Dave Marshall is such an integral part of the day-to-day life in Cleburne County, Arkansas that his work, and the work of his organization, Cleburne County Cares (CCC), is often taken for granted. The residents of this small town of about 6,000 “expect” that CCC and Marshall will be there to help those in need, and they are right to do so.
Although Marshall is not the founder of Cleburne County Cares, it has become associated with his name because of the years of service, all of it unpaid, that he has given to the people of Cleburne County and the people of the county seat that the organization calls home, Heber Springs.
Beginning as a volunteer with the organization when he retired, Marshall inherited the job of manager from the previous director, Bob Morris, in 1991. Since that time, CCC under his leadership, has grown to include not only the food pantry and thrift shop from which it began, but also to provide single parent scholarships, a homeless shelter, and a yearly Christmas program. This program does not only focus on toys for children, but serves both children and senior citizens with far more: Each child served (approximately 600 per year) receives a new set of clothing, a toy, a book based on their reading level, fruit, nuts, candy, juice, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a book telling the Christmas story and a nativity scene. Senior citizens receive sleepwear, toiletries, candy, nuts and fruit.
During 2001, 110 volunteers for Cleburne County Cares donated 34,592 hours of service to the organization, and hence, to the community which it serves. In a town of just over 6,000 residents, this in itself is phenomenal. When taking into consideration that Dave Marshall himself volunteers more than 1,000 hours during this same time, and the fact that he mobilized this army of volunteers, his contribution is even more amazing.
Marshall, 72, came to Heber Springs in 1948 to work for a retail business. He was transferred from Carlisle to the facility currently occupied by the consignment store in downtown Heber Springs. The first two years back in Heber Springs, Marshall and his wife traveled, but Marshall said he began to want to do something more productive, so the two began working as volunteers at Cleburn County Cares. Ultimately, Marshall inherited the management job from the previous director.
Much has changed at Cleburne County Cares since Marshall started his service. New programs have been added, including a delayed entry program started in 1997 that helps individuals returning to the work force as a result of layoffs, caring for incapacitated parents, or any number of emergency reasons.
Marshall’s 11+ years of service to the people of Heber Springs and the organization Cleburne County Cares should not go unrecognized.