Once a year, the Great Bend Noon Kiwanis Club presents an award to someone who has made this community a better place. The 2015 Great Bend Greater recipient is Dale Oliver.
Dr. Terry Turner presented the award Wednesday, noting this recognition of service does not always go to a club member. That was not the case this year, however, as Oliver has been a Great Bend Kiwanis member for more than 50 years. His recording-setting sale of tickets to the annual Pancake Dinner raised thousands of dollars for the club’s philanthropic projects, Turner said.
Oliver and his wife Donna moved here from Salina in 1961, and he joined the Kiwanis Club shortly thereafter. He noted that businesspeople often got involved in civic organizations in the past and he was invited by a Kiwanis member from his bank.
“Oliver tirelessly served his club by working on all our philanthropic projects,” Turner said. “Two years ago he was one of five or six members who were setting up Expo I for the annual pancake day. He was helping lay cardboard under the grills and washed the tables after setup. All of this was done at the age of 90 years. He never sought the limelight on Kiwanis projects but always was first in line to help with the work.”
As for pancake ticket sales, Oliver sold between 600 and 1,000 tickets every year, coming in first or second in sales “for as long as most of us can remember,” Turner said. By his “conservative estimate,” Oliver may have sold 35,000 tickets over the years. Since the tickets that now sell for $4 went for only $1.50 when the annual fundraiser started, Turner estimates that Oliver single-handedly raised $53,000-$55,000 for Kiwanis projects over the years.
Oliver announced earlier this year he is retiring from the service club but said he appreciated the award. He and his wife attended Wednesday’s Kiwanis meeting where it was presented.
“Being in Kiwanis has been a great opportunity for me,” Oliver said, noting the group has “accomplished a lot for the community.”