The Batesville Kiwanis Club recognized three individuals and installed new officers and Board members at its annual Installation Banquet last Tuesday, Sept. 25.
The civic club named Johnathan Abbott Batesville’s 2018 Citizen of the Year. The selection committee cited Abbott’s service to his church, the city, and the entire region in multiple capacities.
Abbott has served his church in many roles, particularly in youth leadership and missions.
He has also served the City of Batesville in a great many roles. He has been a firefighter for twenty-eight years, a reserve officer of both the Batesville Police Department and the Independence County Sheriff’s Department, and chair of the city’s Safety Committee.
He has been a leader in city beautification, as well, serving on the Batesville Tree Board and working as Tree City USA Coordinator. For the past twenty-four years, he has been the city’s Cemetery and Landscape Supervisor.
Abbott has made his most well-known mark on the community in his work in a special area of beautification. For the past ten years, he has been Batesville’s Tour of Holiday Lights Coordinator.
In that capacity he has developed the Christmas light display at Riverside Park into the region’s premier holiday attraction, drawing tens of thousands of visitors to the park to enjoy the celebration of Christmas. Each year he has developed the display further, finding new sponsors and new funding for additional lighting.
The club also recognized two others. It presented Rep. James Sturch with its Les Mace Award, noting his service to education, both as a professional and as a legislator. It then named Martha Lewallen the Kiwanian of the Year, noting her work on multiple Kiwanis projects, from the Christmas parade to the arrangements for the Installation Banquet.
Kiwanis District Lieutenant Governor Lyndal Waits installed David Winberry as President, Charles Covington as President-elect, Frank Hilbert as First Vice President, Tom Martin as Second Vice President, Terrell Tebbetts as Immediate Past President, and Ron Lewallen as Secretary-Treasurer.
New board members installed include Diane Baker, Landon Downing, Jonathan Farrar, Larry Price, Andy Walmsley, and Becky Warren.
Batesville Kiwanis Club, with over 70 members, meets every Friday at noon.