Volunteer efforts are very important to our society and should not go unnoticed. The National Exchange Club’s longest running project, the Book of Golden Deeds Award, recognizes dedicated volunteers who give endless hours of their time and talents toward making their communities a better place to live.
Honoring a fellow citizen with the Book of Golden Deeds is a heartwarming and inspiring act not only for the honoree, but for our club members and guests. We have adopted this project as one of our most important annual events, and is the feature of an annual banquet.
2017 Book of Golden Deeds Award Honoree – Neil Smalley
Neil was recognized for his work with Kettering Parks and Recreation Board (most recently the Veterans Memorial), his efforts to have the Masonic Center reach out to the community (among other things, he promoted the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra free collaborative concerts), and for his and Willa Jean’s sponsorship of the Neil Smalley and Willa Jean Dyslexic Center. Neil was the Grand Master of Masons in Ohio.
Neil is man well worth the recognition. His wife, Willa, also deserves much credit for supporting and collaborating in his efforts.
Dyslexia is a complex disability that inhibits reading comprehension (language processing) and needs intensive training to overcome. Neil and Willa Jean were key organizers of the Dyslexia Center and director of the Board. Kids K-12 come after school for mostly one-on-one sessions. The club presented a check for $1,000 to the Center in hopes of helping it continue its important work.
Jim Suddath gave a bit of history of the Book of Golden Deeds and presented the plaque to Neil who declared he was humbled by the honor. But many people know, and Commissioner Foley cited in a special proclamation, that Neil has been a major figure in the Kettering Parks and Recreation Foundation, led the development of the Veterans Memorial in Delco Park and was the state leader of the Masonic Order in addition to many of the unsung endeavors within Exchange. Much of this was recognized in a special tribute to Neil and Willa Jean given by Club President-elect Khadijah Ali.
The occasion was honored as well to have District President-elect Beverly Sewell and Division 6 Director Larry Sewell come from Springfield. Members of the Dyslexia Center board were also present together with colleagues of the Snalley’s from Kettering.
2016 Book of Golden Deeds Award Honoree – the Honorable Judge Walter Rice
It was quite a celebration! There is Judge Walter H. Rice, with Khadijah Ali (left), receiving his Book of Golden Deeds award from President Eric Price. The pairing is especially appropriate because of Eric’s multi-year management of our civics education project and Judge Rice’s passionate belief in improving civics/social studies so that our high school graduates are ready to take on their responsibilities as informed and active citizens.
Judge Rice has been the coordinator and facilitator of the “civics project” involving the Dayton and Ohio Bar associations, State Senator Peggy Lehner and educators (both classroom and administrative). The Book of Golden Deeds award honors Judge Rice not only for his work with the club but a host of other community services. Khadijah Ali celebrated some of that with a poetic
reading and warm thanks to the Judge for their work together.
2009 Book of Golden Deeds Award Honoree-The 2009 honoree is Mr. Henry Dodson. He is pictured at right with his wife, Shirley, to his left and daughter, Karen, at right. Past District President Sue Jaros is at far right. He was honored for his tireless efforts for spreading the importance of organ and tissue donations throughout the State of Ohio. A recipient of a heart transplant, his personal story is inspiring.
Pictured at top left is Mrs. Karen Reed, winner of the 2008 Book of Golden Deeds Award, presented on June 14, 2008. Mrs. Reed was honored for her community efforts with LEAD (Leaders for Equality & Action in Dayton). To the right of Mrs. Reed is Ms. Treva Jenkins, of the Board of Directors of The Exchange Club of Dayton, and a previous recipient of the Book of Golden Deeds