Kiwanis Club of Clermont -(L) Thom Battisto is honored with the Hixson Award (R) presented by Joan Kyle

Article submitted by Joan Kyle (photos furnished by the South Lake Tablet)

Presentation of the George F.Hixson Award

Each year Kiwanis Clubs across Florida celebrate the recipient of the highly esteemed George F. Hixson Award.  The Kiwanis Club of Clermont recognizes a member who has contributed significantly to the Club through its history of leadership, generosity, and service to the Community and Schools throughout South Lake County.

George F. Hixson’s unprecedented contribution to Kiwanis International is the reason the George F. Hixson Fellowship was established October 1, 1983, and Hixson is the only person in the history of Kiwanis who held the office of President of Kiwanis International for two consecutive years. 

Contributions to this Fellowship go into an endowment that supports service projects that provide for the needs of children, and support of the Kiwanis family.

This year’s Hixson recipient is someone who has been a Kiwanian for 10 years.  The years and hours of service are significant and prove a true dedication to our Kiwanis Club of Clermont serving as an officer and a valued member of our diverse and successful organization!

Thom Battisto, Read To Sydney

Born in Chicago, this Italian has a special heart and love for family, friends, dogs, community, and Food!  This member has shared his home, food, talents and family with us over the years, including his father Pops /Joe, his partner Wayne, and his dogs Toby, Flash, Bailey and the youngest of all with more energy than we have, Mr. Sunny!  He shares his Read to Sydney 501 (C) 3 organization with us, giving us the opportunity to partner with his events and social media postings.  

On a personal level, he is a wonderful Host and Cook.  For two of our events with children, he brought his treasured pizza oven to feed the kids and give them the experience of making their own pizza…..  although I have to add this Chicago Italian does not recognize pineapple pizza as an option on his menu.

This person actively supports and participates in all of our projects and fundraisers and is not afraid to take on a challenge that is integral to our success.  To be more specific……we recognize his time in the following recent accomplishments.

Thom Battisto with Real Life Christian Academy Terrific Kids
  • Serves as an SLP Advisor to Building Blocks Aktion Club and recently set up our newest SLP Aktion Club at DreamPlex
  • Serves as Secretary, and Officer to our Club and facilitates all required duties and club agendas
  • Raised $7,000 for Neighborhood Center of South Lake for their summer program feeding students
  • Pictured l-r; Scott Dau, TNC staff; Thom Battisto, Read to Sydney Founder; Chuck Seaver, Kiwanis Club of Clermont and Patricia Kry, TNC Executive Director
  • Serves as Youth Services advisor with Terrific Kids program
  • Coordinated a $1,700 grant from Kiwanis for Paula Whetro’s new Building Blocks location.
  • Coordinates Read to Sydney projects with our club as a partner and includes the Book Mobile Van where you will see our Club’s Sponsorship decals!
  • Facilitates the placement of 10 lending library boxes throughout the south Lake community as a sponsored partnership for both organizations
  • Coordinates and offers his home for our Annual Yard Sale Fundraiser and anyone who has worked that fundraiser knows we will get fed!

By now, you know we are talking about our Italian Kiwanian Thom Battisto, an amazing member with a strong sense of the needs of our community and a desire to make a difference in the lives of children and students in this South Lake Community! 

Far Left: Thom Battisto and Sunny the Therapy Dog, both representing Kiwanis Club of Clermont and Read To Sydney, are greeted by Dreamplex visitors

Thom takes his work seriously, meets deadlines, and represents our Club every week in many ways.  He also brings laughter to our meetings with his comments and personality!  Thom is an inspiration to us all!

The 2023 Kiwanis Club of Clermont Hixson Award Recipient…. Our Hero, Thom Battisto!  



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