Nestor Rivera singled out for 'Making Things Brighter' Award

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Nestor Rivera

Nestor Rivera, a well-known area activist, recently won Entergy's "Making Things Brighter" award for Northwest Arkansas.

The annual award is given to an individual who speaks out on behalf of the poor and exemplifies the values of those who serve others.

Nestor is pastor of the First Latin American Baptist Church and director of the Northwest Arkansas Weatherization Program.

"We are honored to have Rev. Rivera working in our community," said Mike Brown, regional customer service manager for Entergy Arkansas. "Rev. Rivera has the ability to bring together and lead the growing Hispanic population of Carroll County, while still encouraging the partnership and cooperation of all races and denominations."

According to Brown, Nestor is currently developing multicultural teams who are weatherizing 20 home in Carroll and Boone counties. The project is funded by a Entergy Charitable Foundation grant.

Nestor also assists Carroll County law enforcement in language translation and serves as chaplain for the Green Forest Tyson Food plant, where he also teaches financial literacy classes as an outreach program of Northeast Arkansas Community College. He also serves as Minorities Coordinator for the Tobacco Free Carroll County coalition.

"Rev. Rivera looks for opportunities to enhance the lives of the underserved population of all cultures in his area," Brown said. "He is teaching financial literacy and life skills to Hispanic families looking for a foothold in America.

"Rev. Rivera," Brown continued, "has the capability to break down walls that have prevented differing cultures from peaceful cooperation and growth."

Nestor said he was honored to receive the award, which was accompanied by a $1,000 check that can be used for community projects, likely the weatherization program.

"We've weatherized four homes in Carroll County already," he said. "We had planned to do another six, but perhaps we can do eight with the added money."

Nestor said he expects the weatherization project will be completed by March.

"The sooner the better," he suggested, "so by summer people can have more energy efficient homes."

The weatherization project is a joint effort between Entergy, Tanner Hardware, Tyson Foods, Ozark Share and Care, the First Latin American Baptist Church and others, Nestor said.

While Entergy provides the finances, others contribute materials or volunteers.

"I'm hoping other businesses in the area will help," he said, "not necessarily with money, but with volunteers and materials."

Nestor said the weatherization program is just one of many projects he envisions.

The award, Nestor added, is appreciated because, "it helps the community overall."

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