By Kev Moyè
HELENA – If Jannie Lowery is aware of someone in a dire situation, she has shown time and again that she will do her best to provide the necessary aid.
“Jannie has such a sweet heart and will help anyone in need,” said Division of County Operations (DCO) Phillips County Administrative Assistant Specialist Monique Brunt. “She has been an incredible asset to this agency. She goes above and beyond to assist staff, clients, and others.”
For Lowery, administrative assistant at Phillips County DCO, there’s one demographic that holds a special place in her heart: disadvantaged youth.
PROMPTED TO TAKE ACTION
Witnessing a heartbreaking situation at the Phillips County DHS forever altered Lowery’s outlook on life.
“I was sitting at the front desk working, and I saw a little kid come in with a trash bag that had his belongings in it … and it drove me crazy,” she said, noting that staff sometimes must provide children coming into foster care with trash bags for their belongings if they don’t have travel bags available. “I was mad. I looked at it as though it was my grandkid. Would I want him carrying a trash bag around with his stuff in it? And I thought – no.”
Lowery could’ve remained idle, but that’s not her style. Instead, she established, “Bags for the Foster Children of Arkansas.”
The goal of the project is to provide quality travel bags for children in foster care. Hundreds of bags have been collected and delivered since the program’s inception last spring.
“Seeing the children carrying garbage bags really impacted Jannie,” said Brunt. “She took action immediately, talking with a local group that then donated a huge sum of luggage to Family Services.
“For Christmas, she contacted a church and they donated hundreds of gifts to the foster children of Phillips County,” Brunt continued. “This brought such joy to Jannie’s heart and mine.”
Lowery – also a staunch proponent of education – donates books to the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
“I want to see kids happy – that’s all,” she enthusiastically expressed.
Providing goods for the youth is only a small portion of Lowery’s commitment to the community. Among her primary goals is to always exude hope for all people – most notably – the ones who hail from an environment similar to hers. She understands that happy, prosperous adults are better equipped to serve and raise the youth.
SERVING THE DELTA
Lowery is a proud native of Phillips County. She participates in numerous efforts to acquire items of necessity for families in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. She’s also involved in recycling projects that provide aid for people in the communities of Paragould and Barton.
She acknowledged that her community service activities are often as emotionally draining as they are uplifting. However, Lowery views it as her calling. And for that reason, there are no plans to conclude her mission of benevolence anytime soon.
“My husband tells me I have to give up something, but I really don’t see where I have to give anything up,” she said. “It’s hard at times … but somebody has to do it. I don’t place myself on a pedestal, but I know what has to be done and I try to do it.”
Lowery’s compassion is not in vain. Through her charitable work, she’s become a fountain of inspiration for several individuals. One of those persons is Connie Huff, program eligibility specialist for the Phillips County unit.
“Jannie is one of the most generous people that I have ever met,” Huff said, “always giving of herself and her time to help anyone in need. She is very content to work behind the scenes, making sure that things are getting done and people are being helped. She is content just knowing that she was able to help someone.”
Lowery’s love for people has been applauded by many, according to Brunt.
“Clients have called the office stating how helpful Jannie was with assisting them with their Medicaid,” Brunt said. “Anyone she comes in contact with always has something positive to say. She is a great asset to the agency.”
(It is for all of these reasons that Jannie has been nominated for the Living the Mission series at DHS, which focuses on individuals who go above and beyond their typical functions. If you know someone who lives the mission of DHS and should be featured for the Living the Mission series, contact Kev Moyè at firstname.lastname@example.org.)