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For Immediate Release

2021 Arkansan of the Year Honoring Rick Fleetwood Postponded

Little Rock, Ark., August 19, 2021

Media Contact:
Jillian Jacuzzi

Mac Bell

In light of the high volume of Covid-19 cases in Arkansas, Arkansan of the Year is rescheduled for Feb. 2, 2022. This decision comes at a time when Easterseals Arkansas proudly leads the way in a fight against Covid-19. The organization was one of the first in Arkansas to enact a policy making the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for employees and volunteers (medical and religious exemptions apply). All must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.

This year’s Arkansan of the Year honoree is Rick Fleetwood, a longtime Easterseals supporter known for his philanthropy throughout the state. The annual gala recognizes a distinguished leader who has given their time, talent and resources to improve the quality of life for Arkansans. Past recipients include key business leaders, governors and other high-profile individuals. Friends of Fleetwood attest that he is the epitome of what it means to be Arkansan of the Year.

After hosting a virtual gala last year, Arkansan of the Year organizers were looking forward to bringing this beloved event back to an in-person dinner and live auction. “Our goal is to have the event in person and in the safest environment possible,” said event chairwoman Tiffany Robinson, owner of Barbara/Jean.

Committee member Ellon Cockrill added, “Rick loves people and celebrating with people around him. Our tribute to him wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t all be together.”

Mac Bell, Easterseals Arkansas Vice President of Development and Communication, said the difficult decision to move the date is necessary given the current climate around Covid-19.

“We feel more comfortable for the safety of all to push the event back to, hopefully, a time when the vaccine has full FDA approval and it is available to those under 12 years of age,” Bell said.

While the in-person festivities have been delayed, the celebration of Fleetwood will commence in September through the Arkansan of the Year online auction. A VIP-style viewing party of the Razorback vs. the Aggies game will be up for the bidding on Sept. 1. The game is slated for Sept. 25 at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas. Stay tuned for more details on the Easterseals Arkansas website:

About Easterseals Arkansas
For more than 75 years, Easterseals Arkansas has been a resource for people with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to provide exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. For more information, visit


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