Last Thursday, the Barry County Council on Aging (BCCOA) held a reception in honor of long-time board member Ron Shook.
"The first time I saw Ron was in the Barry County Courthouse," said Linda Parker, Cassville Senior Center administrator. "They were having a kick-off for the ballot issue that would fund the senior tax board.
"This man, who I didn't know, stood up and started talking about why we needed to put this issue on the ballot," said Parker. "Then, the same man started coming to the Cassville Senior Center and doing great things."
Shook served as a volunteer tax preparer at several local senior centers. He also helped seniors with Medicare Part D enrollment at the Cassville Senior Center
"Ron became a great blessing for Barry County," said Parker. "I think we began to abuse him here at the Cassville Senior Center. If our internet was down or we had computer problems, we would ask him for help and he always helped.
"We will miss him dearly," said Parker. "He has always been a good friend to talk to."
After the senior tax passed and the Barry County Senior Tax Board and BCCOA was established, Shook served as president, treasurer and volunteer bookkeeper for the organization.
Sharon Madison, current BCCOA president, presented Shook with a plaque in honor of his years of service.
"Richard Meyer was instrumental in my being involved in so many things," said Shook. "After I stood up at that meeting in the courthouse and said we needed a tax board, Richard approached me and said, 'you need to be chair of this.'"
Shook worked with Meyer and the two became co-chairs in the effort to pass the ballot issue for the establishment of the senior tax.
"I told him, you have the contacts," said Shook. "I'll keep the notes, schedule the meetings and handle press relations, but it boils down to the people. He knew people."
With Meyer's encouragement, Shook also became involved in the Silver Haired Legislature and later was one of the original members of the Barry County E-911 Emergency Services Board.
"This is what it is all about," said Shook. "When we have the ability to help our seniors. Our time doesn't count. We do what we can and help where we can.
"I appreciate the opportunity to work with you all," said Shook. "I have enjoyed getting to be together and work together. That is the reason I stayed with BCCOA. I enjoyed it so much."
Meyer also spoke briefly during the event.
"It is the mark of a truly great person when they are humble enough to say that someone else had a part in what they did," said Meyer. "We would be in serious trouble without Ron. Thank you for your kind words. You're a friend, and I'm going to miss you."
Shook and his wife, Gail, have purchased a home near Springfield. Both Ron and Gail are master gardeners and plan to spend more of their free time gardening.