Serving the community for nearly two decades, Inviting Arkansas continues to recognize philanthropic + civic leadership in Central Arkansas. As we begin this new decade, we have some buried treasures to share from the archives. These are just a few illustrious covers that reflect the continued mission fulfillment work in our community. Enjoy the memories, read about a few of the Capital City’s beloved foundations and remember to vote for your favorite cover – one of these nonprofit organizations will win a complimentary ad in the magazine. The contest will close on May 31st… #MakingPhilanthropyFUN
Linda Gleason for Arkansas Respiratory Health Association – September 2008 Issue
Some charitable folks in our world are dynamic leaders in the front and center at all events. Our community needs those individuals, as they do a lot of good and bring a voice to nonprofits and organization that are in dire need to be heard. On the other hand, great impact is often achieved by uplifting one person at a time. Random acts of kindness and selflessness by one human being to another often do more than individuals and, ultimately, the community that big events and elaborate programs. This is how Linda Gleason and her husband George will be presented the first Karen S. Lackey Lung Health Advancement Award at Take A Breather, a black-tie affair to be help October 11th benefitting the Arkansas Respiratory Health Association (formerly the American Lung Association of Arkansas).
Linda’s christian faith is a constant through which she lives daily, not a matter of convenience. She channels her faith through her roles as wife, mother, grandmother, mentor, and philanthropist. AS a quiet and private person, one might not realize her strong character and generous heart until they really get to know her. While her husband is usually the spokesperson for the family in civic and charitable endeavors, Linda is a real worker, prayer warrior and the heart and soul of the projects in which they engage. “Whether Lind is planning a gala, addressing invitations, or decorating tables, it’s truly all part of making a difference in someone’s life,” says George. “She never loses sight of that.” Linda will often be the first to arrive and the last to leave an event, not stopping until the project is done well. “She would do it if no one noticed,” says George, “and in fact she would probably prefer if no one did. That’s the beauty of Linda.”
George and Linda have been married for 22 years and have 4 children. Amy Baden who is mother of three of the Gleason’s beloved grandchildren; Eric Merriman, father of Hayden, the youngest of the troops; George G Gleason, III, whom is called Tripp; and Peter Gleason. “Mom has a great sincerity and true genuineness that beams about her,” says daughter Amy. “I can only hope that I can in turn instill those qualities in my children. She has taught me to be a better person and to trust in the Lord because He will not let me down,” Amy concludes. Linda relishes when the Gleason clan comes together for a “loud, noisy, fun time.” But time with George is what makes Linda the happiest. You won’t find another couple more committed, balanced or in love than the Gleasons.
“When we were dating, I was initially attracted by her out beauty,” says George. “But I remember the exact moment I realized her strength of character and huge heart. IT was not expected,” he adds. “I was caught off guard and from that moment, her outer beauty became secondary and the real Linda inside was a very rare and precious jewel. It sounds trite, but I remember thinking ‘Wow, I want to be more like her’. And I still do today.”
The Gleasons are an ideal team when it comes to their philanthropic efforts. “We separately, prayerfully consider our community goals before we sit down and discuss them,” says Linda. “That makes being a great team easy because we then always come to the table with the same solutions in mind,” she added. Linda feels the key to having a great team is having a great leader. “George and I are dependent on our great Leader.”
The good of the Gleason’s work can be seen all around our community. It didn’t take long for them to embrace the need after they moved to Little Rock 13 years ago. “We observed many wonderful people working hard to meet the needs of others, and we found impossible to resist getting involved,” says Linda. their resources and dedication to helping others have touched many nonprofits, one being the Arkansas Respiratory Health Association.
George and Linda became involved after the late Karen Lackey, CEO of the association, approached them at the 2002 Take a Breather gala. “George mentioned to Karen that evening if she should ever need his help to call,” says Linda. Shortly after, Karen came a calling, and the help she requested was for Linda to serve on the gala committee for 2003. It would be the first time Linda greed to be part of a committee without George by her side. The committee consisted of only women, and Linda embarked on a mission that was more personal to her than Karen or anybody else knew at the time. “Our son Eric was diagnosed with asthma,” says Linda. This was scary for Linda as she immediately thought of a friend of Eric’s who died in high school playing in his front lawn when he had an asthma attack and didn’t have his inhaler with him. Two of the Gleason’s grandchildren have also been diagnosed with asthma.