Preserving the legacy of Warren Hearnes - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Preserving the legacy of Warren Hearnes

(KFVS) -

Locals are preserving a legacy, from humble Heartland roots to governor of Missouri, with the story of the late Warren Hearnes through the eyes of his wife Betty.

The purpose is to give a first hand look at his impact on national and local history and preserve it for years to come. The project took on a life of it's own. It will soon be available to school classrooms through a video and book.

Hearnes served from 1965 to 1973 with more than two decades overall in politics.

From the museum in Charleston where she still spends much of her time, Betty Hearnes shared stories with Dave Dickey and Randy Mcwilson of the Cape Career and Technology center. The men are Cape Girardeau writers and videographers with a passion for special projects.

They teamed up with Betty Hearnes and the Kellerman Foundation for Historic Preservation to capture stories behind Warren Hearnes' years in office and his life overall. Warren Hearnes is known for state reforms with impact that reached national levels.

"He was interested in education mental health," said Betty Hearnes. "It was one of his big things and he said we need diagnostic centers. He also wanted a medical school closer to Charleston and he worked to get that accomplished in Columbia because he thought Kansas City was just too far."

She also shared heartfelt, personal family memories of their simple country life in Charleston and then from there to the stately transformation into the governor's mansion.

The material will eventually be available to classrooms in a DVD and oral history book to be taught as part of Missouri's history. By telling their story, Betty Hearnes wants to pass on an important message to students everywhere of every class.

"We were from the country, but you can do what you want to do," said Betty Hearnes. "Everybody can do anything you want to do, even from Charleston, Missouri."

She credits her husband's success to his relentless attitude, fearlessness in the face of hard work and true integrity.

"He said always tell the truth and you're never going to get in trouble," she told Heartland News.

She said they shared a passion to make every life better.

"Anything that makes the citizens better, that's good for me," said Betty Hearnes.

Today she remains active, playing the piano in church, working as an advocate for autism awareness and countless other projects.

She said she'll never stop working to carry on her life partner's shared vision.

"You can do anything you want to do if you want to do it bad enough," she said. "The things that we were interested in was to make Missouri a better place."

The Kellerman foundation for Historic Preservation partnered with Betty Hearnes to produce the video and oral history.

Once they gather funding from private donors; banks; businesses and grants, the material can be distributed. Then the material will be free to schools interested in making it part of their curriculum.

The project could be in classrooms as soon as next year. 

To make a contribution or find out more contact the Kellerman foundation: kellermanfoundation@gmail.com.

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