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Newsmakers: Dec. 11-17, 2023

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Law
Wampler & Passanise PC was recognized regionally in the 2024 edition of Best Law Firms ranked by Best Lawyers in three practice areas: criminal defense: white-collar and DUI/DWI defense, in the Regional Tier 1 category, and criminal defense: general practice, in Regional Tier 3. Also, in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, Managing Partner Joseph S. Passanise was listed for criminal defense in the areas of white-collar and general practice, as well as DUI/DWI defense, while associate attorney Taylon Sumners-Schwartz was recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for white-collar criminal defense.

Municipal
The city of Springfield hired Samantha Payne as its development project facilitator, succeeding Danny Perches, who was promoted to assistant director in the Department of Economic Vitality. Payne previously served as deputy city manager in Ozark, where she also held stints as Parks and Recreation director and public information officer over 13 years of work.

Nonprofit
Harmony House hired Kunti Bentley as development director and Carl Peterson as development coordinator. With a background in nonprofit management and education, Bentley spent the past seven years as director of Project HEAL at Missouri State University. Peterson previously worked as district director of the Springfield area for Boy Scouts of America Ozark Trails Council and has experience in volunteer recruitment, fundraising and special events.

Laura Bradshaw, a family advocate at Harmony House, was selected for induction into the Youth Worker Hall of Fame by the Youth Intervention Programs Association. She is among four honorees nationwide for the Friends of Youth Leadership Award, recognizing exceptional youth development contributions. Bradshaw has worked at Harmony House for nine years and helped grow the Family Advocacy Program and spearheaded its Celebrate Diversity classes.

The GLO Center hired Aaron Schekorra as its first full-time executive director, effective Jan. 2. Schekorra previously worked three years as spokesperson for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and started online store OwnYourPride.com.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Ozarks Region Chapter issued several awards on National Philanthropy Day. AFP winners were: Drs. Alan and Meera Scarrow, Philanthropist of the Year; Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., Philanthropic Business/Corporation of the Year; Hospice Foundation of the Ozarks, Philanthropic Foundation of the Year; Purple Party by Harmony House, Fundraising Campaign and/or Event of the Year; Christine Temple, Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year; Bennett Potter, Youth Philanthropist of the Year; Lizzie Vigneaux, Fundraising Professional of the Year; and Kathryn Wall, Fundraising Rising Star of the Year.

Recreation
Kampgrounds of America Inc. recognized the Branson KOA Holiday campground with the Founder’s and President’s awards during the international organization’s annual convention in Las Vegas. The Founder’s Award honors campground owners and managers for high scores in customer service and a quality review, while the President’s Award goes to campgrounds that meet exceptional quality standards and receive high customer service scores from guests.

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