Sheila Agee of St. Joseph, Mo., the 2003 Parent of the Year at UMR, provides a "pillar of support" to her son, R.J. Agee, a senior in engineering management at UMR, and others during hard times.
Agee was honored Saturday, Nov. 1, as the UMR Parent of the Year. The award is sponsored by the UMR Parents’ Association and is presented every year as part of UMR’s Family Day activities.
In nominating his mother for the award, R.J. Agee writes, "My mother has always been a pillar of support for me throughout my life. She has helped me through the hardest of times, often single-handedly." Agee’s father has spent a lot of time away from home serving in the military, including a long stay in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.
Most recent in Agee’s mind is the way his mother helped him through a tragic event that occurred last fall. Agee and a group of friends traveled to Warrensburg, Mo., to watch the UMR football team play. The following day the group traveled on to Maryville, Mo., to meet friends. The next day, tragedy struck as one of two cars leaving Maryville was involved in a serious car accident that killed two UMR students and seriously injured a third.
"The car that I was driving left about an hour later (after the first car) and happened upon the wreckage. I instantly called my mother and talked to her for the duration of the hour trip back to St. Joseph. Once I arrived at the hospital I found her waiting for me. She was there with me the rest of the day, and until I left for school on Sunday."
In the days following the accident many family and friends came to St. Joseph and Sheila Agee welcomed them into her home, feeding and accommodating them at every turn, says Agee. "Even after most everyone had left again for school, my mom continued to visit (the third person who was seriously injured) on a regular basis and to talk with his parents, who were basically living at the hospital," says Agee. "She told me numerous times that she couldn’t imagine what they were going through and she wanted to help them however she could.
"I know that I could not have made it through such a hard time without the love and support of my mother," says Agee.