2024 Volunteer of the Year

Hartley volunteer award 2
              by Barbara Lucks

Please join me in honoring Gene Hartley as our Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast 2024 Volunteer of the Year.  As part of the celebration of National Volunteer Week, our club presented this award on April 18.

    This award – presented annually since 1999 except 2020 during the Covid pandemic -- is our club’s highest honor, recognizing community service rendered outside of Rotary activities.  Nominations are submitted by our club members and by community organizations, with the final selection being made by the Rotary Volunteer Committee.  This year’s committee members include Co-chairs Cindy Howell and Barbara Lucks, Tammy Mast and Dan Emrie.

    Gene is a stellar community leader and has been engaged in volunteerism for many years.  While living in Springfield for 29 years, he:
  • was a Boy Scout troop scoutmaster for 13 years;
  • led district and council BSA leader training courses;
  • served on the Ozark Trails Council BSA Board of Directors;
  • was a founding chieftain in the Tribe of Lone Bear program for older campers at the BSA’s Camp Arrowhead;
  • served extensively as a member of boards and committees in several other organizations;
  • played trombone in the orchestras of King’s Way United Methodist Church and Wesley United Methodist Church;
  • provided hands-on service by packing senior boxes at Ozarks Food Harvest and helping distribute food at Crosslines food pantry;
  • coordinated the United Way Day of Service projects at his place of work, KY3, for 20 years; and
  • became a Community Blood Center of the Ozarks Hall of Fame member for donating hundreds of units of whole blood, platelets and plasma after his first donation at a Rotary blood drive in 1994.

      Since retiring and moving to a farm east of Osceola in St. Clair County in May 2018, his service includes:
  • Osceola Optimist Club -- secretary since September 2019, keeping weekly meeting minutes, helping the president with communications about club projects, participating in many community projects and fundraisers;
  • Iconium Fire Protection District -- board secretary since May 2021, preparing monthly meeting notices, agendas, and minutes; filing registrations and reports with state agencies; and other administrative tasks for the volunteer department;
  • St. Clair County Food Banc -- helper since October 2018 and board member since August 2022; helping hand out food for five hours each Tuesday; and executive director since July 2023;
  • Bear Creek Community Church -- board vice president since January 2021;
  • St. Clair County University Extension Council -- an elected member from February 2020 to February 2024, including two years as council chair, overseeing finances and administration of the county Extension Office, helping promote Extension programs, and participating in hiring decisions for Extension faculty positions based in the county;
  • Ozark Trails Council BSA board member -- meetings every other month in Springfield to set policy and help guide the Council;
  • Heart of America Council BSA camp staff member -- serving two months each summer since 2018 at H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation near Osceola, as well as helping at monthly work days in other months;
  • Lowry City Music on Main Street -- since 2019, serving as master of ceremonies at an annual all-day music festival for the Lowry City Community Betterment Association; and
  • St. Clair County Health Board -- since being elected in April 2023, overseeing policies and administration of the Health Department.

     In other words, wherever Gene is, if a need arises, he steps up and steps in to serve.  What a blessing he is to that community!  He says his guiding philosophy is a quote he heard many years ago that went something like: “Service to others is the rent we pay for living on this earth.”

     Gene Hartley, we believe your rent is paid!
Previous recipients are:
  • 2023 Brian McDonough
  • 2022 Judy Bilyeu
  • 2021 Mark Walker
  • 2020 No Award
  • 2019 Mark McNay
  • 2018 Charlie O’Reilly
  • 2017 Angela Smith
  • 2016 Irwin Cohen
  • 2015 Doug Nickell
  • 2014 Steve Rice
  • 2013 Gordon Elliott
  • 2012 Kirk Elmquist
  • 2011 Dennis Whaley
  • 2010 Gerry Lee
  • 2009 Rick Hughlett
  • 2008 Gary Deaver
  • 2007 Bob Hammerschmidt
  • 2006 Doug Pitt
  • 2005 Anne Brown
  • 2004 Todd Parnell
  • 2003 Joy Lamberson Klock
  • 2002 Steve Scott
  • 2001 Barbara Lucks
  • 2000 Mac McCartney
  • 1999 Bill Reser

Rotary Volunteer of the Year Award Nomination Form