Bob Mitchell: Couples who made the Chamber work

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Back in the 1970s, days that I choose to title ďCassvilleís Industrial Revolution,Ē staffing the Chamber of Commerce wasnít such a problem, since when one of the people put on the payroll had a partner that immediately became a member of the staff.

For a number of years, Bill and Virginia Ward and Lige and Ella Frost had their turns behind the Chamber office desks.

Those were the days Cassville was active in bringing job to the Cassville community and Barry County,

The Wards were first

Bill and Virginia were first, both giving up other duties to step into the Chamber headquarters.

Bill was with the Missouri Department of Revenue who lost his post in the state administration change. Virginia did soil testing for University of Missouri Extension out of the Post Office basement.

Billís office in the old city hall put him first in line to start the one fire truck Cassville possessed during emergency calls. He vowed never to leave the volunteer fire department, and he didnít.

This couple were a natural, Bill through his acquaintances and Virginia with her clerical skills.

Lige and Ella followed

The Frosts came next. Actually, Ella was named secretary with Lige doubling as southern commissioner and realtor to assist with contacts, etc.

Here again, knowledge of the community, combined with dedication proved most valuable in several instances.

Both these couples knew their way through the political world, having been associated with both Roaring River State Park and Bennett Spring park,

One instance

When John Justin first came to Cassville after purchasing Jumping-Jacks facilities, as was our custom, a presentation was prepared and presented the party when they arrived at the Cassville airport.

After a brief review of the document, Justin asked if he could get 10 more copies?

Ella was dispatched to the C of C office where the copies, with cover, were produced and quickly supplied to the visitors. Justin later told us that welcome, plus the preparedness of this community for his visit was paramount in his decision to purchase ďhis little jewel!Ē

Typical work ethic

This type of talent, workmanship and dedication to the community played a definite, major part in those early successes in various Chamber successes of that era.

That is not to lessen the responsible part that was being played by the Industrial Development Corporation and the C of C board both of whom provided funds along the way for necessary expenditures.

Then there were the individual business and professional people and corporations who were willing to provide considerable funding to make these jobs available for the community. There was never a failure for these people to step-up and do their part for any IDC project.

Same procedures

These same procedures had been developed earlier dealing with FASCO and later used in presenting our case to Alvey Conveyor, who came to this community from St. Louis.

A minor learning curve had been developed in Cassville when the McCafferys chose their site here for a new plant, The site, on West 10th, was obtained from an individual, probably replacing residential property, which did not concern an industry-starved Cassville at the time.

Pet Milk and minor employers, including Galyen Cheese had departed Cassville, leaving Forest Products, owned by the Hoover family, to supply jobs here.

Others on their own

Firms like Wells Aluminum and Precise Manufacturing were waiting in the wings for opportunities to take advantage of the expanse of skills that were in and around Barry County communities to stake their plants in the rich people pool that was available here.

Most recently, WinTech, a Monett based company, acquired the original Alvey building on Sale Barn Road and placed part of their manufacturing in Cassville.

By the way, isnít there a better name for that street, especially since the Sale Barn is no longer in existence?

On my soapbox again

Itís a mystery to me what politicians in Jefferson City think they are accomplishing by being in opposition to science, medicine and parents when it comes to COVID-19 precautions. Doctors, science and surely parents know best what is good for their youngsters.

I donít believe this pandemic is going away anytime soon, and it is no secret I disagree with these people, possibly for their political thinking.

I would urge parents to protect their youngsters, and trust medicine and science!

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State Universityís Regional Media Hall of Fame.

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