MIDDLESBORO —Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro was honored Thursday, June 12, during the Bell County Kirby Smith, II Distinguished Citizen Dinner at J. Milton’s Restaurant.
Attending the event were nineteen Kiwanians; members of the Bell County Boy Scouts of America Troop 544; members of the St. Julian Cub Scout Troop 239; Sam Mars, dinner host; Sam Mars, III, master of ceremonies; Kirby Smith III, distinguished citizen presenter; Bill Sharp, presenter of the 100 Year Anniversary video for Boy Scouts of America and other supporters.
According to Kirby Smith, III, the Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro deserves this honor for their 87 years of community service and continued leadership and support of our children.
“Kirby, on behalf of our club, I want to thank you for this distinguished honor,” said Richard Smith, Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro President. “All that we do is for the children of this community—they are our future.”
The Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro sponsors Terrific Kids, which is a student recognition program at the Intermediate School that promotes character development, self-esteem, and citizenship. Each month Terrific Kids are recognized for their good citizenship and treated to a meal. Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro also sponsors K-Kids, which is an after school, student-led community service club for elementary students that teaches members the value of helping others through participation in community service projects and club activities.
For teenage students, Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro sponsors the Key Club at Middlesboro High School. This year the Key Club won the award for the outstanding club in the District. They have approximately 60 members—two of which tied for Valedictorian in the 2008 Class. Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro presents qualifying graduates with stoles for their gowns if they have achieved minimum requirements for community service and two graduates were given scholarships.
Through fundraising efforts each year, the Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro raises enough money to supply clothes and school supplies to the Family Life Centers for children in need and even donates monies for field trips and camps so that those children who cannot afford to pay can participate. This is done anonymously so as not to embarrass any child.
The club also hosts a Christmas party each year for children from the Middlesboro Primary School. This party is dedicated to David Hoyt Smith, who chaired this event for many years.
In honor of Harry Hoe, long-term member of the Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro, the club developed and funded a Diabetes Program. This fund pays for supplies and medication for diabetics who cannot afford their supplies. This program is managed by one of their club members, Liz Cox, who works at the Bell County Health Department. The fund was established in lieu of awarding Hoe a Hixson Fellow, which is the highest honor in Kiwanis. This was Hoe’s preference, and his generosity has helped many diabetics in the past five years.
Over the years Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro also sponsored the establishment of new clubs in Pineville, LaFollette, Harrogate, Clay County and Barbourville.
Keeping their focus on community service, each year Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro contributes to United Way, Relay for Life, Project Graduation, Bell County Council on Literacy, RoHo Club for Children at Christmas, Bell County Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Bell County and Kiwanis International Foundation as well as sponsoring a Little League team. Club members also participate each year in the Cumberland Mountain Fall Festival, Read America, Scrabble for Literacy, March of Dimes, Relay for Life, Repair Affair, church activities, food drives for CCM and even ringing the bell for the Salvation Army during Christmas (for many years winning the trophy for collecting the most money).
After sharing with the group all that the Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro had achieved, Kirby Smith, III commented, “Over the last 87 years, the Kiwanis Club of Middlesboro has served our children well and this is our way to thank them.”