In Missouri, greatness can always be found in our neighbors and their stories.
Congratulations to all of those recognized as CITY’s Best. I am grateful to do business, and be friends with, so many of these fine people and businesses. Jefferson City, like all of Missouri, is characterized by men and women who maximize their God-given talents in a variety of ways.
As I read through the best-of list in this issue, it struck me that Missouri’s greatness comes as a result of seemingly ordinary people who excel in their work, who rise to meet an occasion, or whose creativity sparks innovation. Part of continuing to move Missouri forward is to better understand and appreciate those from the past upon whose shoulders we stand, as well as those contributing to continued greatness today.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of being lieutenant governor is the opportunity to travel throughout the state to meet people, observe their businesses and industries, and learn about the services they provide or the products they produce. Many Missourians have incredible life experiences — some of great triumph, some of great sorrow, and many of all manner in between — that they are willing to share.
Most Missourians recognize the story behind names such as Busch, Pershing, Bradley, and Morris. However, most Missourians know little to nothing about Wasson, Sickmann, or countless other men and women who have made great contributions to their local communities, our state, and the nation. If I were to create my own best-of category about Missouri’s greatness, it would undoubtedly include names such as these.
The grandfather of my friend and colleague in the Missouri Senate, Jay Wasson, was born during the Civil War near Wilson’s Creek Battlefield. Not only has Jay been a fantastic asset to Christian County as a public servant, but he is also the only person I have ever met who is just two generations removed from the Civil War.
“For it’s not government that makes a state great — it’s the people.”
In 1981, a young Marine named Rocky Sickmann returned to Krakow, Missouri, after spending 444 days as a hostage of the Ayatollah inside the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran. Jay Wasson and Rocky Sickmann are ordinary men with extraordinary stories, each of whom make their own unique contributions to Missouri’s greatness. But there are many more like them across the state, from Mound City to Hayti, Pineville to Kahoka, and everywhere in between, for it’s not government that makes a state great — it’s the people.
As lieutenant governor, I have been entrusted with the opportunity and platform to highlight the greatness of Missourians, and I am committed to doing so as long as I have the opportunity. Every awardee in this issue has earned this recognition through hard work, sacrifice, and persistence. These values are foundational to Missourians, and I look forward to learning about and highlighting many more stories of Missouri’s greatness going forward.