Finding Avenues for Helping Others
William Beard is being honored as a Champion of Change for his Kiwanis International service.
For a long time, I’ve been committed to helping make positive change in my community of Frankfort, Indiana—and having an impact beyond my community whenever possible. I’m cofounder of Beard Industries, which grew into a leading global distributor of grain dryers. I retired in 2002, but the past 10 years have kept me busy. In fact, they have been a chance to give more of my time to the causes and organizations that mean a lot to me and my wife, Jean.
Both before and after my retirement, for instance, my membership in the Frankfort Kiwanis Club has given me a way to serve children locally and throughout the world. I’ve been a Kiwanian since 1966, and I’ve served as my club’s president. Being a club member has given me a chance to be a part of the service projects and fundraising that allow all of us in the club to improve kids’ lives in our area. But we’ve also served kids even beyond Frankfort. When Kiwanis International formed a partnership with UNICEF in the ‘90s to virtually eliminate iodine deficiency disorders, I was proud to lead our club’s involvement. As a result, we raised $1,000 per member to ensure thousands of children half a world away would have iodized salt, which is a key factor in preventing mental disability.
Now we’re supporting the current Kiwanis-UNICEF partnership, The Eliminate Project. I’m thrilled that my club leadership and my donations to the campaign are saving and protecting mothers and babies from tetanus in more than 20 countries.
Making a difference close to home is still important. For example, I’ve been a county commissioner in Clinton County since 2004. Some of the biggest achievements during my time in office include a major improvement of the county’s emergency medical service and my involvement in a $6 million sewer and water project for the town of Jefferson and a $2.8 million storm-water retention facility to eliminate flooding in Frankfort. I was also proud to play a key role in bringing the first YMCA to Clinton County, leading a campaign to raise $4 million for the project. In fact, my wife Jean and I have been lead donors for YMCA building campaigns in Frankfort and Lebanon.
I’m also proud to be among the founders of the Clinton County Community Foundation and made significant contributions to the foundation. We have also contributed to a fund in the Christian Church Foundation, and we’re both active members of First Christian Church and have served as deacons and elders.
All together, it’s been a pleasure to take my own successes and opportunities and make them avenues for helping others—at home and around the world. I’m honored to receive the Champions of Change award.
William Beard is the retired cofounder of Beard Industries, a global distributor of grain dryers, and member of Kiwanis Club of Frankfort, Indiana