Joel Williams, governor-elect of the Alabama District Kiwanis Clubs, presented Ollie Hood as a Barnett Fellow at the 81st Kiwanis Clubs convention in Huntsville, July 31. Hood’s wife Fran joined him f

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 1999

Hood named Kiwanis

Barnett Fellow


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Features Editor

Published Aug. 13, 1999

Ollie Hood looked at the navy blue blazer hanging behind the speaker’s podium at the final session of the 81st Convention of the Alabama District of Kiwanis Clubs in Huntsville.

"I thought it was a mighty good looking door prize," Hood said.

A short time later, Hood was standing before the convention, wearing the blazer as a Kiwanis Barnett Fellow.

"They really knew how to make a young man shed tears," Hood said, laughing. "It was a complete surprise and I was humbled by the recognition. Being named a Barnett Fellow will be a lifelong memory but anything I have done could have been done by any member of the club."

The Barnett Fellow was established in honor of J. Mercer Barnett, who was a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, governor of the Alabama-Florida District and the fourth international president.

The Barnett Fellow is presented to members of the organization who are deemed worthy of the high recognition by their home club.

Hood moved to Troy July 1, 1963 shortly after retiring from the army with 29 years.

Aug. 1, he joined the Troy Kiwanis Club and has been an active and enthusiastic member since "day one."

"This may sound like an echo in a rotten egg but I believe if you are able to do something for someone, you should do it," Hood said. "I believe in giving something back to your community – your fellowman."

Hood’s military career took him to interesting and sometimes exotic places but being "in service" left him little time "for service."

Although, the state of Maine is his favorite place on earth, Hood put his first love first and came back to his wife’s "stomping grounds."

Frances Chancey Hood grew up around Pine Level and met her future husband in Germany where he was stationed with the army and she was a teacher in an American school.

"We were able to travel and see places and do things we wouldn’t have had an opportunity to do had I not been in the military," Hood said. "But after 29 years, it was good to come home and put down roots."

Hood was not one to sit around with little to do, so he enrolled at Troy State University and received an undergraduate degree. He then attended graduate school at the University of Alabama and earned a master’s degree there and also did post graduate work.

For the next 15 years, from 1966 until 1881, Hood was a vocational counselor for the Troy City School System.

Twice retired, he devoted his time to family, friends and his fellowman.

"The Kiwanis Club offers many opportunities to be involved in the community and I continue to be impressed with the leadership on the local level," Hood said. "We all believe in our programs and feel a sense of pride in what we do."

Hood said he would rather talk about Kiwanis than himself.

"It’s not what I do, it’s what we do," he said. "RIF/Alabama Kiwanis Foundation is the largest and oldest non-profit children’s literacy project in the nation serving preschoolers."

During 1998-99, the program distributed about 60,000 books to 20,000 children across Alabama.

"We are proud to be part of a program that teaches young children that reading is fun and fundamental," Hood said. "Going to the Headstart Center here in Troy and reading to the children gives me a lot of pleasure. Their excitement in choosing a book to take home as their own is contagious. I’m as excited about the program as the children."

Hood said the Troy Kiwanis Club sponsors the Key Club at Charles Henderson High School and the Circle K at Troy State. Both are youth leadership training programs.

"Internationally, Kiwanis sponsors an iodine deficiency disorder program which provides iodine to add to salt thus reducing the number of incidents of mental disorder worldwide," Hood said. "I can’t say enough good things about Kiwanis and what it has meant to me."

The man in the navy blue blazer spoke proudly of the organization he represents and with humility about himself. Spoken like a true Barnett Fellow."