49th Annual Missouri Community Betterment Conference


Thirty six communities and 14 individuals were honored at the Missouri Community Betterment (MCB) conference at Lake Ozark. The Awards Banquet was the highlight of the 49th conference which assists communities to improve their quality of life. Nearly 325 volunteers, community leaders and youth from across the state were in attendance.

The city of Lamar won the Gene Speichinger Community of the Year Award over the other 35 communities that entered this year. MCB judges and Board members were impressed with the overall number and level of projects that were completed using a variety of community resources, and for completing projects that were prioritized in their own community assessment. Other winners in their population groups were: South Iron Annapolis, Grant City, Novinger, Albany, Houston, and Perryville.

“The Missouri Community Betterment Board congratulates all the winners and participants,” MCB President Kathleen Bruegenhemke said. “Because of these dedicated individuals and organizations, Missouri communities will continue to be a place where our children can, and want, to come back to live.”

The Awards Banquet is an integral part of the MCB program, which is administered by the Missouri Community Betterment Educational Fund. MCBEF is a not-for-profit organization made up of businesses, public utilities, community representatives, federal and state agencies and individuals.

Following is a list of the community and individual award winners:

Gene Speichinger Community of the Year Award       Lamar

Category I First Place

South Iron-Annapolis

  Second Place


  Third Place


  Fourth Place


  Fifth Place Kingston
Category II First Place Grant City/Novinger (Tie)
  Second Place  
  Third Place Galena
  Fourth Place Lowry City
  Fifth Place Higbee
Category III First Place Albany
  Second Place Steelville
  Third Place Mansfield
  Fourth Place Arcadia Valley
  Fifth Place Bourbon
Category IV First Place Houston
  Second Place Louisiana
  Third Place Windsor
  Fourth Place Hamilton
  Fifth Place Bethany
Category V First Place Lamar
  Second Place Higginsville
  Third Place Brookfield
  Fourth Place Eldon
  Fifth Place Charleston
Category VI First Place Perryville
  Second Place Clinton/Pleasant Hill (Tie)
  Third Place  
  Fourth Place Aurora
  Fifth Place Berkeley


Certificate of Merit:

Category I Howardsville, Sumner, Caledonia
Category III Osborn
Category IV Salisbury
Category V Monroe City


Glenn Smith Youth Group of the Year Award         Perryville


Youth Groups

Category I First Place

South Iron-Annapolis

  Second Place


Category II First Place Novinger
  Second Place Higbee
Category III First Place Albany
  Second Place Arcadia Valley/Steelville (Tie)
Category IV First Place Houston
  Second Place Louisiana
Category V First Place


  Second Place Higginsville
Category VI First Place Perryville
  Second Place Pleasant Hill


Certificate of Merit:

Category III Bourbon
Category IV Eldon
Category V



Adult Leadership Award

Glenn Clark


Jim McIntyre  Brookfield
Thelma Robinson  Caledonia
David Mills  Clinton
Ricky Switzer    Higbee
Loberta “Bobbie” Runge    Higginsville
Mary Kay Miller Lamar
Howard G. Greene, M.D. Louisiana


Youth Leadership Award

Anna Grace  


Katelyn Jean Rose Beck  Caledonia
Keith Weston  Clinton
Eli Rhoad     Higginsville
Tai Thrasher  Lamar
Brendan J. Ross Louisiana




MCB 2011 Ambassador Award                       Elaine Campbell, Debbie Roach


Anyone wanting pictures, please contact
Lloyd Grotjan
Full Spectrum Photo
218 East High Street Jefferson City MO 65101
(573) 635-0250


“The Missouri Partnership frequently works with companies looking in Missouri for potential locations to set up new operations.  We firmly believe that communities that invest in continuous improvement and ‘quality of place’ enjoy a competitive advantage in their efforts to attract new jobs and investment.  Companies searching for a new home will always favor a community that takes pride in itself and strives to better itself every day, and the Missouri Community Betterment program helps communities across the state to do just that.” Christopher Chung, CEO, Missouri Partnership

