Branson L. Wood III and Sally Poole, two members of the local Affordable Community Education Board, were presented the Distinguished Service Award during Moberly Area Community College’s annual banquet on April 26 at the Heartland Banquet Center in Moberly.
For more than 15 years, the citizen group for Affordable Community Education - or ACE - has been working diligently to expand community college classes in the Hannibal area.
Working with MACC, the ACE Board identified a strong need for improved community college access in Northeast Missouri. Wood and Poole were recognized by MACC as two individuals who have “dedicated countless hours of their time, their expertise, and their personal support to this project.”
Poole is the owner of Poole Communications, a full-service advertising agency. She holds an associate degree from MACC and in 2013 completed her bachelor’s in international business from Columbia College.
In 2000, Poole became involved with ACE, and the MACC Hannibal Higher Education Center while active in the Hannibal Area Chamber. According to Poole, working with MACC proved to be a wonderful collaboration that grew over the years.
Poole believes strongly in education and life-long learning, and she is convinced this single project will change the culture and improve economic development in the region.
She said it’s easy to be passionate and committed when you can envision results that will last for generations.
Wood has been practicing law in Northeast Missouri since 1976 in cases involving serious injury, disability and death.
According to Wood, it was an easy decision for him to become involved with ACE and MACC. He had the opportunity for higher education because others gave and invested in his future and he saw MACC in Hannibal as a step toward making higher education universally available to those in the area. He believes the work on the campus is one of the ways in which he can give back something of value to the whole community.
After seeing the completed facility, Wood felt a sense of great pride that the community had come together. The joy from the ribbon cutting ceremony is surpassed by the joy of seeing the campus filled with students working to fulfill their dreams, he said.