City of Independence, Missouri

Mayor Weir looks back on 2020, recognizes outstanding volunteers

There is little question 2020 will be marked as one of the most challenging chapters of history. Mayor Eileen Weir shares the following thoughts with Independence residents as she looks back on 2020.

“The Independence spirit has been shaken, yet we have been stirred to service in new and remarkable ways. People of all ages and walks of life sewed masks, packed food boxes, and cheered for teachers, school children and health care workers with car parades. Teddy bears hunts, sidewalk art, food trucks, driveway dinners, and ‘porch-traits’ helped us stay connected to long-time friends and form new bonds in our neighborhoods and across our city.

Together we have traveled a difficult road, and we have a long journey ahead. During this season of hope and promise for the new year, we can take account of our many achievements and give thanks for the many contributions of our citizen volunteers.”

This year, Mayor Weir is recognizing five outstanding individuals who have donated countless hours of volunteer service to our region in response to COVID-19. Each of these individuals will receive a Mayor’s Challenge Coin for an exemplary act of service to the residents of Independence. Please join us in recognizing and thanking these individuals:

  • Lindsey Chow is a volunteer for the City of Independence in the Emergency Preparedness Division (EP) as the Logistic Section Coordinator. He has accomplished a great many important tasks during the Pandemic including setting up the logistics capability to support the City in COVID-19 testing operations, food box distribution, and special events. He also helped oversee personal protective equipment acquisition, pandemic cleaning supplies, storage inventory and distribution.
  • Rusty Norris has led the City of Independence Emergency Preparedness Division’s Volunteer Program for over three years. In that time, he has rebuilt the organizational structure and expanded the capability of the various response functional teams. Rusty has lead the volunteers through every disaster operation especially COVID operations since the beginning of the Pandemic.
  • Carol Liebold is a part-time employee for the City of Independence but also very active as an Emergency Preparedness Division volunteer coordinator. She oversees volunteer sign-ups and scheduling for the many events that have taken place in 2020 including the eight weeks of COVID-19 saliva-based testing provided by the City of Independence.
  • Dr. Sharon White Lewis is currently serving as the Unit Leader for the Medical Reserve Corps of Greater Kansas City, which to date has provided a value of over $300,000 in volunteer hours fighting the pandemic. As a member of the Multi-Agency Coordination Committee, Dr. White-Lewis is leading the Regional Vaccination Workgroup for the 9 counties in the KC Metro area.
  • Merideth Parrish has served as lead for the City’s Emergency Services Function-6 which has coordinated vital services such and food distribution, volunteer recruitment, donations and more. Through her leadership, the City has created a multi-level network or resources and support to respond quickly to the changing needs of not only our residents but many of those in Eastern Jackson County as a whole.

“Thank you Lindsey, Rusty, Carol, Dr. White-Lewis and Merideth for all you have done for the City of Independence and our residents,” Mayor Weir said. “To the hundreds of volunteers who have given thousands of hours to support their friends, family and neighbors – this is the highlight of our latest chapter. No matter how dark things may look, the people of Independence know how to rally together to provide a light when we need it most. To everyone, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season. We will get through this together.”