The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 18, 2013

Joplin museum director recognized for 25 years of service to community

When Brad Belk started as the director of the Joplin Museum Complex 25 years ago, he was paid $246 a month after taxes. Being the historical preservationist that he is, he still has the stub from that first check in 1987.

On Friday, Belk was recognized for his public service to the community by a number of organizations in a special ceremony at the museum.

Describing himself as a ’70s kind of guy, Belk used the check stub to emphasize that for him, it was never about the money — it was the cause.

“I could have never dreamed the journey that would happen when I got this job,’’ he said. “My life changed for the best.’’

When he started, Belk said, he did whatever needed to be done to keep the museum running. That included cleaning the toilets, taking out the trash, giving tours and answering the phone. At the same time, he held down two other jobs. He did that for the first five years or so. There was not much time for preserving history.

“I knew there was a museum audience out there, but I wanted to find a new audience,’’ he said. “I wanted to introduce our history at a different level and to a different audience. That’s when the books started happening.’’

The books provided him with vehicles to explore specific subjects in detail, using the pictorial and written resources of the museum. He is now on his eighth book, a history of Missouri Southern State University, and his 14th film, a history of the Tri-State Mining District for Ozark Public Television.

Belk, a native of Joplin, was introduced to history at the University of Missouri. He went there after his high school advisers had suggested that he wasn’t university material. He took an art history course that changed his life.

“What we have done together is so very meaningful — preserving history is a cause,’’ he said.

Belk said the future of the museum is bright and that retirement is not in his immediate future. He commended his staff, Chris Wiseman and Dina Taylor, for their invaluable assistance, and his wife, Belinda, for her support.

“I have been blessed and fortunate, and that includes Percy Katz who came in off the street and has been so much a part of my life,’’ Belk said.

Percy, a gray feline, is the museum’s official greeter.

About 50 people were on hand for the ceremony. Belk received resolutions and acknowledgments from the city of Joplin, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, the commissions of Newton and Jasper counties, the Joplin School District, the Missouri Legislature, U.S. Rep. Billy Long and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Ceremony organizer

The ceremony for Belk was organized by Allen Shirley, president of the museum board.

Said Shirley: “He has given 25 years of his life to public service to help this community in any way he can. I can’t think of anybody who deserves this recognition more than Brad.’’

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter