46th Annual Installation of Officers and Awards Ceremony

Photo by Sherry Van Matre / Special to the Sun
John Blythe, right, receives the Exchangite of the Year award from Outgoing President Fred Clark, left.

By Kern Valley Exchange Club

On Saturday June 29, the Kern Valley Exchange Club held its annual Installation of Officers and Awards ceremony at the home of Ron and Marsha Smith in Wofford Heights.

Outgoing President Fred Clark reflected on his year as a great deal of fun and having to pay “a lot in fines” for causing trouble. He was hopeful that incoming Club President Pat Connell wouldn’t have to pay as much as he did all year.

John Blythe, Regional Vice President on the National Exchange Club Board, conducted the 2019/2020 installation of officers and directors for the incoming year:
Pat Connell (president), Ron Smith (president-elect), Ross Elliott (treasurer), Pam Smith (secretary), Fred Clark (immediate past president); Board of Directors: C.J. Bundy, Pat Clark, Sherry Lanza, Sandye Sievers, Marsha Smith, Sherry Van Matre.

A special acknowledgment was given to Arlene Jones, who has spent many years serving on the club’s board of directors. She is relocating at the end of the month to Washington, and the club gave her a round of applause and will miss her.

After the Installation, Blythe also presented Clark with awards from recent California/Nevada District Exchange Clubs Convention in Newport Beach, including Outstanding Youth Service, Outstanding Community Service, Americanism and Prevention of Child Abuse.

Marsha Smith and Clark then passed out anniversary pins for several of the members that were present: Five Year Pins were presented to Judy Hyatt and Ross Elliott; Ten Year Pins were presented to Debbie Freeland and Colleen Bulgarelli; 25 Year Pin presented to Dave Freeland; and 45 Year Pin presented to Jim Wyly.

The next award was the Exchangite of the Year. Clark and Smith presented this to Blythe, who used to be the youngest member of the club (now second youngest ahead of Kenny Hutchinson). Blythe was somewhat surprised by the honor, and many commented that it was very long overdue. In fact, Smith said, “When the nomination came in saying Blythe had never received the honor, I thought, no way. So I checked our perpetual plaque to make sure he wasn’t there, and I couldn’t believe his name was not there. But there you have it – sometimes the most visually deserving folks are unintentionally overlooked.”

Smith and Connell presented Clark with his Presidential Plaque and Gavel and thanked him for his service this last year.

Clark then passed on the bell and gavel to Connell, who said a few words about the club and how she would like to work on membership this year and get members to come to meetings more regularly. This past year was tough losing members, and she would like to see the club see an increase again.

To finish the ceremony, the 2018/2019 Year in Review presentation was presented to the audience highlighting Clark’s year.

Concluding the year end slide show was the annual memorial tribute, which acknowledged Exchangites and friends of our club that left us since last year’s installation ceremony: Margaret Williams, Ruby Dodds, Winnie Henderson, Ron Bolyard, Ned Miller, Christine Effinger, Don Reed, Skip Knotts, David Derr, Nina Wiseman, Pam Sudlow, Ed Kohlmeier, Mike McFarlen, Darlene Randall, Bob Salyer and George H.W. Bush; the former American President was also a National lifetime Exchangite, and the presentation ended with an excerpt of one of his speeches as words of wisdom reflecting on Exchange’s motto Unity for Service: “In crucial things, unity. In important things, diversity. In all things, generosity.”

Connell officially rang the bell to adjourn the ceremony and hopes to see everyone soon at meetings and pay a few bucks in fines!