The Statesboro Kiwanis Club’s Earl Cashon was named Kiwanian of the Year during the organization’s 56th anniversary celebration Thursday night.
The dinner was held in the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair Community Room at the fairgrounds on Highway 67.
Wendy Denton, who received the honor last year, wanted to draw out the surprise announcement by dropping hints about the winner in her introduction of him, but she admitted the cat would be out of the bag after just a few words.
“He’s kind of a famous character in our group,” she said.
By the time she told the crowd this year’s Kiwanian of the Year “retired from Georgia Southern University … used Tinker Toys and peanut butter to teach leadership … (and) is a big golfer and lives on a golf course,” most club members and their guests were nodding in acknowledgement.
After bringing Cashon on stage, Denton continued detailing his biography, telling the crowd how he has cooked countless hotdogs, hamburgers and Boston butts for events and fundraisers for the club and local churches. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in psychology and eventually came to Statesboro, where he worked as director of Georgia Southern University’s Russell Union from 1989 to 2005.
“He has always had a heart for students and is a terrific leader and an affable presenter,” she said.
Cashon, married to wife Helen and with two adult children, “is always there when we need him, and that’s the bottom line,” she said. Cashon serves on the club’s finance and recreation committees, among others, and acts as a liaison between the club and its regular caterer, RJ’s Grill.
Denton said Cashon is always volunteering to work with and cook for food booths for the Kiwanis Rodeo, the fair and other fundraisers.
“I don’t know who told her all of that, but thank you for lying,” Cashon joked as he accepted his award. After the laughter subsided, he added, “I do the best I can with what I’ve got. I love this organization. Working with this organization is just fun. I appreciate the recognition.”
Club President Trish Tootle said Cashon “is an example of what a Kiwanian should be.”
Tootle then introduced Kiwanis Lt. Gov. Byron Mullican, who praised the club’s success.
“I’d like to thank this club for all you do,” he said. “The fantastic facilities — you are a model club for the United States. The fair is second to none, the rodeo is second to none.”
The Statesboro Kiwanis Club hosts an annual agricultural fair covering seven counties, the profits from which are distributed to countless charities and organizations throughout the community. The fair takes place each October, and the rodeo, another fundraiser hosted by the club, takes place each spring.
During Thursday’s dinner, several club members were honored for their perfect attendance, years of service and other accomplishments.
The celebration began with a selection of music by Dr. Michael Braz and ended with a performance by the Georgia Southern Silhouettes.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.