Saline 13 features interviews of Saline County residents, so we can meet our neighbors by way of them answering 13 set-in-stone questions. Click to see other Saline 13 Interviews and submit your own 13 answers.
Jana Helton, age 36 of Lonsdale
1. Describe the structure of your immediate family.
I am married to Damon Helton and we have four spunky children. Luke, Olivia, Violet, and Elena ranging in age from 9 down to 1. My parents, Ed & Lee Ann Hogue are still living (although not in the same house.) Damon’s parents Ron & Linda Helton are also still living (and in the same house.)
2. Where were you born and raised?
I was raised off Couchwood Drive in Salem. The Harvest Foods had just been built and may have been called BuyRite at the time. My older brother, Blake, and I would walk through the neighbors’ yards to get to the store and buy a coke or popsicle in the summer. In 5th grade, our house in Bryant was built in the back of Neal Street behind the old tanning salon in the A-framed house. I lived there until I graduated high school.
3. Describe your childhood.
Salem was a wonderful place to grow up. The neighborhood was safe and full of children. I loved to be outside and journey off into the woods with my dog, “Heidi.” I ended up finding a rundown barn out in those woods. The metal roof had fallen on one side which created the perfect “slide.” Now that I’m older and envision a 9-year-old girl in the woods alone with a dachshund sliding down a rusty metal roof I think maybe that wasn’t such a great idea. But, I survived it and have great memories. I played softball at Salem Ball Park. I took dance and gymnastics at Linda’s School of Dance. My large extended family would gather in my uncle Butch’s yard off Samples Road for Fourth of July parties. We ran barefoot in the dark summer grass catching fireflies in mason jars and watching fireworks that we bought from Metro One. I caught crawdads in the “creek” on the side of my yard, and then let them go on the other side of the road because I didn’t know what to do next with them. I was independent and made my own fun.
4. What’s the first music you owned in your personal collection?
My first record was right after Back to the Future. It was Huey Lewis and the News. I was in 4th grade – I think. I also loved – and still absolutely adore – Bob Seger. I was a Pep Stepper for the Cardinals pee-wee Football team and we danced to his “Old Time Rock and Roll” in the Benton parade through the square. I had to practice my routine, so my mom bought the record. Classic Rock and 80s Pop is by far my favorite genre of music still today.
5. What kind of hobbies do you have?
At this point in my life, I do not really have “hobbies” or spare time. I purposely did that because I hate to be bored. So, I have filled my life with plenty of children, an all natural livestock farm, a small country store, a farmhouse we are still renovating on our own, and my position as the Finance Director for GastroArkansas. But, oftentimes I think about the day when my life will slow down and what I will do with that time. (So I can go ahead and pre-fill it.) And, I would like to start a garden to sell produce in the store. I want to open a cannery. I want to make soaps & scrubs. And, I want to repurpose old antiques. Those are my future hobbies.
6. Tell us what you do for a living.
I am the Finance Director for GastroArkansas. We are a 10-physician practice specializing in gastro-intestinal medicine. Our physicians are all absolutely incredible and I am proud and honored to work for them and handle all the areas under finance. We have three clinic locations in Conway, North Little Rock, and Little Rock as well as three procedure facilities for your colonoscopies and EGD’s in LR, WLR, and Conway. Our patients couldn’t be in better hands.
7. Why do you stay in Saline County?
When I was growing up – and to this day – we call Saline County “B-town.” For Benton, Bryant, & Bauxite. I left B-town in 2002, because I married a soldier (we eloped) and moved to Washington state while he was stationed at Ft. Lewis. But, even after 5 years in the lush Pacific Northwest there was no better place to raise our children than Saline County. You have the benefit of a small community who still takes pride in city. Where churches still have a voice. Where people still take pride in hard work. With generations of families who remain and pass on the history. Not only do Damon and I feel comfort and pride in being involved with Saline County, but we hope our children will as well and continue the sense of community.
8. What would you magically change about something in Saline County if you could?
If I could wave my wand over Saline County, the magic would take all neglected structures that reflect historical charm and revitalize them. They would be a network of historic community museums educating the future on the layers of stories they hold. My wand would sprinkle dust on all of our citizens and would make them be the best person they were designed to be. Last, my wand would change the highway between Sevier Street and Haskell exits. That curve causes problems as well as Highway 70. There are too many wrecks and I fear for my kids when they drive. So, something should magically change about that. 🙂
9. What TV shows do you currently watch?
I do not have cable. There is not time to watch TV. See answer to question 5.
10. What’s your favorite indulgent food?
Hmm. Burges Turkey Salad, Olive Garden’s Tiramisu, Café Prego’s chocolate creme brulee, and a pineapple shake from Salem Dairy Bar.
11. What’s your favorite sports team?
I’m going to say the Seattle Seahawks. I find Russell Wilson very motivating.
12. What would you like to make sure your children have?
I want my children to have a strong work ethic and kindness toward others. I want them to be strong in their faith and resolved in their decisions. I want them to seek everything they wish to experience. I want them to feel happy, accomplished, and satisfied with their lives. I want them to be a contribution to society. And, above all I want them to know how much Damon and I love them.
13. What has been the most important day of your life?
The most important day of my life was the night I met Damon. We were at Cajun’s in Little Rock. He had just come home on leave from his first deployment and when I topped the stairs to go out to the deck he was standing there. My entire life (this life) flashed before my eyes and an angel whispered in my ear “That’s him.” All of my childhood, my young adult years, and all my experiences had led up to that moment. It was an incredible feeling and began our journey. If you want to learn more about our story and our store you can find us on www.facebook.com/oldecrowgeneralstore. The first link is a great article that Farm Credit wrote about our story. Or you can just stop by our store. Damon is there every day and very fun to talk to.
Click to see other Saline 13 Interviews and submit your own 13 answers.
Comments from previous version of MySaline:
Roger L. Poole on January 13, 2016 at 8:40am
Jana Helton on January 13, 2016 at 12:00pm