“Missouri Community Betterment is a tremendous association that recognizes the efforts and achievements of our state’s rural communities. As a former youth member, community member and State Board Member I am a product of the leadership development promoted by the association.” - US Congressman Jason Smith

“The MFA Oil Foundation’s mission is to support and invest in communities where we do business, to assure their continued prosperity. MCB’s mission is to provide assistance to many of those same communities to help them with improvement projects. With similar missions it seems only fitting that our Foundation should support MCB with the work that they do. As a MCB board member I have been very impressed with the dedication of many of the local community leaders as they attempt to make their town the best it can be”.  - Ken Caspall, MFA Foundation

The MCB conference provides networking for youth groups to learn what other communities have done and an opportunity to develop new plans for projects in their own home towns.  Developing leadership capacity and confidence in their abilities to work with adults gives the MCB youth participants great preparation for college and beyond. - Dave Garnett, Hawthorn Bancshares

MCB has helped me develop skills to be a leader in my school and community. Through my involvement in the youth program I have gained confidence and communication skills. The three MCB conferences I attended were fun and motivating. Having the opportunity to hear what others were doing to help their community has helped me bring new ideas to my town. Community Betterment has motivated my entire youth team to improve our community throughout the year. - Kenna Roland, Senior 2014, Lamar (2013 MCB Youth Leadership Award Winner)

“As a MCB board member I have had a chance to observe first hand, how enthusiastically some of the MCB participating community’s youth become engaged in the projects they initiate in their communities.  These youth are the leaders of tomorrow and the leadership skills demonstrated in the local projects they under take can be exemplary.   Youth leadership recognition and civic engagement  is just another reason why the MFA Oil Foundation is a willing MCB Sponsor”. - Ken Caspall, MFA Oil Foundation

"Missouri Community Betterment and the Missouri Community Betterment Conferences have been a blessing to the youth in Steelville. The sessions and guidance given during the MCB conferences has allowed us to improve our community in many various ways." - Libby Wynn, Steelville Youth Group 

"The Missouri Community Betterment Program is one of the best values a rural community can invest in to access professional assistance in community planning, development and technical expertise." - Kelly Smith, Missouri Farm Bureau

"MCB has provided our rural community with resources and opportunities to implement projects and help grow community support.  MCB allows our youth an avenue to be involved on a much larger scale in the growth and development of our community.  I have been involved with MCB for 25 years and the experiences I have been able to share with the youth of our community have truly been priceless.  Being involved with MCB, has opened many doors for our community, but the greatest reward for me has been the positive impact on our youth and the leadership opportunities provided to them." - Jodie Cottrell, youth group leader , Steelville

“We invest in Missouri Community Betterment because we see firsthand the success the program is having in rural communities throughout the state. While across the Midwest we are seeing Main Streets close up shop, MCB communities continue to grow and provide a better quality of life for Missourians.” - Mark Woodson, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.

“Founded by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Missouri Community Betterment has provided outstanding technical assistance to Missouri’s rural communities for more than 50 years.  The support, energy, and success of the MCB program has continued to give participating communities the opportunity to thrive in today’s economy and make Missouri feel like home to growing businesses.” - Mike Downing, Director of Missouri Department of Economic Development

"Our Youth are just in awe of everything they did at conference and are ready to undertake all sorts of new challenges.  I was so proud or Kirk, who spoke at at a grant acceptance ceremony on Wednesday (week after the 2015 conference).  He spoke to 30 adults and stayed calm as a cucumber  and was the hit of the show.  Without the leadership skills he learned at the conference, I don’t know if he would have been so sure of himself.  Thanks is not enough, but the only word in English we have available." - Connie Johnson, Galena

In my opinion MCB has helped communities in our region by giving them a sense or organization/structure to go about improving their community on their own.  They have access to resources and a network to assist them in achieving their goals and it keeps community development in front of them all the time by having this nucleus active in the community.
Jackie Soptic, Assistant Director, Green Hills Regional Planning Commission

Missouri Community Betterment Educational Fund Inc.,
P.O. Box 105997, Jefferson City, MO 65110
Phone:660.383.1034 Fax:660.383.1202