Many St. Clair community members were recognized during the 48th annual St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce awards banquet Saturday, March 30.
The first award of the night went to Fire Capt. John Yerkey for fireman of the year.
Fire Chief Craig Sullivan said Yerkey is a very hardworking, caring, conscientious and outgoing person.
“John is very well versed in tactics and strategies of fire rescue service, which makes him a very valuable resource,” he said. “John always puts the safety of the firefighters under his command first and foremost while still handling the incident we’ve been assigned to.”
Police Chief Bill Hammack presented the police officer of the year award to Detective John Sikes, who has been with the police department for 12 years.
He has spent eight years as a patrol officer, two years as a corporal and two years as a sergeant.
“During his time on the road, he actually spent a lot of time doing a lot of follow-up investigations,” Hammack said. “He has solved a lot of cases just based on a finger print or a piece of DNA left at the scene.”
The chief added that not many people in the road division take the time to do the follow ups that Sikes has completed.
“A lot of the responses that I get back from the crime lab has his name on it. Because of that, he’s been assigned to our detective division,” Hammack said.
Sikes will soon be in charge of the department’s data that comes from the body cameras, car cameras, video surveillance and footage.
The chief said Sikes stays late finishing paperwork and does not request overtime.
“He’s one of those officers who I really rely on. He’s one of those officers who is dedicated to the people in this community. He’s really come a long way in the 12 years he’s been here,” Hammack said.
Amanda Friedmann was presented the EMS service award presented by Ambulance Chief Nick Tiepelman, who shared a story about when an ambulance was called for his sick daughter.
“I get to the house and I can hear her; she’s already doing better,” Tiepelman said. “I hear her starting to laugh. I walk in the room and our recipient this year is there taking care of her.”
Friedmann started teaching CPR classes in 2017 and now people in the community know CPR because of her classes, Tiepelman said.
Spiritual Leader Award
This year’s spiritual leader of the year award was given to the Rev. Jim Muir presented by Pastor Laura Mignerone.
Muir had served as pastor for First Baptist Church for the past three years, according to Mignerone. He recently retired after 45 years of being in the ministry.
Mignerone said his passion and energy for serving Christ has never slowed down.
“While some anticipating their retirement might spend their final years in an easy downhill coast, Jim has spent his taking risks, stepping out on a few limbs, trying some new things and tirelessly working to serve God in the community,” Mignerone said. “He’s built relationships and partnerships that had never existed before with other churches. In a world so polarized and bent on us versus them, Jim is helping to show us that there’s another way.”
She added Muir served in many leadership roles, including the planning and execution of community worship services in St. Clair.
“As he compassionately challenged his congregation, they have grown under his leadership,” she said.
St. Clair R-XIII Superintendent Dr. Kyle Kruse presented the educator of the year to Jennifer Hawkins.
“She goes above and beyond for kids,” Kruse said. “She’s taken numerous groups to win local, regional and national competitions in Future Cities and Destination Imagination.”
Her students who competed in a world championship for Destination Imagination won first last year, Kruse said, “which is quite the accomplishment and we’re so proud of her and our kids.
“She serves our kids with a heart of gold,” he added. “She’s full of community pride.”
Outstanding Young Man Award
St. Clair R-XIII Assistant Superintendent Nadine Aitch presented the outstanding young man of the year award to high school student Michael Hughes.
The award is given to students in grades eight through 12 who are exemplary examples in academic achievement, community service and leadership, according to Aitch.
“Often these students are very easy to spot because you basically see them everywhere,” she said.
Hughes has played basketball and baseball and served on Student Council for four years. He is a member of the National Honor Society, pep club, Technology Student Association and has a 4.02 grade point average.
He plans to attend Missouri S&T to play baseball and study engineering.
Outstanding Young Woman Award
Aitch also presented the young woman of the year award to high school student Sophie Machen, who is on the cross country and track teams. She was named the fastest freshman in 2016.
Machen also won an award for FFA, has been a member of Student Council for four years, earned the Missouri ACT Bright Flight recognition, and volunteers for Special Olympics and at the St. Clair library among her other accomplishments.
“She has a resume that’s actually longer than most adults that I know,” Aitch said.
Roots Church was named the Chamber’s organization of the year. The award was presented by Jay Rice.
Some the church’s activities and projects include the new stage at Orchard Park, the Light the Sky event and delivering food baskets to the needy during the holidays.
“They do many other projects outside of what of their spiritual calling is,” Rice said.
The business of the year award, presented by Tim Baker, was given to Domino’s Pizza.
“This year’s business of the year answers the age-old question every night ‘What’s for dinner?’ ” Baker said.
Many organizations and groups in the community have benefited from Domino’s fundraisers.
“They’re always donating to the community in different ways,” Baker said.
Baker also presented the appreciation award to past Chamber president Jamie Keen.
“She has served us very well with her leadership and skills with many events that we have sponsored from the eclipse to the Celebrate St. Clair last year, which kicked off the bicentennial of the county,” Baker said.
Last year’s citizen of the year recipient Ken Scott presented this year’s award to Tim Davis.
Davis has served on the ambulance board and Chamber board, and assisted with the 2017 Show Me Burnouts held by the Chamber in partnership with the Route 66 Car Club.
“(Davis) was the brainchild of this event and his vision was going to put our town on the map and people would come from states around,” Scott said. “He worked tirelessly on this event hosting monthly and weekly meetings leading up to the event. He coordinated all of the volunteers and side job duties.”
Scott added that Davis also developed the idea of having First Friday Food Trucks events, which started last year, as well as created a fundraiser for child while she waited for a new heart.
“It’s an honor and a privilege,” Davis said. “I’d like to thank my family and the love of my life Tina.”