Blytheville, AR (July 1, 2010) Linda O’Guin, Executive Director of Westminster Village of the Mid-South, an affordable, active retirement community, will announce the receipt of a $25,000 grant from the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation to purchase a handicapped-accessible mini-bus, which will enable Westminster to establish a transportation program for residents that will improve access to health care, shopping and community events for senior residents, at the July celebration for Village residents, scheduled for 5 p.m. today, Thursday, July 1.

Since 1996, Westminster Village, a CRSA/LCS* managed facility, has been committed to providing a safe, healthy, affordable, and quality lifestyle for its senior residents.  While the retirement community offers a variety of social, recreational, education, and wellness programs, residents have experienced a growing challenge accessing quality health care, pharmacies, shopping, and community activities.  Many residents have had to rely on the kindness of other residents with vehicles, fee-based transportation providers, or Westminster’s aging van for trips to amenities in the community as well as to access health care services in Jonesboro, Memphis, or other distant cities.

“The $25,000 grant from the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation is a major boost toward helping us purchase a fully accessible bus and create an ongoing transportation program that will enable our senior residents to maximize their independence, health, and quality of life,” explained O’Guin.   Resident Services Director Kendall Berry reported that the residents, who have been actively working to raise the additional $60,000 needed to complete the minibus purchase and to fund the initial transportation program, have already generated more than $10,000 through local fundraising efforts, newsletter advertising, and donations from area corporate and community leaders.  They are committed to raising the remaining $50,000 and purchase the bus by the end of the year.

According to O’Guin, submitting the grant would not have been possible without the help of Southern Bancorp, which provided the expertise of its community grant writer, who worked closely with Westminster to develop the winning proposal.  The effort is just one of the many ways that Southern Bancorp is working to revitalize rural communities in its Blytheville banking service area.

Residents will celebrate this important King Foundation award, which is helping to realize a long-term dream, at the July 1 festivities with barbecue, a live band, and a lot of smiles.