Optimist Club leader receives November Make a Difference Award

For nearly eight decades, more than 160,000 kids have been helped by the Terre Haute Noon Optimist Club.

Posted: Nov. 30, 2017 8:20 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - For nearly eight decades, more than 160,000 kids have been helped by the Terre Haute Noon Optimist Club.

One of those members is an outstanding mentor and leader.

That member is Phil Kesner, who is also the secretary and valued member of the club.

"Phil keeps the wheels moving lets us know what to do," said Cary Albin, president of the club.

Their main mission is to give back to children in need. In fact, they help around 2200 kids each year.

"Our club fills a big need in the community for children, and not just the Clothe-a-Child program, but there's a lot of other programs that we do to help youth in Vigo County," said Kesner.

The club has been around for more than 80 years. Kesner has been a part of it for nearly 30. 

His favorite memory would be Clothe-a-Child.

"The clothing give away. To see the smiles on the kids faces and see the impact we're going to have," said Kesner.

He clearly feels strongly about giving back. 

"I mean, we take for granted what we have every day," said Kesner.

With 54 members in the club, Phil stands out and shines his light on everyone he meets.

"Phil in particular is very deserving. He's been there every time that we need him. Like I said, regardless of who the president is, Phil's really the president of the club," said Albin.

The Optimist's national motto is "Friend of Youth".

That's exactly what Phil is. A friend to everyone.

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