The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 1, 2014

Mike Pound: Barton County Community Fund plans benefit

I’ve worked in this area for a long time.

How long, you ask?

Well, when I first started, kids wore their baseball caps with the bill toward the front. Then, for some reason, they turned them around. This was cool for a while until middle-aged men started wearing their hats backward. Now, from what I can tell, hats are being worn correctly again.

That’s right. I’ve been working in this area long enough for a fad to become a trend and then come full circle.

I’ve been around a long time, is what I’m saying.

In that time, I have found myself doing a lot of stories in and around Lamar. I remember many years ago, while I was working in television, meeting and interviewing Gerald Gilkey, the longtime mayor of Lamar. I liked him, and I liked the way he felt about his town. Some years later, when our now 15-year-old daughter, Emma, was very young, we used to take her to Lamar in the summer to visit the town’s water park. I remember thinking it was funny that a small town such as Lamar would be one of the first in the area to have a water park.

Years later, as a newspaper columnist, I visited Lamar often and met with folks who were working hard to improve their community. There seems to be a sense of community and a desire to give back that, while common in many communities, is unusually strong in Barton County.

So, I wasn’t surprised to get an email last week from Nancy Curless, who is the public relations and publicity chairwoman for the newly formed Barton County Community Fund.

Nancy explained that the organization will hold a fundraising and informational event on Saturday, Jan. 11.

The Barton County Community Fund, working with the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, is a way for Barton County residents to easily designate donations to local charities and not-for-profit organizations. It works like many other area groups, such as the Carthage Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri.

They allow people to donate to their local communities simply and effectively. In most cases, the foundations handle the necessary paperwork and tax record keeping that come with charitable giving.

They’re neat deals, is what they are.

In the interest of fair disclosure, I should point out that my wife is a member of the board of directors for the Carthage Community Foundation.

When I called Nancy the other day to chat, she was dealing with a bout of laryngitis, so we wound up “chatting” via email. In one of my emails, I mentioned to Nancy that I’ve always found the folks in Barton County to be very supportive of their community, and Nancy, of course, agreed. She said that while many residents move away to go to college or to pursue business opportunities, many of them return “because of what we have here. There is also a desire to give back in order to preserve the kind of life we have been fortunate to enjoy.”

I liked that.

The Barton County Community Fund’s Winterfest benefit will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at Memorial Hall in Lamar. Entertainment will be provided by the well-known 10-piece band Sober as a Judge. I wrote a column several years ago about a Jasper County Bar Association event in which Sober as a Judge was playing. It was one of the few columns I’ve written that allowed me to make a Warren Zevon reference.

I should mention that Charles Curless, Barton County associate circuit judge, is not only a member of the band but also is married to Nancy.

Tickets to the event are $25. Light refreshments will be served. Tickets are available at various places in Lamar, but the best way to get them may be to call 417-262-0844.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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