I Spy Great Work Has Landed in Joplin!

July 14, 2022 | Logan Breer

A core component to a strong local Main Street organization, that is recognized by Missouri Main Street Connection and Main Street America, is having a diversified board of directors. This comes from a mix of different skills and experiences, personal characteristics, the 4 W’s (which are wealth, wisdom, worker, and worrier), community affiliations, and more. Each Main Street board of directors is a unique mix of these factors that comes from and reflects the community that they serve.

This month we are highlighting Eric Osen who was nominated by Downtown Joplin Alliance for “I Spy…Great Work” in appreciation for his work. This nomination enters Eric into the running for Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference in August. The nomination was submitted by Lori Haun, Executive Director of Downtown Joplin Alliance:

“Eric is a Missouri Master Gardener who had dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours towards making the Community Gardens at the Empire Market come alive. He helps tend the garden beds and works to improve the overall quality of our farmers market facility. He has led several projects involving the community and our local Youth Volunteer Corps including building a keyhole garden, beautification of our property, teaching topics ranging from winterizing garden beds to the lifecycles of ladybugs to crafting zombie scarecrows. Eric shows up for us, all of the time. Whether it is helping to launch an adult gardening education series, fixing random appliances, or scraping ice from the walkways, we know we can count on Eric to help make our market, and thus our downtown, a better place to be.”

Eric Osen is an excellent example of an outstanding community member who uses his unique skills, experiences, and personal characteristics to contribute to Main Street and his community. His expertise, leadership, and affiliation with the Missouri Master Gardeners makes him a huge asset to Downtown Joplin Alliance.

Eric is not the only one volunteering with Downtown Joplin Alliance. They reported 1,425 hours of volunteer time in 2021 equating to $38.774.25, which is a huge community investment in downtown! The Independent Sector values volunteer time in Missouri at $27.21 an hour (as of April 2022).

Missouri Main Street Connection recognizes the time and sacrifices it takes to volunteer at a nonprofit. Along with our local Main Street programs, we thank everyone who has volunteered with Main Street. Nominations for this year’s “I Spy…Great Work” have concluded, but if you see individuals in your community that are completing great work by volunteering for Main Street, contact your local Main Street program and recommend they be highlighted in the future.

If you want to find resources on how to recruit, train, and recognize your volunteers, look through our resource library which is open to MMSC investors. Not an investor? Email Staci at to find out how.

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