2017 Award Winners

Joe Hills

Hills dedicates his time to working on dropout prevention with area elementary youth, educates people in poverty about their legal rights as a tenant, thereby preventing countless evictions and episodes of homelessness and cares for all in the community wanting success for every person regardless of age or economic status. For nine years, he has partnered with Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC).

During the 2016-2017 school year, he assisted 458 children through interactive curriculum giving them exposure to career awareness to increase their school achievement and reduce dropout rates. The children walk away excited after Hill works with them, and we are excited too.



Holdren has made an impact with her community service work through a variety of volunteer positions from Bill’s Place, Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center, and Campbell United Methodist Church. Through her passion to provide food and supplies to Rare Breed, she has been able to get her congregation connected to the cause allowing her outreach to expand. She thinks of others first, offering her selfless service with no other expectation of compensation or recognition. When she sees a need, she does all she can to meet that need. Her energy is contagious and she creates a culture of compassion everywhere she goes.

Mark Priebe

Priebe is an officer of the Springfield Police Department and has given selflessly of his time to Special Olympics Missouri since 2008. He continues to give his own time to further the initiative for those with disabilities. He has impacted so many athletes’ lives with his constant willingness to always give of himself for them. He seeks donations and corporate sponsors year-round to help our athletes and provide them every opportunity available. The athletes love him, and he loves what the athletes bring to him in return: sense of pride and a smile. This volunteer not only makes a difference in our community, but in the lives of all the athletes across Missouri! In 2016, he gave over an estimated 520 hours of his time to assist our region.

John Willis

Willis has made an immense impact on the children and the entire team at Isabel’s House over the past year, not only with his gift of time, but also with his gifts of compassion, encouragement, positivity, and flexibility. He has logged over 250 hours of service with Isabel’s House since starting in March 2016, and has become increasingly involved as his love of Isabel’s mission has flourished. In fact, of the 939 volunteer hours given by 40-plus active volunteers so far in 2017, this nominee accounts for 118 of them, all while also serving as president of the MSU chapter of Habitat for Humanity and carrying a full 18-hour class load!

Willis has willingly taken on the volunteer coordinator role at Isabel’s House largest annual fund raiser and assists the leadership team to improve the organization’s volunteer training and logging processes. Everything he does is done with creativity and zeal, a testament to his aspirations to a career in the nonprofit sector.

Yolanda Taylor

Over the last eight years, Taylor has served as a coach, an official, an organizer and most of all, a mentor to over 800 kids a year through the Grant Beach Sports League, which offers an opportunity for kids ages 3-12 to play baseball and soccer for a very low cost. Her willingness to step up and take responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the league has been a godsend to this totally volunteer ran organization.

She is the coach that once kids have her, they never want to play for anyone else. She is awesome at coaching kids of all ages and communicates well with the parents. Everyone sees her as fair and a great mentor for the kids and parents as well as other coaches. She first became involved with the sports program when her kids were playing and even though they have all aged out she has stayed involved because she recognizes the importance of team sports not only from her kids’ experience but from the perspective that we always need to provide low-cost opportunities for kids who might not otherwise be able to participate in organized sports. Her dedication to this program has been outstanding!