Kiwanis Club celebrates 30th annual Senior Citizen Valentine's Day dinner
At noon, Joanna Williams was greeting guests at the door and having them sign in before they went to their tables. One hour later, she would in front of a podium to receive an honor that has been bestowed on a select group of people.
Williams was named the 2013 Medical Lake Kiwanis Senior Citizen of the Year at the 30th annual Kiwanis Senior Citizen Valentine's Day Dinner, Feb. 8, at St. Anne's Parish Hall. She became the 32nd recipient of this award, which goes all the way back to Father Bernard L. Schiller, who won it back in 1984.
According to Kiwanis member Dan Dorshorst, a senior citizen is nominated by someone from the community or an organization. The nominee is someone who volunteers and gives back to the community whether it's through their work with an organization or on their own.
Williams currently runs the Feed Medical Lake program, which hosts a meal for the community on the second Monday of every month. The program also provides free groceries to citizens.
Williams reluctantly came to Medical Lake from the East Coast 35 years ago. Although it was a challenge to leave her family and friends behind and adjust to a different part of the country, she became close with many of the people in town.
"It's rare to leave family and friends at home and then find family and friends in a new place," Williams said.
After she survived cancer, Williams was looking for something more and wondered what she was supposed to do.
"I kept seeing the word community pop up in different places, and I thought 'I need to do something for the community.'"
Williams spoke with pastors about doing free meals for the community. When she heard about Feed Cheney, she decided to start Feed Medical Lake. She later joined Kiwanis to help the children.
"I just started doing things," Williams said. "The more you do, the more work that needs to be done."
During the presentation, Kiwanis president Duane Wolfe, spoke about Williams.
Following the presentation, guests were treated to a performance from the Spokane Melody Singers.
After the dinner was over, Williams went back to the table to says goodbye to the guests, who congratulated her. For Williams, the community service is not about recognition, but about serving others.
"The more we are invested with each other, the more we get to know them," Williams said. "I love this community. What I do, I do for the community. What the volunteers do, they do for each individual member of the community."
Williams will also be recognized in the Medical Lake Founder's Day Parade, June 14.
Click on the following link for information about the Spokane Melody Singers.
Al Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.