Kiwanis was one of the first service organization that David joined and has forever impacted his life, carving out a lasting legacy in child-and-community advocacy. David has served locally as well as nationally for Kiwanis, and even saved lives though his AED initiative. For his leadership and dedication to Kiwanis’ mission, David has been awarded numerous accolades. In 2022, David celebrated 35 years of membership with Kiwanis.
In the mid-1980s, David was focused on his education, budding career, and wife. In 1985, he was in law school during the evenings and working fulltime during the day. In 1986, he was studying for the bar exam and building his book of business, all while starting a family. With his busy life, there was no time to devote to service organizations.
The following year, in 1987, David joined EF Hutton and moved from Clark Tower in East Memphis to Downtown Memphis. Across from his new office was the Kiwanis Club of Memphis which met at the Skyway at the Peabody Hotel. Seeing this organization daily from a distance, it was always top-of-mind for David. He also knew that, along with the Rotary Club, Kiwanis was one of the most significant service clubs in the region.
At the time, David had a client who was a member of Kiwanis, and invited David as a guest to the next meeting. As they say, the rest was history.
David was a member of Kiwanis Club of Memphis from 1987 to 1994. Meeting once a week, David was quickly introduced to the world and impact of service organizations.
In 1994, David made the decision to move from the firm Smith Barney and return to Paine Webber, heading back East. David continued his membership with the Memphis Club until, in 1996, he joined the Germantown Kiwanis Club. This decision was made out of convenience due to the longer drive for meetings downtown.
Germantown Kiwanis Club is singlehandedly the strongest service club of Germantown, boasting a lot of civic members who are deeply involved in the community.
David was eventually elected Vice President of the club, securing programming every single week for 52 weeks – not an easy task. While David served in this role, the President of the organization, Mark Luttrell, was elected Sheriff, moving David into the role of President a year earlier than expected. During David’s tenure as president, Germantown Kiwanis Club was selected as Club of the Year for the Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee district, publicly pronouncing the strength of this organization.
Soon after, David was convinced by his peers to run for Lt. Governor for the Shelby County area. Winning the election, David continued his journey in civic service for his city and state.
In 2008, after serving one term as District Trustee, David was elected to the role of Governor-Elect, and in 2009, became the Governor of the great and historic Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee district of Kiwanis International.
A Life-Saving Initiative
In David’s new role, he oversaw 20 Kiwanis regional districts with over 100 clubs across Louisiana, Mississippi and West Tennessee. After brainstorming ways to provide needed services within their communities and counseling with members, they decided to work toward placing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in each of their local schools—a worthwhile cause given that more than 300,000 people die of cardiac arrest every year—it’s the leading killer in the United States.
Fortunately, an on-site defibrillator can make a huge difference, shocking the heart back into rhythm as the patient awaits further medical care. A study estimated 1,700 lives are saved each year from bystanders using these devices, although at the time of our project, there still weren’t many AEDs around.
David’s leadership team agreed to take on the project, and he began coordinating with more than 250 clubs with the expressed goal of putting at least one AED in each school in every school district in the three states they served.
By the end of his term in 2009, David and his organization had placed more than 15,000 AEDs in schools throughout their districts and coordinated training on these devices for staff members and employees.
Then the stories started pouring in. One day not long after the placement of the AEDs, David got an emotional phone call from a woman saying she just wanted to thank him. Her husband had driven over to the elementary school to pick up their daughter. While at the front desk signing her out, he suddenly dropped to the floor. He had experienced sudden cardiac arrest. Fortunately, the office staff knew what to do.
David received 25 to 30 letters with similar stories. It was humbling when the school honored the teacher who had actually saved the father’s life, several members of the office staff who stayed calm in an emergency and me during an award assembly.
Although not every Kiwanis club in my area raised enough money to meet our goal, David carried the AED project forward in his role as chair of the Shelby County Board of Education. Partnering with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), the Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts, they continued their fundraising efforts to ensure every school had this life-saving device.
Understanding the need for these much-needed AEDs. David personally donated 25 devices for his community.
For his leadership and dedication to Kiwanis’ mission, David was given numerous accolades for his service: George F. Hixson Fellow (2004), the Outstanding Leadership Award (2007), the Centennial Award (2015), and had his name inscribed on the Tablet of Honor.
2015 Centennial Award, created by Kiwanis Club of Lombard. This award is based on a centennial gift and not specific to financial services and does not imply an endorsement, recommendation, or reflect the performance of the advisor.
2007 Outstanding Leadership Award, created by Kiwanis Club of Louisiana-Mississippi-West Tennessee District. This award is based on recognition of outstanding leadership and devoted service and not specific to financial services and does not imply an endorsement, recommendation, or reflect the performance of the advisor.
Tablet of Honor, created by Kiwanis Club of Germantown. This award is based in recognition of outstanding service and unwavering loyalty to Kiwanis and not specific to financial services and does not imply an endorsement, recommendation, or reflect the performance of the advisor.
2004 Hixson Ambassador, created by Kiwanis. This award is based recognizing people who have contributed significantly to Kiwanis’ history of generosity and not specific to financial services and does not imply an endorsement, recommendation, or reflect the performance of the advisor.