Mark Elliff didn't know it was coming. His wife, Vickie Elliff, didn't know it was coming. Most of the presenters, including Richard Webster Jr., didn't know it was coming.

Mark Elliff didn't know it was coming. His wife, Vickie Elliff, didn't know it was coming. Most of the presenters, including Richard Webster Jr., didn't know it was coming.
“This wasn't the name they told me,” the Carthage Chamber of Commerce President said when he came to the microphone after the surprise announcement naming him the 2017 Richard M. Webster Citizen of the Year.
“I really don't know what to say, I'm honored to receive this, especially for whom it's named after, Richard Webster,” Elliff continued. “Richard and I have been friends for a lot of years, and I had a lot of respect and admiration for his dad. Other people who have won this and I'm very humbled and surprised.”
Elliff is a 1975 graduate of Carthage High School and a 1979 graduate of Missouri Southern in Joplin. He joined the Carthage Chamber of Commerce in 2012 after a career of more than 30 years in banking. Most of that time was spent in Carthage except for five years when he managed a bank in Booneville.
“It's worth noting that although he worked in Booneville for almost five years, during that time he served on the Booneville Chamber of Commerce, serving as President for one term,” said Stan Schmidt, the 2016 Citizen of the Year, in his introduction of Elliff. “Obviously it did not take long for the Booneville community to recognize his leadership and put him to work.”
Schmidt said talked about the number of organizations this year's winner has been involved with.
“This person has served on numerous boards and served as chairman on many if not most of them,” Schmidt said. “From the Chamber of Commerce to the Missouri Southern Foundation, to Rotary, to Innovative Industries, Community Support Services, the list is almost endless. Our recipient currently serves on the Carthage Community Foundation and Vision Carthage Boards, among others.”
Richard Webster Jr., the current Jasper County Auditor, son of the late Sen. Richard M. Webster, for whom the award was named and long-time friend of Elliff, said he could think of no one more worthy of the award.
“I go to church with him and he's very active there in leadership,” Webster said. “He puts the community before himself in everything he does and he wants to see it grow. He's very worthy. Absolutely it's about time, but because of his position with the Chamber, you never would have thought he would be the recipient. It's still about time, couldn't go to anyone better.”