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Produced by Mike Smith, this afternoon edition of Making a Difference Where you Live takes us to Lockwood Missouri.
For KSMU and Making A Difference Where You Live, I'm Mike Smith. Making A Difference is our quarterly series which introduces you to Ozarkers who are making appositive impact in their communities. This series is made possible by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Today we travel to Dade County town of Lockwood, population 989.
Lockwood's main street, Mo. Highway 97, runs north-south through the town and there's a fair amount of traffic on it. A Burlington Northern rail line cuts east-west across the town, and it's estimated that around 35 coal and freight trains pass through Lockwood every 24 hours. Those trains travel right by a MFA grain mill which daily during harvest season, receives around 50,000 bushels of mostly soy beans, and some corn and milo too.
Longtime Lockwood resident Ella Whaley says "It's a nice small town, people are very friendly and will always help somebody out if needed. There's a lot of traffic through town, and we've been very lucky in the past few years in keeping most of our store buildings occupied."
Hometown pride runs deep through Lockwood's residents, business community, and schools. Ella Whaley says it's always been that way, but that sense of community and a willingness to make a difference got a big boost in 1998 with the formation of the Lockwood affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
Fred Lemmons is President of the Lockwood Community Foundation, and has lived in Lockwood since 1949, the same year he graduated from what is now Missouri State University. He owns an insurance company in Lockwood. In February 1998, Fred and his wife LaRue invited 6 other couples, including Ella Whaley and her husband Roger, into their home to learn about charitable giving and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. His pitch was simple and to the point. "Do you want to help the community from now on?" He asked his guests.
He convinced each couple to contribute what that night would total $8,000 to be used as seed money to start a CFO affiliate. A total of $30,000 was needed to become a sanctioned affiliate, so Fred Lemmons and the other founding members of the group, through the local newspaper, and personal contacts, began making area residents aware of the need for funds. Money started coming in from the community, and soon more followed. The Harry Cooper Supply Company donated $10,000, and that was followed by another $10,000 donation from Terry Meek and the Meek Lumber Company. Terry's grandfather, Charles C Meek Sr., was a Lockwood native and started his first lumber yard in his hometown.
Lockwood Community Foundation's founding members and current Board of Governors include Fred and LaRue Lemmons, their daughter Renee Galer and her husband Mike, Roger and Ella Whaley, Larry and Marsha Allen, Sheldon Easson, and Orval and Donna Cooper. Orval Cooper owns the Lockwood Pharmacy and is proud to be a part of the group. He tells KSMU, "Fred's idea sounded good. We could help Lockwood's children and older citizens, just make the city better. Anything you can do to help, you need to either push, pull, or get out of the way."
Lockwood's K-12 public schools were among the first recipients of funds from the Lockwood Community Foundation. Money was given to purchase curtains for the school's stage and to enhance the sound system. Digital cameras were purchased for use in producing the yearbooks. Superintendent of Lockwood Public Schools Bill Rogers says the school's relationship with the Lockwood CFO creates a "Public understanding of the shared vision and goals. And also, in a reciprocating basis from us, (Lockwood Public Schools) we are joining in some of the CFO fundraising drives, by being a donator to tot hose funds where teaches can give through a payroll deduction plan similar to what is done for the United Way."
The Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Lockwood was able to purchase a piano with money donated by the Lockwood CFO, which also gave money to the Lockwood Library for acquisition and upkeep of its computer system. Library patron Angela Phillips says she's grateful for the service and "Uses the library's computers about twice a week"
The Lockwood Community Foundation also purchased encyclopedias for the K-8 Emmanuel Lutheran School, and funded Christmas lights for Lockwood's main street.
The group also provided funds to start the Lockwood Cultural Arts Foundation and the Lockwood Youth Empowerment program Building Capacity Fund.
The Clinton and Nancy Shilling Life Estate is a gift of 560 acres of farmland near Lockwood. It's one of the first "Life Estate" funds in the CFO network. In the future, it will provide scholarship money for area students to attend trade and technical schools.
It's valued at several hundred thousand dollars. Gary Funk, President of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, calls the Shilling's gift "one the great stories of charitable giving in the Ozarks." Funk says "I think there's something special about Lockwood, their community foundation is very strong and I think it has something to do with the culture and history there of people working together. They embody what we in the CFO are trying to get other communities to do, so it's been a great joy for us to witness their success."
For information about the Lockwood Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, www.cfozarks.org. For KSMU and Making a Difference Where You Live, I'm Mike Smith.