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a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

Dr. Ziske, Bilyeu honored as outstanding volunteers at MRPC annual dinner in Salem

For immediate release

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

ST. JAMES—Dr. Ted Ziske and Baylee Bilyeu were honored as two of 10 outstanding volunteers who were presented awards at MRPC’s 2017 Annual Dinner Oct. 26 at the Salem Community Center @ the Armory in Salem, MO.

Each year, Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) honors residents of the Meramec Region who give to their communities by volunteering their time, talents and support. MRPC’s External Relations Committee selects award winners, after being nominated by an MRPC board member.

Dr. Ziske, 91, was nominated by Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles to receive the Eugene E. Northern award. The Eugene E. Northern award is the highest honor given by MRPC for volunteers and community service and is named after 25th Circuit Court Judge Northern. Dr. Ziske is a World War II Navy Veteran who has maintained his dental license and served the Salem area since 1954 – never retiring. During the 1960’s, he was the only dentist in the Salem area. Throughout his career, Dr. Ziske has been instrumental in establishing dental care in Dent County and surrounding areas and bringing every new dentist to the Salem area. Joined by Dr. Charles Felt, Dr. Ziske established and staffed an oral surgery clinic at the Phelps County Hospital.

Aside from Dentistry, Dr. Ziske served 15 years on the Salem R-80 School Board of Education, three terms on the Board of Salem Memorial Hospital, and has been an active member of the Salem Rotary Club for over 20 years.

In the early 1960s, Dr. Ziske was inspired to build a dam on Spring Creek, which spawned a legacy of fishing and recreation that will last for generations. The dam helped to create a 35-acre lake, which Dr. Ziske later donated to the Missouri Department of Conversation to help in establishing the Shawnee Mac Lake area east of Salem. When the conservation agency took it over, they discussed with Dr. Ziske on what to name the area and they decided to name it after Mac, the best birddog Dr. Ziske ever had, and the Shawnee Indians who used to inhabit the area.

“Dr. Ziske is well known and respected in the Salem area and is always willing help when needed with a positive attitude,” Skiles said.

Ironically, Dr. Ziske got tired and went home to watch ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ before his award was presented. His daughter accepted the award on his behalf.

In a follow-up visit on Monday, Dr. Ziske said he knew Judge Northern through his father, as the two were of the same political persuasion. Dr. Ziske said he was aware of the great civic work Judge Northern did, and he was quite honored to receive an award named in recognition of Eugene E. Northern.

Bilyeu, the daughter of Kim and Greg Wilson, was nominated by Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles and was honored as one of three outstanding youth volunteers. After losing her biological father to illness when she was young, Bilyeu has always made the best of difficult situations. She very active in her school and church approaching everything with empathy and compassion. Bilyeu spearheaded the formation of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at Salem High School and organized a year-end “Rap-Up,” where a Christian rapper kicked off summer break with a performance. According to Skiles, Bilyeu faces the world with a positive attitude ready to make the best of all situations.

Dr. Ziske, 91, was nominated by Skiles to receive the Eugene E. Northern award. The Eugene E. Northern award is the highest honor given by MRPC for volunteers and community service and is named after 25th Circuit Court Judge Northern. Dr. Ziske is a World War II Navy Veteran who has maintained his dental license and served the Salem area since 1954 – never retiring. He was also instrumental in the formation and establishment of the Shawnee Mac Lake area east of Salem.

“Dr. Ziske is well known and respected in the Salem area and is always willing help when needed with a positive attitude,” Skiles said.

Other individuals recognized by MRPC for contributions to their communities were:

  • Henry and Mary Wansing of Vienna, nominated by MRPC chairman and Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze;
  • Bill Reynolds of Loose Creek, nominated by MRPC Board Member Dr. Don Claycomb;
  • Sean Wilson of Waynesville, nominated by Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman;
  • Neil Richards (posthumously) of Potosi, nominated by Caledonia Chairman John M. Robinson.

Youth Volunteers:

  • Tyler Roberds, son of Tommy and Carrie Roberds of Meta, nominated by MRPC chairman and Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze;
  • Maxwell Butler, son of Tom and Lisa Butler of Belle, nominated by Belle Mayor Steve Vogt.

Community organization:

  • The Ya Ya’s of Belle, nominated by Belle Mayor Steve Vogt.

Local Agency Representative:

  • City Administrator Harold Selby of St. James, nominated by Mayor of St. James Jim White.

Meramec Regional Development Corporation’s (MRDC) Lender of the Year award was given to First State Community Bank. Don Thompson accepted the award on its behalf. First state Community Bank was honored for partnering with MRDC on a Small Business Administration 504 loan that provided financing for the construction of B&M Quick Stop in Mineral Point in Washington County.

Two staff members were also recognized at the 2017 awards banquet. Jodie Branson, an accountant II with MRPC, received her award for 10 years of service. Ryan Dunwoody, environmental programs specialist, was honored as MRPC’s employee of the year. Dunwoody joined MRPC in 2015 and works on many programs including hazard mitigation plans, commodity flow studies, environmental reviews, produces maps for a variety of plans and is involved in special disaster planning projects among other things.

The night included a reception that began at 5:30 featuring Red Moose Vineyards and music by Alter-K-Shon. Progressive Ozark Bank, Bank of Salem and Riverways Federal Credit Union sponsored the reception. A silent auction, which raised over $1,713 to offset the costs of the dinner, was held during the reception hour and door prizes donated by the Central District for Roadway Safety, MRPC’s Mobility Management Program, Progressive Ozark Bank and Scenic Rivers Industries were given out after dinner. 170 individuals were in attendance at the dinner, catered by Country Seasons Catering.

“Our Annual Dinner is the highlight of our year, as our board takes great pleasure in honoring some very deserving volunteers across our region, recapping some of the great projects that have occurred in our communities and taking a look at the contributions MRPC, as an organization, has made to our cities and counties,” said Bonnie Prigge, MRPC executive director. “We really appreciate the hospitality, provided by the city of Salem and Dent County, our hosts, and a special thank you to Sherry Lea and Healthy Dent County for all their hard work to deliver a top-notch location for our evening. The support from local residents was amazing. It was certainly a great evening.”

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 22, 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 www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.