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Local Jaycee honored by state

Thursday, January 29, 2004

(Photo)
Michael Conway
SIKESTON - Ask Michael Conway about the Sikeston Jaycees and he will praise its members and talk about the opportunities the organization has given him. In turn, if you ask the Sikeston Jaycees about Conway, they will praise him for all he has done for their group as a member and a leader.

Ask the Missouri Jaycees about Conway and they say he is an "Outstanding Young Missourian." The organization made the title official this month during their state convention.

Conway described the nomination by the local organization for the state award as a "big honor. I'm proud to have been selected and to represent the Sikeston Jaycees."

A member of the Sikeston Jaycees for some 10 years, Conway said the club has given him an opportunity to develop his leadership skills. Working his way up through the ranks, he served as the group's president in 2001. He is co-chairman for the 2004 rodeo and will be the rodeo's general chairman in 2005.

Current Sikeston Jaycee President Chad Crow said Conway is well-deserving of the state award, not only because of his service to the organization but also his commitment.

"This club is full of volunteers and at times it would easier to not have to deal with the obstacles that arise from running an organization but he doesn't turn his back instead he tries to keep us pointed in the right direction," said Crow. "Mike says what he means and means what he says and people admire that. He doesn't sugar-coat anything."

And that honesty, said Crow, is essential for him as the current president of the local group. "Still to this day I call him and get advice. The general perception of Mike is he is level-headed, intelligent; he is caring and has his heart in the right place."

Conway has also brought these leadership skills to other organizations. He has served as a board member of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA of Southeast Missouri, Kenny Rogers Children's Center and the Sikeston Country Club.

Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, when Conway learned of the national effort by the Jaycees to organize blood drives, he and the other members of the local group organized a blood drive in Sikeston.

In addition to his volunteer work with the Jaycees, Conway is a certified public accountant with Clay, Showmaker, Clay and Conway LLP in Sikeston. His primary focus with the Sikeston firm is tax planning issues that affect small businesses with clients ranging from local agriculture to construction companies.

Conway served in the Army infantry and in the Missouri National Guard. During the Persian Gulf War, his transportation unit served in Operation Desert Storm and was stationed about 10 miles from the Iraqi border. Their missions included security details and transporting ammunition, food and supplies into Iraq and Kuwait.

Conway and his wife, Julie, reside in Sikeston, where they are members of the First United Methodist Church. Also he is a member of the Veterans of Foreign war Post 3174 and the Sikeston Lions Club.

Despite the list of accomplishments, Conway dismissed the idea that he is a role model for others. "I'm just fortunate enough to be a small part of something that is impacting a lot of folks," he said. "The Jaycees allows you to develop as an individual. I couldn't give back as much as I receive as a Jaycee."

But he does have some advice for other young people. "The Jaycees is a wonderful organization," he said. "I would invite the young people if not Jaycees to get involved in a local organization."