Tom Smalley opened his first meeting as president of the Thomson Kiwanis Club on Monday with a reminder about the real purpose of community service.
"Are things important, or are people important?" Smalley asked. "I've learned that people are important."
"I want to help you any way that I can," Smalley told club members. "Let's have a great year together."
Smalley, the comptroller for the McDuffie County Schools and the pastor of Jones Chapel in Lincolnton, accepted the gavel just a week earlier from Jay Poston, of Two-State Construction and Thomson Roofing.
Leigh Culpepper advanced to president elect and Garrett Edmunds became vice president. Diane Purvis remained in office as treasurer and Donna Kerr continued as secretary.
Former club president Tommy Phelps, who is also a former district (state) vice president, conducted the ceremony at The Depot, where the club meets weekly.
"I've enjoyed this year," Poston said. "I've joked that I was looking forward to the past president's pin and this day. But it has been a fun year; it really has."
He said the office has been a learning experience, as he has gained new respect for those who work behind the scenes.
"A true Kiwanian sees a problem and just handles it," he said. "If we can do it in the name of the club, then it's good. But the main thing is that we've done it."
"We're here because we love the community," Poston said. "Thomson is one of the finest communities around."
Phelps thanked Purvis and Kerr for continuing in their duties. He asked club members to take time to thank the officers personally.
"Be proud of what we have accomplished and will accomplish," he told the club.
At their latest meeting, the Kiwanis heard from Doris Faircloth Hunt, a local historian and the author of A Telling: The History of the First Baptist Church in Thomson, Ga.
Hunt is the widow of Pete Hunt, a former First Baptist clerk who died in 2005. Her research of the records of 32 church clerks chronicles the growth of the church from its founding in 1859.
"All of us who are members of First Baptist Church have our own stories," she said.
She outlined early Thomson history and the church's role in the community. She called special attention to the shared mission and friendly rivalry of the early churches.
Her 250-page book is available at the church office, 253 Jackson St., or online at fbcthomson.org.