PALMYRA, Mo. | The Palmyra Chamber of Commerce honored community members for their achievements during the annual Awards Banquet at Farischon Hall.
Fellow community members nominated recipients for various distinctions during the banquet, including Citizen of the Year, Educator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, the Paintbrush Award, the President's Award and Business Hall of Fame honors. Nominees spoke about the recipients, who were each surprised by the announcement. Miss Marion County Christa Dowil presented awards to each honoree.
Citizen of the Year: Loren Graham
Palmyra Branch Manager for Exchange National Bank Nancy Goellner said Graham “has dedicated a great deal of his life to making Palmyra a town that we are all proud to call home. He has led many groups and organizations to provide growth and industry to our little part of the state.” Graham has served as mayor for 14 years, and has been active in organizations including Palmyra Kiwanis and and chairing the Bicentennial Committee. Graham commended the Chamber of Commerce, community members and the Bicentennial Committee members for their support.
“You caught me off guard, and I don't know what to say!” Graham said.
Educator of the Year: Mark Loman
Mark Loman has been an educator with the Palmyra R-I School District for 20 years of his 27-year educational career. He has served as head basketball coach for 17 seasons, and leads the PRIDE Program to help students remain in school who may be at risk of dripping out.
“Since 2010, Coach Loman, as we all call him, has helped 66 students graduate as of January 12, 2020,” said Palmyra R-1 superintendent Kirt Malone.
Loman expressed his gratitude for receiving the honor.
“I am so honored to receive this award. I have been very blessed to work in such a great school system and to be a part of this wonderful community,” Loman said. “It has been a very rewarding experience both in the classroom and on the playing fields to see our students and student athletes find success. I believe playing sports is a great avenue for young people to learn psychomotor skills, but also grow emotionally and intellectually.”
Business Hall of Fame: Bud's Paint and Auto Body
Wayne “Bud” Englehardt opened Bud's Paint and Auto Body in his parent's garage in 1945, and the business originally known as Englehardt's Body Shop is owned by third-generation family member Chad Englehardt. The business was constructed in a new location in 1954 and and received an addition in 1963. The current facility was opened in April 2014. Englehardt talked about the family legacy leading up to a 75-year anniversary this year.
“This all started with my grandfather. Without him this all wouldn't have happened,” Chad Englehardt said.
Paintbrush Award: Main Street Lanes
Main Street Lanes owner/operators purchased Pal Bowl in 2019, renovating the local fixture dating back to 1961. The local husband and wife team are the fourth owners of the business.
“I am not really sure why we own the bowling alley,” Gayle Voepel said as she accepted the award. “I think it's Doug's fault. We tried to preserve a lot of what was there.”
Volunteer of the Year: Madonna Watters
Madonna Watters was awarded the Volunteer of the Year distinction for her work in several organizations, like Val's Pals, which she created to provide totes with supplies to give to caregivers for people with cancer. Additionally, Watters donates time to the JC. Breault Memorial to support children's brain cancer research and the Nick Smyser Memorial Golf Tournament to support a scholarship fund. Watters is also a hospice volunteer and is active in the Old Glory Day, Taste of Palmyra and Christmas in Palmyra events.
“She gives 110% to every committee, organization or event she helps with,” award presenter and nominee Nancy Goellner said. “She is always willing to step up and help whenever asked. She is a true friend to many of us.”
Nancy Goellner received the President's Award for her efforts throughout the community, including serving on the Taste of Palmyra and Christmas in Palmyra committees and serving as chairperson for Old Glory Day. Goellner also serves on the Marion County Extension Board, assists with 4-H events and has been a integral part of the Prom Dress Resale each year.
“We all appreciate everything you do, and you have touched so many people,” Palmyra Chamber of Commerce President Kayla Wittler said.
“What can I say! I like to be busy,” said a surprised Goellner. “Ask my husband – I'm never home.”
Wittler commended all of the committee members, volunteers, business representatives and everyone who made the Awards Banquet a success for 2020.