Banner Elk Kiwanis Club: Barinowski, Krege, Swinkola Recognized for Leadership, Service

Published Friday, April 22, 2016 at 5:24 pm

By Jessica Isaacs | jessica@highcountrypress.com

Many organizations around the world work to change lives and communities, and Kiwanis International is among the most effective on both local and global scales.

A relentless commitment to impacting lives at home and abroad makes each Kiwanis Club a powerful force for positive change, and the Banner Elk chapter is no exception. In fact, several of its members were recently recognized for their outstanding work in the community.

Read more to learn about these honorable recognitions and check out bannerelkkiwanis.org for more information about the local chapter.

About Kiwanis

Represented in 80 countries around the world, Kiwanis International seeks to bring about large-scale change by starting with the lives of children, who represent hope for a brighter future and a better world.

One project, one community and one child at a time, Kiwanians work to tackle prevalent health-related and other issues facing young people everywhere.

The organization is known for its largely successful global health initiatives, like its campaign to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders. Today, Kiwanis is hard at work through a global partnership with Unicef to eliminate maternal/neonatal tetanus.

Many Kiwanis Clubs foster a passion for selfless service in younger generations by leading and influencing children’s programs and Key Clubs — high school student-led branches of the Kiwanis organization.

Right here in the High Country, the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk meets weekly and works tirelessly to further the agency’s mission here in western North Carolina. It also makes possible a variety of community programs for locals and visitors alike.

Recently, several of its members have received special honors in recognition of their service through the club.

Bob Barinowski, Zeller Fellow

Sadie Grace Barinowski pins the Kiwanis Zeller award on her grandfather, Bob Barinowski

Sadie Grace Barinowski pins the Kiwanis Zeller award on her grandfather, Bob Barinowski

Retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and longtime BE Kiwanian Bob Barinowski was awarded the Walter Zeller Fellowship, which is named in honor of the first Kiwanian to contribute to the KI Foundation in 1940.

For Barinowski, one particular experience with a local student launched what would become more than a decade of substance abuse awareness and prevention in the High Country.

“I recall sitting at Avery High School and listening to a 16-year-old girl explain that her main suppliers of drugs were her parents,” he said.

Since then, he’s worked tirelessly to help local students channel their energy into positive and rewarding programs, like Young Life, leading them away from the vulnerable moments that often tempt young people into drug abuse.

His work was recognized in a recent ceremony, where his 9-year-old granddaughter Sadie Grace Barinowski pinned the Zeller pin to his lapel.

 

Roy Krege, Zeller Fellow

Marion Krege pins husband Roy during a Kiwanis Awards Ceremony

Marion Krege pins husband Roy during a Kiwanis Awards Ceremony

Known affectionately as “Mr. Woolly Worm” here in the High Country, Roy Krege has been a member of the BE Kiwanis Club since 1968. An instrumental leader in fundraising for the town’s annual Woolly Worm festival, this local leader has also remained active in club works like the backpack food program for local children, the reading program and the Eliminate Project.

He, too, was recently recognized as a Zeller Fellow, one of the highest recognitions attainable through Kiwanis International.

“As a Kiwanian, I can put good works into my belief that to be great in God’s kingdom you need to be the servant of all,” he said.

Krege humbly accepted the award and continues to lead the community as an example of true Christian service.

 

Jim Swinkola, Centennial Award

Ann Swinkola pins husband Jim during the Kiwanis meeting where he was recognized with the Centennial Award.

Ann Swinkola pins husband Jim during the Kiwanis meeting where he was recognized with the Centennial Award.

A retired CEO of Grandfather Home for Children and a 33-year member of the club, Jim Swinkola has long been making a difference through the Kiwanis organization.

He serves as the advisor for Avery High School’s award-winning Key Club, where he actively works to encourage service and leadership in today’s youth.

“It is my hope that a goodly number of the Key Club members will translate their leadership skills into strengthening nonprofit organizations whose mission it is to serve children,” he said. “The more skilled the agency’s staff leaders, the better the service delivery.”

Swinkola was honored with the Kiwanis International Centennial Award at the recent ceremony.

“Few things in life make me feel better than being an active Kiwanian. The Centennial Award is nice, but the impact Kiwanis and Key Club makes on the children of Avery County is tremendous,” he said. “That’s where the action is, working to better the lives of children, which is what Kiwanis does.”

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