by Kristin Hackler
The doctor’s diagnosis wasn’t good. They would all need new noses, better noses that would help them sniff out new members and new ideas; great noses that would be their nose for business and fundraising. With that, Dr. Geezer reached into his medical kit and pulled out a brand new, ruby-red nose for each incoming leader of the Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club.
With gales of laughter and some failed attempts to attach their new sniffers, new Exchange Club leaders Mike Morris, Stan Morganstein, Kimber Smith, Jim Shaw and Roger Steel were sworn in by National Exchange Club President-Elect Margaret Miller. Miller, who will be sworn into office on July 24 in Palm Springs, California, congratulated the Club on their exceptional efforts over the past year, and awarded the Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club with the Growth Award in recognition for their past year’s membership increase of 15%. President Jim Tilson asked that member Frank Carrese accept the award in recognition of his successful recruitment efforts.
Regional Exchange Club President Richard Mock followed Miller with a quick thank you to the Club, and also awarded the group with the Club’s National Service Award for their fundraising efforts. “Be proud of yourselves for what you have accomplished,” said Mock. “You’ve done wonderful things for the Exchange Club’s cause.”
While the evening was fun and lighthearted, it was still sad to see former Club president Jim Tilson stepping down from a role which president Mike Morris noted he did “as well as any two of us”. With his vibrantly floral tie tucked neatly into his dinner jacket, Tilson stated that his table voted down his offer to “pass on the tie” to the new president, but he did want to pass on something that played a uniquely important role in his life. With that, a copy of the booklet A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard was passed out to everyone in attendance at the night’s meeting.
“It took me many years to understand the message herein,” said Tilson. “But it changed my life. In my 39th year, the message finally sounded out loud and clear and my life was changed, and with book in hand, I headed to the horizon.”
As the final speaker during his time as president, Tilson asked Commanding Officer Jesse Dove to give a talk for the night’s meeting. Dressed in a flight suit which was made for him in 1971 and still fit him perfectly, Dove told a story that he had only shared once before of a firefight near the Demilitarized Zone in Vietnam.
“I had never seen more gunfire in all of Vietnam,” said Dove. As flight commander, he relied on his second, Dave Mott, to watch the ground. After several failed missile launches and a precipitous dive to within 100 feet of the ground, Dove’s team succeeded in taking out the enemy encampment. That night, he and Dave celebrated with a significantly large bottle of Canadian Club whiskey. The next day, Dave was shot down and kept as a prisoner of war in Hanoi for three years. When he returned, Dove found him in a hospital in San Antonio and once again, they shared a drink from the bottle of Canadian Club. With that, Dove pulled the original bottle of whiskey out from under the podium and smiled. The crowd applauded and after the meeting, several members walked up to him and personally thanked him for his service.
The Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club meets every other Wednesday, alternating between Kiawah and Seabrook for their meeting location. For more information, contact president Mike Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.