Former Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman named Chamber Citizen of the Year

Darrell Todd Maurina

Former Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman named Chamber Citizen of the Year

Former Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Feb. 17, 2023) -- Former Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman has been named the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year for 2022.

Hardman retired from teaching in the Waynesville R-VI School District in 2003 and was elected to the Waynesville City Council, where she served during a difficult period in which the council was deadlocked on a 4-4 split between different factions. Hardman focused her attention during that period on downtown revitalization, which wasn't one of the major areas on which the council members disagreed and in which she was able to accomplish many of her goals to improve the appearance of downtown. Longtime Waynesville residents remember a very different downtown from what the city has today, one in which dilapidated and sometimes dangerous buildings surrounded the courthouse, including the "Vert Art" building whose roof had fallen in so long ago that a tree was growing through the roof.

Hardman's work helped clean up downtown and was a factor leading to her election as mayor in 2012, a position she held for two terms until 2020. Prior to serving on the city council, she was also a member of the city's Planning and Zoning Commission, which according to her nomination paperwork submitted by the Pulaski County Health Center, "helped establish early building ordinances protecting Waynesville's citizens," and also served on the Waynesville Park Board. She eventually served as chair of each entity.

Other candidates for the Citizen of the Year award were Cherie Newcomb-Rigsby, who was nominated by the Humane Society of Pulaski County, and Janice Wilson, the wife of Waynesville Mayor Pro-Tem Sean Wilson, who was nominated by Greater Faith Victory Church.

Other awards given at tonight's Chamber banquet included:
* Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Laura Schoephorster, determined by attendance at Chamber functions throughout the year. Laura earned 105 points and attended 85 events.
* 2022 Volunteer of the Year: Don Murray.
* 2022 Nonprofit of the Year: Still Useable Ministries Church
* 2022 Community Improvement of the Year was Route 66 Community Art Gallery.
* 2022 Educator of the Year: Donna Groves.