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Date Posted: 10/24/2016

Crystal Barker Named DHS Employee of the Year 2016

HOT SPRINGS – Crystal Barker has a big personality, and she uses it to do good on and off-the-clock from her job at the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Barker – who’s a member of the DHS Office of Human Resources – was named the overall DHS Employee of the Year on Thursday, October 20. Barker received the esteemed honor during the 2016 Arkansas Human Services Employee Association Awards Banquet at the Arlington Hotel.

“Crystal Barker promotes the DHS mission daily, both on and off the job.  As an instructor for DHS Organizational Development and Training (ODT) as well as in the community, she strives to reach people where they are. Crystal adjusts her workshop material to accommodate the specific needs of her participants, and works on “real world” issues during class time,” said Dr. Elizabeth Langevin.   “Crystal makes sure that those around her and those touched by her many activities are made to feel that they matter.  Her workshop materials and content are evidence of her care in helping DHS employees become more effective in fostering independence and promoting better health.”

Barker takes great pride in being a member of the DHS staff. She doesn’t view her duties as work. Instead, Barker deems her DHS responsibilities as an avenue to serve the citizens of Arkansas.

“Being selected as the DHS Employee of the Year is truly far beyond my imagination. I strive each day to engage, encourage and empower every employee that I come in contact with,” she acknowledged. “I understand that some jobs are just jobs. However, DHS is not just a job, but a ministry to serve. The recognition and award is truly an honor, but the reward is feeling that I am making a difference in the lives of others.”

The DHS mission is: Improving the quality of life of all Arkansans by protecting the vulnerable, fostering independence and promoting better health.

Barker is adamant about helping the DHS uphold its principle of presenting the best possible living environment for all Arkansans.

“Crystal Barker’s performance is indicative of her optimism that DHS can and should be one of the best places to work, simply because we serve others,” Langevin said. “The quote displayed in her office reveals her philosophy, ‘I don’t come to impress, I come to bless.’.”  

Also at the AHSEA Awards Banquet, Susan Love was named the Office of Communications and Community Engagement/Division of Community Service and Non-profit Support Employee of the Year.

Love, the State Voluntary Agency Liaison, has embraced the arduous task of assisting people who are experiencing extreme moments of uncertainty. 

“Susan has been in this position for almost three years. Her role is to connect and communicate with non-profit and faith-based organizations that activate in times of disaster,” said DHS Chief Communications and Community Engagement Officer Amy Webb. “She is a self-starter and looks for work opportunities to raise awareness, connect with groups and improve disaster relief in Arkansas.”

Helping Desha County get a $125,000 grant to aid a long-term flood recovery plan is among Love’s impressive outreach endeavors over the last year. And after a fire displaced more than two dozen residents from their apartments in Brinkley, it was Love who organized a one-day assistance center for the individuals and families who were impacted. 

In all, 16 DHS employees were recognized for their excellence during the banquet.

From the Division of Behavioral Health Services – Sharon Thompson; Division of Child Care & Early Childhood Education – Justin Foster; Division of County Operations – Rhonda Kay Lasley; Division of Services for the Blind – Amy Jackson; Division of Aging and Adult Services – Angela Ziegenhorn; Division of Medical Services – Sandra K. Smith; Division of Developmental Disabilities Services – Rebecca Burns; Division of Youth Services – Marshelvia Thompson-Collins; Division of Children and Family Services – Jennifer Dulaney-Watkins; Office of Legislative & Intergovernmental Affairs – Lori McDonald; Office of Procurement – Vivian Lee; Office of Chief Counsel – Sandra Hough; Office of Information Technology – Becky Adams; and from the Office of Finance – Norma Owens.       

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Arkansas Department
of Human Services
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