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Johnson Enjoys the Annual Western Hat Week FestivitiesDate: 10/15/2018
Several Arkansas Health Center (AHC) staff members, and a few clients, were on their knees, bent over, digging in a plastic kiddie pool filled with sand, looking for fake gold. Robert Johnson sat close by.
“C’mon y’all,” he yelled to his teammates. “Dig! Dig! Dig for that gold!”
Wearing a rimmed straw hat and overalls, Johnson smiled while participating in the 51st annual AHC Western Hat Week.
Johnson, a Holy Grove native, was in a car wreck that left him unable to walk. He’s lived at the center, which serves aging Arkansans and persons with disabilities who need specialized services, since 2008.
Johnson, who resides in the Willow Court section of the center, was happy to see his teammates perform well.
“Western Hat Week is always fun because it has several games and activities where clients and staff work together,” he said. “Willow Court, we usually finish near the bottom of the competition. But we did much better this year.”
For Johnson, seeing people have a good time also makes the week special.
“Everybody gets to show-off, having fun, and acting like we’re in the Old West. We do line dances, talk like we’re a cowboy, horse rides, all kinds of stuff,” he said. “Western Hat Week gives us a chance to break away from our normal routine. Plus, I’ve realized it’s a good way to meet new people.”
“It’s usually hard to interact with people because we live in different sections,” Johnson said. “But for Western Hat Week, we come outside, have competitions, enjoy the music, and it all gives us a chance to get to know one another. The week always builds everybody’s morale.”
Johnson, who competed in the frisbee cow chip toss, is already excited about Western Hat Week 2019.
“There’s nothing like it. When Western Hat Week rolls around all the sections get decorated in Old West stuff,” Johnson said with a laugh. “It never fails, people are usually just happy, ready to laugh, and go all-out for the week. We all look forward to Western Hat Week, every year.”
Cutline: In the photo up top, Robert Johnson participates in the frisbee cow chip toss while an Arkansas Health Center staff member hands him the frisbees.