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JULY 2021

‘From the Heart’


Military Story


She’s A Keeper


Always YOU




EVENTSrAFIREWORKS Plan fo Calendar r u o Y k r a M ESTIVALS F


2 | July 2021

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FREEDOM 2021: Hope and Fear


uly is the beginning of numerous summer activities but the major event and activity is the Fourth of July, Independence Day, depicting absolute national freedom. It commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. That was when we signed the Declaration of Independence of the United States following the win of the lengthy American Revolutionary War. This holiday is full of family celebrations with picnics and barbecues, and the theme of the day usually centers around the emphasis on the American tradition of political freedom. Many people display the American flag, and communities usually feature fireworks accompanied by patriotic music. Families usually get together and enjoy cookouts, watermelon, homemade ice cream, games, and swimming. It is a very fun time to look forward to with all of the planning of the events—the food and so many beautiful fireworks. This year, 2021, I believe has a different meaning for us. We have hope this Fourth of July. Hope that we did not have last year when the pandemic was going strong. Last year many were ill, many that we knew and loved died from the virus. When we were exposed, we had to quarantine. We could not hug or show any amount of affection, even shaking hands has been out of the question. Large gatherings were discouraged. Events were canceled all over the world. Our independence and freedom in 2020 was basically gone and most of us wondered and worried if we would ever see normality again. During the past year and a half, our front line workers have operated under conditions that we could never imagine happening during our modern age. Because of the intense pressure physically and mentally, many have suffered PTSD. They want to have hope that we are on the upswing to getting rid of this virus, but also may have fear that it could rear its ugly head again and take over. The fear is real, the nightmares are real, waking up in a cold sweat is real. It is so hard to imagine that we could not battle something like this with all of the advanced technology that is at our fingertips. It is hard to imagine that in our free world we would run out of respirators, masks, medical scrubs, hospital beds, and burial plots.

4 | July 2021

This year we have some hope, we have medicine, COVID-19 seems to be decreasing in numbers. Science has developed three vaccines; vaccines that will hopefully keep those infected out of the hospitals, keep them from becoming extremely ill or dying. This is a new freedom that we are experiencing this year, a new independence, but even though we can see a light filled with hope, COVID-19 is not gone whether in the original form or in a different form. We signed the Declaration of Independence following the Revolutionary War. This is a different type of war and a lot of us can declare a win—some cannot. Now I know many can look at this column and think it might be a bit depressing, I personally look at it and find it a bit enlightening. We are climbing back up the hill to look at the beautiful view again. To be able to note what a serene sunset we have and a dawn that can make us look at what we have been through and simply say, “Thank You.” This is a patriotic holiday for celebrating the positive aspects of the United States. People of the United States express and give thanks for the freedom and liberties fought by the first generation of many of today’s Americans. Most importantly to me, this past year has shown us to not take anything for granted. Always cherish the time we have together, the hugs, the hand shakes and our freedom. Freedom is something that we should always hold dear, practice it gently as there are so many in this world that are not given that privilege! So celebrate on the Fourth of July. Enjoy the food, the fireworks, family and friends, but when you look at the American flag, look at it from a different prospective, a new view of independence and freedom and then give thanks. Happy Fourth of July!

Lisa Craft

General Manager, Connection Magazine Lisa Craft is General Manager of Connection Magazine, The Monett Times and Cassville Democrat. She can be reached at monettcommunity@gmail.com or connection@monett-times.com


GENERAL MANAGER Lisa Craft monettcommunity@gmail.com EDITOR Kyle Troutman editor@cassville-democrat.com ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Vicky Abraham Marion Chrysler CONTRIBUTORS Meagan Ruffing Lisa Ramirez Darlene Wierman Melonie Roberts Susan Funkhouser Pam Wormington Jordan Troutman Christa Stout Cheryl Williams Sierra Gunter Jennifer Conner Annie Lisenby Smith Mike Gervais PHOTOGRAPHERS Chuck Nickle Jamie Brownlee Amy Sampson DISTRIBUTION Greg Gilliam Kevin Funcannon

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JULY 2021

‘From the Heart’


Military Story


She’s A Keeper


Always YOU




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Jack and Doris Rapp have spent 69 years raising children, building businesses and Jack served in the Navy for four years. They renewed their wedding vows and their love for one another on May 18, 2021.

CONTENTS 7 Cutest Kid

23 Healthy Connection: Gut Check 25 Parenting Column: Better Than Bickering

33 Mental Health Column 34 Date Night 44 Cutest Pet

45 Rescued, My Favorite Breed 47 Familiar Faces

48 Connection on the Go 50 Parting Shot

Have an idea for a story you would like to see in Connection Magazine? Email it to connection@monett-times.com Facebook.com/MyConnectionMo Twitter.com/MyConnection_Mo

Cutest Kid

Berkley Roller is the 4-month-old daughter of Mason and Anessa Roller of Purdy.


Berkley Email your child’s photo to:

connection@monett-times.com Photos should be sent in the original JPG format at the highest resolution possible. Remember to include your child’s name, parent’s name, age, city and your contact information. The contest is open to children ages 10 and younger. The photos submitted will be used for the sole purpose of this contest.

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Celebrate Independence Day in southwest Missouri with fireworks


Jack and Doris Rapp celebrate 69 years of marriage by renewing their vows

19 | SUMMER FUN 2021

The bi-county area opens festivals, concerts to celebrate


Cox Monett Hospital Auxiliary names gift shop and promotes healing


Debbie Gervais is buzzing with excitement over her honied hobby


What do the kids look forward to at the height of summer?


Music in the making is a treasured family tradition


Lt. Col. John Blackburn shares experience with COVID lockdown at a major military base

J U LY 2021

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 9

How will you celebrate

Independence Day?


he warm summer heat, the cool feeling of water from the lake and melting ice cream, the tradition of spending the day on a boat or camping, and being with family and friends to remember and honor the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, are all things that come to mind when someone says the Fourth of July, and fireworks are always a big part in those celebrations. Across the nation, communities will gather to celebrate the Fourth of July in many ways, but the big boom of fireworks followed by the beautiful colors filling the sky, will carry on as a sign of celebration in the days leading up to and following the Fourth of July.

Barry and Lawrence Counties have a history of big Fourth of July celebrations. Here are some of the places people can go to watch fireworks this Independence Day.


For going on eight years, local firework tent owners and operators Julie and Ken Terry, have put on a spectacular show in Purdy to celebrate this country’s independence. The Fourth of

10 | July 2021

July celebration pulls in a huge crowd, and has grown over the years to include music, food and fireworks. The Purdy Community Picnic and Fireworks Show will be held Saturday, July 3, at The Gathering Place, 100 Old Bus. 37 & Hwy. C, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Julie said there will be a meal, and live entertainment provided by Lancaster Station from Springfield. “Lancaster Station is a vocal quartet that performs pop, light rock and some country hits from the 60s through the 80s, and a few from the 2000s,” she said. “The fireworks show is made possible by donations received from area businesses and individuals.” The Terry Family owns three fireworks stands in the area; one at The Gathering Place in Purdy, another at the Junction of 37 & 60 in Monett, and one at Baywash Carwash in Cassville, at Highway 37 and Old Exeter Road across from Walmart. They have a very large assortment of fireworks to choose from to put on a 45-minute show. “Everyone is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and head to the Gathering Place on July 3, for a great evening of fun, food, and fellowship,” she said.


The Monett Fourth of July celebration this year will be one to remember, as the Monett Chamber of Com-

Fireworks to see this Fourth of July merce will also be celebrating its 75th anniversary. The Freedom and Fireworks event will be held at Monett’s South park on July 4. Children activities will be starting at 1 p.m., and vendors will also be opening at that time. Live music will begin at 3 p.m. with the Flyin Buzzards. At 9:30 p.m. the National Anthem by Rhyli Carr will be performed and fireworks by Hale Fireworks of Monett will follow.

