Jacksonville, Ark. – Sitting in a red rocking chair in front of a group of at least two dozen second graders, Bob Fielding on Thursday, March 9, read the students the classic children’s picture book, “Make Way for Ducklings.”
Written by Robert McCloskey, the tale follows a Mallard duck as she and her ducklings travel through bustling city streets to the Boston Public Gardens. With help from the Boston police, the ducks safely make the journey to their new home.
Just like the Boston police made a positive impact on the mother duck and her ducklings, for the last seven years Fielding has been providing a positive influence for the students at Murrell Taylor Elementary School in Jacksonville.
Fielding currently works full-time for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, but he started as a policeman in the 1980s and has maintained his connection with the Jacksonville Police Department through the years, serving for the last 20 years as chaplain and auxiliary officer.
Seven years ago, he asked the then principal of Murrell Taylor Elementary School, “What does your school need most?”
Without hesitation, she said men. Men to be role models and to read to children.
Since that conversation, Fielding has traveled to the school pretty much every Friday to mentor and read to the students. He also serves as an AR Kids Read volunteer. Through that, this year, he tutored two students at Lester Elementary School.
This past week was Fielding’s last as chaplain and auxiliary officer for the Jacksonville Police Department and his last week in the school as he and his wife moved to the Hot Springs area.
On Feb. 2, Fielding was announced as THV11’s Arkansan of the Day by Craig O’Neill, who also read to the students on Thursday, March 9, at Murrell Taylor Elementary School.
Fielding continues to serve as consultant for chaplaincy and national/international missions for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.