By Graham sturgeon, staff writer
The Kiwanis Club of Owosso held its Sweetheart Valentine Banquet Tuesday, Feb. 16 at Owosso Memorial Hospital where they welcomed Kiwanis International President Sue Petrisin – the first female president of a major international service organization (Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist, Rotary) – as the guest of honor. Five separate Kiwanis chapters, as well as members of the Owosso Theater Club and the Owosso Key Club attended the meeting. Club President Carol Lirones-Flayer also presented service awards to two longstanding club members, Russell Osborne and Jack Wing.
Petrisin took a break from her busy international humanitarian aid schedule to attend the meeting, and she discussed many topics during her time at the podium. She described the many trips she has taken since being elected in October, and looked ahead to her upcoming trips to Romania, Hong Kong, China, Austria and Toronto, as she helps Kiwanis “care for the children of the world.”
“My experience as president has been amazing,” Petrisin said Tuesday. “People have been so welcoming, everywhere I go. It really has been a heart-warming experience. Being able to represent Michigan and the Lansing area is an honor I will never forget.”
Petrisin explained how Kiwanis is different than other service organizations, and outlined the formula that is helping Kiwanis continue to be one of the remaining growing service organizations.
“Society has changed and we have had to adjust with that,” Petrisin said. “Both parents have to work and more and more people are too busy to donate their time. That’s why we have to be more flexible. We have to do what’s necessary to welcome new members and to become a club that meets the needs of our communities. That is why we are projecting positive membership growth for 2016, for the first time in 20 to 25 years.”
Dinner included steak, baked potatoes, corn and toss salad, with cherry pie for dessert. Additional entertainment was provided by the Owosso Theater Club, which re-enacted a scene from their current Neil Simon play.