Charolette Tidwell is the 2021 recipient of the Jack White Leadership Award, to be presented by the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce. Tidwell will be recognized at the Leadership Fort Smith Commencement event July 15 at the Doubletree Hotel.
The award was created as a tribute to the contributions Jack White made to the Fort Smith community and to acknowledge the remarkable impact of the current leaders in the Fort Smith region, a chamber news release said.
“For more than 30 years, the Leadership Fort Smith program has honored community leaders who have gone above and beyond to impact our region in a positive way,” the release said.
Jack White was an employee of OG&E for 35 years, as well as a Naval veteran, family man, and lifelong learner. He highly regarded for his service, leadership, reputation and collaboration to make the Fort Smith a better place, the news release said.
White died in 1997 at the age of 57. The void he left has since been “filled by the work of other leaders that carry his spirit of servant leadership, hard work, and determination in pushing for progress to get things done to make our region a better place to live,” then news release said.
Tidwell, 75, is the founder of Antioch Youth & Family, where she has been working to provide critical food assistance, vital nutrition and social advocacy within the region for 21 years. She assists around 25,000 most months through the program.
Fort Smith Mayor George McGill presented Tidwell with a key to the city in 2020, noting that she had been recognized as one of their Women of Worth by L’oreal of Paris and has been featured in eFort Smith, Huffington Post, People Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Women’s Day, NBC Nightly News and National Geographic. Tidwell said she was carrying on the work started by her late husband, Lawrence Tidwell. Lawrence Tidwell, a sergeant in the Fort Smith police department, and two other officers led outreach and mentoring from the elderly to youth in Fort Smith. Lawrence Tidwell died in 1997.
Tidwell started Antioch in 2000, after a career in nursing with Sparks and Beverly Enterprises.
“Mrs. Tidwell pours her heart and soul into feeding anyone in need with multiple programs that assist young people, senior citizens, the disabled, veterans, and more. Thousands of people are directly and positively impacted each month through her diligent work to combat food insecurity,” the chamber release said.
Those graduating with the Leadership Fort Smith class of 2021 also will be recognized at the event, and the 2022 class will be announced.