By Sue Moore
The 56 Rotary Clubs that comprise District 6360, stretching from Lansing to St. Joe and Stevensville-Lakeshore have selected the Vicksburg club’s nomination of Ken Franklin to receive the Golden Trowel Award. This is the highest award given to a non-Rotarian who has had a large impact on the success of a club project or event.
The Vicksburg club’s primary fundraiser for 63 years has been the Rotary Club Showboat. When Dr. Franklin came to practice at Vicksburg Family Doctors in 2002, he was promptly recruited the next year to sign on to the stage presentation. He soon participated in skits and joined the script committee. He took over directing the on-stage portion of the show in 2007. The fast-paced presentations have become a trademark of his directing talent, the nomination pointed out.
To keep this type of entertainment going in an era of Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook, Rotary stages a show that isn’t on any of these types of social media. Instead it is plain old-fashioned good fun, according to Jim Bird, the club president. “Franklin’s ideas for script and staging have made the show more professional and not just a comedy routine by some Rotarians taking speaking parts. He has involved the community in offering new ideas while keeping with the tried and true. He has worked with the same music director, Chris Garrett for 10 years, as part of a great team,” Bird said.
He loves to perform, so if a part is missing he can step in and never miss a line. He sings with gusto and has a great rendition of Teddy Roosevelt. He continually says he is blessed that the club wants him to be the director, according to the inscription on the Golden Trowel award. He is also a lay minister at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church and has been an actor with the South County Players.
Dr. Franklin’s medical training followed graduation from Michigan State University and Army ROTC. He attended the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine from 1977-1981, followed by specialty training in Family Medicine. He then practiced at various army posts before retiring as a colonel and joining Family Doctors. He will again be retired from medical practice at the end of 2016 to become a “full-time disciple,” as he puts it. “I intend to remain in Vicksburg – the home town I had to move 36 times to find. I also hope to contribute to the Showboat for years to come.”