During the Community Leadership Awards banquet the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce handed out 90 Community Leadership Awards.

The Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce 2016 held its Community Leadership Awards Banquet Friday night where it announced that Citizen of the Year is  Susan Marshall.  Susan was nominated by Still Usable Ministries.
Marshall was chosen from among seven candidates that included Randy Becht nominated by the Rotary Club of Pulaski County, Luge Hardman nominated by the City of Waynesville and Laura Schoephorster, Pastor Charles Howard nominated by God’s Agape Love Faith Church, Ursula Lebioda nominated by Good Samaritan of the Ozarks, Don Murray nominated by the Pulaski County Salvation Army, and Pastor Charles Quinn nominated by the Pulaski County NAACP.
In addition to Citizen of the Year, the Waynesville-St.Robert Chamber of Commerce recognized several organizations and individuals for their leadership in the community.
The Chamber had 225 in attendance at the Community Leadership Awards Banquet held at the Stonebrooke Center.  During the banquet they handed out 90 Community Leadership Awards.
The 2016 Organization of the Year, the Waynesville R-VI School District, is an organization that provides award winning education to our community youth.  From pre-school for children with special needs to dual credit and AP college courses for high school students, the Waynesville R-VI School District serves each individual student. Known for its outstanding schools, Waynesville students perform above average on most state and national tests.  
They launched a new program in 2016 entitled Career Embedded Learning. It focuses on providing students with the opportunity to attend school for half of the day working on required credits for graduation, while working with a facilitator at a business or organization to learn the necessary skills to be successful in the workplace for the other half of the day. Students receive high school credit for the internship and each takes turns serving as the lead for a project. Waynesville’s program is modeled after the profession-based Northland CAPS program in the Kansas City area that places students in internships with area businesses.
Students have been given the opportunity to work on actual projects for the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber and gain an understanding of their professional interests.  This program is offered to students their junior year and then continue their senior year with a second level of coursework or an internship. The workplace becomes the classroom for the student.  The program provides high school students in the Waynesville R-VI school district with a professional, innovative, and entrepreneurial education through career oriented experiences that are both hands-on and real world.
Starting in August of 2016, the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber has hosted five Waynesville High School seniors: Ashely Bartlett, Sierra Hart, Lindzie King, Tori Macon, and Ashton Pilz. They have completed many projects such as creating videos, designing logos, updating the demographic profile for the county, designing graphics for the new Chamber program Speak Your Peace – Civility Now, updating the membership profile content, the yearly tri-fold, ads for the newcomers QR code tri-fold, and developing Shop Local marketing materials. The students have taken ownership of the program and created both a name for their group – Interns for Career Enrichment – and their own logo.  Students are under the direct supervision of Amy Ransdall-Breeden. Rather than telling students exactly what to do, she serves as a facilitator as the students work their way through  projects.  
The 2016 Volunteer of the Year, Jesse DeGraftenreed III, was recognized for his help with several Chamber programs.  The Chamber created a program with the help of our AmeriCorps VISTA in 2015 titled the Young Professionals Conference (YPC).  This Leadership Pulaski County Alum took on the quest to keep this program going and even expand it.  
YPC gives our young adults an opportunity to grow their communication and leadership skills, becoming self-sufficient and productive members of our community. The program teaches True Colors®, Community Service, Interpersonal Skills, Leadership Styles, Keeping Social Media Professional and Teamwork Development, and Job Interview Skills.  
With Jesse’s leadership the Young Professional Conference was presented in 2016 to the Waynesville High School Leadership Camp during summer school, again before school started with the Waynesville High School Leadership, and finally at the Laquey High School.  The plans are to continue to grow to other schools in 2017.  Jesse has also presented programs to the Leadership Pulaski County Alumni and Leadership Pulaski County Class 5.  Lastly, Jesse has created a day at the Capitol in February for all the Leadership Pulaski County classes.  Jesse is an inspiration to many and the Chamber appreciates all of the time he has committed to making our community a better place to live.
At any Chamber function you’re sure to see the bright blue jackets worn by the members of the Chamber’s Ambassador Club.  They are the Chamber’s army of volunteers, and it is a special privilege to honor them for their dedicated service.  The 2016 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 2016.  
The Chamber Board wanted to find a way to recognize more members for all they do for our community, so they added several new awards that are now a part of the Community Leadership Awards Banquet.  
The 2016 Community Non-Profit of the Year was presented to the Pulaski County Salvation Army Service Unit nominated by Nola Wadley.  The Salvation Army has had a major impact on Pulaski County since Ft. Leonard Wood opened.  Of the 1522 units in Missouri and Southern Illinois, the Pulaski County Service Unit has ranked #1 in fund-raising and other areas for many years.  In 2015, over 750 Christmas baskets were given out with the help of Good Samaritan Resource Center, 525 gift packs were given to residents of nursing homes, group homes and senior citizens centers, $27,600 was dispersed to help on utility bills, $7,800 for rent, $4,517 for gas and $5,100 on medical, bus tickets, etc.  Each year several thousand families and individuals are given a helping hand. This unit truly is “Doing the Most Good!”
The 2016 Charitable Business of the Year was presented to Fort Wood Hotels nominated by Laura Schoephorster.  Fort Wood Hotels by Ehrhardt Properties believes when the community and local businesses work together, everybody wins. The team at Fort Wood Hotels believes strongly in giving back to their community and military heroes. Their mission is “to serve our guest, our community, and each other.” As a company, Fort Wood Hotels supports a multitude of organizations.  Since 1998, making a difference in our community has been an integral part of the Fort Wood Hotels by Ehrhardt Properties’ business foundation.    
The 2016 Community Improvement Award was presented to Citizens Bank of Newburg nominated by Melissa Shelden.  On Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Citizens Bank of Newburg hoisted in the air a beautiful 40’ x 80’ banner of stars and stripes, weighing in at approximately 110 pounds, atop a 130’ flag pole.  The site selected for this beacon of pride is one of the highest elevations in the state, and resides in our very own Pulaski County.  This tribute is visible in an estimated 7-10 miles in all directions, including main thoroughfares such as I-44 and Route 66.  Although the flag itself may not be one of a kind, the project location makes it one!