Hero Awards celebrate community service

The Tribune and Landmark Bank sponsored the award ceremony.
Chuck Everitt insists on a shoutout to his supporters Wednesday at the Local Hero Award Ceremony. Everett was the winner of the Independent category for his ongoing commitment to Columbia Youth Football League.

The 10th annual Hero Award ceremony awarded Columbia residents for their outstanding community service for the city Tuesday at the Stoney Creek Inn.

The ceremony was sponsored by the Columbia Daily Tribune and Landmark Bank and was put together by the Voluntary Action Center, a not-for-profit service agency, which serves Boone County.

There were seven categories for awards this year honoring groups and individuals alike.

Several of the groups nominated hail from MU, including Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol, Rockin' Against Multiple Sclerosis and Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

Mayor Bob McDavid said the three things that make Columbia so particularly special are its commitment to the environment and health, its basis in education and its commitment to its citizens.

"We all chose to live here for a reason and everyone embodies this reason," McDavid said.

The event began with several speakers from the Tribune, Landmark Bank and the Voluntary Action Center.

"This event is our one opportunity each year to celebrate our own exceptional Americans," Tribune publisher Vicki Russell said.

The Fairview Church of Christ, Benton K-Kids and Chuck Everitt received the three primary awards sponsored by the Tribune- Group, Youth and Individual Volunteer of the Year awards, respectively.

According to the VAC news release, The Fairview Church of Christ devotes hundreds of hours of service every year to a variety of people in need. Benton K-Kids was the winning group of fourth and fifth graders who help others during their recess time.

Chuck Everitt won the award for his Columbia Youth Football League, a league that promotes the value of sportsmanship among young men.

The subsequent four Outstanding Volunteer awards, presented by Landmark Bank, were divided into the categories Education and Literacy, Community Protection, Healthcare and Lifetime Achievement.

Melinda Elmore received the Outstanding Volunteer in Education and Literacy award for her dedicated volunteering with Southern Boone Public Schools, according to a news release.

The Outstanding Community Protection Volunteer award was given to Richard Gray, who has maintained and strengthened Columbia's Neighborhood Watch program.

Finally, Dean Berry received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his lengthy work with the Columbia Youth Basketball Association. According to a news release, Berry "insisted that the purpose of the league is to teach sportsmanship, teamwork and the game of basketball."

Each not-for-profit organization will receive a $400 donation from the Tribune and Landmark Bank.

Linda Hays, Columbia Daily Tribune Marketing Manager, said the ceremony gives only a glimpse of the abundance of community service in Columbia.

"You know, there are about 40 to 50 citizens who are recognized each year here," Hays said. "And that's just the tip of the iceberg."

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