MRPC News Release

For immediate release
Nov. 6, 2015

For more information, contact
Roxie Murphy at (573) 265-2993


Nominated by Crawford County Presiding Commissioner LeoSanders (left) for her outstanding youth volunteer efforts, Sierra Zeiss (center) was presented with a plaque from Sanders and Meramec Regional Planning Commission Chairman T.R. Dudley (left).

MRPC Chairman T.R. Dudly (left) presented a plaque to Rosemary Gruver (center) of Steelville, for her volunteer contributions to her community. Crawford County Presiding Commissioner Leo Sanders (right), nominated Gruver for the award.


MRPC honors Gruver, Zeiss for volunteer work

CRAWFORD COUNTY—Two Crawford County residents––Rosemary Gruver and Sierra Zeiss, both of Steelville, were honored for their volunteer services during Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) 2015 Annual Dinner on Oct. 30 at the Havener Center in Rolla. The organization also honored 11 additional volunteers and service organizations for their contributions to communities during the event.

Each year, MRPC honors residents of the eight-county Meramec Region who volunteer their time, talents and support to their communities and charitable causes.

The MRPC External Relations committee selects award winners after being nominated by an MRPC board member. Crawford County Presiding Commissioner Leo Sanders nominated Gruver for an Outstanding Volunteer award and Zeiss for an Outstanding Youth Volunteer award.

Gruver has dedicated her time, hard work and vision to make Steelville the best place it can be. Although she is not a Steelville native, she calls Steelville her home and watches and wonders where she can help other in need. She has dedicated her time to St. Michael Catholic Church, Golden Echoes, Meals of Love, Life Pregnancy Care Center, Chamber of Commerce, Steelville Arts Council, Country Gals Extension Club and the Steelville Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry.

Zeiss, the daughter of Steven and Kim Zeiss, demonstrates good character and leadership on a daily basis. She has held leadership roles in clubs and organizations as well as being the class treasurer. She is active in National Honor Society (NHS), Student Council, Gang Green and Rachel’s Challenge. In the community, she has helped with Meals of Love, Vacation Bible School, Special Olympics and served as counselor for 4-H camp. As a member of NHS, she has participated in events including Senior Citizen Appreciation Dinner, Alumni Banquet, Steelville Telephone Annual Meetings and Crawford Electric meetings.

Zeiss has also helped with crafts at the Steelville Manufacturing family picnic and worked several Red Cross blood drives and Salvation Army Kettle collections.

Rolla resident Thomas (Ted) E. Day was honored with the Eugene E. Northern Award, MRPC’s highest honor. It is given to a volunteer who demonstrates life long 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.

Day is active or has been active on numerous boards including The Community Partnership, Phelps County Regional Medical Center, Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation, Community Child Care Development Corporation (president), Rolla Regional Economic Commission, Rolla Community Development Corporation, First United Methodist Church, Hy-Point Tenant Association, Boys and Girls Town/Great Circle, Presbyterian Manor and the Rolla Technical Institute advisory group.

In addition to his volunteer efforts, Day is also a philanthropist. He served as co-campaign chairman for the Delbert Day Cancer Institute (DDCI) capital campaign, through Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation, which raised $7 million towards the construction of DDCI. Day and his wife, Kim, were the first contributors. The cancer institute was named in honor of Day’s father.

Others honored included:

· Laura Antolak of Rolla, nominated by MRPC At-Large Senior representative Donald G. Brackhahn;

· Gary Brown of Salem, nominated by Darrell Skiles, presiding commissioner of DentCounty;

· Jamie Jones of Vienna, nominated by Ray Schwartze, presiding commissioner of Maries County;

· Jamie Myers of Rolla, nominated by John Butz, Rolla City Administrator, and John Petersen, Community Development Director;

· Jan Sassmann of Belle-Bland, nominated by Belle Mayor Stewart Darrah and mayor representative Steve Vogt;

· Robert (Bob) J. Vinyard of Caledonia, nominated by Caledonia Chairman John M. Robinson;

· Planters of Pulaski County Garden Club, nominated by Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman; and

· Potosi/Washington County Chamber of Commerce, nominated by Potosi Mayor T.R. Dudley.

Youth volunteers honored were:

· Harley Bialczyk of Belle, nominated by Belle Mayor Stewart Darrah and mayor representative Steve Vogt; and

· Seth John of Vienna nominated by Ray Schwartze, presiding commissioner of MariesCounty.

MRPC staff service awards were also presented during the evening. MRPC Housing Program Manager Linda Hollandsworth and Planning and Development Manager Kelly Sink-Blair were recognized with plaques for 15 years of service; Fiscal Officer Linda Loughridge received a 20 years of service plaque, and Housing Coordinator Tammy Rigsby received a 25 years of service plaque.

Lyle Thomas was also honored as MRPC 2015 Employee of the Year, a selection made by MRPC staff. Thomas is a senior community development specialist and works with transportation planning, comprehensive economic development strategy, homeland security, planning mobility management and the housing renovation programs.

Thomas was nominated by his co-workers because of his enthusiasm and willingness to help others and to go above and beyond the call of duty. He willingly accepted changes in duties and volunteers to help when needed and has built a knowledgeable, versatile, professional and friendly rapport with customers.

Meramec Regional Development Corp., the loan board that works in partnership with MRPC, presented its Lender of theYear award to First State Community Bank. Ernie Kost, president of First State Community Bank in Rolla, accepted the award on behalf of the bank.

Nearly 130 people attended MRPC’s annual dinner. Among those attending was Leon Camillo, who was a founding member of the MRPC board in 1969. Camillo represented the city of Potosi on the first MRPC board. Several area cities, businesses and board members donateditems for the silent auction, which was held during the reception.

MRPC Chairman T.R. Dudley, mayor of Potosi, served as master of ceremonies and was assisted by MRPC Vice Chairman Ray Schwartze and MRPC Executive Director Bonnie Prigge. Welcoming addresses were provided by Rolla Mayor Lou Magdits IV, Phelps County Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp and Walt Branson, vice chancellor for finance and administration at Missouri S&T.

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 24, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

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