Thursday evening, local banker and philanthropist Trish Tootle was named “Kiwanian of the Year” by the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro. The announcement was made during the club’s 62nd annual awards dinner.

Trish Tootle is the 54th recipient of the “Kiwanian of the Year award Credit: Grice Connect

According to last year’s recipient, Lisa Turner, this honor is reserved for “members whose conduct and services to the community and the club are rated as exceptional.” Turner, who introduced Tootle and presented the award, says she considers Tootle both a mentor and a friend. “[I] often let her know that I want to be just like her when I grow up,” Turner quipped during her speech.

Tootle is the Community Relations Officer at Morris Bank. Aside from Kiwanis, she is actively engaged in numerous community organizations including The Averitt Center for the Arts, Ogeechee Area Hospice, the Statesbro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce, and Freedom Through Recovery. Tootle also serves as the Children’s Minister at Emit Grove Baptist Church near Brooklet. 

Tootle says she is humbled and honored to receive the award, giving credit to the many “giants” who have led by example and shared their wisdom and passion for community service. “The Kiwanis family is a very special group,” she said. “They each have a servant’s heart and I am so honored to be a part of this wonderful organization.” According to the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro website, Tootle is the 54th Kiwanian of the Year since the club was chartered in 1960.

Musical entertainment for Thursday’s event was provided by pianist Robert Cottle and newly-inducted Kiwanian and musician Brandi Harvey. Vice President Matt Anderson welcomed guests and shared a message he received from a Kiwanian who is currently serving in the Armed Forces overseas. Gene Murkison delivered the invocation.

President John Banter took to the podium to thank attendees and members for their ongoing contributions to the club’s efforts. “Because of your hard work during the [Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair] and other events, we are able to give back over $150,000 to our local community,” he said.

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro gathered Tuesday evening for the 62nd Annual Awards Dinner Credit: Grice Connect

Additional Honorees

Perfect Attendance 

  • One year: Matt Anderson; Franklin Beacham; Carlos Brown; Jonathen Bunch; Larry Jones; Martha Ross; Steven Sanders; Bobby Turner; Chris Wiggins
  • Two years: Jim Thibodeau
  • Three years: John Banter; Dan Hagan
  • Four years: Bill Anderson; Marilyn Hale; Ricky Helton; Lisa Turner
  • Five years: Danny Beall, Lynn Bennett; Chris Caplinger; Earl Cashon; Bob Marsh; Chuck Sheets
  • Six years: Ashlee Corbin; JD Dunn
  • Nine years: Vince Galasso; Bede Mitchell
  • Ten years: Trish Tootle
  • Thirteen years: Mike Rushing
  • Thirty-nine years: Horace Harrell

Outstanding Kiwanians

  • Danny Beall; Lynn Bennett; Ashlee Corbin; Larry Jones; Trish Tootle; Chris Wiggins

Ruby K. Awards
Presented to members who sponsor five or more new members over the course of their Kiwanis membership

  • Lynn Bennett
  • Dan Hagan

Legion of Honor Awards
First presented after 25 years of service, then every 5 years thereafter

  • 25 years: Ed Bailey; Jim Dutrow; Cliff Holt
  • 30 years: Gary Mikell; Mike Rushing
  • 35 years: James Deal
  • 40 years: Dan Hagan; Tommy Hagan

Special thanks to Ashlee Corbin for her contribution to this story.

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Bobby NeSmith

Bobby NeSmith is a Bulloch County native who enjoys connecting with our community. He first discovered his love for media at Portal High School and is known for his thoughtful and engaging contributions...