Citizen Spotlight – Kent Powell

Kent Powell has been a pillar in the community for more than forty years (photo Courtney Cole).

Kent Powell really knows how to put a smile on the faces of Excelsior Springs residents, literally and figuratively. Kent and his wife Sharon moved to Excelsior Springs in 1976 to start a dentistry practice after Kent served two years in the United States Air Force. Kent, who was originally from Belton, MO, purchased his dental offices from a former classmate who had decided to leave the practice to pursue other interests. “He contacted me and said he’d decided [dentistry] wasn’t for him…so he asked me if I’d come and take over the practice, and we’ve been here ever since,” Kent said.

Kent was recently recognized by the Missouri Municipal League with a Civic Leadership Award for his outstanding service to the city. The award is a tribute to the exceptional leadership and contributions Kent has made to the community over the past four-plus decades. The award was especially meaningful for him as his father had received the same award in 1997. “I was actually able to find his old award and… it just means so much,” Kent said, with tears welling in his eyes. Kent said his father worked in construction and could do almost any job, “he never taught me much about what he did because he said he wanted me to go to school so I wouldn’t have to work so hard,” he chuckled.

In addition to years of generous giving, Kent has been continuously active in the community, serving on almost every board and participating in numerous community organizations. He was on the hospital board for two terms and served as president. He was on the Parks and Recreation board for two terms and also served as president there. He’s had several stints on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, serving as president “at least twice, maybe three times.” Currently, Kent is the Chairman of the Excelsior Springs Health Care Foundation Board of Directors. He’s also on the Zoning Board of Adjustments for the city and helps oversee the Enhanced Enterprise Zone Board and the Urban Redevelopment Commission, which handles the 353 tax abatement program. He was a long-time member of the Optimist Club and ensured that their coffers were transferred to the Excelsior Springs Educational Foundation when the club ceased operations during the throes of COVID-19. Kent enjoys his involvement with his church, the First United Methodist Church of Excelsior Springs, where he serves as a lay leader, member of the trustees’ committee, and lay member to the annual conference. 

As a youth, Kent was an Eagle Scout and loved spending his summers at Camp Osceola (now H Roe Bartle Scout Reservation). He met Sharon in Belton where they both attended a church youth group together. He said although they’d known each other for a long time, it wasn’t until he was a senior in high school that they had their first date. “In February, we had a Sadie Hawkins dance, and she invited me to the dance. The rest is history,” he blushed. In May, Kent and Sharon celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Now, In their free time, Kent and Sharon love to travel. Visiting their family, and checking items off their bucket list.  The couple have two sons, Trevor, who lives in a suburb of Chicago, and who has a daughter, Madison, (23) who attends the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Their youngest son, Jeremy, lives in Excelsior Springs with his wife Kim and their two sons, Scout and Tristan. “And we’ve got another grandson due on October 31,” he beamed. 

Kent said he loves to see Excelsior Springs growing and thriving. He encourages folks to get more involved. “You can always volunteer to be on a committee or commission… there are always vacancies that need to be filled,” he said. “Be kind to your city officials, they’re doing the best job they know how,” he added (Sharon is currently in her second term as Mayor of Excelsior Springs), and he said if you don’t like the way something is being done, reach out to the person you’re upset with, “maybe they can explain why it’s being done that way.” Finally, he said he hopes that people can think about the future. Progress can sometimes be slow. “Just think about the long-term good, and, and don’t be afraid when new things come into town,” he concluded.

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