Jerry Hall, co-founder of Jack Henry and Associates, was honored with the Monett Chamber of Commerce's highest honor, the Community Service Award, at last night's annual Chamber banquet at the Southwest Area Career Center.
Nancy Ridgley, from Cox Monett Hospital, received the Pride and Progress Award.
The Community Service Award is given for longtime contributions to Monett that enhance the town and quality of life. According to presenter Mike Gollhofer, Hall has lifelong roots in the area. Having grown up in Butterfield and graduated from Purdy High School, Hall worked for Juvenile Shoe Company in Aurora, then got a better opportunity with Jumping-Jacks Shoes in Monett
After acing a data processing aptitude test four months into the job, Hall moved into the data processing department, where he spent 16 years, ultimately becoming the information technology and data processing manager. In 1976, he and Jack Henry formed Jack Henry and Associates, furthering the vision both men shared about how information could be better managed, thus helping the community banking industry.
"That decision," Gollhofer continued, "has over the past 30-plus years contributed greatly to the economic and environmental growth of Monett, and growth for hundreds of families who live in or commute to our community."
As for Hall himself, Gollhofer said, "He is the maker of leaders, inspiring individuals to achieve their potential not only professionally, but civically as well, by supporting endeavors such as school boards, Chamber board, Chamber activities, youth baseball and softball, Mighty Mite football program and Building on Faith, to name a few. He instills a passion for service by promoting a culture of hard work and doing the right thing when involved with customers, associates and the community."
Gollhofer observed that Hall has preferred to remain predominantly in the background "because of his unassuming nature and genuine pleasure from allowing others to succeed, without praise or recognition."
Hall received a standing ovation from the packed crowd in attendance at the event. Jack Goodman, 29th District State Senator from Mt. Vernon, presented a framed resolution from the Missouri Senate in recognition of the honor. Don Ruzicka, 131st District State Representative, presented a similar resolution from the Missouri House, on behalf of himself and 68th District Representative David Sater, of Cassville.
The Pride and Progress Award is given for short-term service or work on a particularly worthy undertaking. Greg Johnson, administrator at Cox Monett Hospital, made the presentation to Ridgley. He noted that seven years ago, she was in professional burnout. Seeing unrealized potential, Johnson created a new position of director of community wellness and education for Ridgley, rechanneling her energies into community outreach in a way that had not been tried before at the hospital.
"Over the last seven years, Nancy and her limited staff have grown a program that is positively affecting hundreds of loves each year," Johnson said. Her work with fifth graders and their parents in 12 different schools and three counties screens children for risk of diabetes and heart disease, as well as providing education about healthy diet and exercise.
As head of the Journeys program, a weight reduction regimen involving both exercise and guidance on diet, Ridgley has given participants "a true ‘new lease' on life," Johnson said. Expanding the hospital's services to diabetics, Ridgley found a way through the Dining for Diabetes annual fundraiser to secure the resources needed to provide education and insulin for those who could not afford it. Johnson said last year's Dining for Diabetes raised $21,000 for that cause.
"Nancy Ridgley is what we in our business like to call a ‘fire-starter.' She creates self-pride where it is lacking and encourages the public to make progress in their personal journey to obtaining and maintaining wellness," Johnson concluded. He asked those who had been affected by Ridgley's work, or who had participated in her efforts to make Monett a healthier place, to rise and honor her. The audience was on its feet by the time Ridgley reached the podium.
Framed resolutions from the Missouri House and Senate were presented to her as well.