Many rides will be operating for children to enjoy, including: • Mechanical Spider • Rock Climbing Wall • Video-game Trailer • Ferris Wheel • Inflatables • And much, much more Wristbands will be required for all ride activities, for all ages. Wristbands will be sold in advance for $10, and after July 2 for $15. Jeff Meredith, Monett Chamber of Commerce director, said celebrating the Chamber’s 75th anniversary

Story by Jordan Troutman

Photo by Jordan Troutman

Fireworks lit up the night sky during the 2020 Wheaton Freedom Jam. Photo by Kyle Troutman

Travis Clevenger, with The Playboys, sang during the Freedom Jam in Wheaton in 2020.

is special because thousands of individuals have come together with the same goal of making Monett a better community. “After 75 years, the chamber is financially solid and looking to offer additional benefits to our members if we can find what it is they are looking for,” he said. “While most people may know the Monett Chamber as the organization in charge of the Christmas parade, Fourth of July, or Festival of Lights, we are much more than that. The chamber has helped a half dozen businesses get started in the last year by helping them get their relevant registrations done with the state and federal governments as well

as working up initial business plans. Outside of our community involvement activities, the chamber provides networking opportunities and consulting in different business functions and activities. “If you want to enjoy family-friendly fun, be sure to come out to Monett South Park for rides, bands and fun. This year will be bigger than previous years featuring Members Only as the headlining band.”


Fireworks will be shining in Wheaton on Sunday the Fourth of July, during the annual Freedom Jam. Lindy Lombard, Wheaton Fire

Chief, said the fireworks show in Wheaton has been a fun event for family and community to enjoy for six or seven years. “It is a thank you to our community from the fire department for supporting us so well,” he said. The Freedom Jam in Wheaton will start at 6: 30 p.m. with food and music. “We will serve hotdogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks for $5 per meal,” he said. “And there will definitely be live music to enjoy. “Fireworks will start at dark, at approximately 9:30 p.m. and last for about 30 minutes.” Lindy said people should bring a lawn chair, and just enjoy the evening.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 11





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The Shell Knob Fourth of July celebration are some of the most unique around. The whole show is made to be seen from the water. Making the lake an important element to the events. The day starts with the Let Freedom Ring boat parade at 10 a.m. “This is the third annual boat parade,” said Twilia Harrison, Shell Knob Chamber director. “We award prizes for first, second and third places.” Last year, the boat parade had about 20 participants, but Twilia hopes to see even more this year. “Registration is free, but you have to register to win a prize,” she said. “People can register the morning of, or pre-register at the chamber office.” Fireworks will be lit at dark. “The show is made to be seen from the water,” Twilia said. “It is about a half a mile east of the Shell Knob bridge. “I’d tell people to get in your places by 8:30 p.m.” Due to the high water activity, people are encouraged to practice boat safety. Water patrol and Central Crossing Fire Department will be active. “We see 300 to 400 boats in the water every year,” she said. “Make sure your lights are working and you have life jackets on.” Riverside Fireworks will be putting on the show, the same group as last year. “We are looking at a 25-minute show,” Twilia said. “The lowest shot is at 300 feet, so everything else goes off higher than that.” In addition, the Shell Knob Chamber is selling shirts to help pay for the fireworks display. “People can purchase those here at the chamber office, Jug n’ Plug, Harter House, Freedom Bank, Plaza Pharmacy and Hunt’s Portable Buildings,” Twilia said. “We love having people come out and support the community and enjoy the events we put on.” n

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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 13


Love Story

69 Years In the Making

14 | July 2021

A military wedding to renew vows spoken decades ago


rue love never fails, and a military uniform never fades. This was all shown to be true recently as Doris and Jack Rapp renewed their vows for one another on May 18, 2021, in an old historic bank building in Marionville. Their love story started more than six decades ago, when Doris was 16, and Jack was 18. The two were married in a small ceremony before Jack left for the Navy. Years later, the couple renewed their vows in front of their children, and their love has only continued to grow stronger. Valerie Maples, owner of The Coleman Vault in Marionville, said her grandparents, Doris and Jack, saved an old bank building in Marionville, and after years of hard work the couple opened a cafe in 2010. Valerie then purchased the building from them in 2015 and turned it into a beautiful historic wedding venue, The Coleman Vault. The hard work Doris and Jack put into that building to bring it back to life is just one of the many highlights of their years together.

Then, Valerie got an idea, she had read an article about grandparents who had retaken their wedding photos after being together for decades. She brought the idea to Doris who said, ‘If we make it to our 70th anniversary, we might consider it.’ Valerie realized her grandmother was playing tough about the topic, and she was excited about that kind of opportunity.

Story by Jordan Troutman Photos courtesy of Abbey Laine Photography

Doris Rapp prepared for her wedding on May 18, 2021, after 69 years with the man of her dreams. Jack Rapp, secretly planned the whole event and surprised her the morning of the event.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 15

So after some time thinking about the items at their disposal, Valerie went to her grandpa. “I asked grandpa if he wanted to surprise grandma,” Valerie said. “He has always done everything he could to make her happy. “He giggled like a schoolboy and agreed. Keeping it a secret was no easy feat, but I have to say, well worth it.” Jack went on to plan out every detail of the wedding in secret. He expressed he wanted it to be intimate, only Jack and Doris there, Jack picked out flowers and even the cake. “It was harder than heck not to cry seeing the love on his face he still has for his wife after all these years,” Valerie said. “[The morning of ] he did lighten the mood when he said ‘You know, I’ve been married 69 years, it would be a shame to get divorced over this.’ He said he needed flowers early [that morning] to “break the news” to her.” Three days before the big event, Jack had one final request to be fulfilled, his Navy uniform to wear instead of a tuxedo. Over the years, his original uniform has had bits and pieces removed and lost, so it took Valerie and a few others working on it to find all those pieces and put it back together for him. “The minute he got his patch and uniform on, he was so excited,” Valerie said. “He got ready early, and went to tell grandma about his plans — in his uniform.” Jack arranged everything, and once Doris was tucked away in the bridal room with the stylists, photographer, and Maid of Honor, things were finally underway. 16 | July 2021

Valerie said she talked to her grandmother about the event a few days after. “She said he came over to her, put both hands on her shoulders looked her in the eyes, and said, ‘We have to go downtown in a bit, we are having us a wedding,’” Valerie said. “They had so much fun and she said she would do it all again especially seeing him so excited.” Doris and Jack Rapp were originally married on March 7, 1952. “We were married in Harrison, Ark., by a Justice of the Peace named H.P Ray,” Doris said. “We were young, and we wanted to be married. “Jack left for the Navy about a year after that.” At the time, the Korean Conflict was going on and Jack said he has always wanted to go into the Navy. “I have six brothers aside from myself that joined the Navy and two brothers who went into the Army,” Jack said. “I served four years. I spent some time in San Diego, Calif., for boot camp, then went to damage control school and firefighter school. I ended up being somewhat of a classroom bug, which worked out for me later on.”

Doris and Jack Rapp of Marionville were married on March 7, 1952. The couple recently renewed their vows for the third time for their 69th wedding anniversary.

A love story that never grows old. Doris and Jack Rapp of Marionville, celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary this year with another wedding ceremony. When Jack got out he was a First Class Petty Officer in the Navy. “I made good use of my time,” he said. “I was on the aircraft carrier Hancock. Hancock served during World War I and was then decommissioned. My crew recommissioned it and was one of the first ships to come up with steam catapult to launch aircraft.” Jack then spent some time in Japan. “I didn’t finish high school,” he said. “I got my GED In the Navy, I passed tattiest with flying colors. “I went aboard a ship as a pipe fitter’s apprentice and came out in charge with 28 men under me. “I went in with the idea of doing something worthwhile, I kept my nose clean and made a decent career for myself.” Jack worked as a pipefitter until he retired. In 1954, Doris and Jack had their first son. “When he was 14 years old, he was the best man at our second wedding,” Doris said. “We got married at our home.” In their recent renewal of their vows, Jack said it was important to him to

wear his Navy uniform. “I’ve always had a soft spot for the Navy,” he said. “It felt natural for me to join.” Doris said he was proud of his service. “When Valerie found his First Class Petty Officer patch, he was very proud,” Doris said. “He keeps it close by in his dresser drawer.” The couple has three sons, Michael, Randall, and Keith. “He traveled a lot for work,” Doris said. “Over our years together, we saw a lot of places we wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. “If he was somewhere that I could go, I would go,” Doris said. “We loved Savannah, Ga., we loved the history and lighthouses in the south.” Doris said she believes Jack’s decision to renew their vows in their 69th year together, was partly due to his illness. Valerie said maybe 20 years ago a doctor told Jack he had prostate cancer. The doctor told him he would probably die of old age and not cancer, but now it has metastasized to his spine, ribs, and more. “It was such a fun time,” Doris said.

