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Kiwanians honor McGarity for helping youths
Scott McGarity’s years of helping out youngsters was rewarded Tuesday night with the Kiwanis Club’s Youth Service Award. - photo by Melissa Weinman

The Kiwanis Club gathered Tuesday to honor a fellow member for his service to Hall County youth at the Chattahoochee Country Club.

Scott McGarity was honored at the Kiwanis Club annual celebration with the Youth Service Award, presented yearly to someone who has given outstanding service to youth in the community.

"We consider the Youth Service Award the highest honor we can give," said Eddie Hartness, who presented the award. "If the Kiwanis purpose is to change the world, one child at a time, then our recipient has epitomized that goal."

This year, the Kiwanis Club selected McGarity for his years of dedication to making a difference in the lives of children, Hartness said.

"He’s very, very deserving," Hartness said. "Sometimes we get so caught up looking at the spectacular things people have done that we overlook the people that just dedicate their time to working with kids one on one."

McGarity has spent 17 years as an adviser to the Gainesville High School Key Club and 15 years as a volunteer coach for Gainesville Parks and Recreation.

McGarity is also active in the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Gainesville First United Methodist Church and the Northeast Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

"A lot of Scott’s work with Key Clubbers has taught them the joy of public service," Hartness said. "That’s a life lesson."

McGarity dedicated many hours working with organizations, even when his own two daughters were not involved.

"Obviously he has spent an awful lot of time with kids who are not his own, both with Key Club and with coaching," Hartness said.

McGarity said he was surprised with the honor.

"This is awesome," he said, and added that one of the best awards has been watching the kids he’s coached grow into fine young men and women.

The keynote speaker for the event was educator Ron Clark, who shared his story about helping kids achieve success through innovative and exciting teaching.

Clark used money from a book he wrote about his teaching experiences to start The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. Students in the academy come from diverse backgrounds, but have a high level of success.

"We have a lot in common," Clark said to the Kiwanis members. "We’re all about lifting up kids."