Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

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

Three Pulaski County residents honored as outstanding volunteers at MRPC Annual Dinner

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge or Caitlin Jones

ST. JAMES—Three Pulaski County residents were honored during the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) annual dinner Oct. 24 at the Stonebrooke Center in Waynesville. This year, Jan and Terry Primas and Julia Semsick were honored for their outstanding community service. Ten other individuals were honored at the dinner as well. 

Jan and Terry Primas of Waynesville, nominated by Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman, were long-time teachers in the Waynesville School District and founded the Learning Enrichment and Acceleration Program within the schools. Jan and Terry were able to use a local historic site for research and community involvement. Today they continue to advocate for the Old Stagecoach Stop – the oldest building in Pulaski County still in use. Jan and Terry worked with other volunteers for many years to restore and maintain the original building. They have implemented many ideas that help with maintenance of the Old Stagecoach Stop including fundraising, editing the Old Settlers Gazette and sponsoring Old Settlers Day Celebrations each July. Although retired, they continue to participate in local festivals and have been active in the revitalization of Downtown Waynesville.

Julia Semsick poses with Crocker Mayor Glen Smith, who nominated her for an outstanding volunteer award through MRPC’s volunteer recognition program.

Julia Semsick of Crocker was nominated by Crocker Mayor Glen Smith for her work with the city on a Community Development Block Grant for the demolition of blighted structures. She spent hours collecting, organization and cataloging information for the grant on over 40 structures within the city of Crocker and has done this all without compensation for three application cycles. Aside from working with the city on the grant, she volunteered at Vacation Bible School on Fort Leonard Wood and at Crocker Presbyterian, with the Crocker Senior Center, the Kids Afterschool Program and the Crocker Elementary PTO as a parent volunteer. Currently, Semsick works with the Crocker Presbyterian Church Christian Education Committee and the Crocker School District on grant writing efforts.

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

  • E. Louise Baker of Owensville, nominated by Owensville Mayor John Kamler; 
  • Judy Apperson of Salem, nominated by Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles; 
  • Karlee Hallahan of Vienna, nominated by Maries County Presiding Commissioner Vic Stratman;
  • Dr. Donald “Doc” Broman of Linn, nominated by MRPC Board Member Dr. Donald Claycomb;
  • Joey Butler Sr. of Belle, nominated by MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt, 
  • William “Bill” S. Jenks III of Rolla, nominated by MRPC Board Member John Butz; and
  • Cindy Butler of Belle, nominated by MRPC Board Member Ray Schwartze. 

Local Agency Representative:

  • Patricia Heaney of Hermann, nominated by Hermann Mayor Dr. Robert Koerber. 

Youth Volunteer:

  • Shane Jones, son of Eugene and Consuelo Jones of Belle, nominated by MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt. 
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/.


Cutline: Terry Primas (left) and Jan Primas (right) pose with Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman, who nominated them for an outstanding volunteer award through MRPC’s volunteer recognition program.