NPC Career Services Center Named For Tom Daniel

The National Park College (NPC) Career Services Center was named in honor of Tom Daniel Sr. Wednesday. The resolution was approved during the NPC Board of Trustees' regular monthly meeting. The meeting was held virtually via video conference software, the first in the board's history.

The Daniel family wanted to honor Tom Daniel Sr. by naming the NPC Career Center in his memory because of his commitment to education. He was raised by a teacher but left school early to enlist in the United States Air Force where he served for four years. While he was never able to attend college, his family said he was deeply committed to encouraging higher education. He served on many local scholarship boards. "He felt it was especially important to support quality educational opportunities within our own community. Our family felt this would be a fitting and ongoing tribute to our patriarch’s legacy," said his daughter Janette Bales.

Tom Daniel Sr. was a native of Hot Springs. He was born and raised in the community and was a dedicated servant of his hometown, holding many positions in numerous community organizations throughout his lifetime including the Advertising and Promotion Commission, Downtown Merchants Association, and Hot Springs Board of Directors. "He never missed a chance to welcome tourists, educate them on Spa City history, and thank them for coming. He didn’t just love and brag about his hometown, he spent much of his adult life working hard to improve it," said Bales.

Almost two decades ago, he started the Tom Daniel Chili Cookoff in downtown Hot Springs which benefits the Downtown Merchants Association and the maintenance of the downtown Christmas lights. He was also instrumental in creating events like the St. Patrick's Day Parade and many holiday festivities that draw interest and money into the city each year. He was a successful business owner of Spa Fireworks, National Park Gifts, and countless other business ventures. "He loved his career, especially delighting crowds with one of his perfectly timed and over-the-top fireworks displays," added Bales.

"He felt such love and pride for his Spa City home, he strived to make it the best it could be for tourists and citizens alike," said his wife, Mary Daniel. Tom and Mary Daniel were married for 24 years. He died in November 2016 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

"NPC is proud to recognize the legacy of Mr. Daniel and celebrate his lifelong contributions to education and to the city of Hot Springs. We hope his efforts will continue to inspire generations of students for years to come," said NPC president, John Hogan.