Many people are familiar with the late Bill Hargis, Woodbury’s longest-serving mayor. He is known for his leadership and work helping to grow the city in size and community, but he was also the founder of the Woodbury Prayer Breakfast.
The annual breakfast was important to him. “When my dad was battling cancer at the end of his life, I asked him if we should name something after him,“ says Mark Hargis, Bill’s son and chair of the Woodbury Prayer Breakfast. “He said, ‘One of the things I’m most proud of is following up with the prayer breakfast. So if you’re going to do anything in my name, do that.’” Bill Hargis passed away in April 2018.
The Woodbury Prayer Breakfast takes place each year on the first Tuesday in May and was started in 2000. “It’s a time for residents of Woodbury to come together and pray for all the individuals and organizations in and throughout the city,” says Mark Hargis. “It’s a Jesus-centered event, but we pray for all and every resident.” The breakfast also features music, a speaker and, now, the presentation of the Bill Hargis Person of the Year Award.
“My dad would always say, the world belongs to those who show up,” says Hargis, “So I’m just trying to show up.”
First given in 2018 to former mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens, the award honors an individual in the community who “leads with faith first,” according to Hargis. As stated on the award plaque, “This award recognizes a leader in the Woodbury community who has carried the Torch for Christ in the community and positively impacted God’s Kingdom with their faith through Servant Leadership,” followed by the bible verse Matthew 5:16. The Woodbury Prayer Breakfast committee takes nominees and selects the final winner each year. The award also includes a donation to a charity of the winner’s choice.
This year’s award went to Woodbury resident and business owner Michael Brocker. “Michael Brocker has been a pillar of the community for quite some time,” says Hargis. “I would describe him as humble and concerned about others. I would describe him as a man of integrity.”
“Being blessed to know Bill personally and understand the man of character and the servant leader that he was, it is truly humbling and a sincere blessing to be honored with the award that bears his name,” says Brocker.
A father of nine, Brocker was introduced as person of the year by his son, Matthew. Brocker stresses that his accomplishments are a reflection of his faith. “Ultimately, He gets all the glory and we get to walk in the joy that He promises as we abide in Him and allow Him to work through our lives,” says Brocker.
As a Woodbury native, being honored by his community is especially meaningful to Brocker. “Without question one of the things that I appreciate the most about our community is the amazing quality of the people who live here,” he says. “Although no community is ‘perfect,’ I believe we get as close to that as any community in the country and I praise God for allowing me the privilege of growing up and raising my family in such a wonderful place.”
The Bill Hargis Person of the Year Award is given at the Woodbury Prayer Breakfast each year. If you have recommendations for next year’s nominations, please contact Mark Hargis at email@example.com.