From Gavel to Gavel

Madison’s Sullivan rises
to top office with Indiana Kiwanis

He takes over as governor,
an office his father once held

By Tess Worrell
Contributing Writer

(November 2012) – In some families, legacies run deep. Ted Sullivan has taken his family’s legacy of service to Kiwanis International to familiar but rare heights.
Kiwanis serves more than 80 countries helping build communities. Sullivan, his wife, Linda, his son, plus his brother and his brother’s wife all currently serve as Kiwanis volunteers. They carry on a three generation tradition of service to Kiwanis.

Ted Sullivan

Photo provided

Ted Sullivan of Madison, Ind.,
poses with Kiwanis International
governor banners of his father and
himself at the recent ceremony.

On Aug. 5, Sullivan was elected governor to oversee the operations of Kiwanis throughout Indiana. He began serving his one-year term on Oct. 1. His election to this office is a rare achievement since only two other men from southeastern Indiana have ever been chosen – local educator Conner Salm and Jack Sullivan, Ted’s father.
Sullivan’s election caps a long tenure with Kiwanis where Sullivan has held a number of offices. In addition to serving as president and secretary of the Madison Kiwanis, Sullivan served as Lt. Governor over the Farmland District of Kiwanis for three years. Lt. Governors oversee and coordinate the operations of the clubs within their districts. The Farmland District comprises about 10 clubs, including those in Madison and Vevay. As governor, Sullivan will work with the Lt. Governors of the 24 divisions in Indiana.
Kiwanis had its start in Detroit in 1915 by Allen Browne and Joseph Prance. The club soon found its mission – training members to develop skills in leadership and service. The Kiwanis motto for decades was “We Build” to reflect the club members’ desire to build into their communities. But in 2005, the motto was altered to bring into sharper focus the target group Kiwanis had chosen to serve over the preceding decades.
The current motto clearly states the ongoing mission, “Serving the Children of the World.” Sullivan passionately embodies dedication to that mission.
In speaking to Sullivan about his priorities for the upcoming year, he immediately focuses on the work Kiwanis does with children, especially Indiana’s support for Riley Hospital for Children.
“Kiwanis began supporting Riley even before the doors opened,” Sullivan said. “Kiwanis presented Riley with a check for $150,000 in 1922 to help fund the building of a surgical unit. Riley didn’t open until 1924.”
Sullivan details his admiration for all Kiwanis has done to support Riley and his dedication to helping that work move forward. “I love working with Kiwanis to support the children. We’re currently raising money for diabetes research at Riley as well as mobile intensive care units. A prime focus for my next year will be coordinating efforts throughout the Indiana clubs to ensure we meet these goals.”
Susan Walker, executive director for the Indiana Division of Kiwanis, says, “Ted is the person to get this done. He has a good business background, which will help greatly in the fundraising for Riley. We committed to raising $1 million to fund diabetes research and, with the economic issues, we are behind in the fund raising. Ted’s background and enthusiasm will help greatly to bridge that gap and ensure we meet the goal.”
Sullivan’s focus on children doesn’t end with Riley. He also passionately endorses Kiwanis clubs in the schools, which help foster both leadership and service skills among students. Kiwanis offers clubs at every level – K-Kids (elementary schools), Builders Club (middle school), Circle K (high school) and Key Club at the collegiate level. As governor he will continue support efforts for existing clubs and work to establish new clubs where none exist. He also touts the Madison Kiwanis support for the cross country team at Hanover College.
“They don’t get the recognition of the more glamorous teams, like basketball,” he says. “So we host a dinner for students and their families to recognize their achievements. It’s a great night for the students who have put in so much time and effort.”
Paul Myer, local Kiwanis club member and supporter of Sullivan, says, “Ted is the guy for the (governor’s) job. He brings all the skills from his career and puts them to use for Kiwanis. You can always depend on him. Ted and Linda love kids and work hard to support the Kiwanis efforts for the kids. His ability with people – to meet them and work with them – will get the fundraising done. He’s a genuine individual.”
Many agree that Sullivan wanted to walk in his father’s footsteps of helping children. With his election to governor, that legacy lives on.

• For more information on the organization, visit: www.Kiwanis.org.

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