Kiwanis Center now bears Hinson’s name

Published 1:58 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

Harry Hinson chuckles when talking about having the Kiwanis building renamed as the Harry R. Hinson Kiwanis Community Center in his honor.

For 49 years, Harry Hinson has been the man behind the Covington County Kiwanis Fair.

In 1995, he stood behind members as they decided to undertake their biggest service project ever – the Kiwanis Community Center.

Now, the club has honored Hinson for every one of those 49 years and for being one of the club’s staunchest supporters by renaming the building in his honor. From now on, it will be known as the Harry R. Hinson Kiwanis Community Center.

Kiwanis President Gwen Kelley said the club’s fair foundation board has tried to make the name change happen for years, but Hinson refused.

“He said he didn’t want a part of it,” Kelley said. “He said he was happy to be behind the scenes. From what I heard, it was his wife, Helen, who changed his mind.”

Hinson said, indeed, that was true – it was at his wife’s insistence that he allowed the name change.

The building is home to a host of annual events, community activities and, of course, the county fair.

On Friday, Hinson was busy inside the building, working steadily to help ready the facility and exhibits for the Monday start of the fair.

“There’s so much to do, and time is kind of slipping by, but we’ll get there,” Hinson said. “First off, I’m humbled by this honor. To say that I’m appreciative is an understatement. They tried to do it a few years ago, but I didn’t want it because it was a Kiwanis project, and it needed to be a Kiwanis building.”

He said throughout the years since, someone would toss the idea out there, but he’d push it back with a quiet “thanks, but no thanks.” That was until Mrs. Hinson got word of the latest request.

“I went home and told her, and she said I should do it,” he said. “I told her my feelings were the same as they’d always been, but she wouldn’t listen. She said I should think about our children and what a legacy that would be for them. Well, that got me right there.

“Start talking about my children, and you got me,” he said.

At the Monday Kiwanis meeting, the board made it official. Kelley said the club has already ordered a new sign and is awaiting the final design.

Hinson said he’s anxious to see what it will look like.

“I do what I do, not for the recognition, but it’s because I love it,” he said. “And that goes from everything from church to being a Kiwanian. But I have to tell you, every time I think of my name being on the side of that building, it’s a great honor, but I just have to chuckle.”