Many St. Clair community members were recognized during the 47th annual St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce awards banquet Saturday, March 3.
Jo Schaper received an appreciation award for her work on the stclaireclipse.com website and for her other solar eclipse efforts that took place last summer.
The website featured the weekend events, information for lodging, restaurants, maps, parking, view locations and more.
June 1, 2017, was when the website went live and as of Aug. 30, there were more than 100,000 views and 52 comments from users throughout 80 countries. On Aug. 20, there were 14,330 views and on Aug. 21, there were 15,801 views.
The Fireman of the Year award, presented by Fire Chief Craig Sullivan, was given to Billy Williams.
Williams has been a volunteer fireman for St. Clair since January 2013. In December 2016, he was hired as a full-time EMT for St. Clair Ambulance District.
Prior to St. Clair, he was a volunteer firefighter for Union Fire Protection District, according to Sullivan. Williams is also a member of the Missouri Task Force 1, which is part of Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Sullivan said Williams has been deployed on many taskforce missions. The most recent one was helping the flood victims in Texas.
“Billy is an exceptional employee – always devoting 110 percent to any task given to him,” Sullivan said.
He added that Williams is very knowledgeable and has an excellent work ethic.
“He responds to incidents while off duty, as well as working on his scheduled duty days,” he said.
Police Officer Award
The Police Officer of the Year award, presented by Police Chief Bill Hammack, was given to Jim Wells.
Wells has more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement. He spent 19 years at the Union police department and some in the private sector before coming to St. Clair.
When Wells applied to be a St. Clair officer, the department had four officer vacancies, according to Hammack.
He told the story of when he interviewed Wells for the position.
“He doesn’t know this, but I almost did not let him leave at all,” Hammack said.
Hammack said he wanted Wells to put on a uniform and get to work right then and there because he “knew what kind of guy he was.
“I knew what kind of an officer he was, I knew what kind of a school resource officer he was,” he said.
“Since he’s been employed at our police department, he’s done an outstanding job,” Hammack added.
Not only is Wells a school resource officer, but he is also a field training officer
“He is a great example to kids in our community. He is a great example to the younger officers in this department,” Hammack said.
“We are truly blessed to have him in our community.”
The EMS Service award, presented by St. Clair Ambulance District Chief Nick Tiepelman, was given to paramedic and public relations coordinator Amanda Sullentrup.
Last year, Sullentrup put together a drug prevention presentation for area students that includes a mock video that shows the dangers of doing drugs.
The mock video shows a real 911 call between a mother who found her daughter on the floor from an overdose and a dispatcher.
After the 911 call, the video shows a mock scene of what it is like when first responders are dispatched to help someone who overdosed on drugs.
A presentation is included with the video as part of the district’s drug education program implemented for fifth-through 12th-graders at St. Clair R-XIII School District, Lonedell R-XIV District and St. Clare Catholic School.
As one of two public relations coordinators for the district, Sullentrup’s primary focus is to reach out to St. Clair and Lonedell students weekly on drug education and prevention.
“I want to say thank you for working so hard in educating our children to prevent this as much as we can,” Tiepelman said.
Spiritual Leader Award
The Spiritual Leader of the Year award, presented by Joyce Brown, was given to Laura Mignerone.
Mignerone has been a pastor at St. John United Church of Christ since 2015.
Brown said that over the last few years, Mignerone has taken her passion for the ministry and expanded it throughout St. Clair.
She became very involved with the St. Clair Ministerial Partnership, served on a Chamber committee, participated in outdoor worship experiences, and co-founded St. Clair CHAOS, a Christian Youth Association, among other accomplishments.
“We are proud to honor Laura Mignerone,” Brown said.
Mignerone addressed those in attendance upon receiving her award.
“The Holy Spirit has been moving in this community in some spectacular way recently. And just to witness that, has been such a gift, and continues to be,” Mignerone said.
She added that she thanks God every day for being able to serve St. Johns United Church of Christ.
“Do you realize how many amazing clergy and spiritual leaders you have? You do. You are so blessed to have so many incredible leaders in your midst,” she said.
“I say because I have colleagues who I trust, who I personally know, who I call my close, personal friends.”
She also expressed gratitude for the award.
The Educator of the Year award, presented by Lonedell R-XIV Superintendent Jenny Ulrich, was given to Leslie Henson, a fourth-grade math and science teacher, and instructional coach for Lonedell School District.
Henson started at Lonedell in 2008 and is in her 10th year of teaching.
“Mrs. Henson is an individual that facilitates learning in an in-depth and personal manner that ensures the individual success of every student,” Ulrich said.
“Leslie ensures that each student has constant real-world connections that help prepare him or her for their future.”
Teachers in the Lonedell District create their own curriculums, according to Ulrich.
“Through hard work and determination, Leslie has developed a curriculum that masters the learning standards and places kids in a rich process of discovery. She has had significant student success,” she said.
Henson brings students up to date in learning, as well as prepares them for state testing, Ulrich added.
“In last year alone, her students scored 34 percent above the state average.
“This did not happen because she is teaching to the test, but it is really a testament to her ability to engage all students in a deep understanding of the standards,” Ulrich said.
