By Sarah K. Hall
St. Clair Missourian Editor
For 18 years St. Clair resident Don Storie has been going the extra mile for customers at Orscheln Farm & Home in Sullivan.
And Storie was recognized for his work ethic last month when he received the 2016 Franklin/Jefferson County selection for the Missouri Outstanding Older Worker contest. Storie, who was nominated by store manager Gail Hayes, was one of 10 in the region to be selected out of 25 other nominees.
“Don has succeeded in every aspect of his job,” Hayes stated in the nomination form. “He is the go-to guy for our farmers. They know if anyone knows if we have a certain product it will be Don and he will know exactly where it is.”
According to Hayes, Storie, who works about 25 hours per week, has a great work ethic and is always available to help out the customers.
“Don has outstanding knowledge of the products we carry. He goes out of his way to give outstanding customer service. He always works his shift, regardless of weather conditions. He is such an asset to our store.”
Storie said he had no clue he was going to receive the award.
“I was very surprised,” he said. “I keep saying they stumped a dummy because all of the co-workers and the managers had known about this I’d say about two weeks prior, and I work with them every day.”
Storie said his co-workers were taking pictures of him working around the store, but still he didn’t catch on.
“My wife came up and got me to go to lunch that day,” he said. “While we were doing that they brought the cake and banner and got everything all set up. When I came back in they had it all set up. It takes you awhile to become aware of what’s going on and there everybody stands all gathered around and it took a while for it to register.”
Each year, the annual Outstanding Older Worker of Missouri Contest honors Missouri residents who are at least 60 years old, gainfully employed at a job site, and working an average of 20 or more hours per week. The event recognizes 10 regional winners from across the State of Missouri.
MERS/Goodwill has coordinated the event in the St. Louis area, as well as St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin counties.
Storie will be among 10 regional winners to attend a two-day award ceremony in Jefferson City, including luncheons, tours and an award banquet, scheduled for Sept. 20-21.
Storie was joined at the ceremony by his children and grandchildren as well as his wife Sylvia.
Storie said he is grateful for the award.
“They are so good to me,” he said, “and all the managers I’ve had have been great. They are good to me and they treat me well. I don’t know if I’d have stayed if I’d have been somewhere else, but Orscheln’s has been such a blessing to me. It keeps me on a schedule. I work three days a week, and I look forward to my days off during the week and my weekends, but I’ve never had a day I dreaded to go to work. I love it.”
Storie, 72, is a Vietnam veteran who was born and raised in Waynesville. He spent 32 years with the Missouri State Highway Patrol as a trooper.
He came home from Vietnam in October 1966 and applied with the Highway Patrol and started working at the scales in St. Clair.
“At that time the highway patrol had you live in the town you worked so I had to live in the city limits of St. Clair,” he said.
Storie worked the scales until he was able to complete patrol training, then he spent his entire career patrolling the roads of Franklin County.
He had several special events he was assigned to over the years, including the state fair and the Republican National Convention in 1976 in Kansas City with President Gerald Ford.
“I spent the entire time in Franklin County until I retired Nov. 1, 1988.” he said. “I didn’t work for six months and then applied for part-time employment at Orschelns and they hired me.”
When he isn’t working, Storie spends much of his time involved with his church, the First Baptist Church in St. Clair.
“I’m very committed to that,” he said. “I’ve taught Sunday school about 30 years, and I’m a deacon there in the church. The Lord’s been good to me.”
Storie and his wife have been married 46 years. They have three grown children, a son and two daughters, and six grandchildren. He said he gets to spend quite a bit of time with the grandchildren.