I'm a 100% disabled Marine that moved to Jonesboro in 2006, initially I really didn't get involved in Arkansas State athletics I held on to my teams from California, but in 2009 I had a panic attack leaving my house for work during the ice storm. I locked myself in the house for just over 3 months and was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that I had never got treated because I felt like people from the Vietnam era are still struggling to get the help they need why do I deserve it before them. It took my mother in law sitting me down and forcing me to talk to convince me that I needed to get professional help.
So I went to the Memphis VA and admitted myself to get my mind right. Upon coming home from there I was going into Target and there was some people from AState giving out license plates and tickets to the game so I asked for 4 tickets so I could take my 3 sons to the game. What happened at the game shocked me, for 4 hrs that night I didn't have a care in the world, I wasn't afraid to be in a crowd, the noise didn't brother me. I was so focused and happy to be at the game that my issues went away for a little while, and I got the chance to have a great time with my boys with no nasty side effects I got taking them to other public events. So I got tickets to the next home game and the same thing happened, then I went to some basketball games and again I was able to be the "old" me, the pre 3 deployments to Iraq me, I was able to be the dad that takes his boys out without having to worry about running to the car and leaving at the first sign of a crowd showing up.
Arkansas State is more than an economic boom for the town, or athletics, it is a safe haven for me and many other vets that suffer from PTSD. The town should honor the school for all it does in Jonesboro, but also for every unspoken blessing that they provide people like me. For those that think Red Wolf Blvd focuses too much on athletics and ignores academics, guess what every student on campus is a RED WOLF regardless of being on a team. You can ask any kid/young adult in the student section if they are Red Wolves and they will assuredly say "YES!", my 5 year old daughter puts her Wolves up and Howls every time we pass the stadium on Red Wolf Blvd. Please don't let the school and fans down by allowing a vocal minority to pressure you into disrespecting the University.
As the owner of Wimpy's Burgers and Fries on Stadium Blvd. and an alumni of
Arkansas State University, I am writing the entire City Council of Jonesboro to
respectfully ask that you give serious consideration to changing the name of
Stadium Boulevard to Red Wolf Boulevard. As the largest employer in the city and
county it is certainly an economic driver as much as any of the industries and
families who have had streets in the city named in honor of their contributions
Arkansas State University is certainly more than athletics and athletics
are only responsible for bringing the largest number of visitors to the city on
numerous occasions each year. Having the main artery and entrance to the
University named in honor of the mascot only serves to show any visitor to our
fine city the synergy involved between the community and the university.
As a business owner on Stadium Blvd I am very much aware of the 50% to 100%
increase that our business will experience on the day of a Astate football game
and I am sure that each of you are aware of the number of dollars that ASU and
specifically ASU athletics events bring into our city. I cannot imagine any
votes against something that can be such a positive move for ASU which in turn
will be a positive for the entire city of Jonesboro, Arkansas.