Don and Mary Puhr of Sugar Creek are the folks who make sure the coffee and doughnuts are ready when people mingle and visit after Mass on Sunday morning’s at St. Cyril’s Catholic Church. And they do a whole lot more. Those efforts recently won them the lieutenant governor’s Senior Service Award. Statewide, there were 34 winners this year.

Don and Mary Puhr of Sugar Creek are the folks who make sure the coffee and doughnuts are ready when people mingle and visit after Mass on Sunday morning’s at St. Cyril’s Catholic Church. And they do a whole lot more. Those efforts recently won them the lieutenant governor’s Senior Service Award. Statewide, there were 34 winners this year.

Who are Don and Mary?
Don, 63, is retired after 42 years with Union Pacific railroad, where he was a switchman. Mary, 63, also retired, was an accountant for attorneys. Mary is a lifelong member of St. Cyril’s. Don joined when they were married there in 1970.

What’s keeps them busy?
The church’s rectory, where Father Matthew Bartulica lives, needed extensive remodeling over several months last year. That involved some work by a contractor but otherwise “it was all volunteer help,” Don said. He was at the site, working just about every day for several weeks, including trim and tile work. Mary made some of the new curtains. Don also mows the lawn on the church grounds. Mary is in the Altar Society, is on the church’s finance committee, and serves as a sacristan. She makes quilts and other items for the Quilt Guild of the Truman Medical Centers.

Both are active in the Citizens Civic Relief Commission at the church. It distributes food and utility assistance to those in need. “They have to show a need, and the food is free,” Don says.

They also will be active in the upcoming Slavic Festival in Sugar Creek, June 8-9.

How do they get involved in all these things?
Don: “You just jump in and do it.”

Mary: “We just like to keep busy.”

What was it like to get the award?
Mary: “We were surprised.”

Don: “Had no idea. I didn’t know I’d done anything like that to merit that.”

They were nominated by Connie Halastik, director of the Sugar Creek Parks and Recreation Department, and were honored at a luncheon May 9 with Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder at the state Capitol in Jefferson City, where they also met with their state representative, Ira Anders.

What do others say?
Father Bartulica says efforts of congregants such as the Puhrs are vital.

“That’s what keeps the place running,” he said.