Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

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

Four Maries County residents honored as outstanding volunteers at MRPC Annual Dinner

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge or Caitlin Jones

ST. JAMES—Four Maries County residents were honored during the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) annual dinner Oct. 24 at the Stonebrooke Center in Waynesville. This year, Shane Jones, Karlee Hallahan, Joey Butler Sr. and Cindy Butler were honored for their outstanding community service. Nine other individuals were honored at the dinner as well. 

Jones, son of Eugene and Consuelo Jones of Belle, was nominated as an outstanding youth volunteer by MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt. Jones is a 2019 graduate of Belle High School and currently attends Missouri State University for accounting with hopes of becoming a certified public accountant and opening his own firm. During his time at Belle High School, he was active in many extra curriculars, such as Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Science Club and Band. Jones completed over 200 community service hours with his involvement with FBLA. Jones was described by his teachers as being understanding and empathic while having a superior work ethic and dedication to every project he was involved in. 

Hallahan of Vienna, was nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Vic Stratman, for her work with Visitation Catholic Church private school in Vienna. Hallahan who was diagnosed with Epidermolysis Bulosa, a skin disease, at birth has never let it slow her down or deter her from her dreams of working with children. Hallahan started in 2017 as a part-time office assistant and devotes two afternoons a week to the school, during which time she fields phone calls, takes messages, makes changes to the dismissal routine as needed, copies, stuffs folders and proofreads. She is also responsible for the front door traffic. Stratman says, “In a small school, Karlee’s volunteer time is priceless.”

Joey Butler Sr. poses with MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt, who nominated her for an outstanding volunteer award through MRPC’s volunteer recognition program.

Joey Butler Sr. of Belle, was nominated by MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt for his tireless work in a multitude of venues. Joey Butler served on the Maries County R-II School Board for nine years, was a member of the booster club for five years, was the assistant baseball coach for the Belle High School for one year and has been a member of the Lions Club for four years. Currently he serves on the Belle Golf Association, Scholarship Foundation Board and as an elder at the Bland Christian Church. In 2017, he hauled hay and supplies to Kansas for fire victims as part of the Starbuck Wildfire Hay Relief and he hauled supplies to New Orleans for those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. 

Cindy Butler of Belle was nominated by MRPC Board Member Ray Schwartze. Cindy is currently in her 12th year as president of the Belle Ya-Yas, a local group of women who have raised over $220,000 for those in need in the Belle and Bland area. She also serves as president of the Ozark Central Ambulance Board of Directors. Cindy, a registered nurse, is entering her 20th year at Phelps Health and currently is the Administrative Director of Patient Care Services. For the past five years, she has served as the Phelps Health Foundation fund administrator. It is said that if there is a family in need, Cindy will find a way to help. 

Cindy Butler poses with Maries County Presiding Commissioner Vic Stratman after being recognized as an outstanding volunteer award through MRPC’s volunteer recognition program.

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

  • • E. Louise Baker, nominated by Owensville Mayor John Kamler;
  • • Judy Apperson of Salem, nominated by Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles; 
  • • Jan and Terry Primas of Waynesville, nominated by Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman;
  • • Dr. Donald “Doc” Broman of Linn, nominated by MRPC Board Member Dr. Donald Claycomb;
  • • Julia Semsick of Crocker, nominated by Crocker Mayor Glen Smith;
  • • William “Bill” S. Jenks III of Rolla, nominated by MRPC Board Member John Butz; and

Outstanding Local Agency Representative:

  • • Patricia Heaney of Hermann, nominated by Hermann Mayor Dr. Robert Koerber. 
Front Row: Jan (left) and Terry Primas, Louise Baker, Paula Shockley and Leann Smith (accepting the Eugene E. Northern on behalf of their mother Faye Howard, Karlee Hallahan, Cindy Butler and Judy Apperson Back Row: Julia Semsick (left), Joey Butler Sr., and Dr. Donald “Doc” Broman. Not Pictured: Shane Jones, William “Bill” S. Jenks III, and Patricia Heaney

The Eugene E. Northern award, the highest honor given by MRPC for volunteers and community service, was presented to Faye Howard of Cuba. She was nominated by Crawford County Presiding Commissioner Leo Sanders. Howard is a member of the Crawford County Fair board having served on it for 34 years and holding the positions of secretary and president. She works the gate and the food stand, sells food tickets, and serves on the commercial and entertainment committees. 

Outside of the fair, Howard dedicates her time to the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Board, Park and Recreation Board, the Order of the Eastern Star, Oak Hill Cemetery, her church and the fire department. With the fire department, she is a volunteer firefighter. One day out of the month, Howard works with a 14-year-old boy with Autism at the Cuba Fire House, teaching life skills as she helps him clean the office and fire trucks. 

The Missouri Bank was honored with Meramec Regional Development Corporation’s Lender of the Year award. Kathy Schlottach-Brandt, of the Hermann branch, accepted the award on its behalf. 

One staff member was recognized at the 2019 awards banquet for years of service: Connie Willman, senior community development specialist with MRPC, received her award for 25 years of service. Linda Loughridge, fiscal officer, was honored as MRPC’s employee of the year. Loughridge joined MRPC in August 1995.

The night included a reception that began at 5:30, featuring Hoppers Pub, Cellar 66 Restaurant and Wine Bar and Piney River Brewery. Reception food was sponsored by the Waynesville/St. Robert Regional Airport. A silent auction, which raised over $1,614 to offset the costs of the dinner, was held during the reception. Some 170 individuals were in attendance at the dinner. 

This year Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe was the keynote speaker, speaking about infrastructure and workforce. Lt. Gov. Kehoe congratulated all of the award winners and encouraged everyone to keep working for the betterment of the region.

“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.  “This year was even more special as we celebrate MRPC’s 50th year of service. We really appreciate the hospitality, provided by the city of Waynesville and Pulaski County, our hosts, and a special thank you to Caleb Rowden and Stonebrooke Center for delivering a top-notch location for our evening. 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. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 27 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.orgor on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.


Karlee Hallahan poses with Maries County Presiding Commissioner Vic Stratman, who nominated her for an outstanding volunteer award through MRPC’s volunteer recognition program.