Book of Golden Deeds Award goes to Boys & Girls Club director

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 312 views 

Long-time Fort Smith Boys & Girls Clubs Executive Jerry Glidewell was honored on Friday (Feb. 6) evening with the prestigious Book of Golden Deeds Award. Sponsored by the Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club, Glidewell was presented with the award at the organization's 73rd annual Book of Golden Deeds Banquet.

Recognizing a worthy person or group that continuously donates time, talent, and energy to help those in need, the purpose of the Book of Golden Deeds Award is to honor such unsung heroes for their good deeds and contributions to the community. Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club selects an honoree each year, based on nominations from its membership and the community.

"The Book of Golden Deeds is the longest running national Exchange Club program," said Cindy Long, FSNE President. "It began in Indiana in 1919, and the Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club handed out its first award in 1942."

The awards ceremony and banquet was held at Fianna Hills Country Club in Fort Smith. The evening kicked-off with a Meet-and-Greet at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 6:30 p.m.

Throughout the evening, a number of past Golden Deeds recipients were honored and remembered for their many years of service. Scott Monroe, FSNE past president, paid special tribute to honorees from 25 and 50 years ago including 1989 honoree Robert Miller, and the late Dr. Fred Roebuck, who was named the Book of Golden Deeds Winner in 1964. Organizers also honored the group's past presidents, of whom many were also in attendance.

FSNE Member Dr. Cole Goodman was selected to announce the winner at the ceremony and share about Glidewell's accomplishments. Unaware that he was being honored, Glidewell was surprised when Goodman began reading his bio and was no less than shocked to have his name called.

Glidewell has been a part of the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Clubs for 32 years, having served as executive director since 1990. He oversees the operations of four clubs and Hunts Park. In that time, he has impacted thousands of youth and implemented important initiatives including the Lean on Me Mentoring program. He has grown the FSBGC Alumni & Friends Association and  raised millions of dollars to build and renovate club sites, award scholarships, and expand services.

"I know of no one in this community who has helped more youth and has done more so out of the limelight than Jerry Glidewell," said Goodman.

Following the presentation, Sebastian County Judge David Hudson and Fort Smith Mayor Sandy each read proclamations in Glidewell's honor.

Fort Smith Noon Exchange will enjoy another celebration in the coming weeks, as the Club marks its 90th anniversary. Founded in 1925, FSNE is comprised of men and women "working together to make the community a better place to live." Members accomplish their mission through programs of service in Americanism, volunteerism, youth activities, and the organization’s national project, the prevention of child abuse.

The Club will host a special 90th anniversary reception and meeting on March 6 at noon at Fianna Hills Country Club. The program will reflect on FSNE's long-standing commitment to the area, its powerful roster of past and present membership, and more.

“It is a big year for us and we are so excited to have representatives from the National Exchange Club that will be in attendance at our ceremony," said Long. "Tonight is a great example of Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club's legacy and the impact that its members and friends have had on the community."