Associate Circuit Judge Mark Powell (Greene County Courts photo)

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by Morey Mechlin, Springfield

After 23 years on the bench in Greene County, the Honorable Judge Mark Powell retired effective May 15 and was remembered by a packed room of his colleagues as “smart, honest, and fair minded.” The respect and admiration by his peers were evident in every story and comment.  I was proud to be part of the standing ovation he received.    

And while Judge Powell has had a tremendous impact on the growth, stability and integrity of the judicial system in Greene County,  I have been privileged to witness an equally important contribution that went unmentioned — his volunteerism.  For at least 20 years, Judge Powell served as a volunteer to both the Leadership Springfield adult and student classes.  He met with hundreds of Springfield students and adults guiding them through the court system and explaining the importance of the judiciary system in our government and lives.  His sincere love of the law was contagious and I know at least one law school graduate (my son) he influenced.  I am certain there are many more!

Judge Powell went on to create the Truancy Court in Springfield Public Schools and volunteered hundreds of hours to the program that kept children engaged in school. The program has been replicated in many other school districts.  Judge Powell has also served on the board of directors for the Springfield Boys and Girls Clubs, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Southwest Missouri, and Community Partnership of the Ozarks.

I am very glad that I never had to appear in Judge Powell’s court for legal reasons, but I am honored to have been part of his legacy of community engagement and enthusiasm.  Thank you, Mark.

Morey Mechlin is a retired nonprofit executive and community volunteer.