At the Kiwanis Club of Baytown’s annual installation banquet at Monument Inn, outgoing president Bernie Mulvaney passed the gavel to new president Linda Kelly.
“ I spent several minutes looking at the names of the men and women who have held the position of President of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown through the years,” Kelly said. “I feel humbled and a little concerned about being able to live up to those who have preceded me.”
Kelly remembers the service of Jim Lewis, Anthony Crespo and Dave Jirrels as previous presidents of the club. Kelly said both Crespo and Jirrels were her bosses when she changed careers and worked at Crepso & Jirrels Funeral Home.
Kelly added that following Mulvaney would, of course, be a challenge all by itself.
“He has brought fun and laughter and leadership for service with an accomplished ease,” Kelly said. “He is the only person I have ever met that can make a pun out of nothing. Bernie is a hard act to follow. I’m just not that funny.”
As the new president, Kelly hopes to increase the visibility of Kiwanis in the community and will work to meet its goal of membership growth.
To increase visibility, Kelly wants to re-evaluate what Kiwanis has been doing and compare it with what the club has done in the past. Kelly also wants to participate in the community beyond donations and wants to see increasing interaction with the community in a “boots on the ground” initiative.
Regarding growing the membership, Kelly wants to get very serious about increased membership and is making it a priority to target younger and energetic individuals.
“Who will be the leaders of our future,” Kelly asked. “I hope they are sitting in this room or you are thinking of prospective members to ask who might have the spark and heart for service. I hope you will join me and accept the challenge.”
In addition to installing a new president, yearly awards were given out and the club named Renee Rhodes as the Kiwanian of the Year since she took over Al Richard’s position as secretary of the Kiwanis Club of Baytown. The time consuming position is critical to the club’s success.
“She took it on and has just done a wonderful job,” Kelly said.
Other awards include:
• Gary Englert and Harvey Oyler were awarded the Walter Zeller Fellowship Award.
The fellowship is named for Walter Zeller, who made the first gift to establish the Kiwanis International Foundation in 1940. His idea was to inspire Kiwanians to build on his donation.
• Breanna Thomas as Rookie of the Year
• Goose Creek Memorial Prenav Gupta is the Sophomore of the Year