Volunteers are the lifeblood of Main Street. From the board of directors to committees to event volunteers, each community member that volunteers in Main Street is a rockstar! Not only are they coming together to revitalize their downtown, reinvigorate their community, and cultivate a place to live, work, and play, they are making an economic impact! Volunteers make a significant economic impact in their community through the donation of their time and skill. The Independent Sector values volunteer time in Missouri at $31.80 per hour (as of June 2023). The ‘I Spy… Great Work’ nominees are entered into the running for Volunteer of the Year award at the 2023 Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference.
Ashland Betterment Coalition in Ashland, MO has nominated Debbie Mudd for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Ashland was submitted by Brittney Harty on their board:
“Debbie has been an integral part of Ashland Betterment Coalition! She is one of our ex-officio board members who has built vital relationships with our local businesses. The relationships she has begun building have helped our group’s growth significantly. Debbie takes time out of her weeks to interview local business owners and highlights them on our social media pages, which gives them something in return. In six months, our social media pages have grown with Facebook now having 500 followers and reaching 30.2k people and our Instagram now having 223 followers. Our pages are now known in town as the place to go to get a complete picture of what’s happening locally on the weekends. She came up with a series dubbed ‘Round About Ashland’ playing off the roundabouts that replaced some of our busy four-way stops. From the series to the highlights, she has given our local businesses and community members a reason to pay attention to us. We truly wouldn’t be where we are today and wouldn’t be able to continue to grow without her volunteer efforts!”
Old Town Cape, Inc. in Cape Girardeau, MO has nominated Danny Essner for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Old Town Cape was submitted by Andrea Hamm on their board’s behalf:
“For over a decade, Danny has been involved in making a difference in Cape Girardeau. This is true for many community events in Cape Girardeau and especially true for Old Town Cape’s Cape Riverfront Market. In early 2022, our staff began the long, arduous process of adding a new storage shed to the Cape Riverfront Market parking lot. There were hurdles and struggles that stalled progress such as the city permitting process, finding a reliable manufacturing company to make the shed, and working with a local engineer on the structural drawings all of which Danny Essner stepped in and volunteered to see the project to completion nearly a year later.
At each step, Danny took ownership, made the connections, got approval, and provided continued maintenance. The shed was installed in the front of the market lot in early 2023 utilizing the additional volunteers Danny recruited and tools that he owns for the tough installation process. In fact, three different saw blades broke while cutting into the asphalt to set the anchors. Having the shed at the front of the market lot makes event set up and tear down much more convenient for Old Town Cape staff and volunteers who no longer have to haul everything across the lot and back each Saturday morning.
Danny wanted to add more flair to the shed so that it looked like a cute English cottage to welcome everyone to the Cape Riverfront Market and used money from his own pocket to purchase and install hundreds of dollars worth of decorative windows, window boxes, planters, plants, and gutters to beautify the shed.
Danny is already known as a hardworking and reliable volunteer, but he went above and beyond with the Cape Riverfront Market shed project. He singlehandedly took on the shed project from design to installation, donating countless hours. Because of Danny Essner’s perseverance and altruism, the Cape Riverfront Market has significantly been enhanced.”
Pictured Above: Danny Essner, Old Town Cape Staff, and Old Town Cape volunteers. Photo provided by Old Town Cape.
Chillicothe Main Street in Chillicothe, MO has nominated Chuck Erke for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Chillicothe Main Street was submitted by Tomie Walker on their board’s behalf:
“Chuck is no stranger to Main Street Chillicothe with volunteering at nearly every Main Street event pouring wine, cleaning up, hanging ornaments, and entering data. His involvement with Main Street Chillicothe can not be understated as he held the Organization Committee together during the Covid pandemic; serves as our Organization Chair; has been asked to join the Board of Directors; has walked through most of our downtown noting business and address changes for our directory listing; and recently attended his first Main Street Now national conference in Boston—I could not think of a better volunteer to soak up the experience and ask all the questions. He is an all-around great guy that we are so fortunate to have on our team as he happily gets things done in Chillicothe for Main Street and various other organizations that compete for his time. Fortunately, he has recently retired from his day job, so there is more of him to go around. He is active in the Chamber of Commerce with innovative ideas for small business incubation, can wrap several trees with a thousand lights in Simpson Park from a man lift for the holiday Festival of Lights, serves on the annual Chautauqua in the Park committee, and is always willing to lend a helping hand wherever needed. He has a true volunteer spirit and is the downtown champion that you wish you could clone.”
Pictured Above: Chuck Erke, Main Street Chillicothe staff, and Main Street Chillicothe volunteers. Photo provided by Main Street Chillicothe.
Downtown Excelsior Partnership in Excelsior Springs, MO has nominated Carol Baxter for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Downtown Excelsior Partnership was submitted by Melinda Mehaffy on their board:
“Carol has been a long-term supporter, cheerleader, and volunteer for our downtown. During the summer months, you can find her out as early as 5:00 am watering flowers in our parks and our streetscape, she attends and volunteers at all of the Downtown Excelsior Partnership events. Carol embodies "giving of her time, talents and treasures" and is an important volunteer in our downtown and in our community. She speaks out about the value of downtown and is always pushing forward all the good our downtown has done.”
Pictured Above: Carol Baxter and Lyndsey Baxter of Downtown Excelsior Partnership. Photo provided by Downtown Excelsior Partnership.
Fayette Main Street in Fayette, MO has nominated Frank Flaspohler for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Fayette Main Street was submitted by Cara Owings on their board’s behalf:
“Frank helped create the Fayette Festival of Lights for Fayette Main Street, a wonderful new attraction added to our downtown area for the holidays, and spent many, many hours leading the efforts to install 10,000+ Christmas lights and the software program to create a light show on the courthouse building. The Fayette Festival of Lights was a light show synchronized to music that ran every night for 2-3 hours in December. Frank's vision, leadership, and volunteer hours contributed to the success of the event. The lights are a tremendous new attraction for our downtown, which drew more than three thousand people to the kickoff celebration on December 3rd; hundreds more from neighboring towns around Mid-Missouri throughout the month; and there was great media coverage with radio personalities present. The light show was talked about for weeks with many saying the light show and activities around the square were like stepping into a Hallmark movie and people cannot wait until the light show again in 2023. Without Frank this wouldn't have been successful.”
Pictured Above: Frank Flaspohler. Photo provided by Fayette Main Street.
Glasgow Main Street in Glasgow, MO has nominated Kimberly Reckner for ‘I Spy… Great Work’. The nomination from Glasgow Main Street was submitted by Nikki Gouge on their board:
“Kimberly has been a great addition to Glasgow Main Street. The list of her contributions to our community is astonishing, from building our website and driving tour to streamlining our event ticket sales, grant writing, and providing legal advice. She is constantly doing research on our town and finding new ways to promote it. She is an asset to our organization and to our community.”
Pictured Above: Kimberly Reckner. Photo provided by Glasgow Main Street.
These nominees are not the only people volunteering in Missouri as there was a total of 9,712 volunteer hours reported in 2023 equating to $308,841.60, a huge community investment in downtowns across the state!
Missouri Main Street Connection recognizes the time it takes and sacrifices made of volunteer hours at a nonprofit and alongside our local Main Street programs and thank everyone who has volunteered with Main Street. Though I Spy Great Work is currently closed, if you see individuals in your community that are completing great work, contact your local Main Street program and recommend them to be highlighted by the local Main Street program or Missouri Main Street Connection in the future.