MRPC News Release

For immediate release
Oct. 31, 2016

For more information, contact
            Bonnie Prigge at (573) 265-2993

Sirois receives MRPC Outstanding Youth Volunteer award

DENT COUNTY—Josh Sirois of Salem was among those honored for their volunteer efforts during Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) 2016 Annual Dinner on Oct. 20 at the Belle-Bland Community Center in Belle. 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. Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles nominated Sirois for an Outstanding Youth Volunteer award.

Sirois, who as valedictorian of his high school class, has a lengthy list of community service and accomplishments. He served as the Salem Area Community Betterment Association Youth board member for the Missouri Community Betterment Associate 2015 Youth Leadership Award for his efforts.  He has volunteered as a worker in his church’s student ministries for several years, attended the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Tour to Washington D.C. in 2015, as well as the United States Constitutional Academy in Washington D.C. in 2016.

Sirois has received many other awards, including Dent County Community Foundation- Outstanding Youth Leadership award; Salem High School Citizenship award; and the 2016 Salem High School Best All Around Boy award. He is an inspiration to his peers as well as the adults who know him. He is currently attending Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington D.C. He is the son of Bernie and Michelle Sirois of Salem.

MRPC’s highest honor––the Eugene E. Northern award––was presented to Hermann resident Betty Hartbauer. The Northern award is given to a volunteer who demonstrates lifelong community service. Northern, a former Rolla Mayor, was a Missouri circuit judge who was dedicated to his community and went beyond the call of duty.

Hartbauer is currently president of three different organizations that either preserve or perpetuate the city of Hermann’s German heritage, including the Historic Hermann, Inc., which is headquartered in the historic German school building and museum, Hermann Maifest Committee, where she coordinates annual festivals that include 30 vendors or more and the local Wall Dog chapter, where she coordinates professional artists, both local and from the entire Midwest, paint retro advertising murals. Hartbauer has demonstrated leadership and enhance tourism through her untiring efforts within the community.

          Others honored include:

•  Carol Hofstetter of Bourbon, nominated by MRPC board member Mary Heywood;
•  Barb Schaller of Belle, nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze and Belle Mayor Steve Vogt;
•  Mark McClane of Belle, nominated by Osage County Commissioner Dave Dudenhoeffer and Belle Mayor Steve Vogt;
•  Carma Labbee of Potosi, nominated by Debby Bust, MRPC board member;
•  Ronald Hoffman of Linn, nominated by Osage County Commission;
• Owensville M.O.B. (Making Owensville Better), nominated by John Kamler, Owensville mayor;
•  Pulaski Young Marines of Waynesville, nominated by Luge Hardman, Waynesville mayor;
•  Betty Layman, nominated by Crocker Mayor James Morgan, and
•  Leo Dickey of Belgrade, nominated by John M. Robinson, III, Caledonia mayor.

The other youth volunteer recognized was Evan Thierry of Belle, nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze and Belle Mayor Steve Vogt.

MRPC staff service awards were also presented during the evening to MRPC Executive Director Bonnie Prigge for 25 years of service; Teresa Murdie, housing inspector/coordinator, for 35 years of service; Maria Bancroft, business loans specialist for 10 years of service.

Housing inspector Chuck Cantrell was also honored as MRPC 2016 Employee of the Year, a selection made by MRPC staff. He inspects rental units through the Phelps County Public Housing Agency (PHA) and provides work write-ups and inspection services for housing renovation projects. He also does lead and asbestos inspections and helps with the maintenance of the MPRC building and cars.

Cantrell was nominated by his co-workers because of his willingness to help others and his ability to remember every detail and discuss his work. He willingly accepts additional duties and projects and volunteers to help where needed and customers compliment on his professionalism.

Meramec Regional Development Corp., the loan board that works in partnership with MRPC, presented its Lender of the Year award to Maries County Bank. Brandon Licklider of the St. James branch accepted the award on behalf of the bank.

Some 179 people attended MRPC’s annual dinner. Several area cities, businesses and board members donated items for the silent auction, which was held during the reception. The reception was sponsored by Maries County Bank, Legends Bank and Mid America Bank, all of Belle.
MRPC Executive Director Prigge served as master of ceremonies and was assisted by Chairman Ray Schwartze, Maries County presiding commissioner. Vogt, Schwartze and Dudenhoeffer provided welcoming addresses. Vice Chairman Marvin Wright, presiding commissioner of Washington County, assisted with awards.

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.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website atwww.meramecregion.orgor on Facebook at

Josh Sirois was honored for contributions to his community at the MRPC annual dinner and awards ceremony Oct. 20. MRPC’s chairman and Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze (left), presented a plaque to his parents, Bernie and Michelle Sirois, as Josh is attending school in Washington D.C. and was unable to attend. Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles (far right) nominated Josh for the award.


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