Marla Cunningham of Carlisle recently received the 2012 Charlotte Patterson award from the Independent Insurance Agents of Arkansas.

The award is bestowed on a member insurance woman who has made outstanding contributions to the community, Insurance Women Club and/or the National Association of Insurance Women, an employer and the insurance industry collectively.

Cunningham received the award earlier this summer at the IIAA’s 111th annual convention at Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Mo.

She is employed by The Cashion Company Inc. in Little Rock, where she has worked as an account manager for the past 19 years. She received her Excellence in Service designation in 1997, completed a Dynamics of Service course in 1999 and was conferred as a Certified Insurance Counselor by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors in 2002.

"I think this was the first time I’ve ever seen Marla speechless.", said Jim R. Allbritton, executive vice president of The Cashion Company Inc.

Cunningham’s parents, Dwight and Donna Ward, brother Jeff Ward and son Ryleigh Cunningham, all of Carlisle, along with several co-workers, were brought in unannounced during the awards portion of the dinner.

"I just had no idea," Cunnigham said. "I am shocked!"

Cunningham lives in Carlisle with Ryleigh and daughter Reghann. She also serves on the board of directors of the Carlisle High School Alumni Association and is a member of the Bison Booster Club.