It’s Christmas in August for employees of the Daily American Republic.
The anticipation of the newspaper’s first Difference Makers banquet has been building for weeks, and will come to a head next week.
On Thursday, at the Poplar Bluff Holiday Inn, the DAR will honor the 10 finalists for Difference Maker of the Year. The event will start at 6 p.m. in the banquet hall.
The event will offer the finalists and invited guests a meal, a keynote speaker, and the finalists will be recognized. At the end of the evening, the Difference Maker of the Year will be announced.
To say we’re a little excited would be a huge understatement. Nearly every employee has had a hand in this event.
The planning started in December of last year, and we will see the fruits of our labor in just a few days.
The DAR believes it’s important to highlight those in our community who go above and beyond. Without such people, a lot of the many services that are offered wouldn’t be available. This event is our way of giving back to the community.
We hope others in our community will learn what’s possible with a little volunteerism.
“Difference Makers is a forum, a soapbox for others to stand and point out those individuals in the community who say can, when others cannot; either out of strife or time,” DAR IT specialist Jonathan Martin said.
“The staff here is just the means of putting focus to those stories so that others will, hopefully, be in the know. Maybe in that focus, inspiration will be born.”
Jonathan has been busy the past month or so putting videos together for the evening. I believe you’ll enjoy his work.
DAR editor Donna Farley says the finalists are just a small example of what actually takes place in our area.
“The people nominated for Difference Makers are a small example of all the great things that go on in our region every day,” Farley said. “There are so many people here who care about their communities and neighbors, and that can’t be highlighted enough.
“The 2019 Difference Makers also demonstrate to all of us how much can be accomplished for so many worthy causes.”
Farley and her staff, along with graphic artist Bridget Curnutt and her staff, have worked a lot of hours putting the special section in today’s paper together. It highlights the finalists.
DAR advertising director Christy Pierce added that without these volunteers, a lot of great things wouldn’t take place in our community.
“All of the Difference Makers honored have filled a need in our community,” she said.
She added that without these volunteers, “children could go with out a Christmas present on Christmas morning. Cancer research would have less money to do great things with, and young girls at an impressionable age may not have a role model to look up to. The youth of today may not have the opportunity to enjoy the historic Rodgers Theatre, and children that enjoy reading may not have access to books.
“Women in trying situations wouldn’t have a friendly face to get them through the day, and children who love outdoors and animals wouldn’t have an opportunity to fulfill those dreams. Local charities wouldn’t have as many resources and last but not least, children staying after school may not have as safe of an environment. These volunteers are what make up the heart of the Poplar Bluff community.”
The United Gospel Rescue Mission is catering the event, and the DAR will give a portion of its profits for the Difference Makers campaign to the mission. That presentation will take place Thursday evening as well.
We have several local businesses that are co-sponsoring the event with us. They are Smith & Company, Pack’s Do-It Center, Southern Bank, First Midwest Bank, Barker’s Towing, Sterling Bank, Godfather’s Pizza, Donut House, Ellis Battery, Bank of Missouri, Poplar Bluff schools, Holiday Inn and Quality Air.
When you visit these local businesses please say thank you for being a part of the Difference Makers program.
Check out next Friday’s paper and our website (darnews.com) for complete coverage.
And thank you for reading the DAR.
Chris is publisher of the Daily American Republic and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .