GALLERY: Kiwanis Club celebrates at annual Appreciation Banquet

Published 11:00 am Monday, February 6, 2023

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The Kiwanis Club of Andalusia celebrated another successful year during its Fair Appreciation Banquet held Tuesday at the Kiwanis Building.

Kiwanis Club President Justin McDaniel presented several members with honors and awards, including the Citizen of the Year and Kiwanian of the Year.

Kiwanian Don Cotton introduced several guests attending the event, including those who assisted the club in kicking off two new programs, a pageant and the Christmas light show.

Cotton, who serves as the club’s Fair Chairman, also reported the club earned over $45,000 from the 2022 Covington County Fair, adding that the funds will be used to support children’s programs across the county. Among the organizations that benefit from fair funds include: Community Christmas, the Miracle League, Full Tummy Project, Children’s Policy Council, Covington County 4H, Sav-A-Life, and Andalusia Ballet.

Also recognized was Andy Parker for efforts to rejuvenate the Key Club, a student-based organization.

Serving as the guest speaker for the event was John Riley, a motivational speaker and humorist, from Abbeville, Alabama. Since he began speaking, he has addressed audiences at many club and civic events, as well as for companies such as Dupont Chemical, Alabama Power, and many more. He has also been featured on radio and television in the U.S., Canada, and Russia.

His speeches draw on his experiences as a college football player at Auburn University and being drafted by the Oakland Raiders.

“Everyday you and I get to write our book for 2023,” Riley said. “What have you put in it so far? I have a lot to write. I get to be with you tonight, that’s in the book. We all have the same opportunity. Nobody can do what you do the way you do it. You can do things you never dreamed possible.”

McDaniel opened the awards portion of the ceremony speaking about Kiwanis mission and the dedication of local members.

“One thing that makes the Kiwanis Club of Andalusia so special is that we have members who are native to the city while also having members who have found their way to Andalusia and have jumped in feet first to serve the community.”

The first award was presented to Sue Bass Wilson for her many years of dedication, including her service as the club’s pianist.

McDaniel then presented the annual Kiwanian of the Year Award to Karen Eder.

“She is one of those who once moving here hit the ground running, making new friends, contributing to organizations, and finding ways to be active and involved. We are glad she chose the Kiwanis Club as her place to become an active member. She never backs down from a challenge,” McDaniel said.

The Kiwanis Club Citizen of the Year Award was presented to longtime member Ed Short.

“Working within our community in many more ways than just being a Kiwanian, [Ed] has served as a business leader, spiritual leader, and most importantly a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He has served his country, community and family with devotion and success. He recently announced his retirement, but it is safe to say he won’t be slowing down anytime soon,” McDaniel said.

Also recognized were members of the club’s Legion of Honor for reaching membership milestones.

Those recognized for 35 years of service were Dwain Davis and Gary Smith.

Honored for 35 years of service were Bill Bryant, Alex Boldog, Lucky Cope, Keith Stephens, and Sharon Owens.

The L.A. Kickers opened the event with a line-dancing exhibition, including bringing Kiwanians on stage to participate.

Pastor William Worley provided the opening prayer and the meal was catered by Big Mike’s Steakhouse.