Leaders who make us 'Sikeston Proud'

Saturday, April 25, 2015

For me, on a very personal level, this has been a bittersweet week with the retirement of one close friend and the long-overdue recognition for another close friend.

Ed Throop, the longtime executive director of the Board of Municipal Utilities, is retiring next week. Ed has always been a friend and supporter of this newspaper and has served both the utility and the community with honor and distinction.

His retirement will end an era of leadership that was marked with amazing success for the customers of this local utility and for the greater good of this community.

If you consider the complexity of the utility industry, Ed has been an outspoken advocate for lower rates and improved service. And he has been successful on both fronts.

The key to a community's success is to have the right people in the right place at the right time. The textbook definition of that example is Ed Throop.

Ed's leadership will be sorely missed but his legacy will live long after the book is closed on his career.

And speaking of leadership, the Sikeston Regional Chamber of Commerce honored a host of community leaders Thursday night at their annual banquet.

The Lifetime Achievement Award appropriately went to R. Scott Matthews who has changed the face, the direction and the growth of this community more than any individual perhaps in the history of Sikeston.

The Matthews family and Sikeston have a rich history dating to the founding of our small community.

But it was Scott Matthews who had both the vision and the determination to improve on that history.

As a developer, the contributions that Scott has made - and continues to make - to Sikeston is almost beyond measure.

It would be hard to imagine where Sikeston would be without the foresight and dedication that Scott has brought to this community.

From residential and commercial development to the intricate process of encouraging Three Rivers College to locate a campus here, it was Scott's dogged determination and hard work that has pushed our community to greater heights.

By no means do I ignore the other awards presented at the Chamber banquet but when you look at Scott's accomplishments over a lifetime, his star shines brighter and we as a community benefit greater by his sacrifices.

I am blessed to call Ed Throop and Scott Matthews as friends.

But even without that friendship, the contributions of these two leaders are a substantial reason why this community is on the grow and why we can all be "Sikeston Proud."

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