NEOSHO, MO.--- The Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce begins the process to find a new economic director. The position was left vacant earlier this month after the unexpected death of Gib Garrow.
"Gib meant a lot to the community and invested a lot in Neosho and Missouri," said Jason Stipp, Neosho Chamber Board President
Garrow dedicated 28 years of his life to the growth of Neosho, playing the role of economic development director. His life was cut short on November 7th--- when he lost his battle against Leukemia.
"I think we're still dealing with really not believing Gib is not with us now," said Ray Stipp, NABIFI Board Member.
Garrow has left a large void, emotionally and professionally.
"He's left his mark and it's our responsibility to pick up where he left off and keep things moving forward," said Jason.
Board members are now trying to come up with a game plan to fill his vacancy. A task described as a challenge.
"It may take a while, but I think we're best served by taking the time needed to get a good person," said Ray.
That means finding someone to fill his shoes on several economic development organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, Neosho area and business industrial foundation, and Neosho land development.
"We just have to have someone that can be the quarterback, if you will, for these different organizations," said Ray.
Members of all three groups will sit together after Thanksgiving to map a plan of action.
"To kind of flesh out all of Gib's roles over the past 28 years," said Jason.
They will also determine applicant requirements. After that, the Chamber board will start looking at possible candidates, with certain qualities in mind. One being Gib's ability to form lasting relationships.
"He really brought a lot of attention just through those relationships to neosho and I think provided opportunities for us that we might not have had," said Jason.
Another trait wanted is a love for volunteering.
"Gib's primary quality was his ability to encourage volunteerism and that's seen by the fact that now we have many volunteers stepping up and helping fill the void in his absence," said Ray.
That's something that's hard to just pick up and replace, it takes some work and so that's our task, i'm sure we can do it but it is going to be a challenge," said Jason.
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