November 9, 2016 Edition

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Touring group from Little Rock
gets VIP treatment in WR

Frank Wilson (center) led tours of the Wings of Honor Museum for the Holy Souls Seniors Group. With him are Holy Souls Seniors Yvonne Thompson (left) and Ann Hoffman (right), who coordinated the trip

John Bland

For the Holy Souls Seniors Group from Little Rock, a day trip to Jonesboro and Walnut Ridge on Oct. 24 held a surprise or two in addition to the scheduled stops. The scheduled stops included a visit to the Holy Angels Convent in Jonesboro and the Wings of Honor Museum in Walnut Ridge.

One of the surprises was their bus being pulled over by Walnut Ridge Police Chief Chris Kirksey. The stern-looking chief presented bus driver Taff Virden with some violations, and then, Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp joined in the fun, stating that Walnut Ridge needed the money and was on the lookout for tourists to exploit.

After the brief spoof, Mayor Snapp gave the Little Rock group a sincere welcome to Walnut Ridge and remained on the bus as they continued around the bypass and on to the museum.

From the point of the police stop, officers in two Walnut Ridge Police vehicles provided an escort, while Mayor Snapp gave a brief history of Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67 as well as the story of The Beatles' 1964 visit to the Walnut Ridge Airport.

Prior to the Walnut Ridge stop, the seniors group of 42 from Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church visited the Holy Angels Convent in Jonesboro. There, they visited friends and nuns, some of whom had taught at Holy Souls School in Little Rock. While at the convent, the group participated in a prayer service and then enjoyed lunch.

"It was so very nice," said Ann Hoffmann, coordinator of the trip. "They made us feel so very welcome."

At the Wings of Honor Museum, Frank Wilson led tours of the museum, while Harold Johnson narrated bus tours for the other half around the former World War II airbase and College City. Other volunteers were on hand to help out at the museum.

"Everyone treated us just beautifully," said Hoffmann. "I had no idea that the air field was there."

Before leaving Walnut Ridge, the bus made a brief stop at nearby Douglas Quikut. Several in the group had preordered the world-famous Ginsu knives that are made at the plant, and they stopped to pick up their orders.

"As everyone said, 'This is the best day trip we've had,'" said Hoffmann.

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