District governor praises work of local Kiwanians

Posted 10/6/17

Kiwanis’ Division 3 Lt. Gov. Don Gettys visited Cleveland for the induction of new officers of the Cleveland Kiwanis Club Thursday, offering high praise to outgoing President Jeff Miller and the …

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District governor praises work of local Kiwanians


Kiwanis’ Division 3 Lt. Gov. Don Gettys visited Cleveland for the induction of new officers of the Cleveland Kiwanis Club Thursday, offering high praise to outgoing President Jeff Miller and the accomplishments of the Kiwanians during the past year.

He provided the oath of office to incoming President Mike Stoess, as well as other officers and directors.

Joining Stoess is guiding the club into a new year are Secretary Doug Greene, Treasurer Chuck Evans, President Elect Ramon Torres, Vice President Jake Duos, and new directors Vince McLaughlin, Mike Thomasson, Dennis Botts, Chuck Evans and Richard Hughes.

Other directors include Alan Winter, Charles Bagley, Charlie Cogdill and Andy Hunt.

Prior to the inductions of new officers, Miller’s final act as president was to announce club members who recorded perfect attendance for the year, those selected as Distinguished Kiwanians, and the Kiwanians of the Year for 2017.

Miller also presented a first-time-ever “Extraordinary Kiwanian Award” to senior member Winston Varnell. Varnell, the club’s official greeter each week and sponsor of several of the club’s fundraising activities. Varnell has recorded 30-straight perfect attendance years with the Kiwanis Club.

The Kiwanian of the Year selection ended in a tie, and two club members shared the honor this year. They are Traci Hamilton and Mike Thomasson.

Miller praised both honorees, saying Hamilton stepped up and assisted whenever needed, and Thomasson was instrumental in the club’s fundraising efforts.

The outgoing president also acknowledged the contributions of Bubba Smith, who volunteered to take over responsibilities for the club’s Facebook and Twitter offerings.

Those in attendance received a list of all the accomplishments the club achieved during the past year, compiled by Jessa Miller. She also received accolades from her president/husband.

At the start of the meeting, Kiwanis members had a moment of silence for fellow Kiwanians who have passed away this year. They include Robert “Bob” Travis, Robert “Bob” McMurray, and Fred Whisman.

Gettys, the district Lt. Gov., quickly called attention to those accomplishments. “Look at all you did this year,” he exclaimed. “I’m impressed.”

“Jeff has been an outstanding president,” Gettys continued. “He had led you well.”

Gettys later challenged incoming President Mike Stoess, during his induction. “This office is the highest esteem the club members can bestow on you,” he told Stoess.

The new president address his responsibilities to the club. “This coming year, we want to move forward,” he said. “It takes a certain type of person to do this, and thanks to all of you for improving our community.”

Gettys had brief comments during each of his inductions. He told the directors, “You have an important responsibility to this club.”

The lieutenant governor told the secretary (Doug Greene), “You’re the unsung hero of the Kiwanis Club.” He added that Hamilton had an exceedingly important role as treasurer, and informed the new vice president (Jake Duos), “You are expected to all that the president is, (when he is not available).”

President Elect Ramon Torres was out of the state and unable to attend Thursday’s inductions.

Receiving perfect attendance and Distinguished Kiwanian awards were Charles Bagley, Hamilton, Jeff Miller, Kaye Smith, Stoess, Varnell, Charlie Cogdill, McLaughlin, Jess Miller, Bubba Smith, Thomasson, Jaynese Waddell, Greene, Larry McSpadden, Barbara Peterson, Bob Sanders, Torres, and Hugh Walker. Alan Winter was also a Distinguished Kiwanian.

The outgoing president presented each of these members with a keepsake, a small jar filled with mints. He said the small gift was an acknowledgement of “Commit-Mint”.

Among the many accomplishments of the Cleveland club this past year were the chartering of the new Ocoee Club in Polk County, Kiwanis International’s 102nd anniversary, the 98th anniversary of the Cleveland Club, the Bradley County 4-H Public Speaking competition, Dr. Seuss activities at Cleveland State Community College, Kiwanis Foundation Key Club scholarships, shopped for holiday clothing for Head Start classes, Alan Winter was honored by Kiwanis International, donations to area organizations, assisting the Salvation Army during the holiday season, the “Teen Life Maze” program, prepared 75 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, and sponsored rook and golf fundraising tournaments.

The club is looking to another progressive year in 2018, under Stoess and the new slate of officers.


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