WEBB CITY, Mo. — Some familiar faces will be recognized this fall during the Webb City Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and Webb City School District Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The banquet will kick off with a social at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Butcher’s Block Banquet Center in Joplin followed by a dinner and program at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person. The ceremony will highlight educators, businesses and outstanding residents, according to Gwen Allen, executive director of the chamber.
Several awards will be announced at the event such as the Robert J. Baker Champion Booster and the City of Webb City Employee of the Year. The 2019 Outstanding New Member of the Year will be presented to JuneBugz and the Business Leader of the Year will be given to Culligan Water. Cardinal Teachers of the Year are Kayleigh Snyder, Beth Bridges, Paige Bordewick and Brandon Rabel.
The banquet also includes the induction of honorees into the Webb City R-7 School District Hall of Fame. The 2019 inductees are Steve Scearcy, class of 1969; James Whitford, class of 1987; and Jim Dawson, class of 1961.
Whitford has served as the co-founder and executive director of Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission in Joplin for nearly two decades. He attended Webb City High School for three years before completing his senior year at Pensacola Junior College in Florida. Even though he didn’t technically graduate from Webb City, Whitford said he considers it to be his alma mater.
“We have an administration at Webb City Schools that is focused on inspiring their student body and that’s the whole purpose of this award,” he said. “It’s all about inspiring students to consider that they can go on to impact people around them in amazing ways.”
Dawson has served as a Webb City councilman for about six years and served on the Webb City School Board for nine years in the 1980s. He spent most of his life in furniture manufacturing and importing before retiring seven years ago, and has been involved with charities and the chamber of commerce.
“My high school experience was meaningful and valuable,” Dawson said. “I appreciate all that the school did for me. I was born in Webb City, and it’s a nice way to get a hometown honor.”
Scearcy, who now lives in Kansas City, originally sought a career in politics but decided to pursue his passion for theater instead. He has created several theater groups in Kansas City and North Carolina, written books, won play writing awards and even wrote a movie and produced it with Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine.
Scearcy said he’s currently working on an upcoming video series called “Thirteen Midnights,” in which he redevelops real stories with actors. “The school system supported those talents that I didn’t know I had and helped me nurture those. I’m deeply indebted and incredibly honored,” he said.