The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism’s annual Henry Awards banquet occurred last evening, concluding the 41st Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The conference was held March 8-10 in Texarkana. The Henry Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the state’s tourism industry in the preceding year.

Governor Asa Hutchinson presided at the banquet and addressed nearly 600 attendees. Richard W. Davies, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, served as master of ceremonies and Miss Arkansas 2014 Ashton Campbell assisted in the presentation of the awards.

Troy Keeping, president and CEO of Southland Racing and Gaming in West Memphis, was named as the Tourism Person of the Year. Greg Butts, director of Arkansas State Parks, and Joe David Rice, director of Arkansas Tourism, were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame.

The Henry Award recipients for 2014 include:

• Media Support Award: Gospel Station Network, Oklahoma 
• Bootstrap Award: WWII Japanese American Internment Museum, McGehee (Desha County)
• Arkansas Heritage Award: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, Dyess (Mississippi County)
• Grand Old Classic Special Event Award: Quapaw Quarter Association Spring Tour of Homes, Little Rock (Pulaski County)
• Outstanding Volunteer Service Award: Charles Snapp, Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County)
• Community Tourism Development Award: Hot Springs Baseball Trail, Hot Springs (Garland County)
• The Natural State Award: Bridges of Pulaski County / River Lights in the Rock, Little Rock (Pulaski County)
• Tourism Special Achievement Award: U.S. Marshals Commemorative Coin Program (Sebastian County)

The Henry Awards have been a feature of the annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism since their debut in 1981. The awards are named for Henri de Tonti, founder of Arkansas Post in 1686, who is often hailed as the first “Arkansas Traveler.”