A Barry County businessman and outstanding community leader was presented with the 2009 Missourian Award on Saturday during a black tie ceremony at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.
Glen Garrett, of Purdy, was one of 13 individuals to receive the prestigious Missourian Award, which is presented each year by the American Heart Association to nominees who have made outstanding contributions to their state or nation in civics, business, education, politics or the arts.
"These awardees have dedicated their lives to making their communities and this state better by their diligent work and their charitable ideals," said Kevin Harker, executive vice president of the American Heart Association, Heartland Division. "We applaud their accomplishments, celebrate their award and appreciate their commitment."
When Garrett graduated from Butterfield High School in 1949, he was voted "most likely to succeed" by his classmates, and succeed he did.
After serving two years in the U.S. Army where he achieved the rank of staff sergeant, Garrett returned to Butterfield to farm and work in his father's business before accepting a job as liaison engineer with North American Aviation, Rocketdyne Division, in Neosho.
While employed there, Garrett focused on machining and machining procedures for the first experimental engines known as the Model HX, which later became the second stage of NASA's Saturn missile project.
In 1960, Garrett and Bill Roller founded G & R Machine Works in Purdy. This company, which provided hardware components for early space flight and moon landings as well as electric components for the F-4 Phantom jet, eventually grew to employ over 230 people in three locations.
Garrett expanded his business holdings in 1973 when he purchased a small machine shop in Cassville. Garrett Manufacturing developed into a major supplier for Caterpillar, Haliburton, Firestone and the U.S. Army with over 200 employees before Garrett sold the company in 1981.
In 1974, Garrett purchased one-half interest in First State Bank of Purdy, and in 1990s, Garrett and his wife, Sharon, became sole owners of the company. Over the past 35 years, First State Bank has grown from $2 million in assets in one location to $130 million in assets in six locations. The local bank now employs 70 people.
Garrett continues to serve as First State Bank's chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors as well as chairman of Purdy Bancshares, Inc.
Garrett's most recent business expansion came in 2002 when he purchased Tri-State Motor Transit Co. headquartered in Joplin. This specialized trucking company, which employes over 700 people in 16 locations across the U.S., handles the transportation of goods and cargo primarily for the United States Departments of Defense and Energy. At Motor Transit, Garrett serves as chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors.
In 2008, Tri-State purchased Wilcox Transportation, an exclusive U.S. mail carrier based in Springfield.
In addition to Garrett's contributions in the business arena, he also finds time to serve the local community. For 18 years, Garrett served as president of the Purdy R-2 School Board. He continues to serve as chairman of the Barry County Industrial Development Authority, which has been responsible for attracting two large industries to the area. He is also a member of the First United Methodist Church in Monett where he played an active role in construction of a new church building.
Garrett's belief in giving back to his community has also resulted in a number of significant financial contributions to various campaigns and causes, including the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library, the expansion of Cox Monett Hospital, the Ozark Festival Orchestra, the Monett Downtown Betterment Group and various other projects.
Over the years, Garrett has earned several other awards including the Monett Chamber of Commerce's Community Service Award and an Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year award.
Garrett's most recent recognition places him in very good company. Previous Missourian award winners have included Walter Cronkite, John Q. Hammons and John L. Morris. Walt Disney, Mark Twain and Harry S. Truman were given the award posthumously.
"Missourians are among the top business leaders, educators, statesmen, writers and artists in our country," said Ralph Slavens, chairman and founder of the Missouri Awards Committee. "This year's winners have achieved greatness."
Garrett and his wife, Sharon, reside on a farm north of Purdy. They have six children and nine grandchildren and enjoy attending their ball games and school activities.