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Opinion: Men of conviction help shape our community

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It takes the moral character of Atticus Finch as he stood tall in the courtroom against injustice. The will to succeed of Rocky Balboa as he stared down an insurmountable enemy. The resolve of Oskar Schindler who never gave up no matter the cost. And it takes the sincere heart of Forrest Gump as he approached life through innocent eyes.

The 20 men who occupy Springfield Business Journal’s fourth annual Men of the Year class embody these fundamental attributes made famous by quintessential characters on the silver screen.

Men such as Gary Powell who wasn’t afraid to leave stability behind and taket a risk when starting new law firm Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP. Men such as Gary Maddox, who every day fights for the rights of the disabled as CEO of the Southwest Center for Independent Living. And men such as Metropolitan National Bank President and CEO Mark McFatridge who turned the tragic death of a friend into a life motto that guides him today.

This year’s list includes CEOs, presidents and business owners. There are self-made men, those who lead school districts and men who are living their dream.

The 20 gentlemen on this year’s list are successful, there is no doubt, but to be a man of the year, they must represent something more. German theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once spoke of man’s achievements, saying, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

These are men of value.

Their values shine through in the work they do and in the communities they serve. Gregory Ostregen helped raise $30,000 for United Way of the Ozarks during an annual car show, David Taylor lends his experience to Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ozarks and Steve Grant shook the hands of hundreds of World War II veterans as he helped coordinate the Ozarks Honor Flight program.

It seems I’m not the only person who thinks so. These men of value were nominated by the public. Nominees were then asked to expound on how they’ve demonstrated leadership in their endeavors, how they influence the success of others, their leadership in civic affairs and their proudest accomplishments to date. Applications were then scored by an independent panel of judges who sift through dozens of pages in search of these 20 men.

For the fourth year running, SBJ has partnered with the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch for a silent auction prior to the 12:30 luncheon. Bidding starts at 11:30 a.m. and helps the Brighton-based ranch provide a safe and caring home to boys from a broken or nonexistent home.

Please join the entire staff of SBJ in congratulating these men of value and celebrating their achievements in and for our community.

Features Editor Emily Letterman can be reached at[[In-content Ad]]


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