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Opinion

Kiwanis member responds to letter

4/20/2017 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Writing in response to the letter to the editor referenced above [“Former member questions Kiwanis leadership,” by Marcia Boote, April 13, 2017, issue]. The Bath-Richfield Kiwanis Club is an organization of volunteers whose members have chosen to be passionate in pursuit of the Kiwanis Mission of “Improving the World One Child and One Community at a time.” In keeping with our pursuit of that mission, in March 2017, the Bath-Richfield Kiwanis Club received the Ohio District of Kiwanis Distinguished Club award for the 2015-2016 administrative year under the leadership of the club officers and the board of directors. We have received the Distinguished Club award five of the past six years.

Our club officers and the board of directors have embraced a future that continues to lead our club toward responding to the needs of the community and the interest of our membership. We are focusing on attracting business leaders and younger people that will join us in service and help to lead us away from the slow demise that afflicts many volunteer organizations. Change can be both difficult and uncertain for some. Many long-time members who were originally apprehensive have since embraced our new and energetic path after seeing the results. We have also added several new members and only a couple people have left the club, with a small faction who has decided to spend their time and energy on the attack of individuals rather than helping to formulate alternatives that will help Kiwanis and our communities grow.

There were allegations of misconduct submitted against our club officers by ex-members. These charges were investigated by an independent investigator according to the bylaws of Kiwanis International. The investigator did not find conduct unbecoming. In accordance with Kiwanis International Bylaws, our board of directors held a special board meeting, reviewed the evidence, received testimony and decided the allegations were without merit. Our board spoke very decisively that our focus would not be on irrelevant allegations but rather would be on community service.

The Bath-Richfield Kiwanis Club’s tradition of community service stretches back over sixty years and continues today. We support many organizations and programs. We have adopted a new signature project working with the Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties (BWS). This partnership provides a basket of personal essential needs; P.E.N.S is the acronym we use, to the women who come to the shelter, many times with one or more of their children, frequently with only the clothes on their back. That’s our focus. That’s where we ask for help. That’s where we spend our time and effort.

Our volunteer organization’s focus and energy is on helping people, one child and one community at a time, without personal agenda or gain. We will not be distracted by attacks on individuals or the organization. We continue to be ever grateful to each and every person who have helped and contributed to this cause.

Jerry Martin, acting secretary, past president, Bath-Richfield Kiwanis Club; former lieutenant governor, Ohio District 16

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