As I take a few minutes on this St. Patrick’s Day Sunday to bring you up to date on some of the latest happenings with the Village Employees Benefit Fund, it is painfully obvious to me that some of our supporters won’t be able to receive this information because their homes have been damaged by the March 14 tornado. I speak for the Board when I say we are glad there were no injuries in the Village, we are sad about your losses, and we also hope for quick and successful repairs to your homes and businesses.


I am also reminded of who will be on the ground doing the work, and the thousands of person-hours that will be needed to get the Village back, making repairs and cleaning up the damage: many of the hourly workers we support with your donations.


Allow me to share just one story I heard over the weekend about the efforts our employees made on our behalf, among the dozens of other stories we will try to bring to you in the future. In the valley just to the east of Viajero Drive, on Raso Lane, as the tornado was sputtering out before leaving the Village on that Thursday night, it shredded hundreds of trees around the only two homes in the area.


At 2 AM Friday morning, knowing there were elderly residents in those homes, several firefighters crawled over, under, and cut through dozens of downed trees to reach those homes to see if the resident’s needed assistance.


Those few firefighters were not answering a 9-1-1 call. They were answering a call of duty to us.


Miraculously, they found the homes relatively untouched amid the forest’s destruction, and the residents were found safe, if, indeed, not sound.


As for the rest of the news I thought I would bring you this month, well, most of it can wait, as this note is already too long. But it is timely to mention we added three new board members, and I hope you will take a few minutes to get to know them after reading an introduction ahead. Aside from that, now we are working on our marketing and communication efforts for 2024, with updates to come.


Thank you for your support, as we count on our employees to help bring the Village back to some semblance of normal.

“Nothing happens in Hot Springs Village, until a POA employee comes to work.”

John Chapman, VEBF Board President


The VEBF board had three openings for members toward the end of 2023, out of a total of eleven. We were fortunate to recruit interested Villagers to fill those positions early this year. Please welcome Lloyd Sherman, Lee Ann Branch, and Bob Zellner! Each of them have diverse and exceptional backgrounds in business and public service. Please take a minute to view their bio's on our website. Just click on "About" from the options at the top of the page, then click on "VEBF Board" on the drop-down menu.

Lloyd Sherman

Lee Ann Branch

Bob Zellner


John McCaleb

John McCaleb is the POA's Information Technology Support Specialist. John has been an integral part of the IT Department for more than 2 years. He has brought over 20 years of experience in IT to the department. He has been a principal reason for the improved security throughout The Village by installing camera systems throughout most of the POA buildings. His expertise in installing and proper placement of the cameras has helped the HSVPD nab thieves as well as kept many staffers safe in their jobs here. He also owns a horse rescue in his spare time.

HSV Firefighters

Firefighters received a life saving award. Firefighters responded to a welfare check and found a female unresponsive in her home and their quick response and training saved the woman’s life.

Congratulations Dakota Graves on his promotion to Lieutenant and Jeremy Simmons for his promotion to Captain.

Thank you to all First Responders for ALL you did and are doing for us after the tornado and every day.

Shawn McCoy

Shawn McCoy has been with the water department for over 7 years, and is currently a Lead Water Operator Foreman. Shawn says he and his family really appreciate their annual gift from the VEBF, and use it to help with year-end expenses.


NAME: Carol Freeland   


WE MOVED HERE FROMRichardson, Texas (suburban area of Dallas)

BECAUSE: To enjoy retirement in this beautiful community of lakes and golf courses!

MY HOBBIES OR INTERESTS AREUsed to be golf. Now enjoy gardening, birding, reading and needlework.

WHAT WAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL OCCUPATION BEFORE YOU RETIRED? My partner and I owned a business in the credit and collection industry.

WHAT PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? Serving in leadership roles within my business industry’s professional organization; serving on the Dallas Habitat for Humanity Board and as Vice President of Habitat for Humanity International’s Board of Directors; a varied career in special education, speech pathology, early childhood day care administration; serving on the MidAmerica Science Museum Board of Directors and on the board of directors for CASA and OCC; my work in Restorative Justice in the Garland County Juvenile court system.

MY BIGGEST SOURCE OF INSPIRATION CAME FROM: First my parents, then my husband as well as the special-needs children I worked with for so long. 

PEOPLE WOULD BE MOST SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT ME THAT I: am a certified SCUBA diver and have dived in a number of exotic locations.

WHAT APPEALS TO YOU ABOUT THE VEBF, AND SERVING AS A BOARD MEMBER? VEBF provides Villagers with an appropriate way to thank employees for going the extra mile, doing more than required, staying late/coming early, etc. Serving on this board affords me the privilege of helping with continuity, documentation management, marketing to our wonderful Villagers giving them the opportunity to say thanks.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A VILLAGE RESIDENT WHO THINKS A CONTRIBUTION TO THE VEBF IS NOT NECESSARY? It’s not necessary. It’s a Villager’s opportunity to make sure employees know they are appreciated. So much of what goes on to make our home a safe, attractive and enjoyable place to live happens without our even seeing it! And it isn’t about the amount that’s given, it’s about doing so!  


Hot Springs Village Employees Benefit Fund was established on September 22, 1999, to receive and disburse appreciation funds contributed by the property owners of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

These funds are for the benefit and support of all qualified POA employees (excluding Top Management) as defined in the by-laws.

Our intent is to demonstrate the recognition, appreciation, and respect that our property owners and others have for all those who work to support and maintain Hot Springs Village.

The Village Employees Benefit Fund newsletters are sponsored by

Dannet Botkin, CEO & Owner of

Designs Group Consulting.

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