A man who has spent decades serving both his community and his country was recognized on Friday as the 2013 Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

A man who has spent decades serving both his community and his country was recognized on Friday as the 2013 Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

Ollie Jackson, who was nominated by Rotary Club of Pulaski County, received the prestigious award at the Community Leadership Awards Banquet in the St. Robert Community Center.

Jackson was one of ten individuals to be nominated for the award. The other nominees were Jim Mathews, nominated by the Salvation Army Pulaski County Local Unit, Susan Marshall, nominated by Still Useable Ministries, Jan and Terry Primas, Paul Ziegler, and Don Slater, nominated by Virgie Cole-Mahan, Barb Easterla, nominated by Pulaski County Humane Society, Thomas L. Magruder, nominated by Sheila M. Flint, CPA., LLC., and Lelar Corbett, nominated by the Waynesville – St. Robert Lions Club. The Citizen of the Year award is intended to recognize individuals who perform outstanding and dedicated service to the community and/or help others over time in the Waynesville-St. Robert area.

Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith was one of many community leaders to speak at the event. Smith said that the ten people nominated for the award — who have dedicated countless hours to serving the community — exemplify what makes the Fort Leonard Wood area different from other Army bases across the country.

“What makes us different are the people that we see represented here,” Smith said. “What makes us different is the community support we have here.”

“You have to understand how special this is and how special you are,” he said to the nominees.

Rep. Steve Lynch said that as a representative in the state capital, he sees a similar commonality. Not other areas have the dedicated volunteers and community support quite like we have here, he said.

“What I see here that I don't see all other places is that we have great leaders for a reason,” Lynch said. “We have a place that really cares about their community. We have a place where people really get engaged with one another, call each other friends and extend a hand when they need it. We have a place where people really come together.”

Lynch presented Jackson with a proclamation from the Mo. Senate and from the Mo. House of Representatives for his excellent service to the community.

“Ollie has done a wonderful job of volunteering for years and years,” Lynch said.

Jackson accepted his award and started his speech by thanking God.

“I want to thank God and go a little further and talk about a scripture: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding and in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path,” Jackson said. “I want to tell you for the last 36 years, he has directed my path.”

Jackson settled in Pulaski County in 1984 when he retired from the Army after 23 years as an Engineer Officer, he continued to serve as a Department of the Army Civilian until retiring for a second time in 2002. Seeing many opportunities to still serve the community Jackson has taken the opportunity to stay busy in the community and serve with several local organizations.

“I had no idea where I was going day-to-day and I had no idea that I would be standing here today receiving this award,” Jackson said. “I have received awards in my life but this is clearly one of the best.”

Ollie has been a member of the Pulaski County Rotary club since 2005. He has served in a number of club positions and currently is the Club Sergeant at Arms and Director of Club Service Committee.

Ollie Jackson has volunteered to serve as a tireless supporter of Good Samaritan of the Ozarks and

Genesis, its domestic violence shelter for the last 10 years and currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the last three years. He was extremely active in the campaign to build the Genesis House shelter for domestic violence. He serves with the City of Waynesville on the Industrial Development Authority Board; a municipal organization created to fund and manages the economic ventures that may be entered into by the city of Waynesville.

He has also served as organization secretary and as a member of the Pulaski County Senior Citizens Fund Board, a municipal organization that oversees the distribution of state funds to the four Senior Citizen Centers in Pulaski County

“What I've learned is you got to suit up and play every day and you have to make a presence to make difference,” Jackson said. “If your absence doesn't make a difference, your presence won't either.”

Other Recognitions

The 2013 Organization of the Year, the Leonard Wood Institute worked with the Chamber and other organizations, businesses, and government officials to coordinate an Army 2020 PEA Strategic Planning meeting, letter writing campaign, and worked on the presentation given at Army 2020 Listening Session. These actions resulted in the adjustment of proposed changes from a reduction of 3,900 soldiers and civilian workers to 885. The 2013 Volunteer of the Year, Richard Baptist was recognized his dedication to the success of the Chamber and its largest fundraiser serving as the auctioneer at our Taste of Pulaski County and Basket Auction. With his energy and enthusiasm he has raised thousands of dollars for the chamber over the years.

The 2013 Ambassadors of the year is Russ Dixon. The Ambassador of the Year is determined by attendance at Chamber functions throughout the year. Russ attended 97 out of 105 Chamber events during 2013. The Chamber also recognized Ambassadors Janel Rowell, R.J. Dick and Alana Hancock and presented them with a five-year service pin.

The Chamber had 182 in attendance at the Community Leadership Awards Banquet held at the St. Robert Community Center. During the banquet they handed out 89 Community Leadership Awards.