Many were honored at the 92nd annual anniversary celebration of the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville Tuesday night at the Chattahoochee Country Club.
Beth Morris was awarded the John W. Jacobs, Jr. Kiwanis Youth Service Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville. It is awarded each year to someone who has rendered dedicated and outstanding service to the youth of the community through their time, talents and resources.
Morris began service to the youth of Gainesville over 30 years ago and has invested a career in helping young people. Starting with the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department in 1986, Morris dedicated her time to youth athletics. She tirelessly worked to make sure all the youth of Gainesville got a chance. Whether she was managing youth baseball coaches, refereeing basketball games or distributing football equipment she kept a positive attitude and the focus on the youth.
Morris has not confined her work to just the Gainesville Parks and Rec youth athletic program. She has also volunteered her time mentoring at risk children in the Hall County and Gainesville school systems. In addition to her countless hours with the city's youth, she has worked locally with United Way and Meals on Wheels. Morris has also worked on a state level with the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association and on the national level with the National Youth Sports Association. She has recently retired after 31 years of service.
Others receiving honors were Chestatee High School student Noah Merck, winner of the John C. Thompson Award, and Flowery Branch High School senior Brooke Blackwell, winner of Charles J. Thurmond Youth Art Scholarship ($2,500 scholarship).
In addition to the aforementioned awards, several past presidents, as well as the current Kiwanis Club of Gainesville president, were entered into the George F. Hixson Fellowship named after Kiwanis International’s first president and was established in 1983 by the Kiwanis Childrens Fund.
It is a way of recognizing people who have contributed significantly to Kiwanis history of generosity and past presidents Henry Rigdon, Sam Hulsey, Lee Rogers, Kelly Lee, Phil Bonelli, Jay Jacobs, Ricky Pugh and current president Joy Griffin were honored Tuesday with a plaque, a medallion and $1,000 donation from the Club to the Kiwanis International’s Childrens Fund in their name.
Although not a past president, Ted Oglesby was also entered into the Hixon Fellowship. Oglesby is one of the longest and most loyal Kiwanis member and was recommended by the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville Board of Directors to receive the honor.