DeleteMark and Krista Ball were named the 2014 Great Bend Greater Award recipients during a rare evening meeting of the Noon Kiwanis Club, Thursday at Montana Mike’s. In addition to recognizing the couple for their commitment to community service, the club gave away more than $1,500 to area organizations to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
The Great Bend Kiwanis club received its charter on Nov. 22, 1939. The chapter’s first president was Sol Brack, who just happens to have been the great-grandfather of the wife of Rob Bauer, the current president.
“We meet at Montana Mike’s every Wednesday at noon and have a program, but that’s not what we’re about,” Bauer said as guests ate cake and socialized. “We’re about helping children.”
The Great Bend Greater Award is reserved for outstanding individuals who have been involved in community service. Dr. Terry Turner, chairman of the selection committee, said the winner isn’t necessarily a member of Kiwanis, but he or she must be someone “whose positive influence has met a community need or enhanced the quality of life in the Great Bend community, (and someone) who demonstrates acts of generosity and kindness.”
Turner said the Balls were the nominating committee’s unanimous choice.
“Mark and Krista Ball have been married for 22 years. They ... run several businesses and ministries, including USA Gym Supply, Everything Under the Son Christian bookstore, Lasting Life Ministries Inc. and the newly founded Heartland Community Church. They have eight children, four of whom are adopted.
“Lasting Life Ministries provides funding to Central Kansas Christian Academy, Hungry Heart Soup Kitchen, Daniel R. Trickey Life Giving Center, Central Kansas Dream Center, assists those adopting from foreign countries, (and provides) financial assistance for those who have received a shut-off notice or eviction notice, among other ministry opportunities.
“Mark and Krista have a heart for serving God by feeding the hungry, giving a home to the homeless and giving a drink to the thirsty. They are truly living examples of what God has called us to be — true servants and willing to give of their time, possessions and money.”
75th anniversary cash
For the club’s 75th anniversary, 14 nonprofit groups were invited to send representatives to the celebration. Each group that was represented was entered into a drawing and guaranteed to win at least $75. Three groups received amounts that were multiples of $75: The Great Bend Public Library’s Children’s Department received $150, RSVP Volunteers received $225 and Catholic Social Service received $525.
Club member Barry Bowers, who organized the event, said he followed the example of Farmers Banks and Trust’s annual Holiday Charity Event.
Other groups invited to the Kiwanis celebration were: Rosewood Aktion Club, Sunflower Aktion Club; American Legion, Quivira Council Boy Scouts of America, Barton County Historical Society, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Friends of Cheyenne Bottoms, Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation, Family Crisis Center, Healing Hearts Ranch and the Central Kansas Dream Center.
Bauer read the Kiwanis Defining Statement: “Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.” The local club has one major fundraiser, the annual Pancake Day, and gives $10,000 or more each year to local charities and community projects, as well as $3,000 annually in scholarships, he said.
Local Kiwanis projects include sponsoring two Aktion Clubs for people with developmental disabilities, the Barton County Spelling Bee, Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween Parade (with help from the Aktion Clubs) and Bicycle Rally. Club members also deliver Christmas food boxes to 35-40 families.
Pacesetter organizations — those that donate $200 in support of Pancake Day — were also invited to attend Thursday’s celebration. It was also attended by Kiwanis Kansas District Governor-elect Warren Eckelman, Lawrence; Vice Governor Cynthia Bender, Ellsworth; and Div. 8 Lt. Gov. Adam Hewson, Larned.