Talk Of The Town

JohnandKen    On Sept. 11,  a New Baden firefighter was able to participate in the Kansas City 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Town Pavilion high rise in Kansas City, Missouri.
    It didn't start out that way though.

    Ken McLaughlin, a 12-year firefighter with the New Baden Fire Department, and his wife Robin, of New Baden went to cheer on their son, John, who is a six-year member of the Pettis County Fire Department in Kansas City.
    John had signed up with his fire department in Pettis County for the stair climb and his parents went to cheer him on.
    "While they were waiting to start, John’s chief was notified that they were five firefighters short of the 343 and asked if there were any extra firefighters that would climb," Robin said.
    The chief looked at Ken and the others cheered him on to participate, she said.  
    "He wasn’t prepared, and didn’t have any gear, but knew how important this was," she said. "I just told him 'You got this Ken, you can do it.'"
    So with no preparation and no gear, Ken joined the team.  
    The whole department made all 110 stories. The 110 stories represents the 110 floors of the World Trade Center.
    "Needless to say, I was so proud of both of them and the whole 343 that climbed," Robin said.
    Each firefighter carried a picture of a fallen 9/11 firefighter during the whole climb. 
    John climbed for New York firefighter Lt. Andrew Desperito of Engine 1, who was 43 years old at the time of his death.  Ken climbed for New York firefighter Steven Coakley of Engine 217. He was 36 years old.
    The 343 depicted in the photos is representative of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11.  They climbed 33 flights three times and then the final was 11 flights.  
    On the 78th flight, they paused to reflect since the New York Fire Department only made it to the 78th floor prior to the collapse.  There were 82 fire departments from eight states that participated in the event.
    Next year, New Baden Fire Department also hopes to participate.
    "Ken inspired them," said Robin.

FatherMauckCarlyle Rotary Club president Kevin Morkassel (left) presents the Paul Harris Fellow award to Father George Mauck, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Carlyle and St. Teresa Catholic Church in Marydale.    Father George Mauck is this year’s recipient of an honorary Paul Harris Fellow award by the Rotary Club of Carlyle.  
    Club president Kevin Morkassel made the surprise presentation at a dinner held on Thursday, Sept. 22, at Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery in Carlyle.  
    In introducing Father Mauck, Tom Frerker told the members and guests present that “Father George was selected to receive this year’s award because his life exemplifies the humanitarian and educational objectives of The Rotary Foundation.”  
    Father Mauck has challenged the members of St. Mary and St. Teresa Catholic churches to partner in an effort to raise funds, as well as awareness, for Catholic Relief Services in a project to provide clean water in developing countries.  Upon accepting the award, Father Mauck explained, “each day, nearly 900 million people live without access to clean water.”  Father Mauck’s initiative mirrors the commitment of The
    Rotary Foundation to provide access to clean water around the world. 
    Mike Nowobilski, past district governor and member of the O’Fallon Rotary Club, gave a presentation on Malawi and the continuing effort to dig new water wells there.  
    The Rotary Foundation recently awarded a matching grant for the Malawi project totaling $60,000 to provide for new water wells in 40 villages and a large school.  The year 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary of Rotary District 6510’s involvement in Malawi water projects. 
    Father George Mauck is a graduate of Quincy College and St. John University in Collegeville, Minnesota, with degrees in English Literature and Master of Divinity.  He has served as pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Carlyle since 1994, and has served as Canonical Pastor of St. Teresa of Avila in Marydale since 2004.  
    Earlier in his career, Father Mauck served as director of Pastoral Service at Assumption High School in East St. Louis, administrator at St. John Francis Regis Parish in East St. Louis, and director of Student Personnel at Assumption High School.  He later served as pastor of Sacred Heart in Dupo, pastor of St. Joseph in Olney, and St. Joseph in Stringtown from 1986 through 1994, during which time he was also appointed temporary administrator at Holy Cross in Wendelin from 1988 to 1989.
    The Paul Harris Fellow award is named in honor of the founder of Rotary International, Paul Harris.  Previous local recipients of  the PHF award are Arnold W. “Bill” Fritz, Robert “Bob” Evans, and Dr. Renato B. Rivera.
    The Rotary Foundation has received the highest possible score from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charities in the U.S.  In the most recent ratings, released on Sept. 1, The Rotary Foundation earned the maximum 100 points for both financial health and accountability and transparency.  The ratings reflect how efficiently Charity Navigator believes the Foundation will use donations, how well it has sustained programs and services, and its level of commitment to good governance and openness.
    The Rotary Club of Carlyle welcomes visitors to join them each Thursday for lunch at Old 50 Café in Carlyle. 

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