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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Schoen receives Freistatt Community Service Award

Monday, April 16, 2012

Freistatt Village Clerk Deborah Schoen, center, received congratulations from Freistatt Mayor Mike Ortwein, at right, and a round of applause from those attending the April Freistatt Board of Trustees meeting, where Schoen was presented with the 2011 Freistatt Community Service Award. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
The Freistatt Community Service Award for 2011 was presented to Deborah K. Schoen, village clerk. The formal presentation was made during the April Board of Trustees meeting.

Freistatt Mayor Mike Ortwein said the request for nominations was made at the annual community dinner in December. A letter and several individual's comments were submitted on behalf of Schoen, singling out her efforts to save the Freistatt Post Office.

Ortwein presented Schoen with a plaque and read a framed certificate detailing her service to Freistatt. Schoen had served as a board member of the Freistatt Senior Housing Authority and as bookkeeper for Schoen Equipment before being hired as village clerk in 2003.

Schoen was recognized for computerizing village records, updating bookkeeping to meet federal loan and audit standards and reassessing village ordinances. Schoen helped convert water service records from customer-recorded readings to those taken by city employees. She also helped the Freistatt Community Development Corporation acquire Christmas decorations and played a key role in running the warming station at the Friestatt Community Building during the 2007 ice storm.

According to the resolution, "Schoen has had her "ear to the ground" for the village by talking to other clerks over updating ordinances; reaching out to Monett Utility Department crews for help in emergencies; keeping the village's law enforcement status updated to allow state authorization for local officers; and tracking ongoing dialogue over issues with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Transportation and the U.S.D.A. Rural Development program.

"When the U.S. Postal Service announced plans in 2011 to close the Freistatt Post Office, Schoen meticulously tracked the regulations involved and helped to guide the community response. She spearheaded a community survey and letter-writing campaign to give Freistatt citizens the best chance to make their case to keep their post office," the resolution reads.

Ortwein said it was an honor to present Schoen with the award. Unlike past awards, which Schoen has prepared for presentation, Ortwein took on all the responsibilities this year to keep the presentation a surprise.

Schoen was speechless when the award was announced. After the formal presentation, she also received a vase of flowers from Jeannie Stolz, representing the Freistatt Senior Housing Authority.

"In the past, I've always gone after projects I thought were worthwhile," Schoen said. "I've done nothing anyone else wouldn't do. Thank you all."

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