GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — A charitable fund has been established to honor retiring Greene County Commissioner Roseann Bentley.

Bentley has held a county commission seat for more than a decade and also served as a state senator for two terms before that.

A ceremony took place for her today– celebrating her retirement and honoring her legacy.

The charitable fund established at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in Roseann Bentley’s name will be used to assist children who receive care at the Jordan Valley Community’s Health Center.

Bentley’s husband is a founder of that clinic– the city’s first federally qualified health center.

There was applause, laughter and tears as a room full of friends, co-workers and family members gathered to honor the work Roseann Bentley has done for the community.

“I feel so lucky to have been able to make people’s lives a little better,” said Bentley.  “That’s one of the great attributes of being in public life– is you can make changes in people’s lives that are really helpful.”

Bentley has been a very busy lady, so retirement will certainly be a change.

“I’m looking forward to it in a way,” she said.  “But I don’t know if I’m going to wish I was back in the middle of things.”

Roseann Bentley served two terms in the state senate before taking over a county commission seat– which she held for 12 years.

“I wanted to continue to try to improve lives for people in the state and in Greene County,” she said.

“The thing that stands out to me, is in the decision making process– she has always been one to think of how these decisions will impact the people we serve,” said Greene County Commissioner Harold Bengsch.

Roseann was the first woman representing Springfield who was elected to senate.

She was also the first woman appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which primarily oversees the state budget.

“It was difficult going into state senate,” she said.  “Because there were very few women– and two of us went in, and that made three women out of 34 senators.”

Bentley’s parents played a large role in inspiring her to get into public service.  She especially enjoyed working with children.

“I’ve had wonderful opportunities to work in education.,” said Bentley.  “That was my major in college– and that’s been a good life for me.”

A life she’s spent dedicating her own time to helping others.

“It’s been a pleasure serving on various and community boards,” said Bentley.  “Where I feel we’ve been able to step things up and improve lives right here in Springfield and Greene County and across the state.  So I value that.”

You can donate to the fund by writing a check to “The Roseann Bentley Legacy Fund for Children” and mailing it to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks at PO Box 8969, Springfield, MO, 65801. 

You can also donate online here by going to the “gift designation” option, clicking “other,” and then going to “other designation.”  There, write in the name of the Roseann Bentley Legacy Fund for Children.

For any questions, you may contact Julie Leeth at 417-869-6199.