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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM, Chamber of Commerce Present MLK Community Service Awards

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 13, 2011) – Campus and community leaders and organizations were recognized for their service to the community as part of the University of Central Missouri’s 2011 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration as UCM joined the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center in presentation of the MLK Community Service Awards at the chamber’s monthly luncheon Wednesday, Jan. 12, at the White Rose Pavilion.

Receiving the Leadership Award were Stormy Taylor, Kyle Schell and the Johnson County Board of Services.

Since taking the reins as the executive director of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Johnson County, Taylor has led the organization’s continued growth and ongoing commitment to youth. With guidance from her board of directors, she has led fundraising efforts while maintaining the connections between children and their mentors, becoming an integral part of the Warrensburg community.

As a student at the University of Central Missouri, Schell has been active as an elected representative in the Student Government Association, serving on the Leadership committee. He has been active in IMPACT, the student organization that provides leadership training for student organization leaders across campus, and is an active member of the College Republicans.

The Johnson County Board of Services, a volunteer board appointed by the Johnson County Commission, oversees the operations of the many facets of the Johnson County Sheltered Workshop. Established to provide opportunities to a segment of Johnson County’s population that often struggles to find opportunities for independence through employment, the Board of Services has made a long-term commitment to providing those opportunities to Johnson County residents with developmental disabilities.

Receiving the Humanitarian Award were the Rev. Joel Kurz and UCM’s THRIVE program.

Kurz has been pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Warrensburg since 2007. In addition to his ministry at Bethlehem Lutheran, he is actively involved in the Warrensburg Ministerial Association, the Johnson County Emergency Care Coalition, the Johnson County CROP Hunger Walk, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, and the Regional Health Care Free Clinic. In addition to his activities in Warrensburg, “Pastor Joel” is a board member of With God’s Little Ones, a St. Louis-based agency ministering to the needs of vulnerable widows and orphans around the world, and is also a support-team member of the Kyosiga Community Christian Association for Development in Uganda.

The with inception of the THRIVE program at UCM during the summer of 2010, the first class of 12 students with exceptional educational needs arrived at UCM this fall, where they live on campus and attend classes tailored to their needs. A group led by Joyce Downing, associate dean of the College of Education at UCM, applied for and received the grant funding to implement the program from EXCEL, and Kansas City-based organization that has long sought the right location for the development of such a program. Under the care and watchful eyes Director Barbara Mayfield, Coordinator Carol Smith, Case Manager Jessica Rhodes, instructor Sue Ann Carter, UCM student mentors and UCM faculty, these young people are living on campus, participating in campus events and continuing their education beyond high school.

Receiving the Robbie Robinson Service Award were Kristie Brinkley and the Salvation Army of Warrensburg.

Brinkley has served as UCM’s coordinator of volunteer programs for 11 years. She is well-known for her ability to put together the right group of student volunteers for the job, often on a moment’s notice, for a campus event or for a community event. Among her many duties, Brinkley coordinates and leads the annual spring break trip by The Breakers, a group of students who spend their spring break somewhere in the United States working for Habitat Humanity; the annual MLK “A Day On, not a Day Off” Community Service Day; and the campus blood drives throughout the year.

The Salvation Army has long has long been known for its service to those in need through the Salvation Army Family Store in downtown Warrensburg, along with the army of volunteer bell ringers and their familiar red kettles during the holiday season. Salvation Army volunteers silently minister to the needs of a growing population of those who simply need a boost to the first step toward a better life.

MLK 2011 Community Service Awards
Receiving the 2011 Community Service Awards at the annual MLK Community Service Awards Luncheon, sponsored by the University of Central Missouri and the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce, were, left to right, Joyce Downing, on behalf of the UCM THRIVE program; Stormy Taylor; the Rev. Joel Kurz; Julie Lannon, on behalf of the Salvation Army of Warrensburg; Lindell Harrison, on behalf of the Johnson County Board of Services; and Kristie Brinkley. Not pictured is Kyle Schell.