North Central Missouri College Foundation announces the Distinguished Alumni Class for 2023: Joyce (Benson) Cutsinger, Ronald (Mitch) Dougan, Pam (Craig) Johnston, and Anthony (Tony) Wayne Ralston. Honorees will be recognized during the Pirates Ball on March 23, 2024, at the Ketcham Community Center on the campus of North Central Missouri College. All four recipients are native Trenton Hometown Heroes, graduating from Trenton High School and attending North Central Missouri College (NCMC), formerly Trenton Junior College (TJC). A reception to honor the distinguished alum class of 2023 will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Jeanette Hoffman Robison Auditorium. The rest of the evening will include a plated meal by Great Western Dining at 6:00 pm, a reverse raffle, program featuring our four distinguished alumni and the vocal talents of Ben & Lauren Johnson. Individual event tickets are $50 per person. Tables of six can be purchased for $300 and include one reverse raffle ticket. Reverse raffle tickets will be available for purchase the night of the event.

Joyce (Benson) Cutsinger

Joyce (Benson) Cutsinger attended Trenton grade school, middle school, and college, all in the same building. She married Ralph Cutsinger on January 22, 1971. She then went on to NCMC, where she graduated with her PN degree in 1980 and her ADN (RN) degree in 1982. Her roots were firmly planted in Trenton; she worked through nursing school at Sunnyview Nursing Home and worked her way up to the Charge Nurse and House Supervisor Part-Time.

In 1989, Joyce began her 23-year career at NCMC. First as an instructor in the Nursing Department until 2005, then as the Allied Health Coordinator until her retirement in 2012. During her tenure at NCMC, she received the Governor’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2002 and 2008. Joyce has become a permanent fixture at NCMC; even after her retirement, she and her family regularly support the Pirates. NCMC was not just a place of employment; it became a culture that became a family tradition. After their kids graduated high school, Joyce and Ralph became incredibly involved with NCMC Athletics. They rarely missed a home game and would regularly travel to support the Pirates on the road as well. They would invite the teams to their home and host team meals and gatherings every year, a tradition that continues to this day. The Pirate’s basketball teams soon became “their kids,” and attending games became a family affair for the Cutsinger’s children and grandchildren.

They even had a special section where everyone would sit right above the home team’s bench. Her immediate family and NCMC “kids” have always been especially important to her. Joyce also enjoys sewing, making baskets, and helping/caring for family and friends.

Joyce and Ralph were three months shy of being married for 50 years when Ralph passed away in 2020. Their children, son Corie and daughter-in-law Marcie, daughter Kristi, and grandchildren Dakota and Madi all continue the Cutsinger tradition of being Pirates’ with Joyce.

Ronald (Mitch) Dougan

Mitch Dougan graduated from Trenton High School in 1980 and later graduated from NCMC with an A.S. in Retail Business Management in 1982. He married Donna (Reich) Dougan in August 1985 and shortly after began his career with Americo Insurance Company in 1986.

Americo is one of the country’s largest privately held Life Insurance Companies. Mitch has been heavily involved in the company’s growth for the past 37 ½ years. He has traveled the country working with acquisitions and consolidating the business to the Kansas City hub and systems. He helped build the company from 40 associates to over 500 associates today. Mitch currently works from his home in Trenton as the Director, Policy Administration Systems. To get to this point in his career, Mitch has worked in various roles, including Customer Service, Actuarial Systems Analyst, Model Office Manager, Systems Analyst, Director, and Model Office. He is known around the company as an expert on the history of Americo. He is considered among the leaders of various legacy administration applications by the vendors of these systems/applications.

He is a member of the NCMC Holiday Hoops Committee, where he has spent countless hours contracting schools and teams, scheduling, keeping scorebooks, and watching games. He is also a member and officer of the NCMC Athletics Booster Club, the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and the Universal Tennis Registry (UTR). His willingness to serve his community speaks for itself with an extensive list of former and current volunteer roles with the Trenton Kiwanis Club, Trenton Park Board, Elks, Keeper of the Sacred Bundle in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, and Trenton Area Tennis Association. He also played a key role in the fundraising and construction efforts of the new tennis courts at THS.

Mitch has been married to Donna for 38 years, and they have one daughter, Alyssa, and son-in-law, Sean Lewis, and one granddaughter, Layla. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, playing tennis, and being a grandparent.

