(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Sikeston honored its own stars Thursday night in a presentation reminiscent of the biggest night for Hollywood - the Academy Awards.
This year's individual Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce award recipients are: Mike Marshall, Citizen of the Year; Duane DeCota, Lifetime Achievement; Blair Moran, Community Volunteer of the Year; Elizabeth Lorenz, SACC Member of the Year; Greg Ourth, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; Regina Guthrie, Educator of the Year; and Lloyd Stoner Jr., Jaycee Distinguished Service Award.
The honor of Small Business of the Year went to MikeRentals Inc. while Business of the Year was presented to Food Giant Supermarkets. Selected Civic Group of the Year was the Sikeston American Legion Post 114.
In presenting the award to Marshall as Citizen of the Year, the 2006 Citizen of the Year Alan Keenan summed him up as living, eating and breathing Sikeston. As a native of Sikeston, Marshall has resided in Sikeston nearly all of his life, raising his family and working in the community as well as volunteering for numerous civic organizations and most recently serving as mayor of the city of Sikeston.
"Our citizen of the year shows us every day that he is committed to Sikeston and the surrounding area and in fact, as far as this person is concerned everyone should want to live in and be a part of Sikeston," said Keenan.
Steve McPheeters presented DeCota with the Lifetime Achievement honors.
The successful owner of DeCota Electric in Sikeston, DeCota has received national and local recognition for his company. His community activities range from coaching Little League baseball to being an active member of Hunter Memorial Presbyterian Church to support for numerous community organizations and fundraising efforts.
"His great personality and humorous disposition has made him a beloved member of the Sikeston community where most people know him affectionately as 'Mr. D," said McPheeters.
Moran "typically prefers to be in the background toiling away to get the job done and never expects to be in the limelight," according to Mike McReynolds, who presented him with the Award as Citizen of the Year. "Those that have worked with this volunteer know that if this individual takes on a task it will be done and done right."
Among the many project and programs Moran is involved with, McReynolds pointed out two in particular - the American Legion's Cotton Carnival Parade and the SACC Veterans Park Committee.
Honoring Guthrie as the Educator of the Year, Melissa Eakins described her as always willing to give of her time, whether to a student, staff member or parent. During her 24 years in teaching, Guthrie has worked with children at the New Dawn State School, served as counselor at Matthews Elementary in Sikeston and currently is a special education teacher at the Sikeston Kindergarten and Early Childhood Center.
"She has touched many lives and has truly made a difference in our ever changing society through her caring and dedication," said Eakins.
Her efforts on behalf of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce earned Lorenz the SACC Volunteer of the Year award, explained the presenter Linda Lowes.
Recalling Lorenz's efforts as chair of the Redneck BBQ, Lowes said she has increased sponsorship support and canvassed the city for donations. Also Lorenz works at the barbecue, "participating in everything from coordinating kid games to picking up trash and always going above and beyond the call of duty," according to Lowes.
The recipient for Law Enforcement Officer of the Year honor was announced by Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter.
Beginning his law enforcement career in 1979 as a reserve officer in Chaffee, Ourth joined the Scott County Sheriff's office in 1997. In 2005 he was promoted sergeant within the Criminal Investigation Division of the Scott County Sheriff's Department.
In addition to his instrumental role in solving a string of residential burglaries, Walter noted, "since his promotion in 2005, Ourth has also investigated in excess of 40 sexual related crimes, primarily child abuse and child molestation cases."
Sikeston Jaycee President Patrick Douglas handed the award for Jaycee Distinguished Service to Stoner after pointing out Stoner's efforts locally on behalf of the rodeo earned him statewide recognition as an "Outstanding Young Missourian."
Also Stoner is a successful businessman and active in the community. Most recently, according to Douglas, Stoner organized and raised funds for a group of search dogs which were sent to New Orleans to assist in the recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina.
"The American Legion is a very important organization in our community and makes a very positive impact each year on Sikeston," said Jeff Partridge in announcing the Legion Post 114 as the recipient of the Civic Group of the Year award.
Patridge noted that the Legion annually sponsors local boys to attend Boys State and funds about one-third of the American Legion Baseball Program locally. Their long list of good deeds includes the Memorial Day and Veterans Day Program, their work on behalf of the Veterans Cemetery at Bloomfield and Veterans Park in Sikeston and the placement of flags along the streets for holidays.
Larry Floyd, post commander, received the award on behalf of the Legion.
In winning the honor of Small Business of the Year, Mike Marshall noted MikeRentals Inc., owned by Mike McReynolds, has grown to a company of nine full and part-time employees and most recently expanded the building and offices in 2006.
"Even with a hectic schedule running their business our winner has found that balance we all search for when it comes to work, family and community volunteering," said Marshall. He pointed out the local company donates time to mission trips supports 4-H and that McReynolds often donates his time and resources to serve as an auctioneer or master of ceremonies for charitable events.
Food Giant, the winner of the Business of the Year, was described by presenter Chris Steward as "a large company with hometown values, small town attitude and its overall philosophy is to be able to quickly adapt to the customer's ever-changing needs."
Since 2003, the company has grown to 96 stores in eight states, Steward said and now employs over 3,300 people. Also it has expanded its business operations to include the production of outdoor storage buildings. The employee-owned corporation has contributed to many local and regional causes and its members serve on a variety of boards and organizations.
The award was accepted by Food Giant's President CEO Ron Watkins.
Citizen of the Year: Mike Marshall
Lifetime Achievement: Duane DeCota
Community Volunteer of the Year: Blair Moran
SACC Member of the Year: Elizabeth Lorenz
Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: Greg Ourth
Educator of the Year: Regina Guthrie
Jaycee Distinguished Service Award: Lloyd Stoner Jr.
Small Business of the Year: MikeRentals Inc.
Business of the Year: Food Giant Supermarkets
Civic Group of the Year: Sikeston American Legion Post 114