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Auburn's Neal selected VP of Kiwanis International

Sylvester Neal, here in his Lakeland Hills home, usually doesn’t relax much. He’s often busy doing whatever he can, wherever he can, to improve the lives of children, - Gary Kissel/Reporter
Sylvester Neal, here in his Lakeland Hills home, usually doesn’t relax much. He’s often busy doing whatever he can, wherever he can, to improve the lives of children,
— image credit: Gary Kissel/Reporter

Auburn’s Sylvester Neal got the call. He is the next vice president of Kiwanis International and soon, will become its president.

“I still haven’t come down from Cloud Nine,” said the 64-year-old Neal, a 27-year Kiwanian who has devoted 31 years of service in public safety as a military and civilian firefighter before retiring. “I’m just honored and humble by this whole experience.”

Neal was the top choice among four candidates at last week’s Kiwanis International convention in Orlando, Fla. He received the nod Friday night.

The vice president-designate officially will take the VP office effective Oct. 1. He will serve in that capacity for one year before becoming president-elect next year. He automatically becomes president of the global service organization in 2010.

The affable Neal is the first member from the Pacific Northwest District in 54 years to reach the VP office. The regional group is one of 50 Kiwanis districts throughout the world.

A member of the Auburn-based Valley Kiwanis Club, Neal is the first leader from the local area to achieve the position.

“I just feel so humbled and blessed to have this opportunity to serve this organization at this level for the next four years,” he said.

A four-time Kiwanian of the Year, Neal has held various offices within the organization and serves on many committees today as a trustee. He is experienced in international affairs, finance, diversity, growth and administration.

Neal’s successful campaign ran on the platform of “commitment to leadership and growth.” He said it is vitally important to discover and build new leaders for the organization.

“There are so many things to be done and we don’t have enough people to address (the challenges),” Neal said. “There is a crying need for more Kiwanians.

“My long-term dream is they will come ... and that no needy child is not touched by a Kiwanian and no Kiwanian is not touched by a child.”

Auburn’s Kiwanis Club of the Valley meets every Wednesday at 7 a.m. at the Auburn Parks & Recreation Office, 910 Ninth St. SE.

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