“In all of the three times we have been married, we never got a honeymoon.” Doris said the vacations they had were mostly work trips. “I was gone away from home a lot,” Jack said. “Sometimes two to three months at a time. “I spent so much time away that over time when I came home it was like a honeymoon.” Doris has some ideas on how she and Jack have had 69 years married together. “It has lasted because we are committed to each other,” she said. “As Christians, being committed to one another was what we believe we are meant to do. “We work together. We don’t always agree, and he has spent a few nights on the couch, but we have never thought about separating.” Doris and Jack said their parents were both together until the day they died, and that is the example they aim to continue. “I have always been the more outgoing person, and he has always supported me,” Doris said. “I got into politics, and stayed active in the community, and Jack always supported me.” n

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 17

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Concert, festivals and celebrations on tap locally


fter a year of losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, area organizers are gearing up for a summer of fun with several local events on tap. First on Front, a free summer concert, kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 2, at the Jerry D. Hall Memorial Pavilion on Front Street in Monett. Live music and food trucks will be featured at this family-friendly outdoor venue. Sponsored by First State Bank of Purdy, the entertainment lineup includes Mariachi Joya Azteca of NW Arkansas, Dawson Hollow, The Mark Chapman Band, and The Black Moods. The event runs until 11 p.m. The Purdy Community Picnic and Fireworks Show will be held starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 3. The event will include a picnic meal, live entertainment provided by Lancaster Station, and one of the largest fireworks shows in the area. Attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs for comfort to enjoy this great evening of food, fun and fellowship. Freedom and Fireworks will take over South Park in Monett on Sunday, July 4, with kids games and activities kicking off at 1 p.m. Entertainment for the day-long event includes The Flyin Buzzards, Luce Cannons, Innuendo, and Members Only. Rhyli Carr will precede the evening’s fireworks show with the National Anthem. Unlimited ride bracelets are $10 in advance and $15 after July 2. Activities include the mechanical spider, a rock


climbing wall, laser tag barrel train, extreme trampoline, gyroscope, tubs of fun, video game trailer, car ride, spinning swings, the Ferris Wheel and inflatable bounce houses. Fireworks are provided by Hale Fireworks of Monett. The Stone’s Prairie Picnic kicks off at 6 p.m. on July 16 at St. John’s Lutheran Church at Stone Prairie, northwest of Purdy. Traditional dining options of hamburgers, chips, hot dogs, bratwurst sandwiches, ice cream, beverages and homemade desserts will be available. “The Eddie Valen Band will return to provide live music from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll,” said Mark McMillin, one of the event organizers. “Horse drawn wagon rides will be offered, along with a car show and display of antique farm equipment.” Additional activities will include old fashioned games, bingo, baked goods and a country store with many handcrafted items. A homemade quilt, crafted by ladies of the Quilting Society, will be awarded in a drawing. Tickets will be available at the picnic. The annual Howdy Neighbor Days Festival is back Aug. 11 through 14 at Pierce City’s South Park. “We are still working on booking acts and renting booth spaces,” said Ben Slagle, one of the event organizers. Once again, Fun Time Shows will provide carnival rides. The duck race is slated to take place Saturday evening on Clear Creek.

HOWDY NEIGHBOR DAYS, Aug. 11 ERNTE FEST, Aug. 21 “We are still accepting sponsorships and renting booth spaces for vendors,” Slagle said. For more information, call Slagle at 417-489-1462 or Chris Jensen at 417-669-7337. The Freistatt Lions Club will host its annual Ernte Fest, or harvest festival, from 4 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Aug. 21. The event features both the traditional German meal of bratwurst, sauerkraut and German potato salad, available from the cook shack, as well as fair food such as hot dogs and hamburgers. There will be games and rides for children on the grounds. Live music will be held in the bier garten, where variety of beer will be available, and feature both traditional German music as well as rock and roll performances. T-shirts, chicken dance hats and other memorabilia will be available. Parking is offered on the grounds north of the festival. Proceeds help support a wide range of Lions Club supported services, such as Leader Dogs for the Blind and World Service for the Blind. So, mark these important dates on the calendar now and plan to have plenty of fun this summer with the return of these family-friendly venues. n

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 19

For the Hospital

From the

Heart H O

Some of the most popular items at “From the Heart” is the shop’s line of clothing, which is worn with pride by many hospital employees and hospital auxiliary members.

20 | July 2021

ne thing we’ve all come to appreciate over the past year and a half is the hard work and dedication of healthcare professionals who were on the front line, seeing us through the unprecedented COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. But behind the scenes, one group of local volunteers has been a driving force and steadfast support group for the staff and patients at Cox Monett Hospital for nearly as long as anyone can remember. For more than 70 years, dating back to a time before the Monett hospital bore the Cox brand, the hospital auxiliary has supported local healthcare workers by donating their time, energy and efforts to care for staff and patients, and raise funds for equipment, facility renovations and increased patient care. For the first time since its inception in 1944, auxiliary volunteers were forced to step back due to health concerns stemming from the coronavirus. Volunteers were no longer able to run the hospital gift shop, greet patients, work in the cafeteria or help with patient care.

Story by Mike Gervais

Courtesy photo

The Cox Monett Auxiliary (formerly St. Vincent’s) was organized in March 1944. Mrs. Frank Kerr was the first president. Definite plans were outlined at the first meeting for assisting with the work of the hospital. The work included arranging and taking care of patients, flower delivery, putting away the linens into closets, mending of the linens, putting away supplies, and delivering trays to patients. Early auxiliary members included, front row, from left: Mrs. Leroy Mahoney, Miss Josephine Kenney, Mrs. Chas. Mansfield, Mrs. Monte Bentley, Mrs. Harry Davies, Mrs. E.E. Camp. Second row, from left: Mrs. Victor Staponski, Mrs. M.M. Mattlage, Mrs. Elizabeth Welsh, Mrs. Joseph N. Rowell, Mrs. T. J. Ryan and Mrs. E. F. Eggers.

This came at a time when Cox Monett was preparing to open its new hospital on Highway 60, and the auxiliary was getting ready to open its new gift shop in the new location. For nearly as long as anyone can remember, the auxiliary’s gift shop has been its main source of revenue, selling everything from clothing and gifts to jewelry and trinkets. All proceeds from the gift shop, and any other auxiliary fundraiser, is funneled directly back to the hospital through various projects and purchases. While the gift shop has been open to patients and staff at the hospital since the move, auxiliary volunteers were not until recently, permitted to man the register, leaving those duties to the already busy hospital staff. In June, volunteers who had been

vaccinated and who are able to meet all coronavirus guidelines began returning to the gift shop, which, for the first time in its history has an official name, “From the Heart.” But no volunteers didn’t mean no gift shop. And, despite the gift shop being closed to the general public, unless they were patients in the hospital, many Cox staff members came to rely on the little store for clothing and gifts, allowing them to shop where they worked during the pandemic and avoid unnecessary trips out in public. Those efforts from hospital staff to support “From the Heart” during the pandemic have been greatly appreciated by auxiliary members. For hospital staff, supporting the gift shop was more than convenience, they were returning a favor. The auxiliary pledged $25,000 to-

ward construction of the new hospital over the course of five years. As of June, the auxiliary was ahead of schedule, having made good on $20,000 of its pledge. Before COVID-19 prompted restrictions last year, members of the volunteers also knitted baby caps for newborns delivered at the local hospital. For the staff at the hospital, the auxiliary provides an invaluable asset for the community, aiding both patients and staff at every turn. But for the auxiliary, the feeling is mutual. “We can’t be the best for those who need us without our volunteers, they play a vital role, not only in the patient experience, but in the hospital experience,” said Volunteer Coordinator Linda Ansteaett. “Last year, with COVID, it’s been really hard without them; They make us better.”

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 21

Sporting some items from Cox Monett’s Auxiliary Gift Store “From the Heart” are, from left, Community Relations Manager Janell Patton, Administrative Assistant Jennifer McColloch and Hospital Auxiliary President Kathy Fertig.

