Bollinger awards

Thursday, November 11, 2004

When does a 100-year anniversary seem young? When someone else celebrates a 122-year anniversary!

Last Friday, The Banner Press in Marble Hill, Mo., was recognized by the Bollinger County Chamber of Commerce with a longevity award for its 122 years of service. Along with Banner Press editor Scott Moyers, it was my privilege to represent the newspaper at that chamber's annual awards dinner.

The event was at the Leopold Knights of Columbus Hall and was marked by delicious food, good conversation, clear camaraderie and affection and some remarkable recognitions.

Reva Collins and Mildred Shell were recognized with Community Service Awards. And the stories about both were magnificent, heart-touching and inspirational. Among my favorites was the story of Mrs. Shell getting trapped in a barn for hours by angry horses as she was making the rounds to judge parade floats, leaving the town to wonder what was taking her and the other judges so long. The event led to parade floats being judged during the parade rather than in advance.

Both women were humble in receiving the awards, and they pointed out that dozens of others were equally qualified. That type of humility and service is what makes rural America great -- and so often confounds big-city dwellers who don't understand why we love and prefer to live outside the mega-metropolises.

Other honorees were Fetterhoff Hardware, which is marking 54 years of service, and business of the year Mouser Steel, which is an inspiring story of business vision and family commitment.

The Rev. David Jackson, whose father once owned the newspaper, presented the award to the Banner Press. Jackson's remarks centered on the influence good newspapers can have on a community and shared with pride his family's involvement in the paper's long history. Like so many in this business -- including my family -- it was evident that Jackson subscribed to the "stewardship role" of newspaper owners. We might own the newspaper, but it truly belongs to you, the reader and community. Other owners in the Banner Press' history include the Flor, Ellinghouse, Ponder and Wigg families.

The keynote address at the event was given by Kim Ferguson of Bank of Missouri. Ferguson moonlights as a preacher (when churches need help), and his remarks indicated he's a good one. He offered his "secrets" to business.

Among them: Seek to positively impact those who work for or around you. Maintain your integrity, always. It is the most important reward and a key to long-term success. Be generous.

Ferguson also offered three checkpoints to evaluate your personal skills inventory. First, how good are you at communicating? How can you improve? Second, self-motivation sets people apart. Motivators within business are "worth their weight in gold." Third, cultivate yourself. Always seek to improve. Care about improving. Study, read, ask questions, try new things.

With Rod Jetton, speaker pro tem of the Missouri House in attendance, it was difficult not to look at the crowd assembled in Leopold and wonder about the "enlightened elites" on our nation's coasts who just don't seem to get it.


It's not too late to plan to attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's performance at the Show Me Center next Wednesday. Tickets remain. Without question, there is a buzz in the community about this show, which mixes an orchestra with hard-rock elements, Christian-inspired lyrics and a laser light show. Buy your tickets today -- (573) 651-5000 -- so you don't miss it.

Besides TSO, next week is packed with a dizzying array of other performance opportunities. (Guys, you definitely want to take your woman to some of these.) Among them, the Moscow Ballet brings its dazzling "Nutcracker" back to the Show Me Center on Thursday. There are jazz concerts, university choir performances and a wide-ranging university dance show. The dance performance, which runs Nov. 18-20 at Rose Theatre, will feature several styles, including tap, hip-hop, jazz, swing dance, ballet and more. Tickets are expected to sell out, so buy early.

For more information about these events, check out the Missourian arts pages and visit semissourian.com/entertainment.

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian.

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