Last year, in June 2018, Carroll County native son Art Riley, of Westminster, was elected to a one-year term as vice-president of Kiwanis International at the 103rd annual Kiwanis International Convention in Las Vegas, according to information recently retrieved from the Kiwanis website.
Riley’s latest achievements were called to my attention by another accomplished community leader, Bernard Jones, who is the current president of the Kiwanis Club of Westminster. Jones and I work together in the Carroll County NAACP Branch 7014. He also serves as a director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County, and as a past President of the Carroll Community College Foundation Board of Directors.
According to information provided by Jones, Kiwanis was started Jan. 21, 1915 by a group of Detroit businessmen as a networking group. The membership roll of the local Kiwanis club reads like a “who’s who” in leadership in Carroll County. According to Jones, the Kiwanis Club meets at 6:15 p.m. at the Best Western Catering and Conference Center, 451 WMC Drive in Westminster on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
Many know Riley as a local pharmacist. According to the Kiwanis International website, “Professionally, [Riley] has practiced pharmacy and successfully managed pharmacy practices for more than 45 years…”
His wife Vickie is a “past president of the Kiwanis Club of Westminster and retired elementary school teacher…” The Rileys have “three successful adult children and three grandchildren. “Art is involved in many community activities that include lay speaking at his church. This led to publishing a book titled, ‘At the Foot of the Cross.’ Art and Vickie both thoroughly enjoy promoting the image of Kiwanis while meeting new Kiwanians…”
The Kiwanis website also reports, “He was elected as a trustee of Kiwanis International in July 2014 at the 99th Annual Kiwanis International Convention in Tokyo-Chiba, Japan.”
Some readers will recall an Oct. 8, 2014 article in the Carroll County Times which reported upon his international election. “Riley, past president of the Kiwanis Club of Westminster and past governor of the Capital District of Kiwanis, was elected to a three-year term on the board of trustees of Kiwanis International at the 99th annual convention in … Japan. … The term begins Oct. 1, with installation occurring at the Kiwanis International headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana.” The article explained, “The international board is composed of 15 Kiwanians elected from throughout the Kiwanis world and is responsible for policy, management and organizational development of the organization.
“Kiwanis International is a global organization of members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, nearly 600,000 members strong, annually raise more than $100 million and dedicate more than 18 million volunteer hours to strengthen communities and serve children….”
The Kiwanis motto “is serving the children of the world.” Kiwanis Clubs “focus on projects that help children. Some clubs do perform projects that benefit senior citizens, veterans and others who need a hand…”
According to Riley’s website, “Art Riley for Vice President — The Right Prescription for Kiwanis,” he has been involved in Kiwanis for many years. The Kiwanis International website reports, his “dedication to Kiwanis began in 1956 during travel with his father to the Kiwanis International convention in San Francisco, California. That experience gave him an initial view of the Kiwanis world that resulted in his involvement in many Kiwanis activities. Official service began as a member of Key Club and has continued as a member of the Kiwanis Club of Westminster, Maryland …”
Last year, Carroll County Commissioner Stephen Wantz said, ““For more than 30 years I have watched Art exemplify the values of civic involvement and community leadership …” Many will agree.
Leadership comes honestly to Riley. Many will recall Riley’s late father, Ray D. Riley, March 6, 1919 - April 23, 2005. Ray Riley was a World War II veteran. According to a tribute I wrote on April 26, 2005, Ray Riley served on the Westminster Common Council from 1969 to 1983, serving as police committee chairman. He was a 63-year member and former deacon of St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Westminster. And he was a life member of Westminster Kiwanis Club, joining in 1946, and serving as past president and Lt. Governor in the Capitol District and was named George Hixon Fellow in 1999.
In full disclosure, my wife and I have worked with Jones, Art, Vickie, and Ray Riley and the local Kiwanis Club in a variety of ways for many, many years.
Carroll County has been fortunate to have many native sons and daughters who have made a great difference and contribution to our greater community, Maryland, our nation — and internationally. We can all be proud of the achievements and accomplishments of Art Riley.