Feature photo: Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce President Todd Geeson presents the 2023 Commerce and Industry Award to Missouri Military Academy Board of Trustees member Mary Patrick Seigfreid.
The Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce honored Missouri Military Academy (MMA) with the 2023 Commerce and Industry Award at the 38th annual Commerce and Industry Appreciation Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, hosted on MMA's campus. The Mexico Chamber annually presents this award to recognize local organizations for their outstanding civic responsibility and generous contributions to advance the growth and welfare of Mexico, Missouri. Click here to learn more about MMA's selection for this award.
MMA bag pipers helped open the event with a performance. Below, from left to right, Cadets Mason Brooks, Adam Swenson, Alexander Pro, and Logan Lockhart Guditis.
MMA would like to congratulate David Pickering Photography for receiving the 2023 E. Warner Williams Business Service Award at the dinner.
Following an introduction of the Academy by Bank of Missouri Community Bank President Matt Gowin, whose son is a sophomore at MMA, MMA Board of Trustees member Mary Patrick Seigfreid accepted the award on behalf of the Academy. MMA President Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret), was unable to attend due to recovering from an injury.
"In 1988, MMA received its first Commerce & Industry Award — 35 years and four MMA presidents ago," Seigfreid said in her remarks. "Tonight, we celebrate the Academy’s second time with this award. MMA’s economic impact on our community is significant and has been for over 100 years."
Below, please read a message from President Geraci that Seigfreid shared at the event:
“When we learned that MMA had been selected for this year’s Commerce and Industry Award, I was so honored – and I never guessed I would not be here in person this evening. I am disappointed that I am unable to be present because this award is such an honor and an opportunity to show our appreciation for the wonderful relationship we have with Mexico and the Chamber of Commerce. To Dana Keller and the Chamber board members, thank you for all you do.
We especially appreciate the opportunity to host this dinner on campus tonight. Dating back to our founding, the Mexico community’s support of the Academy’s military educational model — based on structure, self-discipline, personal responsibility, and accountability — has been integral to our success and growth. We have remained true to our mission for 134 years, and fulfilling our mission is more important than ever today.
It is important for us, as an Academy, to give back to our community. Each year, our cadets contribute 8,000 hours of service. This selfless service, one of our core values, helps cadets develop a sense of direction and belonging, and I don’t know of a better community for them to have that sense of belonging than Mexico, Missouri.
While we appreciate when our cadets go out into the community for service activities or to attend church, we also look forward to when the community visits campus. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in Leadership Mexico in 2018, and it’s very important to me that the local leaders in Leadership Mexico visit our campus and learn about MMA.
We have several opportunities throughout the year for the community to visit. For example, we annually extend a special invitation to area veterans to attend our Veterans Day Review, to be held this year on Friday, Nov. 10. On December 9, we will celebrate the Academy’s 82nd Evensong, a festival of lessons and carols, at Mexico United Methodist Church. I invite all of you here tonight to join us for both events.
MMA has several special community partners that I want to recognize. We complement our academics on campus with educational partnerships with Presser Arts Center, Hart Career Center, and William Woods University. We are grateful for these partnerships which expand and elevate our cadets’ education.
I also want to recognize our partnership with the Miss Missouri Scholarship organization. We love being part of how energized the community becomes through this event and are honored to host the annual competition.
Lastly, I want to recognize the members of our MMA family attending the dinner tonight. Would our cadet leaders please stand? I would like to recognize them for their role in leading the corps and the pride that they bring to MMA and Mexico. I appreciate this opportunity for them to be here tonight and see how a community comes together.
Would our MMA faculty and staff members please stand? We wouldn’t be receiving this award tonight without our incredible people. The group in attendance represents a small portion of our team, representing each area of the Academy, including our grounds and maintenance crew, faculty, admissions, coaches, store managers, and senior division leaders.
I am honored to lead this team. Their work positively changes our cadets’ lives.
As you leave tonight, I ask that you remember that 134 years ago MMA rose from ashes because of the generosity of the people of Mexico and their belief in what we do. We continue to exist today through our partnership and your support. We enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. Our success – our cadets’ success – brings many wonderful benefits to the community. Thank you for believing in and supporting our mission and our cadets.”
Below, MMA faculty, staff and cadet leaders who attended the Commerce and Industry Award dinner.
Below, City of Mexico Mayor Vicki Briggs (who also serves as a MMA faculty member) presents a proclamation to Seigfreid and cadet leaders Zijie Zhou and Bradley Thumbi to recognize MMA's receipt of the award and positive impact upon the city. From left to right, Briggs, Zhou, Seigfreid and Thumbi.
Below, Audrain County Presiding Commissioner Alan Winders presents a proclamation recognizing MMA's achievement on behalf of Missouri Senator Cindy O'Laughlin.
From left to right, Winders, Zhou, Seigfreid and Thumbi.