The staff of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery offered their thanks to those who serve as volunteers or give support to the hatchery in any way. About 50 people and several businesses were treated to a chili luncheon in one of the shelter houses at the hatchery.

All the staff at the hatchery made chili and competed in a chili cook off with the guests serving as judges. The winning chili was made by hatchery manager Dave Hendrix, who was presented with a trophy for his win.

Besides chili, the guests had homemade fried bread, cheese, nachos, salads, peach and blackberry cobblers and a cake, courtesy of the Neosho Wal-Mart store, one of the businesses that has partnered with the Friends group. Other groups or businesses honored were Walgreens, the Missouri Department of Conservation, First Community Bank and Trust, K&S Wire, and State Representative Bill Reiboldt.

Many of the volunteers donned cowboy hats to honor and surprise Dave Hendrix whose trademark cowboy hat can be seen all over the hatchery.

Certificates of appreciation were presented to individuals and businesses that were in attendance, and fall chrysanthemums were given to each family.

John and Betty Wright were named "Volunteers of the Year." Betty has just retired after serving as bookstore manager since the Visitor Center was opened on December 9, 2010. Many people took the opportunity to see the new stained glass window in the bookstore, which was installed just two days before the luncheon.

Addressing the group, Hendrix thanked all the people in the community for their support. He also thanked his staff, saying that to be a good leader, one must surround himself with good people.