The Webster County Food pantry was packed last Friday, June 17 with volunteers of the food pantry and politicians. Easily over 30 people were crowded into the food distribution room, all eagerly awaiting for the guest of honor. Most everyone there had no idea why they had been summoned, only that their fearless leader and pantry director was going to be receiving an award.
“You’ve got me here, now someone wanna tell me what’s going on,” Jerry Nehl, 30 year volunteer and current director of the Webster County Food Pantry hollered across the room of eager faces. However the question went unanswered as no one in the room knew exactly why they were there either.
At approximately a quarter past three, the second guest of honor arrived: Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe.
Lt. Governor Kehoe addressed the room, “Jerry, for many years we have heard all about you. We are here for a special award….You have great representation in Jefferson City that understand our values and they tell us about outstanding people that serve our communities. The Lieutenant Governors office, once a year, awards the Lt. Governor Senior Citizen Service Award. Which talks about seniors in communities who give back to their community, who have served their counties and the people around them for years. That have gone above and beyond what most people do.”
“…For all the efforts that you have put forward for years, decades, in the Webster County area, I want to present you with this year’s Lt. Governor Senior Service Award,” Lt. Governor Kehoe said as he presented the plaque to Nehl and the room erupted in applause.
“When I pulled in, I didn’t know what was going on. My wife’s been on me all day today. ‘We have to be back in Marshfield at a 3:00’. I kept asking why, she said ‘we just have to be in Marshfield. I was getting aggravated because I was wantin’ to do other stuff,” chuckled Nehl.
Nehl has been involved with the Marshfield community for many years. “I’ve done youth ministry over 30 years, I’ve been here (the food pantry) for 30 years. Me and another gentlemen formed the Knights of Columbus council, me and another minister formed the long term recovery for coag, and I think I’m the longest standing member of the ministerial alliance,” laughed Nehl.
“Someone asked me one time why I do this,” reflected Nehl, “it’s a saying I found or picked up somewhere and I gave it to the youth group. God gave you the gift of life and what you do with your life is your gift to God. I have always thought of that.”
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