Henson also gets to know each student and creates learning experiences suited for each child, according to Ulrich. Henson is a teacher leader, instructional coach is part of Lead the Way, and promotes project-based learning.
Ulrich said Henson teaches her students 21 century skills that will help them with their future careers.
Henson provides great wisdom and judgment, as well as provides solutions to problems, Ulrich said. Furthermore, she added that Henson works every day to create an environment for teacher advocacy.
“We are very proud and honored to have Leslie in our district and couldn’t be happier to present this much deserved award to her,” Ulrich said.
Ulrich gave gratitude for Henson’s work and dedication. Henson congratulated all the nominees and gave appreciation for the good things that happen in the community.
“I am lucky to do a job that I truly love,” Henson said.
She thanked staff, students and community members.
Young Man Award
The Outstanding Young Man of the Year award, presented by St. Clair R-XIII Principal Jenny Davis, was given to St. Clair High School student Ryan Herman.
Herman is in the JROTC program and is a senior aerospace science instructor, according to Davis.
She said that Herman portrays the JROTC mission, which is to “develop citizens dedicated to serving their community and nation.”
He is also a flight chief and commands 25 cadettes; is responsible for care and maintenance of JROTC uniforms; and adheres to and enforces dress codes of his peers and subordinates. He has already earned all credits in the JROTC program within three years.
Davis said Herman serves others before himself. He has a GPA of 4.0 and placed third in this year’s state wrestling tournament.
“He’s the epitome of what anyone would want to see in a student athlete. Academics come first with Ryan,” Davis said.
“His work in the classroom and on the athletic field does not define him though, as perhaps his most impressive quality is his concern for others and their success.”
Additionally, Herman offers advice for his wrestling teammates, consoles them after losses, helps identify their mistakes and supports every wrestler on the team, according to Davis.
He accepts constructive criticism on his wrestling skills and works to improve everyday on the mat, she added.
“He exemplifies the best of every quality we want our wrestlers to display,” Davis said.
Young Woman Award
The Outstanding Young Woman of the Year award, also presented by Davis, was given to St. Clair High School student Rachel Licklider.
“She is very humble and she goes about doing her mission’s work on a daily basis just because it’s the right thing to do,” Davis said.
Licklider began to display her leadership skills at the junior high level when she was a member of junior high student Lighthouse Team, Davis said.
“She helped establish a high level of expectations for future students. Armed with an amazing work ethic, faith that could move mountains and a passion to make St. Clair schools and community better, this young ambassador has left her mark,” Davis said.
Some of Licklider’s extracurricular activities include being class president and STUCO president, being a member of NHS, FFA and the history club, singing in the school’s concert chorale, and being a manager for the wrestling team, being a junior adviser for the Missouri Leadership Seminar last year, being a prom committee member, being a Salvation Army Red Kettle volunteer, being a tutor and a solar eclipse volunteer, among other activities.
Some of her accomplishments include receiving a renaissance VIP award all four years, presented at the Missouri Association of Student Council district and state conventions, ran blood drives, has documented hundreds of community service hours, was recognized as a distinguished leader by the Missouri Association of Student Councils, among many other accomplishments. She has a 4.0 GPA, according to Davis.
“To do all of these things is an accomplishment in itself, but to do them with pride and fidelity, in which this recipient does is an amazing accomplishment,” Davis said.
Either singing in a choir or cheering on the wrestling team, “she gets more satisfaction by making the people in the world around her better, making everyone better around her, more so than for her own gain,” Davis said.
The Organization of the Year award, presented by Tim Baker, given to the St. Clair Lions Club.
The Lions Club was established in 1949 and was one of the first to put Christmas decorations up around the community, Baker said.
The Lions Club sponsored the installation of the first nine baskets of the disc golf course at Evergreen Park, donates funds to the meals on wheels program, participates in the Little Angels program, among other accomplishments.
John Cheatham, with the Lions Club, expressed gratitude for the club receiving the award.
The Business of the Year award, presented by Tim Davis, was given the Old Bus Stop Coffee Shop & Gallery.
The shop is located on Route 66 and is accustomed to international and national visitors, according to the event’s emcee Mickey Dildine.
The shop opened in 2011 and has been in many Route 66 publications, which has drawn attention to St. Clair, he said.
In addition to coffee, tea, soda and snacks, the shop offers handmade items such as hand-blown glass, jewelry and art by local artists.
Owner of the shop, Maxine Scheske, expressed gratitude for the award
The Citizen of the Year award, presented by Paula Dace, was given to Ken Scott.
Scott said it was an honor to receive the award.
“St. Clair is blessed with many great citizens,” Scott said.
He added that he was married into the St. Clair community 35 years ago to his wife Kim, who is a preschool teacher. His volunteerism trait comes from his mother Ruth Scott, he said.
Scott helps with audio and sound quality at community events.
“I look forward to helping at the school and graduation and making sure the administrators are heard well, and everybody can hear them,” Scott said.
“It’s a good feeling to hear when you’re talking and the voices are bouncing off the gym wall and back.”
He added that “It’s a great honor and I’m privileged to help out in this community. I enjoy it very much.”
He thanked the Chamber for the award.