Today we’d like to highlight one of our very own, Mr. Bert West, and his years of community service through Kiwanis International. For those who are unfamiliar with the organization, Kiwanis was founded in 1915 as a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children. Today, Kiwanis serves a total of 80 countries and geographic areas; it empowers members to find creative ways to serve the needs of children through initiatives like literacy improvement and fighting hunger. In fact, Kiwanis clubs host nearly 150,000 service projects every year!
Bert grew up witnessing his Grandfather’s involvement in Kiwanis and decided to follow suit. He joined Kiwanis in his early 20s as a roofer with a strong belief in giving back to the community and has been an active member for 32 years. Bert first represented Kiwanis by visiting his town’s local elementary school each month to read books to second graders. Not long after, he helped organize a fishing derby for special needs children, aimed to help participants learn to fish while creating lasting memories. As you can imagine, Bert devoted countless hours to Kiwanis from the very beginning and was eventually elected as one of the organization’s International Trustees in Toronto, Canada.
Today, Bert looks fondly on his experiences with Kiwanis and is excited for the years of service to come. He, along with all Kiwanians, recently participated in Kiwanis’ Eliminate Campaign, which has since helped to eliminate maternal and neonatal Tetanus in most of the world. Additionally, Kiwanis has provided Bert and his wife, Sandy, the opportunity to contribute for the refurbishing of a library in the Philippines, organize and host a fundraiser to build a playground for the Ronald McDonald House, provide scholarships to children in need, and so much more. As it happens, Bert’s local club has given away nearly $50,000 in scholarships alone!
Bert is currently running for Vice President of Kiwanis, in hopes of continuing to live out Kiwanis’ mission for many years to come. The election is set to commence this upcoming August, but will not include its usual in-person convention out of respect for the current COVID-19 environment and social distancing protocols.
If you’ve ever met Bert, then you know there’s no denying his heartfelt commitment to Kiwanis’ mission. He frequently encourages others to get involved in a local community organization of their choice and never shies away from sharing his steadfast belief that “giving back to the community reminds you time and time again what your life purpose is, and why you do what you do every day.”