Karen Derfler Carter, secretary for Roller-Ballard Funeral Home in Benton, has been chosen as the 2011 Christine Roller Employee of the Year.
The award is given to the individual who demonstrates outstanding service and dedication to families served by Roller Funeral Homes.
A spokesman for the corporation said the honor is presented annually to the employee within the Roller organization who "best exemplifies the traits and skills demonstrated by the firm's founders, Denver and Christine Roller."
Carter joined the funeral home staff in June of 1984.
In addition to the contacts she has with families seeking the services of the funeral home, Carter also has provided leadership for the THEOS chapter the funeral home sponsors. Carter serves as coordinator for this support group for widowed persons that has been active for around 25 years.
Steve Gray, manager of Roller-Ballard Funeral Home, nominated Carter for the award.
Carter said she is "honored and humbled to receive this honor because I know what's behind the award, but at the same time most of what I do is because of the phenomenal co-workers I have that make it possible."
"I continue to receive more than I give," she said. "I love what I do and I'm very blessed to be able to do this and stay in the same job for as long as I have."
She added that her job brings her in contact "with good, loving people, and it's easy to do because of the people that you do it for.
"And I really couldn't do it without my amazing co-workers," she added.
"Part of what I'm able to do is comes from the fact that I've experienced the death of my own father and I've witnessed my mom go through that difficult time," she said. "I know what a helpless feeling it is for people during these times and being able to help someone see the light at the end of the tunnel is a good feeling."
The award was presented to Carter at the Roller Christmas party.
Carter is a member of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Benton.
She and her husband, Jim, are the parents of three sons, Adam Carter and wife Lindsay; Aaron Carter and wife JoJo; and Austin Carter; and they are the grandparents of Maddie, Owen and Charlee Rose Carter.