At the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro's regular meeting Thursday, the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Southern Manor was chartered at Southern Manor Retirement Inn. In attendance were members from surrounding counties and clubs of
Division 17 of the Georgia District Kiwanis.
Under the leadership of Kiwanis Gov. Richard Dixon (of the Carrollton club), Kiwanis Lt. Gov. Byron Mullican (of the Brooklet club) and Katrina Baranko, formula chairwoman and past governor, the Kiwanis have been looking at ways to grow membership in Division 17. It was Mullican who had the idea to start a Golden K club for senior members in an assisted living facility.
"My wife's mother was at Gentilly Gardens (now The Gardens at Southern Manor), and we have a special place in our hearts for assisted living facilities," he said. "When she was that facility, she was always looking for something to do, something where she could keep helping. She'd helped people all her life. I thought it would be a good idea."
Mullican reached out to Statesboro club President Trish Tootle, who jumped on board. Tootle then talked with Ralph Cowart, owner of Southern Manor and The Gardens at Southern Manor. Cowart said he had been looking for a way for residents to become more involved in the community and immediately embraced the idea.
Addressing the crowd of Kiwanis members from District 17 and the newly formed club, Cowart said: "We are so excited to be able to do this and for our residents to be involved in it. It's just one more way that they can give back. You never get too old to do something for someone else and to give back. We're so excited to be a part of that."
Mullican told the crowd that Southern Manor residents assembled goodie bags and handed them out to law enforcement officers who stopped by on Tuesday. Cowart said he tried to talk them into making it their first Kiwanis service project, but they were too excited, and he "couldn't calm them down to wait."
Each of the nine clubs in Division 17 contributed monetarily to the start-up of the Golden K of Southern Manor: Baxley, Brooklet, Douglas, Eastman-Dodge County, Metter, Statesboro, Swainsboro, Tattnall and Vidalia.
While in town for the occasion, Dixon also presented medals for Kiwanis Outstanding Leader for the State of Georgia to Tootle, Cowart and incoming Lt. Gov. Chip Howard of the Metter club.
During her remarks, Baranko said: "I want to thank Ralph, Byron and Trish for having this vision for Kiwanis, and I want to thank you for being a part of this vision, because I can tell you, this is a great family. We are so excited to have you and for the things you are going to be doing."
The 26 members of the newly chartered club are David Brogdon, Grace Collier, Dr. Gail Harrison, Richard Jones, Robert Dick, Elizabeth Scott, Mildred Lewis, Sue Simmons, Maudeane Clifton, Troy Clifton, Elise Clifton, Barbara Grinstead, Jean Braswell, Joann Gibson, Mary Hodges, Jean Cartee, Ouida Barrineau, Larna Adkins, Billie Todd, Ruth Slager, Mildred Parrish, Mary Adams, Irene Shearer, Doris Clemans, Louise Stewart and Elaine Eighmie.