Waynesville City Council honored several of special guests on Thursday in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
Operation Rising Star winner Sgt. Christiana Ball was honored first. Operation Rising Star is an Army-wide singing competition that took place in December.
“We are very proud you claimed us as your home,” Mayor Luge Hardman said to Ball. “We appreciate all that you do and we are very proud of you, Christiana.”
Ball said that she wanted to take time to thank the community for their support during the competition.
“I want to thank the Waynesville community and area around Fort Leonard Wood. It didn't occur to me what a life-changing experience Operation Rising Star was until I got into the competition and saw all of the support, not just from Fort Leonard Wood, but from the residents in surrounding communities also.
Waynesville City Council also honored Waynesville 6th Grade Center’s “LEAPing Legos” First Lego League (FLL) team, who competed at the Eastern Missouri FLL Championship in December, having earned the right by being one of the top three teams at the Camdenton FLL Qualifier.
The LEAPing Lego’s project presentation focused on the redesign of a flood rescue boat to assist during the August flood. The LEAPing Legos discussed the unique track design and robotic programming during the robotic design competition. “Core values” is an objective that visits the meaning of teamwork as well as gracious professionalism. Finally, “The Croaker” competed in the FLL’s task and obstacle course, finishing in 28th place in the robotics competition with a score of 161 points.
The next event for the LEAPing Legos will be an invitation-only competition to be held at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The Inaugural Columbia FLL Tournament will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1, and will be limited to only 12 teams.
Members of this year’s LEAPing Lego’s FLL Team who were honored by City Council include Clayton Bassett, Wyatt Cutsinger, Kyrien Edwards, Dale Kammer, Cheyenne Levengood, Gracie O’Donnell, David Parker, Austin Shrum, Anna Simmons, and Trevor Tronstad. The team was coached/mentored by Barrett Parker, Laura Laughlin, MAJ John Dempsey, Sarah Parker and Stephanie Stokes.
The City Council also honored the Pulaski County Assembly 78, International Order Rainbow for Girls for their recent service projects.
The group recently held fundraisers for the Waynesville Animal Shelter and raised more than $600. The group purchased a laptop for the shelter with the money and presented the computer and the remaining money to the City Council.
Page 2 of 2 - Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith
Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith was the final special guest of the evening and addressed the council about the current state of Fort Leonard Wood.
“2013 was a busy time,” Smith said. We had a lot of visitors and we had a tough year,” Smith said. “2014 is going to be as busy or busier. “
Smith took command of Fort Leonard Wood in June, 2013.
“It's because of the unique capabilities we have here,” he said. “Not only from the three regiments, but the unique support.”
Smith said that it is one thing to tell people what you do, but it is another to show what you do.
“My challenge to the community is how we continue to collaborate together , how we continue to care about each other and how we continue to coordinate to do the things we do,” Smith said.
Smith encouraged the community to embrace change as the Army and other branches of the military will undergo force reductions in the near future.
“We have to make sure that we are going to be smart and see where we can be more efficient and effective in the things we do,” Smith said. “We could either close our eyes and not see what is coming or be in front of it.”