Some 24 hours before June 29, the transformation of the Hope Star's newspaper office into a food serving production line had started as rows of tables were setup and boxes of food, serving containers, and condiments arrived.
Some 24 hours before June 29, the transformation of the Hope Star’s newspaper office into a food serving production line had started as rows of tables were setup and boxes of food, serving containers, and condiments arrived.
The effort, spearheaded by the Hope Star’s longtime advertising representative Bren Yocom along with office manager Marcia Hunt and her husband, Ken, was a labor of love in support of 20-year Star circulation chief Donnie Hollis and his family.
Hollis, a well-known and respected figure in the community for years, was diagnosed recently with cancer and has been receiving treatment in Little Rock.
Gatehouse Regional Publisher Teresa Hicks, who oversees the Hope Star and Nevada Picayune along with general manager Jennifer Allen, said “I admire Donnie more than imaginable. He is a hard working and dedicated employee with a heart filled with so much passion. He loves his family and is committed to the community we serve.”
Hicks and Allen were both on hand last Friday as the Hope Star office shut down for the day; the office and everyone in it devoted to the marathon lunch time benefit to assist Hollis and his family.
The Star’s delivery and receiving bay, where Hollis himself has delivered freshly printed newspapers to readers throughout the region for years, was turned into a gigantic grilling station rolling off hamburgers and chicken breasts by the dozens.
Ken Hunt along with former Star advertising manager Tim Haycox and current sports editor Gerren “G-Man” Smith manned the hot grill withstanding afternoon heat as hundreds of burgers and chicken sandwiches were sold.
Hicks said, “A lot can be said about a person when a community rallies behind them when they have a health challenge. This community has come together to show love to a man well deserving of the love and support being shown today. It's difficult to find people who have a zeal for life and a love for people and God. Plain and simple, Donnie does.”
Yocom, the principal lead for the benefit, said afterwards “We truly live in an amazing community, a community that always comes together in time of need and we appreciate everyone for their thoughtfulness. The turnout that we had for Donnie’s event was absolutely amazing. It was extremely humbling to see the amount people that love and support Donnie and his family.”
Not only current Star and nearby Arkadelphia Siftings-Herald employees, but a number of former Star employees and a family members assisted with the effort in preparing, packaging and delivering the numerous orders and take-outs for what proved to be a sell-out.
Yocom said, “We had a lot of Donnie’s family show up on Friday to help us. His kids, grandkids, his brother from Texas and his son in laws mother all poured in early Friday morning to help us get things ready.”
“Bailey Yocom and Raleigh McDonald both showed up to help with deliveries, and the grandkids ran back and forth to get drinks and everyone else just pitched in where needed,” she said.
Yocom also noted the contributions of time, effort and supplies by various local businesses.
“A huge thank you to all of the businesses and individuals that donated items for this benefit. With these donations, we were able to contribute 100-percent of the money raised to Donnie and his family,” Yocom said.
“We would also like to thank Donnie’s family for showing up on Friday and helping us with orders and deliveries. This would not have been possible without the help that we received,” she said.
Hicks said, “This event is a prime example of how newspapers pull communities together. We are a critical piece of the fabric of our communities, and Donnie is a critical piece of our team and we won't let go. We will continue to fight with Donnie.”