Two represent Orange as they serve the community

Published 6:16 am Saturday, November 27, 2021

By Dawn Burleigh

There are two organization in Orange which are well known for their community service, Orange Lions Club and Kiwanis.

At this time, both organizations have representation at a higher level in the organization bringing Orange recognition for serving others.

Chris Kovatch

Chris Kovatch is currently 1st Vice District Governor for Lions Club International and Pastor Brad McKenzie is Governor of the Texas-Oklahoma District of Kiwanis International.

“I was asked to serve,” Kovatch said. “This is the start of a three-year commitment.”

Kovatch said he wanted to complete his terms as Club President before agreeing to the position.

“It is a big time commitment with quarterly meetings all over Texas,” Kovatch said.

Part of his duties is to promote Lionism and it’s impact in the community.

One way the club has had an impact in Orange is with a tree planting project.

A partnership between the Orange Lions Club and the Orange County Master Gardeners resulted in the planting of 180 pecan trees. Funding was provided by a donation from a club member and grants from Walmart and International Paper, in early 2020.

“With membership not growing,” Kovatch said, “we are looking at research on younger generations.”

He added those who understand the value of getting their hands dirty and the work has in impact on the community.

“We have to make change to have an impact,” Kovatch said.

So, it will be his duty to help other clubs in the district to become aware of this information.

“We see how relevant the fellowship is in people’s lives now,” Kovatch said, referring to the impact COVID had on clubs and organizations. “We want to get younger people involved in the club.”

For Kovatch, becoming a Lion was easy.

“I wanted to be involved with the community when I moved back to the area in 2006,” Kovatch said. My father-in-law passed away and he was big in Lions. My wife had many child hood memories. For me it was carrying on a tradition.”

Being a Lion also gave him the opportunity to serve.

“I discovered what exactly went into the carnival,” Kovatch said. “I never thought about the hours that went into setting it up or taking it down. That was an eye opener.”

If one is interested in becoming a Lion, visit the Orange Lions Club Facebook page, find a Lion or visit https://www.district2s1.org/

Pastor Brad McKenzie

For Kiwanis, Pastor Brad McKenzie wants to help the clubs struggling  to meet.

“I want help them get back to serving,” McKenzie said. “Without serving, they are not able to have fundraisers.”

Kiwanis, also want to have a positive impact on the community.

“I discovered Kiwanis when I was looking for a way to volunteer that was not part of my vocation,” McKenzie said. “I wanted to partner with an organization which was already doing great things in the community.”

In his Governor’s Message, he wrote: “In a nation more divided and tense since the Civil War, we must find ways to bring stability and common ground to the communities and experiences of our children. I am convinced serving those who need us is one of the greatest equalizing and unifying engagements in life. When we serve alongside another person, we become more focused on doing good and being good than we are on the differences which often divide us. As well,

when we teach our children the lifestyle of service, we give them a perspective of life

which values human life and makes sacrifices for others without expecting anything in

return.”

After serving as a club board member and various chairs, he eventually was elected club president where he would lead the club to become an Eliminate Model Club, grow in club membership, and have a greater impact and partnership in serving in the Pasadena community.

He resides in Orange since February 2019.

The first Kiwanis Club in what is now the Texas-Oklahoma District, was officially completed February 10, 1917, at Dallas, Texas, with a membership of 200.  The charter was presented on March 28, 1918, according to it’s official website.

To learn more about Kiwanis, visit http://www.txokkiwanis.org/ or the district Facebook page TX-OK Kiwanis District