“It’s been hard not being here,” said Kathy Fertig, the hospital auxiliary president. “It’s a win-win for both sides. They help by hosting and in return, we’re getting a valuable personal experience.” In fact, the ladies of the hospital auxiliary are so dedicated, that despite COVID-19, many volunteers kept in consistent contact with each other and hospital administrators throughout the quarantines and lockdowns. “This past year showed us just how valuable they are,” said Janell Patton, Cox Monett Community Relations, Marketing and Planning Manager. Over the years, the auxiliary members have helped the hospital do everything from remodel portions of the old hospital, to purchasing vital equipment, to helping fulfill the “wish list” items various hospital departments have requested that were not within the hospital’s budget. One of the more recent purchases was a set of “Staxi Chairs,” especially designed, side-load wheelchairs for patients that can be stacked like shopping carts when they are not in use. While the coronavirus remains a concern, especially with frontline healthcare providers, hospital staffers have said they are excited to begin welcoming the auxiliary back. Their help, their support and their presence were missed by staff and patients alike. Anyone who is interested in joining the Cox Monett Auxiliary is invited to contact Linda at 417-354-1404. n

22 | July 2021

Linda Ansteaett shows off one of the Staxi Chairs that were donated to Cox Monett Hospital by the auxiliary. Most of the auxiliary’s funding comes from the auxiliary-run gift shop “From the Heart.”

Healthy Connection

By Payton Jobe

Payton Jobe is a dietetic intern at Cox College. She completed her undergrad studies in Food and Nutrition and Dietetics at Northwest Missouri State University. Payton enjoys swimming, cooking and creating new recipes, spending time with her friends and family, and playing with her dog, Brindle.

A Look Into the Gut


he gut plays a much larger role in our health than we give it credit. Obviously, the gut helps us digest our food to have energy and build the strength to perform our usual day-to-day activities. However, it is also important in areas such as the heart, brain, and immune system. It could even help in the prevention of certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. Studies are also showing a correlation between poor gut health and increased levels of stress and poor sleep. As you can see, the gut does a lot for our bodies, so what can we do to improve our gut health?

The gut has several thousand different species of bacteria that we call the gut microbiome. These good bacteria play an important role in our health. We feed them the right stuff and they in return help perform several important functions in our bodies. Some of the nutrients that our microbiome loves are fiber, prebiotics and probiotics, and phytochemicals that we get from certain foods. Let us take a closer look at these nutrients.


Fiber is what I like to call a super nutrient. It has many benefits including reducing cardiovascular risk, reducing blood glucose levels, prevention of certain cancers (especially colorectal), bowel

regularity, satiety control, weight loss, and overall reduction of inflammation in the body. There are two different types of fiber that make up total dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates that dissolve in water and create a gel-like substance in the colon. Soluble fibers can be found mostly in plant pectin and gums. Insoluble fiber is not easily dissolved in water and often passes though the colon intact. Insoluble fibers are found in whole grains, specifically in the bran in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.


Prebiotics are another important nutrient for our gut. Prebiotics are fiber, however not all fiber is a prebiotic. There are specific requirements for a food ingredient to be considered a prebiotic. To be a prebiotic, the ingredient cannot be broken down/absorbed in the upper GI, it must be fermentable in the intestines, and it must stimulate growth and activity in the microflora of the intestines. This activity could potentially be associated with certain health benefits. Prebiotics may be associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, increased satiety, weight loss, colon cancer prevention, decreased inflammation, and reduced instances

of infections. Prebiotics have also been shown to increase the availability and use of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and possibly iron. Foods that contain prebiotics are soybeans, asparagus, leeks, garlic, onions, wheat, and oats. Probiotics are live microbials that can be found in food and supplement form. Probiotics are commonly associated with gut health because these microbials are involved in improving the intestine’s microbial balance. They are associated with overall health of the gut, prevention of infection in the gut, treatment of yeast and urinary tract infections, treatment for lactose malabsorption, and they have been associated with decreased risk of cancer and coronary heart disease. Some of the most common sources of probiotics are yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and kombucha. Some other foods that could contain probiotics include sourdough bread and even pickles.

ConnectionMO.com/HealthyConnection | Connection Magazine | 23



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You may be wondering what are phytochemicals? Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other plant foods. There are many different classes of phytochemicals and they all have disease-preventing functions, which can include fiber, antioxidants, detoxifying agents, immunity promoting agents and neuropharmacological agents. Phytochemicals are associated with reduced risk of certain cancers, diabetes, coronary heart disease, dyslipidemia, and decreased oxidative stress. The effects of phytochemicals on the gut microbiome are still emerging but many believe that these phytochemicals are important for the gut and feed our microbiome. Phytochemicals have been associated with decreasing inflammation associated with gut disorders (including colon cancer). As you can see, there are a lot of important components in our gut health. It is important that we fuel our bodies with the right stuff in order to prevent disease, inflammation, and infection. There is evidence showing that these nutrients can help with satiety, regulating the bowels, and even with weight loss. We often don’t think of our gut as playing a role in preventing illness, but if we take proper care of it now, it could be beneficial for our health later on. Increasing fiber, prebiotics and probiotics, and phytochemical intake though diet is one of the easiest ways to ensure our gut and body continue to work properly and keep us healthy. n

Parenting Column

By Meagan Ruffing

Parenting journalist Meagan Ruffing lives in northwest Arkansas with her three children. She loves spending time with her kiddos on these hot summer days but could do without the daily bickering.

Quit Yer Bickering


lease tell me I’m not the only parent who has to listen to their kids bicker every morning. Man, I love them, but I could sure do without their fighting. During the school year it’s not as bad. They’re tired and worn out so the constant back and forth of hearing “stop it” and “leave me alone” are not as frequent. Just this morning, I had to tell my kids we would be going home if they could not stop being mean to each other. We had been at the pool for less than five minutes. Can anyone relate?

Sick of feeling like I was yelling at my kids all the time, I decided to change things up a bit. Since all three of my kids love their electronics so much, I told them each time I had to get on to them about whining or fighting, I would take five minutes from their daily allowance time.

Make them do chores.

This may not seem like a lot, but if your kids fight as much as mine do on some days, it can add up really quickly. I learned that I don’t have the memory I used to so I’d often forget who had lost what time. Easy fix —keep a tally sheet on your counter. Here are some more fun and unique ideas to decrease the sibling fighting in your home this summer.

In my home we have dessert every night. I know not every home does this so tweak this one to work for your family. Dessert ranks right up there in importance (almost) with electronics so I take it away sparingly. I’m not a big fan of using food to reward or punish kids but if it is appropriate, I will take it away.

My kids have chores every day anyway, but I like to tack on a few if they’re being extra sassy with me. It can be something simple like watering the flowers or something big like doing all of the laundry.

Take away their dessert.

Parallel Play. This is a term I

learned long ago when my son used to be in occupational therapy. If the kids are fighting with each other about who gets which Legos, I tell them to parallel play. All that means is that they get to play with whatever they want but it is next to each other and not with each other. This helps decrease the bickering and increase independent play.

Take turns. Brett Winscott of

Bentonville, Arkansas, says, “My mom used to take turns letting us pick the meal, movie or game.” What a great idea! This cuts down on the kids getting mad about not getting to eat, watch, or play their favorite thing. I’ve done this before with my kids and it seems to go well. I need to use this one more often. I love watching their faces light up when each one gets to pick out something special.

Follow Meagan Ruffing at Facebook.com/writermeaganruffing

to check out what she’s been up to this summer and to see how her kids are getting along. ConnectionMO.com/Parenting Column | Connection Magazine | 25

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Plan a meal. Rachel Butler

of Lowell, Arkansas, says, “I have each kid plan a meal and cook it each week. Then the other two have to say one nice thing about the dinner.” Now this is one I will for sure try. I’ve never tried this one…probably because I don’t want to pick up the mess that my kids will inevitably make in the kitchen but maybe it’s worth it if they’re dishing out compliments?

Morning to do lists.

This is a new one for me this summer. I will be making my kids lists each morning that they will need to check off before they get their electronics. It will have things on it like: Did you brush your teeth? Did you eat breakfast? Did you make your bed? Did you pick up 5 things in your room? Did you feed and water the dogs? Each kid will get their own personalized list, which will be the same every morning, so it becomes a routine. Once they check everything off, they can have their electronics.

