Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson made a midday swing through Hope Tuesday afternoon, both doing some old-fashioned hand-shaking in downtown and speaking at the dedication of the new District Veterans Service office at the Arkansas Workforce Center on Smith Road off Highway 29 North.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson made a midday swing through Hope Tuesday afternoon, both doing some old-fashioned hand-shaking in downtown and speaking at the dedication of the new District Veterans Service office at the Arkansas Workforce Center on Smith Road off Highway 29 North.
A crowd estimated at 150 persons braved what turned out to be midday temperatures of 86 degrees in no shade for the dedication of the office.  In addition to the speech from Hutchinson, the hometown crowd was introduced to the new District 8 Veterans Service officer James Williams, who currently resides in Warren.  
The new office was touted as the last of eight new Arkansas Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs District offices set to open before 2020. In his remarks, Hutchinson joked, “We got it done a bit early.”
The ADVA is a state agency dedicated to veterans’ services, operating separately and apart from the federal agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs, but its goal is to assist state veterans in accessing services, like healthcare and family benefits.
Hutchinson said the new district office was part of the department’s first strategic plan, which he said was implemented two years ago in June 2015.
The new Hope District Office will serve 10 southwest Arkansas counties, including Sevier, Howard, Pike, Clark, Little River, Hempstead, Nevada, Miller, Lafayette and Columbia.
Williams is a retired Veteran of the UA Army, serving for 20 years active duty, and he also served in the Army National Guard. In his speech, he talked briefly about his 14 years of classroom teaching experience, which he felt would enable him to effectively serve the region’s veteran population.
In addition to Hempstead County officials, a number of regional public officials were present, including Danny Ormand (Lafayette County), Kelly Brookfield (Little River County), Mike Cranford (Little River County), Mike Rowe (Lafayette County), as well as District 4 State Representative Deann Vaught and District 3 State Representative Danny Watson.
Gina Chandler, assistant director of Veteran Services, made the opening remarks, and Colonel Nathaniel "Nate" Todd, the state director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, introduced Hutchinson.