By Deanna McGill | Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography
Fellow Arkansans – neighbors, colleagues and friends – are sharing a light of peace, kindness and generosity that makes The Natural State a little brighter. Inviting Arkansas and Methodist Family Health celebrate individuals who illuminate our community with goodness. Nominate someone today for a future feature that SHINES.
Mary and Rick Edwards will celebrate a golden anniversary this summer. They have not only created family; they are business partners. Rick jokes that people often ask how they work and live together, “It’s simple – I do everything she tells me to do.” And while the statement was made in jest, this humility is central to the couple’s generous spirit and heart for philanthropy that shines throughout Central Arkansas.
The Edwards’ professional acumen is impressive; building many successful businesses throughout their 50 years of marriage. This resume includes Triple S Alarm – a result of Rick’s experience in the U.S. Air Force. He recalls, “When I decided to change jobs in 1975, Mary said that we can make it. She always has the attitude that things will work out.“ Paychecks were sometimes scarce. Rick was servicing alarm systems and away from his family during the nights, but they were always faithful these sacrifices would be worth it.
Through support from the G.I. Bill, Rick received his pilot’s license and volunteered his time + expertise to transport the governors of Arkansas safely and efficiently. He combined enthusiasm for aviation with his business knowledge and created Jet Med, which he considers one of his greatest accomplishments. This air-ambulance company was the world’s first long-range transport Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) system for a fixed wing aircraft. “I was so proud of what we did for Arkansas Children’s Hospital and with the other hospitals around the country. We saved so many lives and helped so many families.”
These ventures have enabled the Edwards to share graciously and thankfully; deeds that are recognized despite the couple’s humble nature. They are members of the Towers of Old Main, a society comprised of donors who have a history of substantial gifts to the University Of Arkansas. Mary elaborates, “It means so much to us. We love giving back to the community that has been with us through it all.” UA Little Rock celebrated Mary and Rick as the 2017 SpectacuaLR Family of the Year. This award is heartfelt since Mary loves basketball; they are avid supporters of UA Little Rock athletics and student scholarships. Rick is also a recipient of the Raymond James Distinguished Citizen Award for outstanding civic contributions.
Countless individuals and organizations benefit from gifts and contributions made by the Edwards. Their heart for service impacts people and places today as well as future generations. They are a testament to the power of philanthropy, often and preferably behind-the-scenes, that places the spotlight on the potential of the recipient. Rick sums it up best, “Things we do for ourselves die with us. What we do for others remains with them. And that is immortal.”
Sponsored by Methodist Family Health | Nominations accepted at Foundation@MethodistFamily.org
methodistfamily.org | #ShareTheLightandSHINE