“We had to keep it a secret or he would never have shown up,” said Richard Martin, club president. “He’s just like that; we’ve tried to give him awards before and he just won’t cooperate.”
Haltiwanger’s wife, Marion, was in on the surprise, pretending that she was going to speak at the podium and asking him to accompany her. When they arrived at the front of the room, the cat was let out of the bag and he was given a plaque before he could protest.
Civitan International honored Haltiwanger, 82, with a plaque commemorating him as a “Medallion Member” with 50 years of dedicated service to the Organization, and his community.
“He has just given so much to the Civitans, and to our community,” said Martin. “He’s a very active member of the booster club, he makes the mouth guards for the ball players, he cuts grass for people who might have a harder time doing it themselves and he keeps the grounds at the Lutheran church in Hamlet just beautiful. I just can’t say enough about what a great member of this community he is.”
Haltiwanger was also was key in the creation of Castlewood Park, in Ledbetter.
“Dr. Haltiwanger has been a loyal Civitan for many years,” said T.C. Hall, Civitan member. “I can’t think of anyone better to receive recognition for their service.”
Sam Brigman, Civitan member, and long-time friend of Haltiwanger, could not say enough good things about the doctor. “Bill has been such a philanthropist for this community, but the thing about it is - he won’t take any credit for anything,” Brigman said. “For every good thing I can tell you he’s done, there are so many more that nobody even knows about. He’s just an ordinary looking man, not flashy at all, but he is an extraordinary person.”
Haltiwanger was surprised, and touched. “I really enjoy my time with the Organization,” he said. “As an orthodontist, I spent so much time putting braces on kids, Civitan has given me a wonderful community of people with a purpose greater than themselves to do things with,” he stated in an earlier interview. “They are just great people to be around.”
“Dr. Haltiwanger has such a huge heart, we all just love him,” said Lisa Ledford.
Staff writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at (910)997-3111 ext. 18, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org