Chosen by the Sertoma Club of Kingsport to receive the 2019 Service to Mankind Award, Bill was honored during a special recognition luncheon held Monday. Sertoma Club’s Chuck Huffman, chairman of the Service to Mankind Award committee, described Bill as an extraordinary individual. “He was involved in so many different nonprofit areas and is just a great guy,” said Chuck. “On his plaque, I put ‘Volunteer Extraordinaire.’”
Bill received a plaque, as well as a $500 check to the Kingsport Lions Club in his honor.
Bill has been a member of the Kingsport Lions Club for 50 years. The major area of service of the club is helping to prevent blindness and providing services for those already blind. In pursuit of this objective, the club arranges for the vision testing each year of thousands of children in Kingsport and western Sullivan County schools.
Bill has also been very active in other community projects.
Whether it’s working cleanup days at the Warriors Path State Park Boundless Playground, assisting with the Sullivan County Adopt-A-Highway program each quarter, ringing bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign each holiday season, delivering Meals on Wheels with his wife, Kathy, donating blood at the Marsh Blood Bank, or being a greeter at First Broad Street United Methodist Church, Bill is always ready to lend a helping hand. He is also a major contributor of time to Lions Club fundraising projects like the golf tournament in September and the turtle derby in May.
The Eastman retiree is well-loved by residents of Crown Colony, where he has lived for 16 years. A neighbor, Cindy Harmon, nominated Bill for the special award. “In our community of Crown Colony, Bill is the one everyone calls on,” Cindy said. She explained Bill has dedicated most of his life to volunteering, encouraging, supporting and connecting with others.
“He has touched the lives of countless people and has definitely made Kingsport a better place to call home,” Cindy said.
The winner of the Service to Mankind Award must meet certain requirements, including the number of people served and the length of time the nominee has been performing the service.
“The criteria (of judges) is not necessarily just their activity in the last 12 months, but based on a lifetime,” Chuck explained. “Bill is the kind of person that has a positive effect on whoever comes into contact with him,” he said.
Sertoma is a coined from the words SERvice TO MAnkind. The Sertoma Club of Kingsport serves the community through worthy projects, such as providing funds and leadership for Mountain Region Speech and Hearing, sponsoring the annual “Jackets for Children” program, and recognizing worthy community volunteers through the annual Service to Mankind Award.
When asked how long he plans to remain an active volunteer in the community, Bill replied, “as long as I am physically and mentally able, I want to help!” Bill recently received an artificial eye resulting from a detached retina. “I’ve been through a lot, but on the other hand, I’m grateful for what I’ve got,” he said.
Bill became an active member of the Kingsport Lions Club in 1969 and is a great supporter of service clubs.
“Kingsport is a great place, but if it weren’t for volunteers, this community wouldn’t be what it is today. Much of our future depends on volunteerism.”
To help make a difference in your community, contact Kingsport Sertoma Club President Rick Currie at [email protected] or call (423) 782-6424. For more information about the Kingsport Lions Club, contact Wayne Garland at [email protected]