Spirit of America finalists, winner announced today

On Tuesday, the Southeast Missourian will address the crowd at the Arena Park grandstand at the city of Cape Girardeau's Great America Fourth of July. Before the fireworks we will introduce this year's Spirit of America Award winner, Pete Poe. Poe is an extremely humble man, who has done much good work for this community. Please see our story on Poe in today's newspaper to find out more.

But Poe was one of several who were nominated to earn this award, and we want to congratulate all of our finalists.

Below is a summary from the nominations that were sent in (for more about each nominee, see today's paper, beginning on page 10A:

John Geoffrey Weimer: He served in the United States Air Force for 29 years until retiring last June as a Command Chief Master Sergeant at the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. He runs marathons to support various charities. He was and continues to be a great leader, husband and father of three boys.

Pete Poe: Poe has been a pillar of the community for generations, serving on dozens of boards and committees. Pete is well known as one who conveys loyalty, dedication to giving and commitment to serving. Service to others is a passion for Pete, a man with strong values and an energetic "can-do" attitude.

Adrian Taylor Jr.: Taylor is the founder of Lighthouse Breakthrough International Ministries, a multiracial, multigenerational, multi-campus, nondenominational church. Adrian, also a Cape Girardeau County police chaplain, and his wife LaKenya teach practical wisdom that challenges people to grow past their pain and conquer fear. Taylor has earned his doctorate and master's in theology from North Carolina College of Theology and he serves as president of a satellite campus of NCCT, Faith Focus College of Theology.

Michael J Lundy: Lundy has been instrumental in seeing through the vision of the Vietnam Wall replica and museum in Perryville, Missouri. He and his wife Vicki have spent a majority of their time after retirement in making this project a lifelong goal for our community.

Roy M. Rhodes: A Vietnam veteran, Rhodes served his nation in the United States Army from November 1961 until his honorable discharge in February 1968. As a decorated combat veteran he has worked effortlessly over the years supporting our local veterans, their families and military organizations.

Shirley Young: A longtime public servant, Young was nominated for her love of family, church, community, country and the brave men and women of the Armed Forces. Young's life work includes her support of the armed forces and government. She is currently locating World War II veterans, with the assistance of a university professor, to film and record their World War II stories. Young served the Scott City community 10 years as city council member, mayor pro tem and mayor.

David Cantrell: Cantrell spent countless hours fundraising for the Avenue of Flags at Cape County Park. Since involving himself with this project very dear to his heart, he has raised awareness, not to mention several thousands of dollars to repair, replace and add flags for all the deserving veterans from Cape Girardeau County that gave to serve in our military.

Leland J. "Freck" Shivelbine: Shivelbine has been a lifelong resident, businessman, philanthropist and community leader in Cape Girardeau. He joined the Navy in 1944. Shivelbine's Music has been an anchor in downtown Cape since 1947, when it began as M & S Music. On July 1, 1949, the store became Shivelbine's Music when at age 23 Freck went into business with his father, Wm. A. Shivelbine. He's received multiple awards including, the Old Town Cape Excellence in Preservation Award, the Cape Chamber Small Business of the Year Award in 2001, and in 1998 the Otto F. Dingeldein Award, which honors the individual whose artistic achievements have made a considerable impact on the cultural enrichment of the Community.

Regina Anderson: Despite being disabled, Anderson serves in several social memberships, including American Legion Post 58 and 63, Trail of Tears project activist, Missouri clubs for disabled people, Missouri History Artifacts Club and the NRA.

Congratulations to all who were nominated and thanks to all those who submitted nominations. Each of our nominees should be proud of the work they've done for their communities, truly expressing what it means to possess the Spirit of America.

Arena Park opens at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Patriotic music by the Cape Girardeau Municipal Band begins at 8 p.m. The National Anthem and Spirit of America presentation start at 8:30 p.m. And fireworks will kick off at 9:15 p.m. You can also follow the program by listening to 960 KZIM and 1400 KSIM. Both stations will play patriotic music during the fireworks display.

The Great America Fourth of July is presented by the City of Cape Girardeau, Isle Casino, the Southeast Missourian and River Radio. Other contributors include Shivelbines Music and rustmedia.

We'll see you Tuesday night before the fireworks.