A White Plains man with over 20 years of active involvement in Lion clubs in two counties has been awarded the civic club's highest honor -- election in the Kentucky Lions Hall of Fame.
Noel Hardwick said he is both "humbled and honored" with the induction that took place earlier this year.
"I have had opportunities to be involved with many Lions projects that made a difference in so many of our fellow Kentuckians' lives," said Hardwick. "Most of our projects were to help those in need get their vision problems taken care of -- everything from a pair of glasses to vision saving eye surgery."
Hardwick was a 16-year member of the Madisonville Lions Club and has spent the past four years with the Webster County chapter.
"I have been blessed to be a Lion, blessed to be able to serve," he said. "The Lions' motto is 'We Serve.' Community service is a part of who the Lions are and what makes us the organization that we are today."
He said the honor was unexpected.
"I don't have the words to express what receiving that award means to me.," he said. "All these years, I helped others, for many reasons. God has blessed me with the health and the ability to reach out and make a difference. Examples set by my father, William Edwin Hardwick and Grandfather Clarence Hardwick."
Hardwick said thought now a member of the club in Webster County, a piece of his heart will always be with the Madisonville Lions.
"The Madisonville Lions help, support was always right there behind me in any endeavor and project that I wanted to tackle," he said. "The Madisonville Lions are the reason, for the most part, for me getting this award. Even though this was a personnel award, I accepted it on behalf of the Madisonville Lions and Webster County Lions. Without their support this would not have happen."
Hardwick credited others for the award.
"Past District Governor Byron Watkins is -- and has been -- my mentor through my Lions' career. Lions Dan Reasons and Carl Foster, the late Lion Paul Hinton and the late Past International Director Yancey Watkins from the Murray Lions Club, and Lion Linda Stokes have kept me in check," he said. "They helped me to stay focused. And they always supported me. As did all the members in both clubs.
Hardwick joins Lions Rudy Stone, John Paul Jackson, Ira Johnston and Watkins as local Lions who have been inducted into the state hall of fame.