manager Catherine Cook.
“I found out what had to be done to have a sign placed,” Tucker said. “In November, I went before the City Board. I had a proposal and the board discussed it and approved my request.”
One thing Tucker learned is that getting something done often takes patience.
“The next step in the year-long process was speaking to Don Donaldson, of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department,” Tucker said. “I asked what it took to get the sign up and he told me I needed a sign permit.
“I sent the same proposal that I had shared with the board and the minutes from the board meeting to the Highway Department,” she said. “The minutes showed that the proposal was approved by the board. It went in front of the state commission on February 27. I was at the EAST Lab conference in Hot Springs, so I had to wait a couple of weeks to hear back if they had approved my request.”
City officials have been impressed with Tucker's determination and poise.
“Anyone who can get past the state commission has really done their job,” Mayor Dennis Ramsey said at the unveiling of the sign last week.
Haley's mom, Angela Lewis, and grandmother, Catherine Tucker, were on hand for the unveiling of the sign.
“When they unveiled that sign, I thought 'I did it, I did what I set out to accomplish,'” she said.
Tucker is a junior this year. There are three projects at one time required for the EAST Lab and she is thrilled that she accomplished hers, despite its requiring over a year to complete.
Some of her goals include going to college, hopefully at Henderson State University, in Arkadelphia.
“I want to become a teacher,” Tucker said. “This project taught me perseverance and that perseverance will pay off. If you're not willing to work for it, it's not worth having. You have to work hard and keep going, even if you get discouraged.”