(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
The City of Monette officials are honoring longtime educator Edna Mae Freeman, 93, by naming a street after, to be called Edna Mae Way.
Monette Mayor Chub Qualls visited Mrs. Freeman to tell her of the council's decision, and she was delighted.
"Mrs. Freeman has been an inspiration to so many people, in so many ways, that we thought it be only fitting to name the new street south of Buffalo Island Central High School after her," Qualls said. "The new street will border the school to the south and go east and west, connecting Reeves Street to the new ball park. Mrs. Freeman dedicated her life to children and especially education."
"Mrs. Freeman served 44 years in public education and as Craighead County supervisor for four years," said Barbara Suber, Monette Housing Authority director. "In 1988 she was elected as the MHA chairman of the board. She was just the spark we needed to get the job done. She just retired this year in that capacity, due to ill health. During the years she has served on the board she never missed a board meeting, whether regular or special.
"One of the most outstanding achievements we have attained during her tenure of office was funding for a one-of-a-kind community center in Monette," Suber said. "Through cooperative agreements with the City of Monette and several other government agencies we were able to construct and maintain a community center that houses the senior citizens program, Headstart, and family support services for the city and surrounding area.
"She was instrumental in setting up the original four county programs in 1969 to provide services for senior citizens through the Crowley's Ridge Development Council. She served as chairman of that agencies board for two years."
"Everyone in this town knows Mrs. Freeman and admires her for the quality of education she strove to provide for them," Qualls said. "She has received many awards during her career."
"Mrs. Freeman demonstrates what a caring, compassionate and fair person she has always been, in every aspect of her personal and professional life," Suber said. "She has made an outstanding contribution to the quality of life for countless individuals throughout her lifetime.
Some of Mrs. Freeman's awards include: Outstanding Personality of the South in 1978; "The Lady Journalist" named her in the top 100 Outstanding Arkansas Women; recipient of the NAHRO Hall of Fame; twice recipient of the Monette Masonic Lodge Community Award; Monette Centennial Award; an annual high school scholarship is named in her honor; and she is a lifetime member of Alpha Delta Kappa honorary teacher's sorority.
Monette Alderman Steve Suber (husband of Barbara Suber) came up with the name of the street honoring Freeman--Edna Mae Way.
"As long as I can recall, I have heard people say, "It is Edna Mae's way or the highway," Steve Suber said. "She was well known for good judgment and the will to carry out plans once they were made. Her entire life reflects her concern for her fellowman. What better way to honor her than to put something in concrete, down by the school where she spent so much of her life, and affected so many people. She is a very loved and respected person."
Bob Grisham, of Jonesboro, has donated the use of his equipment and manpower for excavation of the new street in Monette, which will soon be prepared for use and dedication.