Pam (Craig) Johnston

Pam (Craig) Johnston is a lifelong resident of Trenton and a tireless supporter of children, education, Faith, history, and NCMC. After graduating with an AA degree from NCMC, she continued her education to earn her Bachelor of Science in Education from Truman State University in 1985. She married Ed Johnston, and they have two sons: Craig and Clay.

Pam began her teaching career at Spickard Elementary School in 1985; after 11 years, she accepted the position to teach fifth-grade Communication Arts at Trenton R-9. During this time, she continued her educational journey by earning her Master’s in Reading from Northwest Missouri State University in 1996. She retired from Trenton R-9 in 2007 but did not stay retired long. She immediately returned to teaching in the fall of 2008 when she accepted a position at NCMC teaching Reading and Writing Improvement. True to her nature, she offered her expertise by helping in the Writing Lab at the Academic Resource Center. Pam continued to add to her resume by graduating from Missouri Western in 2012 with a Graduate Writing Certificate. Throughout her career, Pam was highly active in the National Writing Project through the Prairie Land Writing Project at Missouri Western.

She and her husband, Ed, often hosted international students from Ghana, Nigeria, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic for holiday meals and excursions to the city. Her relationships with the international students in her NCMC classes were one of her career’s most rewarding experiences. She is a loyal Trenton resident who is constantly giving back to her community by serving on the Grundy County Museum board for nine years, being an advocate for preserving local history, reviving the Writer’s Guild of Trenton, and becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate of Children (CASA).

Pam and Ed have been married for 52 years and are active members in their church, Dockery Chapel. They have two sons, Craig and Clay, and five grandchildren. She has been the secretary for the local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist Association for the past 11 years. She keeps busy being the secretary for the Chapter MN of PEO and the Grundy County Missouri Retired Teacher Association (MRTA).

Tony Ralston

Anthony (Tony) Wayne Ralston graduated from Trenton High School and just moved upstairs to the third floor to continue his schooling. He had two stints at NCMC, the first from September 1964 to May 1965 and the second when he returned from active duty in the Air Force. He returned to NCMC and became the first in his family to graduate college; he graduated in May 1974 with an AA degree.

In 1966, Tony was drafted into the Air Force and served four years, including a year in the Vietnam War. He was active-duty Air Force from 1966 to 1970 as Security Police. Once his tour was over, he returned home and married Marlene (Pinnick) Ralston. He transferred his membership from the Nazarene Church to Wesley United Methodist Church, where he was married, and later baptized both of his sons, Bradly and Bently, there. After earning his degree at NCMC, he went on to earn several certifications, including Certified Fire Instructor, National Registered EMT, National Registry FF I, FF II, FF III, Fire Officer I & II, Fire Inspector I & II, State Missouri Fire Investigator, and Certified Rescue Diver. In July 1978, he joined the Missouri Air National Guard in Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighter to obtain training in aircraft fire suppression/rescue to enhance the city of Trenton’s fire department capabilities. After 18 years, he retired on December 7, 1996.

Tony had a passion for firefighting and, protecting his community, and passing on opportunities for future firefighters. In fact, Future Firefighters is a program that was set up by Tony for young future firefighters. From that program has come three firefighters and two Fire Chiefs. In addition to his service as a firefighter, he is also a two-time Commander of VFW Post 919. As a cause near and dear to his heart, he has worked diligently to raise funds to remodel and restore the VFW building.

Tony and Marlene have two sons, Bradly and Bently, a daughter-in-law, Cassi, and two granddaughters, Madison and Mackenzie. Family, VFW, and firefighting are the three most important things to him. He is proud that Pleasant Plain Street has been home to one of his sons and four generations of Ralston’s in three different houses.

For Pirates Ball ticket information or reservations, contact NCMC Foundation & Alumni Association at 660-357-6415 or [email protected].

The NCMC Foundation is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works with North Central Missouri College to transform lives and empower people. The Foundation Board comprises TJC/NCMC alumni, business and community leaders, and friends of the college, all of whom support the objectives of the Foundation and the mission and vision of NCMC. To learn more about the NCMC Foundation and view the Distinguished Alumni list, visit www.ncmissouri.edu/alumni/distinguished-alumni/.

Photo: Joyce (Benson) Cutsinger, Ronald (Mitch) Dougan, Pam (Craig) Johnston, and Anthony (Tony) Wayne Ralston

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