Okeechobee Kiwanis induct five into hall of fame

OKEECHOBEE — The Kiwanis club of Okeechobee held it’s first-ever hall of fame induction luncheon on April 12, and inducted five former and current members who made significant contributions not only to the club but to the Okeechobee community.

Don Kelly (left), Louis ‘Red’ Larson (center) and Jack Wolff (right) stand behind the plaque honoring them as hall of fame members of the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee. Photo by Richard Marion.

Red Larson, Jack Wolff, Donna Enrico, Dick Blair and Don Kelly were all honored with a plaque bearing their names. Dick Blair and Donna Enrico were honored posthumously, with members of their family on hand to accept the induction on their behalf.

Ken Keller was the master of ceremonies for the event which was held at the First United Methodist Church.

“I’ve been a member of this club for seven years now,” said Mr. Keller. “And its great to meet some of the family members who’ve traveled so far to come here today. This club is 47 years old, in a few years we’ll be 50, and the fact that we still have charter members who are active in the club is very special to me. I’m proud to be part of honoring these people.”

Okeechobee Mayor Dowling Watford also spoke during the ceremony, saying he had been looking forward to that moment for a long time.

“I’ve been a member since 1972,” Mayor Watford said, “and I think this is one of the best things that we’re going to do. Each year we’ll add more names to this hall of fame. We just want to recognize some of the service that some of the members have done for our club.

As an older guy and a lover of history, it’s nice to remember those that came before us and the contributions they’ve made.”

Louis “Red” Larson addressed the Kiwanis club and thanked them for inducting him into their hall of fame on April 12. Photo by Richard Marion.

Red Larson, the last Kiwanis member to be inducted during the ceremony, observed the coincidence of the meeting taking place at First United Methodist Church.

“Our first Kiwanis meeting was in the Methodist church,” said Mr. Larson, “and here we are again. I’m really proud to be honored like this by you guys, because it’s your own folks that know you best. The word kiwanis means ‘we build,’ and we do that by building up our kids. Our main effort is in support of the youth and our club has done that, is doing that and hopefully will continue doing it in the future. It’s really an honor to be invited here today.”

At the end of the ceremony Mr. Keller unveiled the plaque bearing the five names of the inductees. The funding for both the plaque and the luncheon was provided by Kiwanis member Greg Thogersen.

The Kiwanis hall of fame plaque displays the five names of the newly inducted honorees. Photo by Richard Marion.

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