Looking through the long list of places to do community service, the RR Kiwanis Club caught Gary Koenig’s attention. He knew this was going to be a great choice, but he didn’t think it could make such an impact in his life. Gary’s outstanding service not only positively affected his life but also the lives of those all around him, earning him the Kiwanian of the Year.
Service has always been a part of Gary’s life, learning from an early age the importance of “giving back.” His father was active in the Lions Club and passed this message onto him. Devoting most of his volunteer time to his church and mission work, he was looking for another avenue to give back to his community.
Gary, along with his wife Doris, joined Kiwanis in October 2014. Since then he has worked on many projects logging greater than 143 hours. After joining the club Gary immediately immersed himself in a variety of projects and fundraisers focused on helping children throughout Denton County. He learned that some children at Evers Park Elementary School lacked a strong role model in the home, which too often translated into poor academic performance. As a mentor for the past year Gary “goes back to school” on a weekly basis and works with a single child developing a solid “grandparent”/child rapport and supporting the child in reading and writing skills.
Another mentoring program Gary services is K-Kids, which helps elementary school students build leadership skills and appreciation for the benefits of community service. He has helped the students with their schoolyard clean-up project and animal shelter fundraiser.
Community-wide Gary helped rebuild the Eureka Playground constructing rails for the wheelchair platforms, built home wheelchair ramps for the disabled in association with Texas Ramps, rehabilitated temporary classrooms for Denton ISD and cleaned and weeded the on-site cemetery at the Denton State Supported Living Center along with the campus Aktion Club.
And when it comes to the Kiwanis Club’s fundraising efforts, Gary has been front and center. He chaired the committee for delivery of the RR Source Books, ushered attendees during the Boys and Girls Club magic show, rang the bell for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Christmas drive, supported the sister Kiwanis club for the Taste of Denton event, staffed the Texas Motor Speedway restaurant, represented Kiwanis at its many Bingo games, worked the annual chili cook-off and helped with meal preparation during the Grands golf outing.
Gary knows first-hand community service does not have just a single meaning, but many. Although the intangible benefits alone: pride, satisfaction and accomplishment are worthwhile reasons to serve, he shared his time and talents to strengthen communities, connect to others and transform lives.
Perhaps the biggest benefit we get from volunteering is the satisfaction of incorporating service into our lives and making a difference in our community. Come visit Kiwanis Club on Kiwanis Club Robson Ranch every first and third Friday at 8:30 a.m. in the Clubhouse or contact Jim Galbraith at firstname.lastname@example.org.