Alicia Graves, animal control officer with the Monett Police Department, received the award at the annual MACA conference in September.
She was presented a plaque that commended her efforts for "going above and beyond the call of duty for all animals and people of the community."
Graves was nominated for the award by fellow animal control officer J.T. Taylor, of Jefferson County, near St. Louis. The nomination praised Graves for her efforts in assisting the Joplin community in humanely trapping feral cats following the devastating May 22 tornado.
"I got the call on Sunday and got permission from Chief [Tim Schweder] to go," Graves said. "I spent Monday organizing supplies and networking with other team members to provide for these animals. Ed Miller, Aurora's animal control officer, went with me and we worked as a team to trap the animals that had been traumatized and injured in the storm."
Graves said their mission was to trap as many cats as possible before bulldozers went in to start removing debris.
"These cats were frightened and only came out at night," Graves said. "Ed and I, together, captured 125 cats. A majority of the cats were recovered."
Teams worked from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for five days among the ruins of the Joplin landscape.
"A majority of the cats were able to be handled without problem," Graves said. "One or two had received minor injuries and were evaluated and treated by a local veterinarian. The rest were either reclaimed by their family members or put up for adoption."
Graves, who has an associate degree as a veterinary technician from Crowder College in Neosho, has worked for the City of Monett for five years.
"She has one of the hardest jobs in the city," said Chief Schweder. "It's sometimes difficult dealing with pet owners. She stays busy.
"We are very glad that she has been recognized for her efforts," he said.
"Helping the community of Joplin was the best feeling I've had doing this," Graves said.