The Sedalia Democrat has selected 10 finalists for its inaugural 2008 Sedalia Democrat Freedom Torch Award.
The award is to honor a person within the newspaper’s circulation area for outstanding community service, particularly in ways that advance individual freedom and promote self responsibility.
The Democrat plans to present more information about each winner in a special section to be published Feb. 10. Meanwhile, the newspaper invites its readers to write comments about the nominees on its Web site.
Here are the nominees:
•The Rev. Vincent Hoying, priest at Sacred Heart Church, has long served the community. He will mark 50 years as a priest of the Catholic church in June. “He just does everything he can for the school, church and the neighborhood,” said Dora Mae Fretwell, who nominated him. “He is a dedicated person.”
•Judy Haushahn, of Cole Camp, owns and operates Seven Bells Sanctuary. She adopts old dogs, and cares for them. She also tries to educate people about spaying and neutering them. “She is the one that holds them as they take their last breath,” said Audra Koehn, who nominated her.
•Maynard Jones, of Versailles, is a veterinarian and volunteer firefighter in Morgan County. He is associated with the animal shelter, and helps find homes for lost, abandoned and stray dogs and cats. He has been a firefighter for 40 years. He also is a member of the Lions Club and the Versailles Chamber of Commerce.
•Tim Mosier, of Sedalia, recently retired after a long tenure as the Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management director. He is noted for recruiting a healthy corps of volunteers who serve as storm watchers. He also led efforts to make sure that Pettis County was prepared for the worst after Sept. 11, 2001, and was honored by President Bush for his achievements.
•Roger A. Garlich, executive director of the Center for Human Services/Children’s Therapy Center, has led the organization since 1963, when it started as The Crippled Children’s Center. Garlich lobbies for the cause and “has dedicated his career life to advancing individuals with disabilities in their own personal quest in pursuing freedoms,” said Susan Mergen, one of the people who nominated Garlich.
•Kristen Allcorn, a senior at Smith-Cotton High School, was nominated by several people for her leadership and founding of the Community Cafe. The cafe started as an effort to feed the hungry in Sedalia. She has worked more than 40-hour weeks to make sure the cafe stays open. The cafe began feeding free meals to people one day a week and now serves five days a week. It’s served more than 5,000 free meals since it began.
•Don Morton was nominated to honor his lifetime of giving to Sedalia. He is a retired city librarian, a member of the Sedalia Traffic Committee, an election site administrator, a teacher, and a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, Open Door Food Pantry, the Rotary Club and other efforts. He has worked with Salvation Army and the East Sedalia Baptist Church, as well as the Bothwell Regional Health Center Auxiliary. “His ability to organize activities for the betterment of others is without equal,” said J.W. Dean, who nominated him.
•Barbara Rohr started a program to educate high school juniors and seniors at the career center to become teachers and caregivers in preschool and daycare centers in 1996. The program includes students from 10 schools in a 35-mile radius and has a on-site daycare lab. It also works with other daycares, home care centers, special needs programs, Head Start and elementary school programs. She is “willing, eager to assist and shares her knowledge with colleagues,” said Kerwin Rohr, who nominated her.
•Ron Ditzfeld, of Ditzfeld Transfer Inc., owns and operates the Sedalia business. In 1992, he helped truck supplies to Hurricane Andrew victims; in 1993 he took water to flood victims. He trucked goods to survivors of Katrina. He serves as president of the board for the Ditzfeld Center for Recovering Alcoholics, which was the initial home for the Community Cafe. He has helped raise more than $1.1 million for the Bay Cliff Health Camp for Handicapped Children.
•Jo Colvin, of Sedalia, has volunteered for the American Red Cross. During times of tornados, floods and other disasters, she has traveled to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to set up shelters, feed and clothe people and provide for victims. She provides for victims of fires and also for the volunteers and firefighters. She most recently set up a shelter in Warsaw for 2,000 people who were without heat during the ice storm. She was there nearly three weeks. She also has holiday parties for Brown Street Group Home and Ewing Vocational Center.