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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Austin HornbostelPaul Jungmeyer, left, presents Moniteau County Historical Society President Steve Weicken with the 2021 “Spirit of the Manitou” award. The honor is given to members who demonstrated “outstanding devotion to the organization” during the past year.

The Moniteau County Historical Society (MCHS) returned for its first annual dinner since 2019 Monday evening.

The event had to be canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but was back in full force for 2021. Among highlights from the evening were speaker Paul Fennewald, who presented to the group about the history of keelboats and the Western fur trade on the Missouri River, and the bestowal of the 2021 "Spirit of the Manitou" award.

The award recipient for this year was MCHS President Steve Weicken, who was commended for guiding the historical society through some "tough times" during the past year. The award has been given annually since 1986 and recognizes a member who has demonstrated "outstanding devotion to the organization" during the past year.

During the business meeting portion of the evening, Weicken delivered a president's report that highlighted how the group has fared for the past year. Weicken said despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the MCHS has done fairly well; the group has had some success in helping to preserve a historic building in Tipton, a Presbyterian church, and raised $7,765 with this year's cemetery flower fundraiser as of the end of August.

The group was also able to celebrate Missouri's Bicentennial in August, along with the work done to help bring a veterans memorial to Latham Memorial Family Park, just across the street from the MCHS.

"It's a very meaningful place," Weicken said.

Other improvements have included obtaining both some additional fire extinguishers, which have been installed around the historical society's museum space, and a pair of refurbished desktop computers for the museum.

All told, Weicken said fundraising sales have placed the historical society at about $4,000 in profits over expenditures.

"You all have been an asset to the group," Weicken said Monday night. "Past members, current members, whatever. It takes all of us to keep the museum going, to keep the library goingThe volunteers that are sitting here today, that's really what makes it go. As Paul (Fennewald) mentioned, too, we have to keep it alive for the next generation."

A final order of business Monday night was deciding whether to host a pie sale fundraiser in conjunction with Saturday's Ozark Ham & Turkey Festival. With COVID-19 still a concern and no critical need for further fundraising with profits as they stand, the group agreed to forego the fundraiser this year and perhaps return to it in 2022. The museum will still be open Saturday during the festival, and quilts will be on display.

The Moniteau County Historical Society's next regular monthly meeting is set for Monday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.

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