Recognition comes after more than 50 years of civic involvement
Recognizing more than 50 years of service to the community, Mayor Randy Rhoads has named Laurence Pressly as the 2017 Citizen of the Year for the Truman Heartland Community Foundation and the Missouri Municipal League Civic Leadership Award.
Pressly has been a mainstay in the community, serving on several civic boards and commissions, since his first appointment to the Street Planning Committee by then-Mayor Ralph Powell in the mid 1960s. In addition to stints on the Planning Commission, Board of Zoning and Adjustments, and the Industrial Development Authority, Pressly also served two terms as a member of the City’s Board of Aldermen.
For Pressly, the various appointments came because of the people he was able to meet in a professional career he never thought would carry past his family farm. After college, he joined the family partnership working more than 1,000 acres of land, raising dairy cows, beef and swine. Professional relationships led to stints with the University of Missouri Extension, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the American Royal, and Reece & Nichols Realtors.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of good people over the years and was approached about some good jobs and good opportunities to work with the City,” he said. “I like to say I’ve been able to have five careers in my lifetime without ever having to interview for one of them.”
Having served appointments from eight different mayors, there are several stand-out moments as he’s watched the city grow. One such moment was the decision to improve and establish Chipman Road as one of the city's main traffic arteries. Pressly was serving as a member of the Board of Aldermen at the time and the Board was split on approving the funding for the improvements (Mayor Al Johnson would break the tie in favor of the improvements). One of the detractors on the Board was Dick Spencer.
“I told him to just watch and he'd see that it would become one of the busiest streets in the City,” Pressly said. “And look at it now. It’s a major street in our City.”
In December 2016, Pressly was presented with a proclamation from the Mayor for his years of civic service to the City of Lee’s Summit and most recently, Mr. Pressly was recognized as a distinguished alumnus and inducted into the Lee’s Summit High School Hall of Fame during the 2016-2017 school year.
“Individuals get involved in the community for various reasons, some are seeking recognition, but occasionally you encounter someone that does something simply because a job is there to be done and that’s indicative of Laurence. He needs no fanfare,” the Mayor said in a statement from the City.