Leadership Texarkana Honors Local Citizens with Awards for Exemplary Community Leadership at the 14th Annual Lunch with Leaders


Leadership Texarkana celebrated local excellence in community leadership at their 14th annual Lunch with Leaders at Texarkana Texas Convention Center, with the awarding of the organization’s Leader Of The Year Award, as well as honoring community leaders through Leadership Texarkana’s annual Wilbur Awards. The luncheon was sponsored by Texarkana Emergency Center and Hospital

Leadership Texarkana Executive Director Ruth Ellen Whitt spoke to the motivation of the organization’s annual awards program, quoting Albert Schweitzer who said “Example is not the main thing, it is the only thing.” As an organization committed to growing a community of leaders who help lead the way for community excellence, Leadership Texarkana lifts up exemplary leaders in our community as models for us all, showing what is possible if we choose to serve one another by investing time and effort in our community.”

The Leader Of The Year Award is the highest award given by Leadership Texarkana annually, to honor outstanding alumni of the Leadership Texarkana program; it is given in memory of Idalee Raffaelli Hawkins who set a lasting and inspirational example for her willingness to serve our community.

This year’s highest Leader of the Year honor was presented to Van Alexander, a 1997 graduate of Leadership Texarkana, for his decades of community service through which he has played integral roles in shaping our community’s current and projected future good fortunes.

Mr. Alexander has worked tirelessly volunteering his time for the City of Texarkana in numerous roles, beginning in 1995 with service on the Texarkana Texas City Planning and Zoning Commission. Mr. Alexander was subsequently elected to serve on the Texarkana, Texas City Council for six years representing Ward 5, for two terms also serving as Mayor Pro-Tem. While he served on the Council, Ward 5 experienced significant commercial growth along Richmond Road and Cowhorn Creek Drive.

After his experience on the City Council, Van was asked to serve on the Riverbend Water Resources District Board where he was a Member At-Large; in that role, he was responsible for the critical role of building meaningful relationships with the member cities on the Board. He currently serves the group as Board President. More recently, Mr. Alexander has served the City as Chairman of the Budget Advisory Committee.

In addition to serving in these voluntary positions which have been intergral for framing our city and region, Mr. Alexander has also served on the CHRISTUS St. Michael Foundation Board, in addition to numerous other non-profit boards.

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