Nov. 13, 2007
DENT COUNTY'S LIBBY SANDERS RECEIVES
Meramec Regional Planning Commission presented its highest award for community service to Libby Sanders of Salem during its 2007 Annual Dinner, held Nov. 8, 2007, at St. Anthony’s Catholic School in Sullivan. MRPC also recognized nine other volunteers and one organization from across the region for their community service work.
Each year, MRPC honors residents from Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties who have exhibited outstanding voluntarism and community service. MRPC also presents its highest honor, its annual Eugene E. Northern Award, to volunteers who have demonstrated lifelong community service. Northern, a former Rolla mayor, was a Missouri Circuit judge that was dedicated to his community and went beyond the call of duty.
Sanders, nominated by Osage County Presiding Commission Darrell Skiles, was honored for her service as board trustee, volunteer and director of the Bonebrake Center of Nature and History as well as her work in education, ranging from her involvement with First Steps, a special needs early intervention program for infants and toddlers, to teaching classes at Southwest Baptist University.
Others honored included:
The guest speaker for the evening was Dr. Brad E. Frazier, general manager of the Wal-Mart Logistics Distribution Center 6069 in St. James. He discussed factors that go into a company’s decision to locate or expand a facility in a given community, including labor, age disbursement, median income, population growth rates, employment rates, reliability of utilities, educational capabilities, quality of schools, environmental impact, transportation infrastructure, ability to cooperate and community attitude.
As an elected official or economic developer, “it’s not what you say, it’s what you do,” Frazier said. “Your goal is to create critical mass. The more you get, the more you get.” Frazier recognized that every community has those persons that oppose change and growth. You cannot stay the same, Frazier said. “If you don’t grow, you die.”
He also encouraged communities to work together, citing that Wal-Mart looks at a 40-mile radius. It was because of a Rolla leader—the late Dain Ward—that Wal-mart looked at St. James. “Do not view communities around you as a threat,” Frazier said. “They need to be your ally.”
Two MRPC staff members were honored with years of service awards: Environmental Programs Manager Tammy Snodgrass for 15 years of service and Business Loan Specialist/Community Development Specialist Candace Connell for five years. Snodgrass was also honored as Employee of the Year for 2007, a selection made by MRPC staff.
Meramec Regional Development Corp., the loan board that works in partnership with MRPC, presented its Lender of the Year award, to Town and Country Bank. MRDC Chairman Tom Klebba presented the award to John Kolbe, Town and Country’s chief executive officer.
Some 174 people attended the dinner, which was hosted by the city of Sullivan. Sponsors for the event were the city of Sullivan, St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School and the Sullivan Chamber of Commerce.
MRPC Chairman Bob Reed served as master of ceremonies.
MRPC is a voluntary council of local governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Officers are Chairman Bob Reed of Washington County, Vice Chairman Laura Antolak of Rolla, Secretary Russell Scheulen of Osage County and Treasurer Gary Brown of Salem. A professional staff, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, transportation planning, housing assistance, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans, strategic planning and other services to member communities upon request.