When Dan Pichon joined the Dawson County Kiwanis Club five or so years ago, the retiree was promised he wouldn't have to serve on the board or hold an officer position.
Last week, the now incoming president for 2016-2017 was named Kiwanian of the Year for his commitment to the club.
"We just appreciate all he does for the club. He's always dependable. Any event we have going on, he's always the first one there, normally one of the last ones to leave," said President Angelia Holloway. "Anything that needs to be done, he's always there helping. We never have to ask. He's always there for us. He's very faithful. It's very rare that he misses a meeting."
Pichon said he was both surprised and honored to receive the award.
"There are other members that have contributed a whole lot more time and energy than I have," he said. "I think it's a great honor."
For Pichon, there's much satisfaction in knowing he has played a role in group's mission to serve.
"Some of us that just show up and do a little bit are appreciated, and I like that," he said.
He encourages others to give their time as volunteers.
"Come and join us, and you'll get some self-satisfaction out of it. That's why we do these things...because we can make a difference," he said.
The nearly 25-member club collected and redistributed more than $10,600 to charities in the last year with more than half supporting local initiatives such as the Rainbow Children's Home, Family Connection, and RIC Rack Thrift Store and Food Pantry, among others.
The group also contributed $4,000 to an international Kiwanis project known as Eliminate, which provides tetanus immunizations to boost maternal health and child survival among the poorest, most underserved women and children in the world.
Working in partnership with UNICEF, Kiwanis is committed to eliminating maternal/neonatal tetanus, a disease that kills one baby every nine minutes.
"If we can get a mother vaccinated for tetanus-lockjaw, it will carry through to her children for like seven years," Pichon said. "We have eliminated lockjaw in the United States through the shots. We just don't have it here, but third world countries still have it, and it's excruciatingly painful."
Funds are collected through the club's Cinco de Run-O 5K race held each summer and has grown from a few to hundreds of participants.
Mike Underwood, who assumes his new position as the club's 2015-2016 president during the first meeting in October, said the club will continue to strive in the coming year.
"Having projects that help support our being able to fund worthy causes in our county is the utmost importance," he said. "We also will continue to enjoy each other's company as we meet for lunch twice a month where we will have informative speakers to discuss topics that are important to us here in Dawson County.
"I have been a Kiwanian for 25 years and have enjoyed every minute of it."
He praised Holloway, saying he'll have large shoes to follow.
"Angelia did a great job last year by being extremely thorough about getting and keeping our records current and staying on top of all the projects that the Dawson Kiwanis either give man hours to or give donations to," Underwood said. "She was instrumental in leading our club and getting us headed in the right direction."
Kiwanis Club meets at 11:30 a.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at Ryan's on Ga. 400.