Kathi Needham was honored as the Selma Rotary Club Citizen of the Year on Monday. She is pictured with Ray Thomas, Renee Wilkerson and Bob Kelly.
Kathi Needham was honored as the Selma Rotary Club Citizen of the Year on Monday. She is pictured with Ray Thomas, Renee Wilkerson and Bob Kelly.

Rotary names Needham top Selma citizen

Published 8:30pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Selma Rotary Club presented their annual Citizen of the Year Award Monday to someone they said was an individual who always puts service before self in the Selma community.

Kathi Needham, who serves on multiple local boards and volunteers her time to needy causes in Dallas County, was honored at the St. James Hotel by the club and her works were acknowledged for making an impact on local obesity rates and the overall health of residents.

“She has the unique ability to envision how things can be improved, enlist others in pursuing that vision and then work with others to see it get done,” rotary member Ray Thomas said about Needham during the presentation Monday. “She started looking for ways to make her new hometown even better, and this pursuit led her in directions that have significantly improved our community, as well as quality of life, for many people who are in need.”

Needham said she was humbled to receive the recognition, adding it will only encourage her to do more for the community.

“No one does things expecting something you do it for the right reasons, and that’s a reward in itself,” Needham said who moved to Selma in 1991 and currently serves as the president of the Selma United Way board of directors. “I’m very humbled and I appreciated the recognition. And it doesn’t stop there — it’s kind of a catalyst to help me keep going.”

She was the first woman to chair Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce and was recognized as a woman of distinction by the South Alabama Girl Scouts of America. Needham also worked to secure vouchers for the elderly to purchase fresh produce at the Selma Farmer’s Market to offer more nutritional options for free to those residents.

“She has submitted a successful grant request from CDC to reduce obesity, then partnered with the Dallas County Health Department’s Strategic Alliance for Health to help build walking trails and to promote healthy lifestyles,” Thomas said, noting her involvement in bringing services such as Healthlink to Selma through the United Way — a program that makes prescriptions more affordable for lower income patients.

The Rotary Club gave $1,000 in Needham’s name to the Paul Harris Foundation. The prestigious award is given and named after the founder of Rotary, Paul Harris.

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