JOPLIN, Mo. — A familiar face is in the spotlight today, recognized for his service by the Joplin Chamber of Commerce.
Gary Shaw, Joplin, said, “I don’t consider myself outstanding on anything.”
But a few people may disagree. The Joplin Chamber of Commerce has named Gary Shaw the 2020 Citizen of the Year.
Brandon Davis, Joplin Chamber Board, said, “Gary’s been so instrumental in so many things in our city in multiple times as mayor and he just has a lot of passion for the community.”
The honor highlights a long life of service, starting with six years in the US Army. Shaw has served on a long list of committees including historic preservation and Main Street Joplin. But likely the highest profile position started with his election to City Council in 2002.
“I got on the council because I had respect for the men and women who served our city in the past and I thought you know I need to do that. I didn’t have any idea it would be for a 20 year hitch,” said Shaw.
He’s served as Mayor twice – and says he always appreciates hearing from residents even when they don’t agree.
“When a citizen calls me and criticizing and you know some call you names and things of that nature but I always thank them for their emails.”
His tenure has dealt with a long list of city challenges, notably including the 2011 tornado and the 2020 coronavirus.
“Has caused us a lot of challenges. we’re going to get over that and we’re going to move on and I really do believe our greatest days are ahead.”