A weekly trip or activity.

I usually try to plan something fun for the kids to do at least once a week. Having this to remind them of usually helps cut down on the fighting. If they know they have something fun to look forward to, they’re more inclined to work together rather than get in trouble.

Hang in there! As my friend

Alexis said, “There are only 13 Saturday nights in the summer. Make each one count!” I couldn’t agree more. Summer really does fly by. Use this list to help your little ones get along and enjoy the short amount of time they have with each other before school starts back up next month.

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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 27

A working hive can hold between 10,000 and 20,000 bees, depending on the amount of space available. Occasionally, a queen will lay eggs that develop into queen cells, heralding the arrival of a new queen bee. Keepers have the option of removing a frame that contains a queen cell, along with a frame containing food, and allowing the new queen to establish a separate hive, rather than fight the existing queen to the death.

Bee Happy

These busy little bees are depositing nectar into the wax combs in their hive. Water will evaporate out of the nectar, eventually becoming honey.

Local keeper finds joy in new hobby


ow in her fourth year of working bees, Debbie Gervais, of Galena, knows the nature of the inhabitants of each of her three hives. “My first hive is pretty docile,” she said. “I can usually get in there and do whatever I want, and they just keep doing their thing. The second one, which I split from the first one, is not as docile, but they are pretty calm. The third one contains bees I recovered from a nearby neighbor’s swarm, and they are a bit aggressive.” Gervais started her hobby in an effort to help pollinators, and thereby helping the environment. “Anything I can do to help the outcome,” she said. “I also love honey. It’s a hobby and occupies my time. It’s a by-

28 | July 2021

product of my love for gardening.” But the hobby has several side benefits, in the form of the golden liquid treasure it yields, and the beeswax that can be used for a multitude of purposes. “In addition to candles, I make a food-grade wax to waterproof cooking utensils we use for grilling. I also make a waterproof for boots, pants and winter coats.” The bee community is highly structured and organized, with each of the three types of bees having a single purpose. “First there is the queen,” Gervais said. “You know when a queen is about to hatch because she will make a trumpeting sound that is audible throughout the hive and even outside.”

Story and photos by Melonie Roberts

Debbie Gervais, a beekeeper in Galena, checks the progress on a newly installed frame in one of her three hives.

These capped wax combs hold growing larvae, which will hatch out and replace worker bees as they finish their short lifespans. Bee colonies are broken down into one queen bee, a number of drones, nurse bees and pollinators. The bee at the top of the photo is wearing “little yellow bloomers” of pollen collected on its flight, returning to the hive to have a nurse bee direct it to where the pollen is to be deposited.

Trumpeting occurs when there is more than one queen in a hive, and it signals that a virgin is ready to fight for the honor of being the one-and-only. During swarm season, workers hearing the sound may try to keep the virgins separate in order to have more than one queen available in case she’s needed. “Once she hatches, she makes a three-day virgin flight,” Gervais said. “She will mate with 12 to 15 drones and return to the hive, never leaving it again. Her job, for the rest of her life, is to lay eggs in the hive.” “Beekeepers can also remove the frame that contains the unhatched queen cell and place it in a nuc,” Gervais said. “It has between two to five frames and they are taken from the nuc

and placed directly into a new hive. When apple trees start blooming, that’s the time to start looking for queen cells, and when you should split the hive. That gives it time to become established, build their combs and collect pollen and nectar. You won’t harvest off the new hive for the first year.” In a five-frame configuration, three frames contain brood of all stages, while the outer two frames normally store honey and pollen. Queens can lay approximately 20,000 eggs per day, keeping the other workers of the hive busy. “Drones are the next type of bee,” Gervais said. “Their entire life is spent making babies and eating.” Drones in a hive do not usually mate with the virgin queen of the same hive.

Doing so could weaken the genetics of the hive. “The third type of bee is the worker bee,” Gervais said. “They fall into two categories; nurse bees that clear out all of the old cells in the honeycomb, like housekeeping, and they feed the queen, and pollinators, that search out the food sources and brings them back to the hive. They drop off nectar and pollen, and the nurse bees will determine where in the hive it is needed.” Drones die off or are ejected from the hive by the worker bees in late autumn, dying from exposure and the inability to protect or feed themselves. “The worker bees evict them,” Gervais said. “The drones could completely deplete the hive’s stores for the winter

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 29

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Debbie Gervais, a beekeeper in Galena, checks her hives daily as predators, from bears and raccoons to mice and insects, can wreak havoc on a hive in short order.

while contributing nothing to the survival of the colony.” Bees have truly remarkable capabilities, including insulating their hives for winter using a wax they create called propolis, which is a resinous mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with saps, gums, latex, and resin gathered from tree buds, sap flows or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. “It’s very strong,” Gervais said. “By doing that, they can better control the temperature in the hive. Propolis is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, the bees use it against pathogenic microorganisms that could threaten the hive’s health and survival. “Bees can also cool the hive when temperatures are too hot,” Gervais said. “It’s called bearding, You will find the

bees fanning their wings as a group. It is how bees cool the inside of the hive and also how they evaporate some of the moisture from the honey.” Bees can also bring in water from outside sources and fan their wings across a droplet of water to help cool the hive. Hives can hold between 20,000 and 100,000 active, working bees, depending on the amount of space that is available. Placement of the hives is also an important factor. “Mine are in a draw, so they don’t get as much wind,” Gervais said. “My husband also built a “bee-zebo,” which protects the hives from direct sunlight and rain. If the hives are not sealed well, they can drown. They get the morning sun, so they can get up early and start working.”

Gervais finds one of the most satisfying aspects of beekeeping is seeing the pollinators return to the hive wearing “little yellow pantaloons.” “That is the collected pollen,” she said. “They enter the hive at the bottom and go all the way to the top, where a nurse bee will direct it to the location of the cell to deposit the pollen. Once that cell is full, it is capped off. Later, the nurse bees will feed it to the brood.” Plant nectar is also stored in the cells. Bees collect the plant nectar and when stored within their stomachs is passed from one worker to the next until the water within it diminishes. At this point, the nectar becomes unripe honey, which workers store in the honeycomb cells. As for Gervais, she typically places two “supers” above the brood box. “That’s where the honey is stored.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 31

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The brood comb is usually found in the lower part of the beehive. Once the bees have filled the deep hive bodies with enough honey to sustain the colony, they will begin to make honey in the super.” And that precious, golden treasure is what Gervais harvests at summer’s end. “I love canning pears and honey together for pear honey jam,” she said. “It’s my mother’s recipe, and it’s a real treat.” She also bottles honey to distribute to family and friends. “A lot of people take honey as a way to become immune to allergies,” she said. “My recommendation is to take honey harvested in the season they are suffering allergies the worst. Those are the blooms used to make that honey.” The benefits of using honey are nearly endless, and include treating burns, soothing sore throats, improve memory function, as a sugar substitute for diabetics, fertility boosters for men and women, and a dressing for wounds and ulcers. Gervais enjoys her interactions with the bees. “Anytime I go in there, there are a lot more flying around me, wanting to know who I am and what I’m doing,” she said. “After awhile, they get to know me.” Gervais said she has plans to establish two or three additional hives on another part of the 40-acre spread where she and her husband reside. “We have plenty of room,” she said. “And locating new hives in a different area, they won’t be competing for resources.” Those wanting to explore the options of beekeeping may find more information through Southern Missouri Beekeepers of Monett, or by calling Kevin Young at 417-847-5464. n

By Brad Ridenour

Mental Health Column

Masked or Unmasked?


he other day I was talking to someone I have known for a long time, a person I consider a friend, and right there in the middle of our conversation, he decided to rip off his mask. The force with which he tore off the mask was a bit jarring, even shocking. Why at that specific time and when we were just a few feet away from each other would he remove his mask? He seemed to be wearing it so comfortably. No. My friend didn’t take off the Covid-19 mask, the one that covers one’s mouth and nose that many have been wearing for more than a year. He took off an unseen mask

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that he had been wearing for years. Up until that moment, I had no idea what he had experienced and what he had been covering by that mask. But, in that moment, he determined I needed to know something about him he had never shared with me before. It was raw; it was real. As is common when one unmasks self, he said it was good to tell someone and that he felt better. A burden had been lifted. People we pass by every day and even some we know very well are hiding behind masks. They wear a smile on their faces when they are truly broken and desperate inside. When asked ”How are you?” they always respond “Fine” even when it

is obvious they are feeling far from “fine.” You might be the person I have just described. You are holding on to secret hurts, fears, or shame. This takes a tremendous toll; the longer you carry the weight of the burden the heavier it gets. I have heard it said, “The revealing of your feeling is the beginning of healing.” If you are holding on to pain you deserve to let it go by talking to a trusted friend, confidante, mentor, pastor, or counselor. If you want to begin to feel better, to experience a sense of relief you may not have felt in years, follow the example of my friend. Be honest, be authentic, get raw, get real. Unmask.

