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My Town Hero: The Motivator | Arts & Culture

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My Town Hero: The Motivator
My Town Hero: The Motivator

JACKSONVILLE Ark. (KTHV) - Every now and then, we find ourselves stuck in a rut. One man in the city of Jacksonville has made it his duty to inspire just about everyone he encounters. It's one of many reasons he was nominated for My Town Hero.

When James Bolden is on the move, he's bound to light someone on fire with enthusiasm.

"He makes people feel motivated by his demeanor, his behavior, personality everything about him," said Jill Ross, Jacksonville human resource director. Internationally, he's known as The Motivator, but Ross also knows him as a city alderman. When employee morale was down, she knew exactly who to turn to. "He spent 15 hours of his own time training 300 city employees.”

She said Alderman Bolden spent an hour teaching them how to handle stress and stay motivated during tough economic times.

"When people are down and nobody is there to motivate them, I feel strongly led to get them to the point where they can overcome things," said Bolden.

Ross said Bolden's positive, motivating force left the employees invigorated, and many others share that same sentiment after listening to him. "This guy could motivate a fire plug; he's just that kind of individual."

Attorney Tom Fuquay said when he became extremely ill, Bolden showed up at his doorstep with something not even his family or doctor could give him--motivation.

"By the time he left after that hour, I was pretty much ready to take on the world again. Still couldn't walk across the room, didn't have a lot of strength, but boy I was sure willing," described Fuquay.

Bolden has become a constant source of inspiration to countless people, even soldiers. With more than 20 years of serving in both the U.S. Air Force Base and U.S. Army, Bolden spent time motivating soldiers as a drill sergeant. Today he's motivating an army of a different kind at his church. Yes, he's also a Bishop, and when he isn't handing out food, clothing, and backpacks through his church program called HOPE, he's also helping teens further their education.

"He offered me a scholarship and helped me to kind of get through school. Always gave me a phone call saying, 'Hey, you going to class?’" remembered Alexandria Washington of Jacksonville.

Whether it's his church members, city employees, or even strangers, Bishop Bolden is constantly encouraging others.

"I call him a pillar of community. He's one of the best citizens I think that we have here in Jacksonville," concluded Ross.

To see those people find strength in themselves is what makes it all worthwhile for Bolden. He was nominated by his wife Cynthia Bolden and Alexandria Washington of Jacksonville.


Do you know someone in your community who goes above and beyond? Maybe they’re always helping people, or greets everyone with a smile. Perhaps they’ve beat unthinkable odds or have accomplished something exceptional.

We want to highlight them. To have your My Town Hero featured, email the following information to mytown@thv11.com:

  • Their name,
  • Their hometown,
  • Their contact information,
  • A photo of them, and
  • What makes them extra special

Include “My Town Hero” in the email subject line and we’ll take care of publishing it for you. Their story might even be told on air by THV11's Denise Middleton.