Mayor cites volunteers who stepped up

By The Examiner staff

Independence Mayor Eileen Weir recognized five people this week for their volunteer service during the pandemic response. Those individuals will receive a Mayor’s Challenge Coin, which the mayor said she awards infrequently for exemplary acts.

“We’ve had an incredible outpouring of generosity this year,” Weir said in a video message recognizing the coin recipients. From making masks to directing traffic at food distribution and testing sites to distributing food, she said, “there are so many ways our community has reached out to support each other.

“Each of these people has gone above and beyond the call of duty in a special way,” she said.

The recipients are:

• Lindsey Chow, a volunteer in the city’s emergency preparedness division. Chow set up the logistics for the city’s COVID-19 testing operations, food box distribution and special events. He also helped oversee personal protective equipment acquisition, pandemic cleaning supplies, storage inventory and distribution.

• Rusty Norris, who has led the city’s emergency preparedness division volunteer program for more than three years. He has helped expand the program’s capabilities. 

• Carol Diebold, a part-time city employee who is a volunteer coordinator in the emergency preparedness division. She oversees volunteer sign-ups and scheduling for many events, including the city’s eight-week testing program.

• Dr. Sharon White-Lewis, a unit leader for the Medical Reserve Corps of Greater Kansas City, which has provided more than $300,000 worth of volunteer hours during the pandemic. As a member of the multi-agency coordination committee, White-Lewis is leading the regional vaccination workgroup for the nine counties in the metro area.

• Meredith Parrish, director of family and neighborhood services for the Independence School District, helped lead the city’s emergency services in coordinating food distribution, volunteer recruitment and donations.