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ADPT's David Flake Receives Award from American Heart Association


Zoie Clift, Travel Writer

David Flake, Human Resources Director for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT), has received the Ken Gilbert Volunteer of the Year Award from the Central Arkansas Division of the American Heart Association (AHA). He is the 16th person to receive the award.

“I want to be involved in the community in a way I find makes a difference, and, having lost my father to heart disease, the AHA seemed a good fit for me,” said Flake.

The goal of the American Heart Association is to encourage a healthy lifestyle and promote awareness of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Prevention includes maintaining a healthy weight and exercising.

The annual Heart Walk is the association’s main event for raising funds. Flake has participated as a Heart Walk Team leader for nine years with ADPT (the team name is the Natural State Walkers) collectively raising over $25,000 for the American Heart Association.

Stan Graves, former manager ( he is retired now) of Planning and Development for Arkansas State Parks, initially approached Flake with the idea of starting a Heart Walk Team with ADPT staff.

“As an advocacy of outdoor recreation, it just makes sense that ADPT would participate in the Heart Walk and encourage the community to use our facilities for their family-friendly, heart-healthy regimens,” Flake said.

Flake has also served on the Heart Walk Logistics Committee for four years (which spearheads activities leading up to the Heart Walk such as a survivor’s reception at the Governor’s Mansion) and the American Heart Association recognized him as a Heart Walk Superstar in 2007 and a Top Walker in 2010 and 2011.

The American Heart Association, founded in 1924, is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In Arkansas, the association funds over $847,000 in research grants to the University of Arkansas.