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

Five outstanding volunteers from Belle honored at MRPC annual dinner

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge or Caitlin Jones

ST. JAMES—Five residents of Belle were honored as outstanding volunteers and youth volunteers during the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) annual dinner Oct. 25 at the Hermann Hill Wedding and Convention Center, Hermann.  This year, Payden Woodruff, Max Thierry, Tim and Anna Long and Kathy Speichinger, were honored for their outstanding community service. Eight other individuals were honored at the dinner as well.

Payden Woodruff and Max Thierry were honored as outstanding youth volunteers.

Woodruff honored as outstanding volunteer
Payden Woodruff, daughter of Michael Woodruff and Kisha Woodruff, was honored at Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s Annual Dinner Oct. 25 at Hermann Hill Wedding and Conference Center as an outstanding volunteer. MRPC Vice Chairman Larry Miskel (left) and Chairman Marvin Wright presented the plaque to Woodruff’s parents, Michael Woodruff (center) and Kisha Woodruff, as she was away attending college in Fort Scott, KS. Woodruff was nominated by MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt (right).

Woodruff, daughter of Michael Woodruff and Kisha Woodruff, was nominated by MRPC board member Steve Vogt. She has over 500 hours of community service. She graduated Belle High School in 2018 with a 4.0 GPA, where she was an officer in the Future Farmers of America, Future Business Leaders of America, student council and National Honor Society. She was the captain of the girls’ varsity soccer team and a member of the Belle Varsity dance team. Her volunteer activities include: Relay for Life, Belle Flag Park development, Ya Ya’s community Easter egg hunt, trash pick-up day and numerous other activities. Woodruff’s parents accepted the award on her behalf as she is attending college at Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, KS.

Thierry honored as outstanding volunteer
Max Thierry, son of Craig and Merry Thierry, was honored at Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s Annual Dinner Oct. 25 at Hermann Hill Wedding and Conference Center as an outstanding volunteer. MRPC Vice Chairman Larry Miskel (left) and Chairman Marvin Wright presented the plaque to Thierry’s parents, Merry and Craig Thierry (center, as he was away attending college in Williamstown, MA. Thierry was nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze (right).

Thierry, son of Craig and Merry Thierry, was nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze. He is a 2018 graduate of Belle High School where he was named valedictorian and maintained a 4.0 GPA. He was district and local president of the Future Business Leaders of America and participated in district honor band from 2015-2017. Thierry volunteered his time at the March of Dimes, America Enterprise Day, preschool open house, Relay for Life, trunk or treat, anti-bullying training, Maries County Schools Scholarship Steak Night dinner for four years, American Red Cross blood drive and flood relief in 2017. Thierry’s parents accepted the award on his behalf as he is attending college at Williams College, Williamstown, MA.

Tim and Anna Long were nominated as outstanding volunteers by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze and were recognized for their work in bringing “Celebrate Recovery,” a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind, to Belle. They are currently ministry leaders for the group, with Anna serving as state representative. Tim and Anna are also active in their church; Anna participates in the church choir and Tim serves as deacon and helps with church security. They are both actively involved in the Archery program in the Maries R-II Schools, with Tim serving as one of the coaches and Anna serving as the treasurer.

Speichinger honored as outstanding volunteer
Kathy Speichinger was honored at Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s Annual Dinner Oct. 25 at Hermann Hill Wedding and Conference Center for her efforts as the sponsor of the Future Business Leaders of America with the Belle High School for the last 20 years. MRPC Vice Chairman Larry Miskel (left) and Chairman Marvin Wright presented the plaque. Speichinger was nominated by MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt(right).

Kathy Speichinger, nominated by MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt, was honored as an outstanding volunteer for her work as the sponsor of the Future Business Leaders of America at Belle High School. She and her students are recognized at the state and federal level. Her high degree of excellence has been evident for over 20 years. Their projects, with her guidance, have had a significant impact on Belle and her students successes include contributions to: March of Dimes, Camp Quality, Back Pack Buddies, and developing and maintaining the Flag Park and Welcome to Belle sign, landscaping for the Flag Park, Post Office flower bed, digital sign in front of the school, landscaping around the school, career day, teacher appreciation luncheon, Dollars for Disasters, Relay for Life and breakfast of champions.

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

  • Chuck Hartbauer of Hermann, nominated by Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel and MRPC Board Member Mark Wallace;
  • Ruth Rebmann and Shelby Uffmann, nominated by Mayor of Owensville John Kamler;
  • Lucy Brenner of Morrison, nominated by MRPC Board Member Jan Haviland;
  • Denise Seevers of Dixon, nominated by Mayor of Waynesville Luge Hardman;
  • Sean Hackmann of Chamois, nominated by Mayor of Chamois Elise Brochu; and
  • Gerald “Jerry” W. West (posthumously) of Potosi, nominated by MRPC Board Member Janey Radford.

The Eugene E. Northern award, the highest honor given by MRPC for volunteers and community service, was presented to Michael Dunbar of Waynesville. He was nominated by Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman and St. Robert Mayor George Lauritson. Dunbar retired from the U.S. Army and has served the community by taking a leadership role with the Waynesville/St. Robert Chamber of Commerce, serving on numerous boards, and a strong commitment the Fort Leonard Wood area. As chair of the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission, his influence is felt from Jefferson City to Washington D.C. As a founding member and past president of the Sustainable Ozarks Partnership, Mike has worked tirelessly to enhance the position of Fort Leonard Wood as a premier training facility in the military.

The Maries County Bank was honored with Meramec Regional Development Corporation’s Lender of the Year award. Mark Hayes, senior vice president, accepted the award on its behalf.

Four staff members were recognized at the 2018 awards banquet for years of service: Elaine Cloyde, housing program coordinator for Crawford County with MRPC, received her award for 30 years of service; Tammy Snodgrass, assistant director and environmental programs manager, received her award for 25 years of service; Chuck Cantrell, housing inspector, received his award for 20 years of service; and Larry Blevins, maintenance technician, received his award for 15 years of service. Caitlin Jones, marketing and communications coordinator, was honored as MRPC’s employee of the year. Jones joined MRPC in December 2016.

The night included a reception that began at 5:30, featuring a Taste of Hermann event showcasing food and drinks from Hermann businesses. A silent auction, which raised over $1,287 to offset the costs of the dinner, was held during the reception. Some 171 individuals were in attendance at the dinner.

“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 Hermann and Gasconade County, our hosts, and a special thank you to Terry Hammer and his staff for all their hard work to deliver a top-notch location for our evening. The support from the Hermann business community was amazing. It was certainly a great evening.”

13 outstanding volunteers honored at MRPC annual dinner
Front Row: Lindsey Jarvis (daughter of Jerry West), Brenda West (wife of Jerry West), Tim and Anna Long, Shelby Uffmann, Ruth Rebmann, Kathy Speichinger, Lucy Brenner, and Denise Seever. Back Row: Chris West (son of Jerry West), Mark Hayes with Maries County Bank, Chuck Hartbauer, Sean Hackmann, Craig and Merry Thierry accepting on behalf of son Max Thierry and Michael Dunbar. Not Pictured: Michael Woodruff and Kisha Woodruff, accepting on behalf of daughter Payden Woodruff.

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. Marvin Wright serves as Chairman of the board. A professional staff of 25 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/.

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Tim and Anna Long. JPG – Anna and Tim Long were honored at Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s Annual Dinner Oct. 25 at Hermann Hill Wedding and Conference Center for their efforts to bring Celebrate Recovery to Belle. MRPC Vice Chairman Larry Miskel (left) and Chairman Marvin Wright presented the plaque. Tim and Anna were nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze (right).