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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 33

Date Night

Date Night In the Dark


very healthy relationship relies on patience and trust at some point and Kat and I had ours put to the test with this month’s date night. This month date night, titled “The Helpless Baker,” found us turning up the heat in the kitchen and testing Kat’s patience. While she tried to remain calm, it was my job to put all my faith in her as she guided me. Here’s what happened. Our date nights come from a book that has us scratch off a square similar to a lotto scratcher. We are given a few hints about the date, details like an expected time commitment, possible cost and major restrictions. Once we scratch the box, we find out exactly what we’ll be getting up to. This month our date called for us to bake a pie. The catch was that the least experienced baker would be doing the baking – blindfolded. Guess who the least experienced baker in our relationship is. Another catch is that Kat was only permitted to use three directional sentences during our date (more on that later.)

34 | July 2021

First, because my mom’s birthday was coming up, we decided to bake a cake rather than a pie. I expressed a little concern about ruining my mom’s birthday cake because I was going to try to bake it blind, but Kat assured me everything would be fine. “I can bake this cake blindfolded without help,” Kat assured me. (More on that later.) I’ll also mention that Kat’s parents were visiting from California, so our bumbling blind baking adventure played out a little bit like a baking show with a live studio audience. Mr. and Mrs. Jones were also able to capture some great photos of

the experience. So, with our challenge set, I went to work looking for a suitable blindfold, and Kat went to work gathering the tools of the trade: mixing bowl, measuring cups, oil, eggs and whisk. I got back to the kitchen, surveyed the materials to get a basic layout and donned my blindfold. I stood, with hands outstretched, groping for something as laughter rolled through the house. I wait. They laugh. I wait a little longer, then I hear Kat on the other side of the kitchen showing her dad how to use the camera. I wait some more. Then Kat comes over and hands me a box. I try to rip it open and she giggles and stops me. She’s rather brilliant, and decided I should open the cake mix inside of our mixing bowl to avoid a mess. It worked. Next she hands me a mixing cup. Then she cranks my wrist about 45 degrees in a clockwise direction. Then she does it again.

I learned this month that being able to see is a key factor in one’s ability to pour something. I spilled eggs and oil, but by the time we got to putting batter into the pans, Kat and I had a handle on things.

By Mike Gervais

Our final product turned out really well. Does a little extra water mean an extra moist cake? I’m not sure, but Kat was a great guide and a perfect set of eyes for this fun and challenging date night.

And again. By the third time it’s clear that her challenge is going to be her patience. We’re on step two and she has to use one of her three directional sentences to explain that I have to hold the measuring cup upright if I want it to accurately measure anything. Next she guides me to the sink with a loud clunk. My knee found the cabinet before my hand found the sink. So, we fill a measuring cup, stumble back to the counter and pour two cups of water in the mixing bowl. “Oh no!” “What?” Kat, my eyes, the experienced baker who could “bake this cake blindfolded,” doubled down on the amount of water the recipe called for. I hear more laughter and we ladle the excess water out of the mixing bowl and Kat assures me mom’s cake isn’t ruined. I assure Kat she has a new nickname. We get the mixture fixed and I find myself once again standing in silence, alone in the kitchen. I grope around looking for my eyes, but she’s nowhere to be found. Then I hear a cabinet door close and a new bowl thrust into my hands. “Two Cups,” as I’ve come to call my fiancée, has the bright idea that we will be measuring the oil over a clean bowl to make sure I don’t over-pour and make a mess. It’s a

good idea. Without her foresight, we would have ended up with an extra cup of oil in the cake mix or on the counter. Next is the eggs. I can feel Kat cringe as I crack one egg after another. I’m sure she fished some shell out of the bowl, but she’s kind and won’t admit it. Then the mixing. I’ve made a cake before. With a Kitchen Aid. One can’t appreciate how convenient a mixer is until they have to do it by hand, blindfolded. “Keep going?” “Is it mixed?” “Keep going. Make sure you scrape the sides.” “Keep going.” “I think we’ve used up all our sentences.” “Keep going.” Finally it’s done, we have cake

Nope. I failed to hold up by end of the bargain. As soon as my hand touches the warm door, I jump back and off comes the blindfold. I am not sticking my hand in the hot oven. More laughter from her parents.

“Is it mixed?”

“My arm is getting tired.”

batter. Kat is careful and adept at guiding her blind and clumsy baker and we have two trays with equally distributed batter. She takes my hand and guides it to the oven door.

All in all, the cake turned out great and my mom couldn’t believe I baked it blindfolded. Kat’s parents had a good laugh as we worked together, Kat got a new nickname and I know she doesn’t have to say anything and I don’t have to be able to see to know when she’s frustrated with me. I also know that a measuring cup must be upright and level for it to work and I know when Kat “Two Cups” says she can do something blindfolded, it’s probably hyperbole. n

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 35

Independence Day with Kids

Cade Courtney, age 13: “It was the day the Declaration was signed and the war began. What I like are fireworks and sometimes the mishaps that come with them.”


t was July 4, 1777, when the first Independence Day was celebrated in Philadelphia. There were parades, concerts, and the firing of cannons and muskets. This was also when the first fireworks celebration took place, a tradition which has carried on for more than two centuries. Although Independence Day wouldn’t become a federal holiday until 1870, it was still celebrated annually across our country. Many of the traditions of parades and fireworks have continued as this holiday has also become important to families with gatherings and barbecues. These events provide memories for children to last a lifetime. Local children share their thoughts on Independence Day, their memories and why they think 4th of July is an important holiday.

36 | July 2021

Story by Annie Lisenby Smith

Angelique Alejo, age 7

Maia Owens, age 7

Eli Swope, age 8

“I like to go to the park to watch fireworks.”

“It’s about celebrating my brother’s birthday.”

“Fourth of July is because people fought for what they thought was right.”

Nicolet Strain, age 8

Thierry Thigpen, age 8

Eva Mudge, age 9

“I don’t really know. It’s just fun.”

“Freedom and Fireworks.”

“It was our freedom from England. I like the fireworks.”

Rafe Owens, age 9

Alexx Alejo, age 9

Allison Goodson, age 13

“To me it means how close it is to my birthday.”

“I have fun with my family.”

“It recognizes our country and how it started and that’s cool. My dad usually bar-b-ques a lot and has friends over.”

