U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, and Springfield businessperson Sam Hamra this week were recognized locally with separate honors.
Blunt was selected for Missouri State University's Bronze Bear award, and Hamra was presented with a Key to the City by Mayor Ken McClure.
Blunt, whose U.S. Senate seat is up for grabs at the general election next week, is the recipient of an annual MSU award that recognizes contributions to the university.
Blunt is slated to be honored with the Bronze Bear award during MSU's fall 2022 commencement ceremony, according to a news release.
“Sen. Roy Blunt has been an incredible champion for the university, and the Bronze Bear is a small token of our thanks,” MSU President Clif Smart said in the release. “As a public servant, he has helped bring national exposure and millions of dollars to Missouri State, watching out for our students’ best interests."
In March this year, Blunt led efforts to allocate $56 million in federal funds to MSU. An alum of the university, Blunt also is credited with helping MSU secure grants, external contracts and an appropriation to construct the Roy D. Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center; inviting the Missouri State Chorale to perform at the 2017 presidential inauguration; and providing leadership for changes to the Pell Grant system.
The Bronze Bear award comes with a framed resolution and a 45-pound, 18-inch bronze bear modeled after the 14-foot statue in front of MSU's Plaster Student Union, according to the release.
Key to the City
Hamra, an attorney and founder and chair of Hamra Enterprises, was presented the Key to the City on Oct. 31, according to a separate news release.
“Sam is one of a kind and has made an impact on so many aspects of Springfield,” McClure said in the release. “His ingenuity, dedication and generosity are traits to emulate, and he is very worthy of this special honor.”
Hamra Enterprises owns and operates restaurants and various real estate projects in Missouri and other states. Hamra previously served as Nixa's city attorney, and he's been involved in the community philanthropically with an $800,000 donation to buy the land for the construction of The Kitchen Homeless Family Shelter on the O'Reilly Campus, among other projects. The home of Legal Services of Southern Missouri bears his name – the Sam F. Hamra Center for Justice – to recognize his contributions as its first board chair.
Hamra in 2018 received the Springfieldian of the Year award from the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, according to past reporting.
Hamra joins southwest Missouri businessperson Bill Darr, late Evangel University President Robert Spence, Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and former city leader Mary Lilly Smith as the Key to the City recipients during McClure's five-year tenure, according to past reporting. Darr received the award in September.
Whataburger launched its second local store; Branson shop Revive Juice and Coffee Bar LLC moved; and a new Monett branch of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library District opened.