BROOKSVILLE — Mark Taylor modestly says, "I'm not big on awards." But even he acknowledges the prestige of his most recent honor.
The 50-year-old Taylor, a longtime member of the Brooksville Kiwanis Club, has been named the most outstanding district governor in Kiwanis International, which includes 50 districts worldwide in 80 countries.
Officials judged his performance the best.
Under Taylor's jurisdiction for the past two years have been 300 local clubs throughout Florida. At 250 meetings, he coached and exhorted: "Be a super model."
Kiwanis is an organization dedicated to serving children through affiliated clubs in colleges and elementary, middle and high schools, broadening their educational experiences, introducing career opportunities and challenging them to work beneficially in the communities where they live.
Taylor said his award was based on 38 percent of the Florida clubs having achieved "distinguished" status through service to their communities with in-school groups like Key Club and Terrific Kids, plus attendance at Kiwanis conferences.
As for his part and a team of 27 lieutenant governors across the state whom Taylor credits, he said, "We really encouraged them to do the things Kiwanis is supposed to do — asked them to be role models, teach young people how to do service and create leadership roles for kids, raising an awareness of the perception of Kiwanis in the communities around the state, encouraging them to make an impact on their communities."
Taylor chuckled that he was described as "a young man" at the 94th annual Kiwanis International convention last month in Nashville, where he was honored.
Unfortunately, he noted, the Kiwanis family relies heavily on an aging membership. But attesting to Kiwanis' international attraction, a press release noted that among the audience of some 5,000 participants were club governors recognized from such locales as Japan, Belgium and Malaysia.
During Taylor's Kiwanis tours throughout Florida, his wife, Sharon, a family lawyer, traveled with him and advocated for the guardian ad litem program that provides support and counsel to children who must navigate the judicial system.
In the 1980s, Taylor founded TTG Properties, which he described as a small real estate investment firm.
The couple's son, Drew, is recreation director at Faith Presbyterian Church in Brooksville. Their daughter, Christine, is a senior at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., studying communications.
Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]