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According to Walker, he struggled as a child with a speech impediment, which caused him to be bullied. He told the audience that one day after school, he was beaten up by a group of his peers, an event that caused him to change his attitude in life. “That’s the day I stopped feeling sorry for myself,” Walker remarked.
After this incident, Walker began working out and attempting to better himself physically. “I went from being the kid nobody wanted to an outstanding athlete,” he explained. It was that athleticism which led him to his career as a running back at both UGA and for the National Football League (NFL). “I didn’t want to go to Georgia; I didn’t even want to go to college,” Walker shared. “I wanted to go into the Army, but after trying to flip coins and other chance methods of choosing, it was always Georgia.”
He continued to share his experiences through football that led him to a variety of states, teams, and people. He also encouraged attendees to work hard at all they do, because they never know where it could lead them.
Reflections on the Century Kiwanis Club of Vidalia President Jason Davis reflected on the years that the Club has existed and highlighted several historical accomplishments by the Club. Those accomplishments included: Helping to develop the sewer system in Vidalia Acting as the Cham ber of Commerce for Vidalia for several years Organizing Boy Scout Troop 933 Running the local newspaper until 1926 Having 41 of the last 73 Vidalia Citizen of the Year award recipients be Kiwanians Davis also spoke on the character of Kiwanis members, as he reminisced about the local record from January 2,1942, which details that Kiwanis Club of Vidalia members purchased and raised $1,900 for war bonds during the meeting. He also informed the audience that the records detailed that a “pig chain” was also completed by the Club. Well-bred pigs were donated to local farmers who then donated pigs of the same bloodline to other farmers to help improve the swine population in the area.
The Kiwanis Club of Vidalia continues to focus its work on the youth in the community as well, according to Davis. “The Club has always been a place where community leaders listen to young people. The Kiwanis Club of Vidalia has held to the service mission: “young children, priority one.”
“Our Kiwanis Club today is standing upon the shoulders and continuing in tradition of all that this Club has done over the last 100 years,” Davis continued. “Vidalia, I think, would not be the wonderful community that it is today without a century of faithful service by Kiwanians from all around this area.”
This year, the Club worked to renovate the Boy Scout Hut at Ed Smith Complex for Boy Scout Troop 933, awarded 10 different scholarships to graduating seniors throughout the community, put on a program at Sally D. Meadows that allows Kiwanians to influence and celebrate students within the school, sponsored the Vidalia Onion Run, sponsored the STAR Student and Teacher program, contributed to Backpack Buddies program that provides food to needy students over the weekend, and more.
Longtime Kiwanian Charles Andrew was recognized for his years of service to the Club. “You have served our Club well for many decades [through] recruiting people and assimilating them into our Club, and we are so thankful for you,” Davis told Andrew. Davis also publicly thanked Kiwanian Dennis Donahue for his work in Kiwanis Club as Treasurer, and Event Chair Olivia Warnock was acknowledged for her work in coordinating the centennial celebration.
Keeping in tradition with their dedication to service and the local youth, the Kiwanis Club of Vidalia presented the Toombs-Vidalia Public Library with a $5,000 donation. This contribution comes as the second installment of funding promised by the Club for the creation of a children’s room within the renovated library.