Who: Carson Ross, mayor of Blue Springs.
What: One of the 34 winners of this year’s Senior Service Award, given by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who presented the awards last week.
How did that come about: He was nominated by state Rep. Sheila Solon, R-Blue Springs. His service over the years includes:
• Blue Springs Board of Aldermen in the 1980s, 14 years as a state representative. He’s been mayor since 2008.
• St. Mary’s Medical Center, board president.
• United Way board and head of its annual fund drive.
• Missouri Municipal League, board president.
• Truman Heartland Community Foundation, board chair.
• Missouri Municipal League, president.
• Mid-America Regional Council Total Transportation Policy Committee.
• Little Blue Valley Sewer District, board secretary.
The lieutenant governor’s office also cited Ross’s military service. He was in the infantry in Vietnam, notably the Battle of Long Binh during the Tet Offensive in 1968. His citations include two Valorous Unit Awards, which he described as “basically the whole unit getting the Silver Star.”
He has worked on behalf of veterans as well, serving as head of the Missouri Veterans Commission and on the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He helped bring the “Wall that Heals” to Blue Springs four years ago and then helped raise money for the Veterans Way Memorial in Pink Hill Park.
Personal: Ross is retired after 39 years at Hallmark Cards. He helped found Blue Ridge Church of Christ, where he is still on the board.
“I’m just a tool that God uses,” he says.
His reaction: A little surprised at first, he said.
“I don’t do those things seeking recognition,” he said. “I just do them because it’s who I am.”
Besides, at just 67 he doesn’t think of himself much as a senior citizen.
Is 67 even considered old?
“Not for me,” he says. “That’s the new 30.”
– Jeff Fox