By Barb Strozewski with Stacey Garton
Stacey was born October 26, 1967, in Smithville Missouri, and has lived in Lathrop Missouri for 46 years. Her birth mother placed her up for adoption and five days later and she was adopted by C.K. and Nancy McDill of Liberty, MO. Six months later they moved to Lathrop MO where she spent the rest of her life on the family farm. Her husband, Glen was born in North Kansas City, MO on July 27, 1964. He grew up in Kansas City before joining the military and then settling in Plattsburg MO in 1987.
On June 1, 2014, Stacey and Glen moved to Edgemont SD to begin a new journey in life, and to start his career with the BNSF Railroad. His family also lives close to his and Stacey’s farm in Lathrop. He has three brothers, and Stacey has one.
Her parents worked hard their whole lives and still do on the farm. “My mother was a full time farm wife and mother while my dad was a full time famer besides working at TWA until his retirement from there in 1990. He then purchased more cattle and took on more land. Their hard work taught me to work hard, not give up, reach for what you want and you will succeed.” said Stacey. Based on her experience exampled by her parents, Stacey says the theme of her life is based on her belief, ‘If you dream it you can have it. If you work hard enough, anything is in reach.’
She graduated High School one year early to begin her own path in life. She began working for Patricia Stevens as a model, while going to their fashion merchandising school. She found out quickly that was not the career path that interested her and didn’t meet her expectations of what she wanted out of life. From that point Stacey turned her energy toward corporate America starting her path as a receptionist and working toward a future.
In Stacey’s own words, “There truly has not been anything in life I have wanted to do that I let pass me by. Each employment move was always to a better position with step up on the ladder and more experience to take me to the next point in my life. I have managed top horse show barns, been an EMT, Firefighter and 911 Dispatcher, a member of Clinton County Drug Task Force and managed three of the largest animal hospitals in the Kansas City area.”
In addition to managing the three aforementioned animal hospitals, she had received a call from the owner while the plans for the hospitals were being formed and before their construction, asking if he could show her the plans for the facilities. After reviewing those plans, Stacey agreed to participate and was involved in their construction from the ground up.
Here is some history leading to her managing the three hospitals. Stacey had spent many years in the animal rescue area leading to a great network of people. That is what ultimately led her to working in the Veterinary field. One of the veterinarians she met through the UAN as was from the KC area and sought her out when he decided to build his own hospital. He asked her to be a part of his team before he began construction on the first hospital. After two years in the making and construction phase, they opened the doors in November of 2000. There were three people on staff to start with and that began the fast track to Practice Manager for the next phase of growth for Stacey and the hospitals.
Four years later they opened a second hospital and five years later they opened a 24 hour emergency hospital. They staffed over 70 employees, served the greater KC metro area and had one of the largest pet boarding and daycare facilities in the area. The owner also started a development company and Stacey managed the daily operations that company as well. She spent 11 years in the industry before leaving to pursue other interests and less working hours. She looks back on this as one of the greater accomplishments of her career choices. “Building animal hospitals from the ground up, managing all aspects of them from personnel, marketing and finance take a lot of hard work. The trust that was placed in me to take something, help it grow and be a part of something on this huge scale still amazes me” said Stacey. Today they are still growing and flourishing, are icons of the veterinary industry in KC with large beautiful buildings, have the most up to date equipment, and up to date leading edge services to be offered in pet health care.
In passing on their work ethic and beliefs to their children, Stacey thinks their youngest son seem to grasp the concept very early in his desire to change the world and build his church. Six years ago, Stacey and Glen lost their nine year old son to a brain aneurysm. He said he had a headache and 15 minutes later he was gone. He was a special little guy, in that from the age of six, he started to save his money to build his church where people could come and had picked the spot out where he wanted to build it on the family farm.
The following is just a few words from the website at www.mackintyreschurch.com: This is a website dedicated to a nine year old boy who had a dream of building a church. Today, September 20, 2008, marks the first day of spreading Mackintyre’s dream to the world via the web. As I am able to go forward from the loss of our son from a sudden aneurysm, this website will tell the unbelievable story of a tiny child with a big dream of building a place where people could come and hear him speak. Mackintyre’s Church…We are building it. Lathrop Missouri is a small rural farming community, but we have room for one more church. A small, one room church on top of a hill, seven miles from the closest town, a child dreamed of a place for people to find peace, listen to music and be closer to their God.
‘God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Revelation 21:4.
We have been blessed since the beginning of construction on the church with great friends, family and strangers who helped us make this dream come true. Media coverage sent Mackintyre’s story around the globe and has brought visitors to his church from far and wide. Each speaks of the feeling of peace you find on the grounds and in the church. They often leave with more than they came with…A sense of wholeness and a quite peace. Stacey believes at this age, both she and Glen have achieved all of their goals in life, except outliving all of their children. She doesn’t think she took the time off that she needed after Mackintyre’s death, six years ago. That prompted the change to the design industry and a less stressful job close to home. She and Glen have slowed down tremendously in the past six years and are not quite as determined to conquer the world as they are to live and enjoy it. They still have things to do, but are blessed in what they have and take things more slowly these days. Finding the “new normal” in life was difficult and she and Glen needed a change. She had spent a lot of time in marketing and design at the Animal Hospitals designing brochures, business cards, marketing materials and websites, so the change to a career in graphic design seemed like an easy transition and a welcome change. She has been in the publishing industry for three years now doing book layout, cover design, ad design and ad clean up. She currently works remotely from home.
Her interests include the following hobbies: quilting, painting, horses and photography. She has two horses, still at home in Missouri, she hopes to ‘sometime soon’ find a place for in the Edgemont area. Her photography interest lies mostly in landscape and wildlife photography. She has done some wedding photography in the past, and was the staff photographer for a bluegrass band in Northwest Missouri for three years. She finds endless opportunities for photos in the Black Hills. Photography became her therapy after losing their son, Mackintyre. She sells some photos on line on stock photo sites and is building an online store in her spare time focusing mostly on greeting cards, note cards, calendars and stationary products.
Her husband served in the US Army before becoming a police officer. He has been in law enforcement since 1987 serving as the Chief Deputy for the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, Lathrop Police Department and most recently the Chief of Police in their hometown of Lathrop MO. He was also the Assistant Coroner for Clinton County for many years as well as an EMT.
They also have two children, Blake, of Kansas City, and Taylor, of Marshall MO. They are both in their 20’s. Blake is in retail management and Taylor is in college studying nursing.
Stacey and Glen reached a decision that they needed a change, and a new direction in life to cope with the journey they have been given in losing a child. Her husband needed a different career with less stress, and they decided the railroad held the promise of a good future. There are a lot of things they want to do with Mackintyre’s church after retirement, and the railroad will afford them the financial security to expand and improve on their son’s dream. This time away from their farm home will give them the opportunity to meet new people and explore new places. The move has not been easy being away from their respective families and friends, and yet it has been manageable and continues to improve with each day. Stacey said, “I don’t think any journey worth taking is easy, and the things you learn only improve the person you are and who you become.”
Living in town has been the hardest transition since for them, since they are used to living on a farm with their animals and lots of space to roam. She is happy to say they have met some wonderful people who have gone out of their way to make them feel welcome in Edgemont, and that is helping tremendously during this transition. They are thankful for everyone. As a parting comment Stacey said, “With so many things to do here, I have to say as the owner of a BLM mustang, I particularly enjoyed the trips to view the wild horses in Wyoming and plan to go back soon.”