The awards presentation was the highlight of an evening that gathered a near capacity crowd at the Southwest Area Career Center's commons room.
Garrett's award was presented by Vicki Nelson, former chamber board president. Nelson alluded to Garrett as "the walking, talking Monett Chamber of Commerce," and said his identity would be quickly recognized as his credentials were recounted.
A Monett High School graduate, Garrett earned degrees from Maryville College, Chicago Seminary and the University of Missouri School of Law. He returned to Monett to begin his legal practice, working with long-time Monett attorneys E.L. Monroe and Almon Maus.
After a four-year stint as Missouri director of public safety in Jefferson City, Garrett returned to Monett for four decades of community involvement. Nelson recalled Garrett had served on boards for Cox Monett Hospital, the Springfield Cox Hospital, the Ozark Festival Orchestra, the Monett Industrial Development Corporation and the Monett chamber serveral times, including a term as president.
Garrett played an active role in getting the license office established and retained in Monett. He provided legal advice for many community groups, such as Habitat for Humanity and the Downtown Betterment Group. Most recently Garrett has served as co-chairman of the Monett Area YMCA's capital campaign.
"This project has benefitted most from the traits we spoke of earlier," Nelson said, "faithfulness, perseverance, selflessness, wisdom and the luck of the Irish."
Garrett received a standing ovation from the audience.
"This is a great honor," Garrett said. "I've had the privilege to work with all of those who got this award, back to Kenneth McShane in 1972. I know the kind of commitment and sacrifice they made to maintain and improve the quality of life in the community."
Garrett said the love and support of his wife, Phyllis, made his "extracurricular activities" possible. He added he wished his late mother could have been present. "She would have believed all the nice things Vicki said," Garrett added.
The Community Kitchen received its Pride and Progress Award from Rod Anderson, a past recipient of the honor.
"No community is absent of the economic disadvantaged, the homeless and hungry," Anderson said. "They can be the hidden needy or the visibly challenged. They are our fellow citizens, neighbors and friends. With a solid idea and plan, and many strong committed individuals devoted to a cause, our community became better because of our recipient."
Anderson recounted how the Community Kitchen opened in November, 2010. Those responding to the service have grown from seven on the first night to more than 100. Meals are offered on Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons at the First United Methodist Church.
More than 80 volunteers are needed each week to prepare and serve the meals. Assistance from six different churchs, several community organizations "and just concerned folks," Anderson said.
"This group doesn't stop with the huge task of meals but provides needed apparel items and even space heaters," Anderson continued. "The Community Kitchen also offers fellowship."
Anderson invited members of the Community Kitchen board to the stage to accept the award and the audience's recognition.
"We thought there should be no hungry people in Monett," said Charlene Dart, co-chairman of the kitchen's board with Steve Stidham. "The community stepped forward and the response has been overwhelming.
"When you hear a three-year-old say she doesn't want to go home because she's still hungry, you know this is a service the community needs," Dart concluded.
Both award recipients received framed resolutions from the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate. Representatives David Sater and Don Ruzicka presented the resolutions from the House as well as the Senate's for State Senator Jack Goodman, who was unable to attend due to the Senate session earlier in the day.