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Examiner
  • PTAs council honors Jill Esry as Citizen of the Year

  • Jill Esry was still stunned moments after receiving the 2013 Citizen of the Year Award from the Independence Council of PTAs.


    “I cannot believe it,” said the longtime Independence resident and current member of the Independence Board of Education. “I do not believe I deserve this. It is a huge honor to be recognized like this.”

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  • Jill Esry was still stunned moments after receiving the 2013 Citizen of the Year Award from the Independence Council of PTAs.
    “I cannot believe it,” said the longtime Independence resident and current member of the Independence Board of Education. “I do not believe I deserve this. It is a huge honor to be recognized like this.”
    Esry was recognized as Citizen of the Year during the council’s annual Founder’s Day Breakfast Thursday at Pioneer Ridge Middle School. The event is sponsored each year by the Independence Council of PTAs to celebrate the long tradition of PTA in Independence and the United States and also to recognize past, present and future volunteers in the community.
    In addition to the Citizen of the Year presentation, the Bingham Middle School Choir performed several songs and the Van Horn ROTC led a flag ceremony. Kathy Nevans, past council president and past president of the Missouri PTA, was the guest speaker.
    “Through the years, the organization has changed its name, but it has remained fundamentally the same,” said Khristin Dutzel, the current president of the Independence Council of PTAs. “This is the largest child advocacy organization in the nation, and we are still working together for the health and well-being of children.”
    Esry is a third generation Independence resident, a Truman High School graduate and a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has been involved with the Junior Service League for 17 years, is a member of the Independence/Sugar Creek Advisory Board for the Truman Heartland Community Foundation and volunteers with Meals on Wheels, which delivers food to homebound people.
    Esry has been an active member of the PTA at all levels including at Sycamore Hills Elementary School and Bridger Middle School.
    “What makes her stand out the most is her heart,” said Kathlyn Hardin, who presented the award to Esry. “She genuinely loves this community, and everything she takes on is with enthusiasm and care. She is the kind of person who makes this community a better and stronger place.”
    Esry said spending her time volunteering is important to her because Independence is her home and she wants it to be the best place possible for her family and everyone in the community.
    “This is just my home, and I want it to continue to be as fabulous for my grandchildren as it has been for my kids,” she said. “The PTA is so important because it is an avenue for all groups within the school to come together. I think this organization is the only way for that to happen.”

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