Tom Wiggins was recognized with the Jeral L. Hampton Lifetime Achievement Award at the 76th annual Booneville Development Corporation/South Logan County Chamber of Commerce held Friday night at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center.
Other award winners from the annual event included Mike Crowley of Crowley’s City Service as the Chamber Member of the Year, and outgoing Chamber board member Kathy Swift as the Volunteer of the Year.
Wiggins, award presenter Darrin Bulger noted, is a native of the north side of Logan County and graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in mathematics.
After his time at the UA, Wiggins worked at McDonald-Douglas in the St. Louis area for a few years before coming to Booneville.
Purchasing a store from Jack Wilkins, Wiggins opened Wiggins Hardware, on March 15, 1973.
“He has quietly, very quietly, owned and operated a business in the same spot with very few changes for almost 47 years,” said Bulger. “I’m quite envious at the detail and the precision he and his son run the business daily.
“I’ve always said if you want to know how to run a retail business (Wiggins) would be one you would want to model and follow. There’s no better in my opinion.”
In addition to running Wiggins Ace Hardware, he is a rancher and cattle farmer, Bulger said.
Bulger also noted you could find Wiggins traveling west every morning in his red Ford pickup at precisely 7:45 a.m. at a slow rate of speed.
In announcing the Chamber Member of the Year Award, Philip Blankenship said Crowley “has been a big supporter of Booneville for a long time, gives back to the community (and) loves to give back.”
“The business that he runs you go in and he takes care of you,” Blankenship added of Crowley, who was not in attendance. “We all appreciate him, having him in the community. He’s been a great help to everybody.”
Swift, volunteer award presenter Cathy Littlefield said, has been on the Chamber’s board of directors for three years, sits on the board for the Reflection Point cross north of city, has been on the board for Mercy Hospital, is also on the board for the Arkansas Marathon and works with Relay for Life, and the junior premium auction for the annual South Logan County Fair and Livestock Show.
“The list just goes on and on,” Littlefield said.
The speaker for the banquet was United Way of Fort Smith President and CEO Eddie Lee Herndon who spoke on leadership characteristics from a list he discovered in a grandfather’s Holy Bible.