When Clinton Kiwanis Club treasurer Sherri Smith began her introduction for the recipient of the 2012-13 Kiwanian of the Year award at the club’s recent banquet, the close to 70 members listened intently to her words.
“This individual has spent countless hours during their career working diligently with children in an effort to impart wisdom on young impressionable lives,” Smith announced to the crowd. “In addition, this Kiwanian works directly with those very important adults who influence children every day in the classrooms of Sampson County.”
After explaining that the chosen person was a “true public servant,” Smith announced the name of Tommy M. Macon.
Macon, who serves as director of Secondary Education and Athletics for Sampson County Schools, said he was stunned when he heard his name announced.
“Really, anyone in the club could have been nominated or voted on by the board, so when I heard our treasurer announcing it, I was just stunned that she announced my name, because I honestly never expected it,” he explained, sitting back in his chair, admiring the shiny new gold-plated Kiwanian of the Year plaque he had just hung in his office. “I am just so honored and grateful to have been chosen for this honor. But really, knowing the members and seeing what they do for the kids in this community each day, any one of them was just as deserving of the award. I was just fortunate enough to be nominated and selected.”
Macon’s first foray into the club came when he was working as the principal of Hobbton High School in 2003.
“At that time, the then president of the club had a meeting with me to discuss possibly starting a Key Club at the school,” he explained. “After we had talked for a while, he invited me to a weekly meeting. When I attended the meeting, I was just really impressed with how they were working hard finding ways to honor and recognize our young kids.”
The Kiwanis Club, which has been in Clinton for decades, is responsible for passing out Terrific Kid awards to thousands of county and city students each nine weeks.
“When I found out that they were responsible for that, I knew I had to become a member,” asserted Macon. “It is a great program that really gives back to the community, and that is what I have always wanted to do too.”
Eventually, the Clinton Kiwanis Club worked with Macon to sponsor the Key Club at his school and they’ve been together ever since. Since then, both have helped developed Key Clubs at Midway and Union High and Sampson Early College. Each year, the Kiwanis Club presents scholarships to seniors at each high school who have actively participated in the Key Club.
“It is a great program,” Macon noted of the Key Clubs. “I am also actively involved with presenting the scholarships to those students and it is a really good feeling to honor those students who are giving back too.”
The focus of Kiwanis Clubs all around the globe is children, and they are dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time.
“We try to make children feel good by recognizing students at all grade levels,” Macon attested. “Whether it is through the Terrific Kids program, our bike giveaways, our annual scholarships to the Key Club members … we are all about showcasing our youth. That is really what Kiwanis is all about.”
Macon, who has served on the club’s board two separate times during the past nine years, said that everyone in the Clinton club has remained active in the community since he can remember.
“The organization has been in Clinton a long time before I ever came to the area and, comparatively speaking, with outlying counties, there is no other group more active than this one here in Clinton, that is a fact,” he said. “I really do appreciate the recognition, but really, the children in Sampson County are the real winners because of civic organizations in the area, such as our Kiwanis Club. We always focus on changing the child through the promotion of education and the development of our future leaders. Any time we can advance and promote the youth of Sampson County we do and by doing so, we will continue to help improve the quality of education that every student so richly deserves.”
Macon said in all his years with the club, his favorite memories are the ones at Christmastime when two students (male and female) from each elementary school in Sampson County are given brand new bicycles.
“We have done that giveaway every year and it is one of the most joyful and feel-good things that we do,” heacknowledged. “To see the joy and surprise on those faces … it is a moment that you will cherish forever. That is one of the things that we do that I really love, because some of those kids would otherwise never get a bike. I like to have the feeling “that they know that someone is thinking about them.”
As Macon continued to glance at his new addition to his office wall, he admitted that he is still in disbelief that he was given the honor.
“It is hanging in one of my favorite places in my office, because it is just so special to me,” he noted as he straightens up the award. “Everyday all of us in the club do a lot of things to help out kids, but at no time do any of us go out and try to get recognition to ourselves. So when someone does actually recognize that you are doing things to move kids forward, it makes you feel really good inside.”
Giving back is something Macon is not planning to stop doing any time soon.
“The advancement of our youth is my passion and I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to live it everyday and I am so grateful and thankful for that,” he said. “I don’t see me stopping.”
The Clinton Kiwanis Club meets every Thursday afternoon at the Piggly Wiggly located in Jordan Plaza. In order to get involved, a member must invite you to attend a meeting.
For more information on Kiwanis click on to: www.kiwanis.org.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to email@example.com.