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 37

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From the corn fields to the bright lights Albert E. Brumley, Jr., continues to uphold his father’s legacy


lbert E. Brumley, Jr., age 87, was born the second of six children to Albert and Goldie Edith Schell Brumley and raised in Powell, which sits near the juncture of Big Sugar Creek and Mikes Creek. The sleepy little town once held several general stores, a blacksmith, a gas station, several churches and a watermill. It was also home to one of the music industry’s most prolific gospel and popular songwiters, his father, Albert E. Brumley, Sr. “Growing up, we made a lot of songbooks,” Brumley, Jr., said. “My brother, Robert, owned that business until his death last year.” The family printed and published over 40 million songbooks, including books for organizations such as The Grand Ole’ Opry, Renfro Valley, Ozark Jubilee, and more. “Mexican stations were very popular until television came along,” he said. “We’d take the sheet music to the binding shop in our home and Tom and Bob would put the sections in, and I would staple them. Bill did all the trimming. We advertised on a Mexican radio station, and we’d ship out 10,000 to 20,000 books a month—Gospel songs.” That wasn’t their only experience

Story by Melonie Roberts

From left: Merle Haggard and Al Brumley, Jr., appeared at a photo shoot for a compilation album in tribute to his father, Al Brumley, Sr. with the music industry. They started locally, and eventually Albert Jr. moved on up the ladder. “I remember growing up my brothers, Bill, Tom, Bob, and I would perform anywhere they asked us to,” he said. “Fox hunts, pie suppers, churches, and everywhere. It was a lot of fun doing that as a family. “When I started in the music business I worked at KRMO right here in Monett in the mid-1950s. In 1955, I went to KOAM in Pittsburg, Kan., and was paid $25 a week.” He was drafted into the Navy and ended up in Fresno, Calif., and in 1961, started performing with the likes of Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Gene Autry, Bob Wills, Johnny Cash, Tex Ritter, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Merle Travis, and Lefty Frizzell, among oth-

er country greats on the The Cousin Herb Henson Trading Post TV Show. “I stayed in California for 15 years,” Brumley said. “I moved to Nashville, Tenn., then Branson, where we hosted The Brumley Music Show, a variety and music show, six days a week.” In the late 1990s, a gospel firm contacted Brumley wanting to know if he would be interested in doing a tribute album to his father. “We recorded in a studio in Branson,” he said. “A lot of people were featured on that album. Merle Haggard, Roy Clark, Tommy Overstreet, Larry Gatlin, Crystal Gayle, Chet Atkins, Mel Tillis, Glenn Campbell, Johnny Russell and Lee Greenwood. I might not be remembering everyone.” In addition, Brumley has performed at a variety of venues, which range

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 39

from the locally popular Kings Prairie concerts, to the 1995 gala honoring President George and Barbara Bush on their 50th wedding anniversary.

“Of all the places I’ve lived, I would pick the Ozarks every time.” “That’s the one I am most proud of,” he said. “I was in attendance along with other celebrities including The Oak Ridge Boys, Vince Gill, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Amy Grant, Phyllis Diller, Tommy Lasorda, Michael Smith, Chuck Norris, Lee Greenwood, Loretta Lynne, Roger Whittaker, Yakov Smirnoff, Lorrie Morgan and Sen. Fred Thompson. “It was great to be able to do that with all of them. All of them liked George Bush as a person. I admired Barbara Bush’s bluntness.” In addition, Brumley performed at area venues such as Precious Moments. “We used to get 20 or 30 busses a day,” he said. “After Sam Bucher left, the attraction has started to decline.” Brumley has also traveled extensively, performing his father’s songs at churches and other venues across the southland. “We’ve been to Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and Florida,” he said. “In 1989, I took a bunch of people with me to Hawaii to visit a church and sing his songs. People from all over the 40 | July 2021

world still download his songs from the internet. If you walk down the street in Germany, I’ll bet anyone you ask knows “I’ll Fly Away.” It is one of the most popular songs of all time. “When I was a kid, we were at home and my Uncle Carol came running in and said, “Al, turn your radio on! They’re playin’ one of your songs!” “Well, he didn’t turn the radio on. Instead he went back to his desk, and sat down and wrote “Turn Your Radio On” right then and there. He was always writing music. If he got an idea at 2 a.m., he would get up and write it down. I’ve written a few songs, but nothing like my dad or Merle did. Merle wrote night and day.” Brumley spoke fondly of his family. “[My father] didn’t seek publicity,” he said. “People knew his songs, but not who he was. He was a great man—quiet, reserved. My brother, Tom, played studio sessions for almost anyone you have ever heard of. He was one of the greatest guitar players of all time. He died 11 years ago, but he (top) Albert E. Brumley, Jr., is pictured with is legendary in the music industry country artist Glenn Campbell. (above) Al for his steel guitar solo on “ToBrumley, Jr., left, and Porter Waggoner are gether Again.” Although he is retired now, he pictured singing an Al Brumley, Sr. song in a still has one more project up his studio session to record “36 Greatest Gossleeve. pel Memories: A Loving Tribute to Albert E. “I’m wanting to do a pop alBrumley.” bum,” he said. “I’ve chosen several of my favorites, including “Only You,” “Sweet Dreams,” I Left My “Of all the places I’ve lived, I Heart in San Francisco,” “It’s Impossi- would pick the Ozarks every time,” ble,” and “Love is a Many Splendored he said. “I was raised here. It’s the Thing.” I’m still working on the list.” way I was raised. I like the old timers For now, Brumley is content to telling their stories about growing up spend time with his bride of 36 years, and things like that. It’s not like it Robanell (Robin), on their 10-acre farm used to be, but it’s still home. It alon Kings Prairie. ways will be.” n

Far From Home

Lieutenant Colonel John Blackburn, who managed Fort Sill’s Reynolds Army Health Clinic Emergency Operation Center from October 2020 through Feb. 1, 2021, discusses the operation center’s activities with a superior officer.

Lieutenant Colonel John Blackburn answers the call to protect others


eople across the globe were impacted by COVID-19 (coronavirus) in some form or another, but for one area resident, the virus was a call to action that led him away from his family for months. Local physical therapist and Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves John Blackburn was called up in response to the pandemic and spent Oct. 1 2020, through Feb. 1, 2021, at Fort Sill, Okla., his duty station. During his time serving the country, Blackburn missed his family and worked on the front line tracking cases of the virus through one of the busiest military bases in the country. “I was there for four months during the surge,” John said. “Mainly, what they wanted me to manage was contact tracing and quarantine efforts.” When the pandemic began, Fort

Story by Mike Gervais

Sill had compiled a team of healthcare professionals to handle those tracing and quarantine duties. “Like your healthcare departments here, they all have other things to do that keep them 100 percent busy, and then we put the pandemic on them,” Blackburn said. By October, the base knew it needed a dedicated team to manage that aspect of the pandemic response, and John was a likely candidate. Blackburn has been working in the healthcare industry since 1988 and attends two weeks of Reserve training at Fort Sill every year. By the time he arrived at Fort Sill for his deployment, the military had established a 30-person Emergency Operation Center staffed by Army public health nurses and regular nurses from area clinics.

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 41

Christmas,” he said. “That Blackburn’s job was to was before they had the shot.” manage that new team and, While there were trying together, develop a plan and moments during his deployprocedure for tracking not ment, Blackburn said he has only COVID cases among come away from the experithe base’s 53,000 permanent ence with a sense of pride and residents, but also recruits accomplishment. and trainees who frequent “It was eye-opening to the base for classes and trainsee how one contact became ing courses. exponential and how many “They deployed me spepeople it could affect,” Blackcifically to manage that,” he burn said. “But I’m pretty said. “We were the ones to confident that we have a syslet those people know if they tem in place that will make tested positive and tell them the next time easier. I’m they had to quarantine. We proud of the work I did and had to go back 10 days prithe process and procedures or to the onset of symptoms we developed. and figure out their timeline He also said he was fortuand they would have to gath- John Blackburn says goodbye to his kids: daughter, nate to work with a dedicated er information about what Lauren, 15; and son, Regan, 13; before answering and talented staff that made they did, where they were the call of duty and deploying to Fort Sill, Okla., in the work at Fort Sill possible. and who they were with. October 2020. “I got to work with some Our job was also to contact very talented people and I had a really their contacts.” Due to HIPPA regulations, the “There were a lot of long days and good support team back home. Cox emergency management team could lost weekends,” he said. “It was hard. Monett supported me and some of the not tell people who it was they had con- But phone calls and Facetime helped employees there would send me care tact with that had exposed them to the a lot. My family took my deployment packages.” For his time at Fort Sill, Blackburn virus, which didn’t always go over well really well. I wasn’t gone for a full year received an Army Commendation at a time when COVID fears were at a which was a blessing.” fever pitch and vaccinations against the Blackburn was also fortunate to be Award, and a set of challenge coins from virus seemed more like a distant dream deployed to a duty station relatively high-ranking Fort Sill officers. In the recommendation for his comthan a reality. close to home. “It was difficult,” John reflected. At five hours away, working at Fort mendation, Blackburn’s superiors said “I’ve had people cry. Fort Sill is also Sill allowed him monthly weekend pass- he “brilliantly managed the Reynolds home to a lot of military schools and es to return home and visit family. He Army Healthcare Clinic COVID Emerpeople would come from all over then said he was fortunate to be able to spend gency Operation Center as the OIC find out they had to quarantine. And Thanksgiving and Christmas with his and liaison to the Fort Sill EOC and that was before we had procedures for wife and kids and attend his son’s Con- supporting units. He revised and maintained the RAHC COVID-19 patient online courses. We were dealing with firmation. something difficult like that every day.” Blackburn said he was extremely cau- tracker, which facilitated the tracking But breaking potentially frighten- tious during his monthly visits home, and monitoring of over 9,000 COVID ing news to base residents and visitors paying for fuel at the pump and avoid- contacts within the Fort Sill commuwasn’t the only difficult part of the job. ing contact with the public whenever nity. His leadership and personal management skills of over 30 soldiers and John’s deployment meant four months possible. away from his family – his wife, ShanHe also said he was cautious while he civilians directly impacted the EOC’s successful tracking, briefing and mitigada; daughter, Lauren, 15; and son, Re- was home. gan, 13. “I didn’t even see my parents at tion of COVID-19.” n 42 | July 2021


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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 43

Cutest Pet


Ria, 3-year-old Australian Shepard, is the fur baby owned by Courtney Freiburger of Verona.

