ST. JAMES — E. Louise Baker of Owensville was honored Oct. 24 during Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) annual dinner held this year at the Stonebrooke Center in …
ST. JAMES — E. Louise Baker of Owensville was honored Oct. 24 during Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) annual dinner held this year at the Stonebrooke Center in Waynesville.
Twelve others were also honored at the dinner.
Baker, nominated by Owensville Mayor John Kamler, had an idea for a memorial that celebrated veterans in the Owensville area. Once the idea was sparked, she could do little other than see it come to fruition and the Owensville Veterans Memorial at the corner of Fourth Street and West Jefferson Avenue, was created.
The memorial honors all five branches of the military services. It is designed to provide a peaceful, dignified area, honoring all those men and women who served and made sacrifices. Baker and the planning committee sold engraved bricks and granite benches to fund the creation of the memorial which was dedicated on May 18, 2019, and donated to the Owensville park system. Baker is a former Owensville mayor and Gasconade County R-2 school board member.
Other individuals recognized by MRPC for contributions to their communities were:
• Patricia Heaney of Hermann (Local Agency Representative), nominated by Hermann Mayor Dr. Robert Koerber;
• Shane Jones (Youth Volunteer), son of Eugene and Consuelo Jones of Belle, nominated by MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt.
• Joey Butler Sr. of Belle, nominated by MRPC Board Member Steve Vogt,
• Cindy Butler of Belle, nominated by MRPC Board Member Ray Schwartze.
• 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;
• Julia Semsick of Crocker, nominated by Crocker Mayor Glen Smith;
• William “Bill” S. Jenks III of Rolla, nominated by MRPC Board Member John Butz;
• Judy Apperson of Salem, nominated by Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles;
• Jan and Terry Primas of Waynesville, nominated by Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman;
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 34-year member of the Crawford County Fair board where she’s held 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.
Howard also 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 as 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.
She worked previously for the Heartland Independent Living Center in Owensville.
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 the bank’s behalf.
One staff member, Connie Willman, senior community development specialist with MRPC, was recognized 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 featuring food and beverages from 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 during the reception raised over $1,614 to offset the costs of the dinner attended by 170.
Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe was the keynote speaker and addressed infrastructure and workforce development topics. 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.”