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“Faith, Family, and Ducks”: Fundraiser brings Duck Dynasty cast members to UALR

Submitted by Jayme Goad on January 29, 2014 – 11:03 amNo Comment

Photo by Jayme Goad

Willie and Korie Robertson, best known for their reality show, “Duck Dynasty” on A&E, made a special appearance at the UALR Jack Stephens Center Saturday, Jan. 18.

The event, billed “Faith, Family, and Ducks,” was organized to promote the Spark of Life fundraiser in Little Rock, which raises money to fund the organization’s grief recovery retreats. All of the proceeds from the event and the silent auction that took place during the fundraiser will help fund the free retreats.


Spark of Life is a non-profit organization that offers grief recovery retreats to help families cope with a loss. A loss doesn’t have to only be of a loved one, it can also be of a job. The organization’s motto is “living forward.”

After the loss of their grandson in 2007, David and Debbie Matthews co-founded Spark of Life. David serves as the Executive Director and Debbie as Co-ordinator of the retreats. Event Director Barry Stegler said people ask, “Well when do you go to a retreat or know you are ready? It’s when you get in the car and go, whether it’s two months or ten years.”

Also appearing at the fundraiser was American impressionist and Arkansas artist Trey McCarley of Little Rock. He painted an oil-on canvas live on stage titled, “Reflections of Faith.” The painting was part of a silent auction that was held during the fundraiser to benefit the grief recovery retreats.

Photo by Jayme Goad

“God is the artist, our lives are the canvas,” McCarley said.  He enjoys painting landscapes outdoors. The painting, autographed by Willie and Korie Robertson, was auctioned off for $5,500 at the end of the event.

Two-time Nashville Rising Star Winner and recording artist, Bobby Cool, also made a guest appearance. His sang several feet-tapping, country feel good songs from his debut album, “Light In The Dark.” Cool said, “spirituality motivates him and organizations like this are wonderful on spreading the word and message.” His album is set for release in Spring 2014. Cool and his wife reside in Nashville, Tenn., along with their one month old son.

The Robertsons, who are known for their strong Christian faith and support of adoption, spoke mostly on family values regarding their reality show Duck Dynasty. “It’s tough making a show that kids, parents, and grandparents can all watch together,” Willie Robertson said. The Robertson’s grew up really poor. “He [God] is the reason for our success Isaiah says.”

He talked about the tough times growing up, remembering tracking success through school lunches. While in elementary, he received free lunches. Then, in intermediate, the lunches increased to a reduced price. By the time he was in high school, the lunch was full price. “We [the business] had to be doing something right to go up to full priced lunches,” Robertson said.

Korie Robertson mentioned she knew when the show began to get big and their lives were about to change.  “We didn’t really know until people started showing up with Ohio license plates to our warehouse.”   She said she had always been curious about adoption and after their first adoption she knew they wanted to adopt again. The couple now have five children and live in West Monroe, La.

Duck Commander Warehouse, located in West Monroe, started with Robertson’s father, Phil Robertson running the company out of a living room operation at home. Duck calls were made, packaged, assembled, and shipped from the family home.

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