The Nevada/Vernon County Chamber of Commerce has a new look and new board members. With new people come new ideas and with new ideas comes a different organization which continues to be committed to improving the economic prosperity and quality of life in the area.
One of the changes implemented this year was changing from the traditional awards banquet to presenting the Pacesetter awards at a luncheon. One of the important things that the chamber does is to present special awards and recognition. Still, the chamber does much more. I believe that the chamber is important and think of it as helping to make this community a better place to live and to work.
Recognition is a basic need and it is good to give out recognition. It gives a feeling of appreciation and support to those recognized. It also serves as an incentive and encouragement to others.
The Pacesetter awards presented at last Friday's luncheon meeting were the Individual Pacesetter, the Wayne Neal Business Award, and the Community Betterment Award. The membership selected those receiving the special recognition from a list of finalists for each of the awards. Jason Claspill, chamber president, presided at the luncheon meeting.
There are many individuals doing great things in Vernon County. To be among the finalists for the Individual Pacesetter Award is an honor in itself.
In addition to Dr. Erik Anderson, the finalists for the 2009 Pacesetter award were Jason Claspill, Monte Curtis, Dave Millam and Dr. Ronald Schowengerdt. Each one is worthy of the special award.
Cat McGrath Farmer, Nevada/Vernon County Chamber of Commerce executive director, presented the Pacesetter Award saying that the vote was close and all of the finalists were committed to Nevada.
Dr. Andersen was the first veterinarian to partner with the Vernon County People for Pets in their mission to curb Nevada's area-wide pet overpopulation problem. Since its' inception he has served on their board of directors. Understanding the implications of pet overpopulation Dr. Andersen has made spays and neuters affordable to anyone willing to utilize People for Pets Spay and Neuter Day.
Understanding the importance of rabies prevention, the veterinarian includes free rabies vaccination with all discounted spays and neuters. In 2009 Dr. Andersen spayed and neutered more than 300 pets in cooperation VCPP.
Dr. Andersen is known for the care and the compassion he shows to both his patients and their owners. He believes in treating others alike he wants to be treated, charging prices he would be willing to pay and investing time in area youth through 4-H, FFA and sports. He does all of this while balancing being a veterinarian, owning a business and caring for his family of seven.
Upon on accepting the award, Dr. Andersen gave a special thanks to Vernon County People for Pets. He paid tribute to their many volunteers.
Jason Claspill has been a driving force along with his family to recognize older children in need during the holidays with the Teen Angel program. For the 2009 holidays the program was expanded to include the elderly of Nevada with the addition of a Senior Angel program. His concern for youth has been part of his involvement with the Nevada Elks where he was a past chair of Youth Drug Awareness and youth activities.
Jason has been involved with meal delivery at the senior center. His involvement in community affairs includes being a past ambassador for the chamber of commerce and by serving as a board member. He served as president of Rotary, is vice president of the Lions Club and chair of this past year's pancake breakfast. With the Lions he did a stint at the fair and rodeo concession stands. Jason is attending Crowder College where he is active in Student Government and Phi Theta Kappa.
Monte Curtis has been tied to the Nevada Municipal Airport forever. He took his first solo flight at age 16 and received his pilot's license at 18. His commitment to Nevada is shown by being chairman of the airport board and the completion of the new terminal.
He is a part of the Realtors Association and served twice as president. He is still a board member of the local association and is a Missouri state director for Realtors. He is currently the president of the Five County Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.
Monte is a past trustee of the Nevada Fraternal Order of Eagles and past president of the Nevada Lions Club. He has been a deputy sheriff with the Vernon County Sheriff's Department for the past 30 years and is currently president of the Vernon County Sheriff's Reserve.
Dave Millam has been involved in the "National Night Out" event sponsored by Kansas City Power and Light in Nevada for two years. He has worked locally with Christy Sloniker for the past two years to organize volunteers from KCP&L to replace the burned out Christmas bulbs on the Nevada Square.
Early last summer Dave adopted the "Welcome to Nevada" sign north of town, which included painting the sign, keeping the grass trimmed around the sign and paying for the electricity for the light at the sign.
Dave also regularly assists at his church, where he participates in the drama department and teaches adult Sunday school class. He shows his belief in Nevada and Vernon County by his actions.
Dr. Ronald D. Schowengerdt, opened his dental practice in Nevada in 1991. He and his family immediately became involved in Nevada. His involvement also includes being a staff member of the Nevada Regional Medical Center and Bates County Memorial Hospital. He works with several area school nurses to provide care for those children in most need.
He is a deacon at The First Baptist Church and is an active member of the Nevada Lions Club and heads up the collection of used glasses. He is a patron of the Nevada Public Library, Community Council on the Performing Arts and YMCA.
Dr. Schowengerdt and his wife Linda sponsor the annual Showe and Shine Car Show which provides support for the Nevada Area Habitat for Humanity.