FOUR STATE AREA — We continue our focus on the remarkable women of the Four States by looking at someone who says her drive to help is an inherited trait.

When times are tough, Shelly Dreyer wants to be there for others. It could be extra support for a kid who needs it, a family trying to recover from a tornado, or someone who needs a little help getting justice.

Shelly Dreyer, Remarkable Woman Nominee, said, “I decided I wanted to be a lawyer from the time I was a little kid.”

But not for a big corporation – but one on one with victims. Shelly was the first generation in her family to go to college, at the time Southwest Missouri State University then the University of Missouri School of Law.

“I only applied for one school. I had no idea of what if I don’t get in – it didn’t even occur to me.”

Thankfully, she did, earning her degree. That first job was in St. Louis, paying off bills and students loans – but she wanted to do more.

“And so I signed up to be a big and I was matched with a wonderful young lady and we stayed matched for a long time until she grew up and grew out of the program.”

And they’re still in touch today, through the move to Joplin and the adoption of her own daughter. Shelly wanted to stay involved in Big Brothers, Big Sisters – joining the Board of Directors.

“I thought just this is an opportunity to give back, but in reality I think I got more out of it than I gave it was such a rewarding process.”

Her volunteerism doesn’t stop there. She got a unique opportunity after the 2011 Joplin tornado.

“My home was still standing, I was fortunate just random luck that it didn’t hit our house.”

She started helping others who survived the storm.

“So many people were out of their homes and they had problems with landlords, they had problems with contracts had problems with people coming in fly-by-night companies, trying to take advantage of people.”

And as she’s gained experience as a personal injury lawyer, she’s also mentoring young women just starting their careers.

“Finally woke up one day and said I’m not the young lawyer anymore, I’m the old lawyer and it’s time for me to do something to help the young women coming into the profession.”

She hopes what she’s learned can help pave the way for others.

“Women today still face some hurdles even in the law and it can be difficult when you’re young and starting out. And if I can give just a few words of encouragement.”

Shelly adds that she doesn’t do any of it for the recognition but just hopes her efforts will help.

“There are many amazing, remarkable women in this community. So to be chosen among them is just a great honor.”

Source: KSN, Author Gretchen Bolander