Email your pet’s photo to connection@monett-times.com

If you think your furry or feathered friend is the cutest in the area, let us know! We invite you to share a photo of your pet to be featured in Connection’s Cutest Pet contest. Photos should be sent in the original JPG format at the highest resolution possible. Remember to include your pet’s name, city of residence and your contact information. 44 | July 2021

Rescued, My Favorite Breed

By Christa Stout


On Golden Paw


t Golden Paw in Joplin, they say that their clients are family, and that includes the animals as well as the adopters. Mary Ann, the owner of this Shelter, says she is always on call. It is important to her that all animals are taken care of and when something comes up, she wants to know. Golden Paw handles more than 1,000 dogs a year and they have adopted not only instate, but also as far away as Canada. In addition, they board animals and groom them, as a matter of fact, Mary Ann started out as a groomer 38 years ago and has now been doing rescue work for 25 additional years. As with all shelters, the pandemic has been tough, however, Mary Ann says individual donations have been good, but their normal fundraising activities were not allowed to take place. All donations are appreciated and in case you would like to donate goods instead, they have a wish list on Amazon and, of course, they are listed under smile.amazon.com, which allows a percentage of any

The temperatures have increased drastically, so please do not leave your pets in cars unattended. An 80-degree outside temperature quickly turns into 120 degrees inside and can become fatal for the animal.

purchase to be returned to the shelter by Amazon. Since I had heard some rumblings about increased returns of adopted animals in several shelters, I asked her about that, and Mary Ann said that for Golden Paw, this was the normal time for increased returns, following Christmas and people getting out more again. Their returns are minimal because they are very cautious who they adopt to and require veterinary references, land-lord permission, if the prospective adopter is renting, and they also require that any animals adopted be returned to them if for some reason things don’t work out. One of Mary Ann’s favorite activities is her monthly radio show, where she is able to describe some of the current residents at the shelter and create some interest in the animals. Golden Paw does not restrict itself to dogs and cats, and have had most types of animals at one time or another, ferrets, bunnies, parakeets, guineas and an occasional mink or chinchilla do not perplex the staff and volunteers. Even a rat with a tumor was adopted!

GOLDEN PAW Here is how you can contact and/or donate: Facebook.com/GoldenPawJoplin | GoldenPawRescue.org

Currently, among their variety of animals are some bunnies that have not yet been named because the staff was trying to confirm whether they are male or female. She also told me they have a program whereby an animal may go on an overnight or sometimes as much as a week’s stay with their prospective adopters. The adopters need to make a deposit, which is refundable if the stay doesn’t conclude with an adoption. However, an adoption fee paid will not be returned if the animal is adopted but it is later determined that it does not fit into the adoptive family. Of course, a meet and greet prior to adoption is always recommended.

I couldn’t resist including another photo because I don’t get the chance to take pictures of bunny rabbits very often, so here is one of the “no-name (as of this writing) bunnies.”

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 45

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, a sweet and adorable Great Dane Mix that was born about May 2020, and came to Golden Paw in October with both hind legs broken. Unfortunately the breaks occurred at the growth plate and it took some time to recover. Ozzie was brought in by a kind man who found him in rural Joplin and brought him to the shelter. No one knows what happened to him. He has been with a foster and is currently at the shelter. Ozzie is socialized and housebroken. He is definitely a favorite of the staff and volunteers.



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months old and had been hit by a car when he was found. The finder brought him in, and it was discovered that his lip was degloved by the car. The veterinary stitched him up and inserted an apparatus with a tube, but unfortunately it was too late to repair the damage totally, his lip is still drooping, but he is the nicest, sweetest kitty, with a special little smile. He has no disabilities due to the injuries.

Advertiser Index A Beautiful Image.........................32 Aire Serv.........................................13 Barry Lawrence Regional Library ..................................................... 3 Bill Vance Marine.........................26 Bruner Pharmacy..........................51 Cappy Harris Realtors.................30 Clark Community Mental Health ...................................................33 Coldwell Banker............................. 8 CoxHealth......................................52 Diet Center....................................38 Doug’s Pro Lube...........................24 Dr. Jared Spears, DDS PC..........38 Edward Jones.................................. 5 Factory Direct Matresses............. 2 First State Bank of Purdy...........51 Fohn Funeral Home.....................30 Four Seasons Real Estate...........18 Freedom Bank...............................49 Hooked Lake Cabin.....................43 J&J Floor Covering......................38 Ken’s Collision...............................27 Kiddie City.....................................27 Lackey Body Works.....................26 Lil Boom Town..............................46 Missouri Farm Bureau.................18 My Best Friend’s Closet..............46 Oak Hill Court...............................24 Ozark Methodist Manor.............24 Peppers and Co............................27 QC Supply, LLC.............................43 Race Brothers...............................13 Roaring River Health & Rehab........ ...................................................43 Rusty Gate Flea Market..............51 Security Bank ...............................12 Shelter Insurance........................... 8 Straight’s Lawn & Garden...........51 The Farmer’s Daughter...............26 Tisha Trotter.................................... 6 Tomblin’s Jewelry.........................32 Trogdon Marshall.........................12 VisionHealth Eye Center............49 White’s Insurance........................30 Whitley Pharmacy........................18

The annual St. Mary’s Picnic was held Sunday, June 6, on the grounds of the church.


Familiar Faces


3 1. 2. 3. 4.

Fletcher Witt and Doug Witt Vicky and Don Iman John and Karen Sweeney Rachelle Brown and Louis Boman


Cassville High School Graduation

1. 2. 3. 4.





Mackenzie Boyd and Julie and Robert Thomas Gabbie Frazier and Dorinda Vince Terry and Robert Purdom Jessica Banks, Bill Lay and Cally Bowyer

ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 47

Familiar Faces



Business Highway 60, east of Monett was designated as the Tom Wolfe Memorial Highway on Saturday, May 29.

3 1. 2. 3. 4.

Larry Roller, Bob Mareth, Marlene Mareth, Ray Elbert, Rock Conway and George Bealey. Dana Salsman and Cheryl Elbert. Karen Kleiboeker, Pat Johnson and Bonnie Worm. David Beckett, Donna Beckett and Thad Hood.

4 Waymark and New Site Baptist Churches teamed up to host a Summer Block Party at the Jerry D. Hall Memorial Pavilion on Saturday, June 5.

Connection on the Go


2 3


In May Making Memories Tours took a group to Mackinac Island. Pictured on the front porch of the Grand Hotel are John and Rose Newman of Exeter and Ted and Fran Bolton, of Cassville. 48 | July 2021


1. Tammy Beard and Carter Watson 2. Elijah Maples, Rachel Maples, Emily Maples and their fur baby Millie Maples 3. Sharra Westlin and Hailey Westlin 4. Leah Aldridge and Lauren Lee 5. Jackson Lee, Brennan Hawkins, Sarah McDonald and Hannah McDonald

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ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 49

Parting Shot Photo by Christel Vore

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Op en 7


y unda S 4 a Week 95 Mon-Sat 11 ConnectionMO.com | Connection Magazine | 51

Profile for Connection Magazine

Connection July 2021  


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