February 02, 2011 Edition

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County hires grant writer

Lawrence County's new grant writer, Emily Hathcock of Walnut Ridge, is already hard at work with two projects underway and more in the works.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt
Gretchen Hunt

Dale Freeman has fulfilled one of his goals as newly-elected county judge with the hiring of Emily Hathcock of Walnut Ridge as a grant writer.

A 2005 graduate of Walnut Ridge High School, Hathcock holds a bachelor's degree in digital media and design from Arkansas State University and a master's degree in library and information sciences from Florida State University.

She most recently served as administrative assistant at the Crowley's Ridge Development Council in Jonesboro.

"I am excited to be in this position to help bring in more funds - and hopefully more jobs," Hathcock said.

She cited the example of a new community center, something they hope to obtain funding for.

"If we get grant funds for that, not only does the community get the new community center, but it also creates jobs because it has to be built," she said.

Hathcock, who has written or helped write several grants, said when she heard about the position, she felt it would be a good fit for her. Being able to work in her hometown was a benefit, as well.

She will fill the position in a full-time capacity, with the possibility of also being a Social Security resource person for the county.

"If we can find time in her schedule, we will send her to Social Security school, so she can provide assistance to residents who have questions," Freeman said.

Hathcock is temporarily working out of the county judge's office until her office, which is being provided by Lawrence Health Services, is ready. She will work out of the Home Medical Equipment building, located in the former library building at 1315 West Main in Walnut Ridge. She should be in that location next week.

Freeman said the hospital is also going to be contributing $2,000 of the salary for the position.

The bulk of the funding for the position will come out of the county judge's budget, but Freeman said he hopes some of the administrative costs will be covered by actual grants received throughout the year.

"Most federal grants will cover administrative costs, including the grant writer," he said.

Many larger cities have grant writers, but having a grant writer for a county may be somewhat unique. Freeman said his plan is for the position to benefit as many people as possible in the county.

"It's very important," Freeman said of the merits of having someone available to assist with grant writing. "These small towns cannot afford to hire someone to write grants. When we get our feet on the ground, she is going to be a community grant writer."

Freeman stressed that submitting a grant can be difficult and many don't apply because they don't have anyone to help them.

"Every grant is different, and they all want it a very specific way," Hathcock said. "They get so many applications. If you haven't done exactly what they told you to do, they're not even going to look at your application."

Hathcock said she plans to stay busy in the position, hoping to submit at least one to two grants per month.

"Hopefully, we'll be doing a lot," she said.

Already in the works is an application for a Walmart grant to benefit The Children's Shelter in Walnut Ridge. Hathcock is also working with the ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs) Coalition on a Drug Free Communities Grant application.

"I'm also looking at sources for any other grants that would apply to the community," she said.

Hathcock is the daughter of Jim and Beverly Hathcock of Walnut Ridge. Her mother is a third-grade teacher at Walnut Ridge School and her father is network administrator at Hytrol in Jonesboro. She is the granddaughter of Mearl Pulliam, also of Walnut Ridge.

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