This column serves as a spotlight, highlighting the everyday people who work and live in Callaway County. The Fulton Sun takes a moment with someone who is not usually featured in the news but is just as instrumental in making the community the strong and beautiful place residents here know and love.
Though Shannon McPherson lives in Wardsville, she started working in Fulton in September 2020. She is the director of Kingdom Ministries' Faith Maternity Care of Mid-Missouri, which is a not-for-profit faith-based ministry that provides housing and other assistance to young mothers who choose life for their baby.
"I love my job so much, the drive is completely worth it," McPherson said.
McPherson graduated summa cum laude from Park University in 2008 with a degree in social psychology.
"I've worked as a 911 operator, an advocate at the Prosecutor's Office, a crisis intervention specialist for a domestic violence shelter, a director of christian education and a foster care case manager. It kind of lead me to my current job."
Her husband, Dan McPherson, works at the Attorney General's office in Jefferson City. They have two kids: Ethan and Ray.
"They're both amazing," McPherson said. 'They both have overcome a lot. I always tell people that I am very, very lucky to be their mom."
What was your first job?
My first grown up job I was a 911 operator dispatcher.
Who inspires you the most?
John Walsh. I used to watch "America's Most Wanted" and I felt really inspired to get into that career field. I've done that and I loved it. I'm really big on crisis on crisis intervention. One of the best things any human can do for any other human is to be there in a moment where they need the most help they've ever needed, and do everything you can to be that calming presence and resource that they need.
And then as I get older, what inspires me now is anyone who is brave enough to try something new and help others. When I see people go above and beyond like that, it inspires me to try harder.
What have you done that has been the most fulfilling?
I was blessed with two kids, one biologically and one through adoption, who both have had overwhelming obstacles. Just to stand on the sidelines and watch these two incredible people become the amazing people God needs them to be, that right there has been the best part of my life.
Just in case anyone has ever wondered if you can love an adopted child as much as a biological child, my heart does not know the difference. They are both my babies. So, please consider adoption.
What is something you are proud of that you've been recognized for?
I had a colleague mention at a board meeting that she was impressed by the fact that I walk into a room and I don't know any strangers. I'll make a conversation with anyone. And I had to kind of laugh at that because shortly before my husband and I married, we had marital counseling with the pastor in order to marry in the church and my husband-to-be at the time was asked what is something you love about Shannon that will never change. And he said, "I love that I can take her anywhere and watch her walk into a room, talk to anyone and leave with a hundred new friends. She's really good with people." And I thought that was really sweet. And I have been blessed that my hard work has been recognized many times. I have lots of certificates and lots of great things and those are really nice. But to be described like that by someone who can be your friend and cares about you, it's really lovely.
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
Honestly, I can't imagine working in any other field other that social work. We have a saying, "You're in it for the outcome, not the income." And it really is true. I just can't imagine doing anything more fulfilling, more positive than social work. It's really just a joy. It's hard, it's emotional brutal sometimes but I can't imagine doing anything else.
What is a job that you wouldn't want to do?
I have the greatest respect for teachers. I think that the people who work in that field don't get the recognition they deserve, the pay they deserve, anything they deserve really. I'm very grateful for the teachers I had who helped me be who I am. And as a parent, it's interesting when your kids go to school because these teachers see a side of your child that you don't get to see and they are helping to shape your kids into who they're meant to be. That is priceless. I could personally never be a teacher. I just don't have that special spark that makes someone a great educator. I wish I did but I don't. That's one of my limitations. But teachers are just amazing.
What is your favorite thing about Callaway County?
Right now, it's the darling tree at the roundabout in Fulton. I love that. But I love how even though this county is very rural, you have an extraordinary array of services and resources. Despite the small size, you have CARDV, Callaway Cares, SERVE, and those are just extraordinary resources.