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BIRTH OF A CHAPTER: Kiwanis of Tarpon Springs earns charter
More than 100 people gathered May 30, 2003 to celebrate the birth of the Kiwanis Club of Tarpon Springs. The new community service club, which already has 38 members, was given charter status in a ceremony at Pappas’ Restaurant in Tarpon Springs. Its members already have completed several service projects to help the community and will do many more in the future, the club’s charter president, Ned Johnson, told the crowd.
Now that the club is official, “We will get started on the real business of being a Kiwanis club.” That will include working with both the community and the Kiwanis-sponsored service clubs at local elementary, middle and high schools. “As in the true, Native American meaning of Kiwanis, we will make a noise,” Ned Johnson said. “We’re already full steam ahead.”
The Tarpon Springs Kiwanis – the largest new club formed this year in Florida -- now joins 8,446 other clubs worldwide in 86 countries. Kiwanis members all have one common goal: to serve their communities, with an emphasis on helping children. Worldwide, there are more than half a million members.
Among those attending the Friday night ceremony were State Rep. Gus Bilirakis; Florida Kiwanis Governor Larry Krasulak; past Florida Kiwanis governors John Williams, Larry Kravet and Elwood Hogan; and Division 12 Lt. Gov. George Hardin. Members from nine area Kiwanis clubs also attended.
Florida State Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Tarpon Springs, told the crowd that he’s “very, very excited about being involved with Kiwanis. I look forward to serving Kiwanis for many, many years.”
Bilirakis presented the new club with an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in Washington. The flag was procured by Bilirakis’ father, longtime U.S. Rep. Mike Bilirakis, who was out of the country and could not attend the ceremony. The senior congressman also sent a letter congratulating the new Kiwanis club, which his son read to the gathering.
Kiwanis Gov. Larry Krasulak thanked those who helped to form the new club, including Williams, Hardin and Kravet. Members from numerous area clubs helped the Tarpon Springs club’s formation. Krasulak also presented a special award to Tarpon Springs Kiwanis charter member Bill Clement for his efforts in starting the club, including recruiting new members.
“For the Kiwanis of Tarpon Springs, success will be the journey, and not the destination.” Krasulak said. “We expect great things.”
Florida State Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Charter President Ned Johnson
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