David E. Puryear Center
Category: Nonprofit Executive of the Year
Sometimes, experiences we have at a young age set the course for our adult lives. Such was the case with Linnette Pryor, administrator of the David E. Puryear Center in Jonesboro.
When Pryor was in first grade, she went to school with a boy named Teddy who was developmentally challenged.
“Teddy was born with Down syndrome, deaf and unable to speak,” Pryor said. “Unfortunately, due to the ignorance of those conditions in the 1950s, he was terribly neglected and abused by our teacher and others.”
It was an experience Pryor was never able to put out of her mind.
She began her career in law enforcement, but after giving birth to her son, Pryor took a “day job” at the East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging, where she created new programs for Arkansas’ aging population. After seven years serving in that position, Pryor was approached with the idea of building a center to care for developmentally challenged adults.
“After thinking things through and wondering if Teddy ever got the care he needed, I couldn’t turn down this unbelievable opportunity to make it right for the other Teddys who were out there.”
Now, 22 years later, Pryor is able to make a difference in the lives of individuals like Teddy as the administrator of the David E. Puryear Center, a 10-bed ICF/MR (intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded) that provides family-focused residential and medical care. The center is one of only 15 ICF/MRs in the state and is the only 10-bed facility operating independently without the support of a larger entity.
Pryor was a finalist for the Nonprofit Executive of the Year award at last fall’s first Northeast Arkansas Business of the Year banquet.