MRPC News Release

For immediate release
Oct. 31, 2016

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

MRPC honors two in Pulaski County with volunteer awards


PULASKI COUNTY—Pulaski Young Marines of Waynesville and Betty Layman of Crocker was among those honored for their volunteer services 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 10 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. Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman nominated the Pulaski Young Marines.

The Pulaski Young Marines is a non-profit youth organization, sponsored by the Marine Corps League and based on the principles of discipline, leadership and teamwork with a mission to educate and inspire youth by promoting a healthy, drug free lifestyle.

The group was created in August 2005 and included a staff of retired Marines and soldiers and members of the community. Over the past few years, the Pulaski Young Marines have actively participated in many volunteer efforts in Waynesville and around Pulaski County, including upkeep of Mitchell Cemetery; providing Color Guard services for the local Sojourner’s chapter for the memorial Day Wreath Laying and for opening ceremonies at local youth sporting events; placing flags on the graves of veterans on memorial Day at Sunset memorial Cemetery and Veterans Cemetery; assisting with “Snack in a Pack” program for the school district; supporting special events at Fort Leonard Wood; supporting the Marine Corps League “Toys for Tots” program; supporting events at the Life Care Center and St. James Veterans’ Home ; participating in the Veterans and Christmas parades; and supporting and participating in the Relay for Life event.

Lance Corporal Leander Corbett accepted the award on behalf of the group.

Crocker Mayor James Morgan nominated Layman. A music teacher, active member of the Crocker Presbyterian Church, active in women’s groups and ruling elder and member of the pastor search committee, Layman has dedicated her life a and services to her community. Her real passion is her service to the Crocker Community Food Bank, located at the Presbyterian Church. On any given day she finds time to stock the shelves with food that has been donated to the food bank.

When Layman is not working at the church, she spends time with her family. In 2015, she celebrated 40 years of marriage with her husband, Ronnie Layman. The couple has two children, Craig and Chris, and six grandchildren.

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:

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

          The youth volunteers were:

•  Josh Sirois of Salem, nominated by Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles; and
•  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.

Nearly 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 at or on Facebook at

MRPC Chairman and Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze (left) presents an award to Betty Layman (center) of Crocker at the MRPC awards ceremony. Crocker Mayor James Morgan (right) nominated Betty for the award.


MRPC Chairman and Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze (left) presents an award to Lance Corporal Leander Corbett, representing the Pulaski Young Marines at the annual awards ceremony Oct. 20. Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman nominated the group.


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