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Seminole Kiwanis club brings home 10 awards

The local group is recognized for its community work at a district convention, where it is given several first-place awards.

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Seminole picked up 10 awards at the Florida District Kiwanis convention Jan. 22 in Tampa.

Although the record for the local club was set last year with 16 awards _ including a second-place in the Club of the Year competition _ 10 is still a good number, said Jerry Tennant, co-editor of the Seminole Kiwanis' club bulletin with his wife, Sue. They won a first-place award for the bulletin, Seminole Kiwanian.

The Kiwanis organization, Tennant said, is divided into districts, also called zones. The Florida zone includes 358 clubs from the state plus a few from the Caribbean.

Besides the first-place award for the club's bulletin, the Kiwanis Club of Seminole won first-place honors for K-Kids, a youth organization run by the Seminole Kiwanis at Bauder, Seminole, Oakhurst and Ridgecrest elementary schools; Key Club, an organization at Seminole High School; Horses and the Handicapped program, operated by Kiwanians on Saturday mornings for disabled young people in Pinellas County; the Caring Corner; and Young Children Priority One.

Another first-place award was announced for a service project, but has not been received yet, Tennant said.

Caring Corner was a project to sell handicrafts made by wives of Kiwanis members at the district convention. The Seminole group raised $250.

Also, the local club raised almost $14,000 for the Kiwanis' main international project, Young Children Priority One. The project is aimed at the prevention of iodine deficiency in other countries by providing money for salt plants.

"Because many Third World countries do not have iodized salt, thousands of people, particularly youngsters, develop disorders such as mental retardation, goiters and cretinism, a thyroid condition that causes physical deformities or mental disorders," Tennant said.

Two second-place awards were earned for the Builders Club _ a program at Seminole Middle School _ and a community service project. The local club also won an administrative award and an international achievement single service award.

The single service award was for the wheelchair escort service the local Kiwanians provide at the VA Medical Center at Bay Pines.

"The club will be 40 years old in October," Tennant said, "but we have been doing the wheelchair escort project for over 38 years."

Although it was not tapped for an award, Tennant said the club's participation in the Doorways Scholarships in Pinellas County is the largest of any local organization. "We currently have 29 scholarship recipients."

All of the Kiwanis Club's projects that received first-place awards will be entered in the competition at the international convention, June 23-27 in Miami Beach.

The Kiwanis Club of Seminole has 49 members.