Ed Wood was named this year’s South Side High School’s Distinguished Alumni at the alumni gathering on May 4. He graduated from South Side in 1967 and went on to Arkansas Tech University where he graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Agri-Business.
After college he and his wife moved back to Morganton and went into the dairy business for a short time. The couple decided they needed a more stable income so Wood accepted a position as a caseworker with the Department of Human Services in Clinton. Wood stated that he never intended to make it a career but one year led to another and positions opened that just seemed natural to apply for. During his 38-year career, Wood was county director and county administrator for Human Services for 22 years at Clinton. During his last 10 years he served as area director covering 13 counties.
He served two years as president of the State County Administrator’s Association and was named DHS County Operations "Employee of the year" in 2007.
It was a lifelong learning experience, Wood said. DHS offered many opportunities for training and enrichment. Wood also was selected for a two-year training course called "LeadAr" through the Cooperative Extension Service. Included in this was a nine-day training tour in Washington, D.C. and a 12-day international trip to Mexico, Honduras and Belize.
One of his proudest accomplishments was helping establish the Unified Community Resource Council. From this Foods for Life, United Way of Van Buren County, Dove House for battered woman, Literacy Council and Travelers Aid were formed.
At Wood’s retirement in 2010 he received letters from the governor, DHS director and was awarded the coveted "Arkansas Traveler" certificate.
Wood has been active in his community and church. He has served on numerous boards in his church and has served as deacon for over 30 years. He is also a Gideon and a church speaker for the group.
"One of the most challenging times was when I served on the South Side School Board from 1986-90," Wood said. He was president of the board when the devastating tornado of 1988 struck and destroyed much of the school.
One other accomplishment Wood said he is proud of was the South Side Alumni Board that has given over $50,000 since its inception in 1985. The board has honored many distinguished alumni since its formation. Dan Dipert was the originator of the board and Wood was elected president the first year and has served in that position since the beginning.
Currently Wood is serving on the Van Buren County Conservation Board. "I am pleased to be a part of protecting our soil and water," he said.
He is married to Shirley Davis Wood, and has two sons, Jared Wood of Russellville and Dr. Clint Wood of Fort Smith. He has one grandson, Parker Wood.
Wiid said he was proud of his roots and being able to raise his family in his rural home.