Andalusia Kiwanis Club holds annual Fair Appreciation Banquet

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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Members and guests of the Kiwanis Club of Andalusia gathered Monday to celebrate another successful year, honoring members, including naming the club’s Kiwanian and Citizen of the Year awards.

Major Gen. (ret.) Dick Burleson, a former
SEC referee, was the guest speaker at the
Kiwanis Club’s Fair Appreciation Banquet
Monday at the Kiwanis Center.

Kiwanis Fair Board President Don Cotton led the ceremony and highlighted some of the club’s achievements in 2023, including the second-best net income in the history of the county fair. Proceeds from the fair allow the Kiwanis Club to support a number of agencies that provide programs for children in need. Cotton also said the Kiwanis Center will be getting some updates in the coming year.

“The net income was excellent. We have a lot of changes coming to this facility. We will be replacing the curtains and painting the inside of the building,” Cotton said.

The Kiwanis Club contributed over $45,000 to local agencies, including the Community Christmas Project, Miracle League, Full Tummy Project, Children’s Policy Council, Covington County 4-H, Sav-A-Life, and Andalusia Ballet. The club also presented $6,000 to students through Harry Hinson LBW Scholarship.

Cotton also recognized the high school Key Clubs its sponsored, which has grown from Andalusia High School to also include clubs at Straughn, Florala, and Kinston.

During the awards portion of the event, Thomas Johnson and Jon Raley were both recognized with the club’s Legion of Honor Award. Kiwanian Kenny Curry was also recognized for 35 years of membership.

Johnson, the club’s board president, presented the Kiwanian of the Year and Citizen of the Year awards.

The Kiwanian of the Year Award was presented to Barbara Pilotte.

“Barbara can often be found working with Kiwanis early in the morning before going to her job and then again after work to make sure everything is in order,” Thomas said in presenting the award.

The Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Andalusia High School Head Football Coach Trent Taylor.

“This is a big surprise and quite the honor,” Taylor said. “All of the accolades, you are only as good as the people around you and I’ve been very blessed over the years to have the support of my family and coaches. I appreciate having the opportunity to come back home and finish my career. I am very humbled.”

The guest speaker for the event was retired Major Gen. Dick Burleson, an engineer and 25-year referee with the Southeastern Conference. Burleson authored the book, “You Better Be Right!,” a title he said came from something Paul “Bear” Bryant told him in disputing a call during the 1982 Alabama-Vanderbilt game.

Burleson now serves as a motivational speaker, drawing upon his successes in business as well as his military and referee experiences. As speaker at the Kiwanis event, Burleson shared humorous stories about his experiences as an SEC referee.

Also participating in the Fair Appreciation Banquet was Tabitha Norris Sasser who performed the National Anthem. The invocation was provided by William Worley.

The club is now planning its annual Outdoors Expo to be held in March.