Community members were recognized at the annual Kiwanis Award Banquet Thursday, Sept. 29 at the Events Center. Kiwanis members, guests and honorees enjoyed a delicious lunch catered by Lasyone’s before the program was presented by Kiwanis Immediate Past President Haley Taitano.
The program was called to order by Taitano, the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Nettles Brown and the Invocation was led by Rodney Boswell. After, Kiwanians recited their Defining Statement: Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time. They also introduced many guests.
“We always like to start with the introduction of guests at our meetings,” said Taitano. “Guests are always welcome.”
Through The Eliminate Project, Kiwanis International and UNICEF have joined forces to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetnus. This deadly disease steals the lives of nearly 49,000 innocent babies and a significant number of women each year. Kiwanis of Natchitoches has raised over $12,000 this year and a total of $70,000 in the last three years. The club has a goal of $100,000 and has three years left to reach it.
“Can you imagine bringing home a baby and having it die two weeks later from a terrible disease,” said Dr. Jeems Whites. “There is a baby lost every 11 minutes, which means many babies have been lost while we were here.”
Whites then called Tony and Rhonda Hernandez to the front and presented them with a Zellar Medallion, lapel pin and certificate. Tony lovingly placed the medallion on his wife Rhonda’s shoulders.
“I made a donation to the Walter Zeller Foundation in honor of my wife,” said Tony. “We made this donation to save babies from suffering. You don’t have to be a member to donate to this cause.”
The following community members were presented with awards:
Captain Harmon Winters presented City Police Sargent Jessica Williams with the Lawman of the Year Award.
Amanda Fournier presented State Trooper Mary Neal with a Lawman of the Year Award. Neal works for Troop E.
Kenny Kaufman presented Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Officer Chad Nelson with a Lawman of the Year Award.
Kenny Penrod presented Joshua Isbell with the Firefighter of the Year Award.
Natchitoches Jr. High-Frankie Ray Jackson Principal Edwin Mason presented Addoree Stuckey with the Teacher of the Year Award.
Taitano presented Heather Martin with the Kiwanis Presidents Award.
Dion Boyett received the Kiwanian of the Year Award.
Judge Greg Beard, Kiwanis District Governor (2011-2012), installed new members Sandra Foster, Gretchen Duazat, and adopted the Natchitoches Parish Journal as a Corporate Member.
“Leadership is the key to making our club strong,” said Beard. “The main thing is being involved and engaged. You will only get out of Kiwanis what you put into Kiwanis.”
New Club Directors for the 2016-17 year include: Greg Dunn, John Cunningham, Mike Fox, Carey Etheredge, Dr. Lauren Moreno, Lee Waskom and Annette Sterling-Roque.
Club Officers include LaCarsha Babers (President), Dion Boyett (President-Elect), Rodney Boswell (First Vice-President over Membership), Reba Phelps (Second Vice President over Programs), Haley Taitano (Immediate Past President), Richard Rose (Secretery) and Nettles Brown (Treasurer).