An entrepreneur, a generous volunteer and a long-standing community leader were recognized Jan. 26 for their outstanding contributions to the California area.
Stephanie Stokes, owner of Something Sassy salon; Sandra Ratcliff, California Area Chamber of Commerce executive secretary; and Ken Kunze, recently-retired Moniteau County Presiding Commissioner of 16 years, each accepted a plaque of appreciation at the chamber's annual dinner and scholarship fundraiser.
Something Sassy received the Business of the Year Award. Stokes opened her business 13 years ago and it has been at its current location, 705 W. Bucahan St., since 2010, with an expansion in 2017. Stokes said she wants to provide a five-star experience for clients and to make them feel happy, whether its a style, wax or manicure.
Stokes posted to her Facebook page Jan. 19: "13 years ago, I opened Something Sassy Beauty Salon LLC, a 20-year-old with no clue how to run a business, with plenty of blood, sweat and tears. But more smiles, laughing stories, new friendships, and more stepping-out-of-my-box than I ever thought was possible.
"I'm so beyond blessed to have a successful business! With the support of such a amazing circle of family, friends and community, I want to say 'thank you' from the bottom of my heart. Without you, all my dreams would have never come true. I'm one of the lucky ones who can honestly say she is living her dream."
Ratcliff was named the 2018 Volunteer of the Year.
"I am still speechless from being totally surprised," she wrote in her weekly "This week in your chamber" email. "I am humbled and truly appreciate the recognition. No words can express my gratitude!"
Chamber members praised her willingness to give 110 percent without being asked, whether it's ribbon cuttings, the annual golf tournament, the Ozark Ham and Turkey festival or the annual Easter Egg Hunt.
"I enjoy what I do," the retired Burgers' Smokehouse employee said at the event. "I'm trying to do what I can to make the community a little better."
Kunze, who received the Citizen of the Year award, took the opportunity to share his experiences as a 13-time guardian on Central Missouri Honor Flights.
Kunze has supported his community by attending benefits and fundraisers, supporting school functions, helping with the Moniteau County Fair and other events, and taking part in other betterment organizations. He has served in many organizations, including the senior housing board, the American Legion, Moniteau County Regional Economic Development board, Kiwanis, Masons and the Missouri National Guard.
"He's one that never says 'no,'" Amanda Trimble said. "He's always willing to lend a hand with a smile on his face."