Kiwanis presents Inspiration and Hixson awards

New California Kiwanis President Eugene Wickham is installed by District Lt. Gov. Diane Gollihugh Monday, Oct. 1.

New California Kiwanis President Eugene Wickham is installed by District Lt. Gov. Diane Gollihugh Monday, Oct. 1. Photo by David Wilson.

Special recognition was given to three individuals and the new officers were installed at the California Kiwanis Club meeting Monday, Oct. 1, held at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Following a dinner of steaks grilled by Kent Mannering and side dishes prepared by the cooks of St. Paul, Kiwanis President Peter Kurowski called the meeting to order and presented the Inspiration of the Year Award to Kiwanian Jean Endsley. The award is in recognition of Endsley's outstanding work in helping children throughout the world through Kiwanis and her church, First Baptist.

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Jean Endsley is presented the Inspiration of the Year Award by Kiwanis President Peter Kurowski on Monday, Oct. 1.

Monday, the last day in office, President Kurowski was privileged to present two individuals with The George F. Hixson Award for their service to the organization.

Presented with the award were Dr. Paul D. Branstetter and Larry Kent.

Branstetter, who grew up on a dairy farm, was ordained into the ministry in 1956. He joined California Kiwanis in 1984. For the last three years, he has served as treasurer. His wife Marcia was present for presentation of the award.

Kent, who grew up on a family ranch and turkey business in Texas, moved to the city of California in 1978 where he became a field representative for Cargill. Later he was hatchery manager. In 2002, he began working with Blankenship Insurance, buying the agency in 2008. He has been a member of Kiwanis for a number of years, serving as president two different terms.

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Larry Kent, left, is presented with the George F. Hixson Award by Kiwanis President Peter Kurowski at the Oct. 1 meeting.

The $2,000 given via the Hixson awards in honor of Branstetter and Kent will go towards eliminating Maternal Neonatal Tetanus (MNT). Kiwanis International is joining with UNICEF in a worldwide project to eliminate MNT.

The award is named for the first president of Kiwanis International, George F. Hixson, elected in 1916. He is the only person to have served as president for more than one year. It was during his two years in office that a club was chartered in Canada, making it truly an international organization.

Past Hixson award winners at California Kiwanis are: Jack Albertson, Leroy Robertson, Harry Minturn, Richard Barry, Julivia Barry, Dr. Melvin Twaddle, Robert Keil, Bill Pace, Eddie Blankenship, Kenny Kunze, Dr. Peter Kurowski and Logan Bolinger. On their behalf, $12,000 went towards eliminating Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD).

Kurowski reported that during the past year, the local organization has been "exceptionally productive" and the members worked hard to help children in the community and the world. Not only did the organization work to eliminate MNT, California Kiwanis helps each year with the needs of children in the community, working with the Boy Scouts, giving three scholarships, working with the schools and many other projects and assistance to the community.

Kiwanis District Lt. Gov. Diane Gollihugh installed the new officers and Board of Directors for California Kiwanis. Officers installed are President Eugene Wickham, Vice president Jeff Shackleford, Treasurer Paul Branstetter and Secretary Tyler Davis. Installed as members of the Board of Directors Kent Mannering, Jean Endsley, Richard Barry, Kenny Kunze, Eddie Blankenship, Bill Pace and Peter Kurowski.

For those interested in serving youth locally and globally in a 97 year old organization, contact Eugene Wickham, Jeff Shackleford or St. Paul's Lutheran Church at 573-796-2735. Kiwanis meetings are held each Monday evening at 6 p.m. with a home-cooked meal served in the church basement. Special guest speakers are often invited to the meetings to keep members aware of what it going on in the area and around the world.

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