The Clay County Hospital Foundation has proudly announced the honorees for this year’s Byways of Excellence Awards.
There were four different categories for the awards, including Agriculture and/or Business; Arts and Humanities and/or Civic Leadership; Health, Medicine and other Professionals; and Youth, 18 and under.
The 2012 honorees are Lucille Anderson for of Flora Merle Norman for the Business Category; Jerry Stringer for the Arts and Humanities and/or Civic Leadership; Late Clay County Coroner and funeral director Gary Bright for the Health, Medicine and other Professionals category; and Clay City High School Student Mason Spitzner for the Youth, 18 and under category.
Lucille Anderson has run the Flora Merle Norman Studio for 52 years across three locations. Currently, the store is located at the home she shares with her husband, Sam Anderson.
According to the letter nominating Anderson for the award, she, “Loves her business and feels fortunate to have it connected to her home.”
Anderson said “I feel I am an artist and the face is my canvas, giving me the ability to bring out the beauty of the customer.”
Through the years, Anderson has chaired the County Fair Queen Pageant, done numerous makeovers for high school and college plays and prepared many pretty girls for prom and brides for their wedding day.
“Lucille feels she has lived a beautiful life and has been married to the same man for 70 years,” from her nomination. “At the age of 87, Lucille has several stories about her and Sam’s ventures. Lucille and Sam are an inspiration to the community. The values of family, friends and religion have been their cornerstone of life. Dedication to taking care of themselves, the community and giving to others has kept Lucille and Sam looking young and living a great life.”
“For the past 38 years, Jerry Stringer has tirelessy given his time and energy to the summer tennis programs in Flora,” reads the letter nominating Stringer for the award.
“Jerry runs the local tennis tournaments and supervises the junior rec tennis program and willingly gives tennis lessons to youth who need extra encouragement.”
Stringer is also a dedicated Vietnam Veteran, and after his service, pursued an education which lead to a 34-year career as an educator.
Stringer has served as a Flora City Commissioner and was recently elected to a second, non-consecutive term. On the Council, he oversees the parks and recreation department and every spring coordinates and directs the planting of flowers in the spring in Flora’s downtown, and “Is active in other city projects to improve the attractiveness of the community.”
“Jerry Stringer’s many contributions and years of dedication and service to Clay County as an educator, coach and civic leader provide an excellent example to our community and create a solid legacy of service for younger generations to follow.”
Page 2 of 3 - Gary Bright
“How does one describe Gary Bright?” one of the letters nominating him for these awards asks. “Husband, father, businessman, coroner, friend, community leader; mere words seem inadequate to describe Gary. Gary might not have been the tallest or strongest man to walk into a room, but when he entered, his presence filled that room.”
“For Gary, being a funeral home director was more than a job; it was his way of serving God in very difficult circumstances. Gary touched lives throughout this county with his care and compassion.”
“Gary Bright personifies the pathways of excellence,” reads another letter nominating him. “In his personal, professional and civic life, everything Gary undertook, he did excellently.”
“I don’t believe Gary ever met a stranger, just friends he had yet to get acquainted with. Gary quietly helped others without looking for recognition, just the satisfaction of serving.”
Gary Bright passed suddenly last year after a brief illness, but his actions have insured that his impact will remain for generations to come.
“Gary was an excellent human being, and I am better for having him as a friend. Flora is better for having had him as a friend. Clay County is better for having had him as a friend. And now heaven is better also.”
Mason Spitzner an honor roll student at Clay City High School was nominated not just for his record as a student an, his community service or his work outside of school, but also due to his enthusiasm towards joining a field in healthcare and the early steps he has taken to do so.
Mason took a college level course to learn to be a Certified Nursing Assistant.
“I have found throughout the course of the class that Mason is very inquisitive and very inventive,” states one of the letters nominating him for the honor, written by the course’s instructor. “When Mason first started the class he felt that he would go into radiology, but after experiencing the many different departments at Clay County Hospital, Mason is now unsure of which profession to pursue. There is one known in this equation, Mason will pursue his education in medicine. Mason delights at each hospital department with his enthusiasm and curiosity.
Mason is a member of the National Honor Society, student council, Envirothon, SILC Leadership Camp and is a junior high tutor. Mason participated in the Bioterrorism Dispensing exercises with the Clay County Health Department, he is a part of the Clay County Health Committee, has been involved in community clean-ups and assists with blood drives held at Clay City High School.
In closing, the nomination states that Spitzner is “A vital asset to Clay County. Mason is a young man who makes a wonderful role model for other youth in Clay County...By encouraging the ideals and commitment Mason displays, I feel we are encouraging others to follow in his path.”
Page 3 of 3 - These awards will be presented at the CCH Foundations Gala event and dinner, to be held on April 21, 2012, at Anthony’s in Flora. The Gala will feature a social hour, dinner and a silent auction. The auction will feature a number of special items, including a Kindle, four seats from Old Busch Stadium, a dental basket, a set of commemorative quarters, Cardinals Baseball tickets, an iPod, a City of Flora Afghan, a number of different gift cards and more.