Statesboro Kiwanis Club member Lynn Bennett was honored as 2019 Kiwanian of the Year during Thursday night’s 60th anniversary celebration, held at Georgia Southern University’s Williams Center, where the club’s charter meeting was held six decades ago.
Several awards were presented after a catered meal.
Retired Bulloch County State Court judge Gary Mikell, a long-time Statesboro Kiwanis member, gave a brief history of the club’s meeting places, which in the past included Mrs. Bryant’s Kitchen and Forest Heights Country Club. He also spoke of the club’s past history of fundraising for local charities, which began with a talent show called “Kiwanis Kapers” and included door-to-door solicitation of donations and lightbulb sales. For over five decades, however, the club has sponsored the annual seven-county Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair.
2018 Kiwanian of the Year Danny Beall introduced Bennett in the club’s traditional way by dropping hints and clues, drawing out the suspense and allowing other members to guess the secret. Very few knew about Bennett’s honor until the announcement.
He said the “honoree” enjoys computers, genealogy and yard work; reading history books and nonfiction; collecting coins and old bills; and is “always answers to help, no matter the task.” Other hints included that Bennett volunteers at Rebecca’s Café at the Statesboro Food Bank and is a former banker and insurer, 72 years old and a Warner Robins native.
After the banquet, Statesboro Kiwanis Club president Chris Caplinger described Bennett as “a very active volunteer in maintaining the grounds, and can often be seen mowing the grass. He regularly volunteers whenever there are other opportunities as well. Our recent blood drive and during our monthly turn at hosting Rebecca's Cafe come to mind.”
He said Bennett has served as treasurer and chair of the finance committee over the past two years, where he has overseen the club’s transition to working with a professional accounting firm. He restructured the club’s bank accounts, oversaw the budgeting process, and brought on new opportunities for the club to raise money for local charities,
Bennett is active with the fair committee by selling sponsorships and works nightly in the cash room during fair week.
When called to the stage to accept his award, Bennett said, “I am flabbergasted. There are so many others in this club who have done so much more than me. I enjoy being part of Statesboro for the past four years, and I am overwhelmed. I really appreciate it.”
Several Statesboro Kiwanis members were recognized for perfect attendance, including Horace Harrell, who has consistently met all attendance requirements for the past 38 years.
Three women received the Outstanding Kiwanian award for being active in a variety of areas, including membership recruitment and interclub: Ashlee Corbin, Trish Tootle and Lisa Turner.
Members who have "contributed significantly to Kiwanis' history of generosity” were given the George F. Hixson Fellowship award. These members were Marilyn Hale, Keith Kickman, Landon Lanier and Lisa Turner. Another recipient who was not in attendance will receive their award at a later time.
The awards banquet was hosted by the Georgia Southern University Circle K Club, which is sponsored by the Statesboro Kiwanis Club.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.