On Thursday December 10, Jim Riley, the man responsible for bring the Happy Feet program to Logan County stepped down as the chairman of that program.
Riley first got the idea for the program after seeing a similar program take off in Union County, in which shoes were purchased through the school system for every school aged child in the area. The research that inspired the program found that children with poor footwear performed noticeably worse at school than other children. With that in mind, in 2010 Riley, through the Russellville Rotary Club, got together with the school resource directors at each of the area schools to get an idea of the number of pairs of shoes that would be necessary to address the situation in Logan County. When the club called upon the community for funds to support the program, there was an overwhelming response, which enabled the club to purchase a pair of shoes from Shoe Carnival for all of the children in need here locally. The program was such a success in the years that followed, that coats were added to the program to address an additional area of need. In 2015, the most recent year of the program, a pair of blue jeans was also made available to each participant.
“Since its inception, the Happy Feet program has raised more than $116,000 to provide shoes, jeans, and jackets for our youth in Logan County. I would like to thank Jim for bringing the program to the Russellville Rotary Club and for all of his efforts in making the program a success,” said Happy Feet treasurer Laurie Holloway.
Taking over for Riley will be long-time Rotarian and past club president Ben Brown. “I have very large shoes to fill in replacing Jim, but with the help of the club, I know the program will continue to thrive.”
Each summer the Rotary Club reaches out to members in our community for assistance in raising the necessary funds to make this program a success. In 2016, those requests will be coming from Ben Brown instead of Riley. Though Riley is stepping down as the chair of the Happy Feet Board, he will still involved with the program and future fund raising goals.
“On behalf of the Russellville Rotary Club, I would like to thank the community as a whole for the success of this program. Jim brought us the idea and put a lot of work into it, but without the help of the community, this would not be the success it is. Because of Jim’s hard work and the support of the community, the Rotary club has received a great deal of recognition for excellence in service across our district, culminating in a District wide award in 2015,” said Russellville Rotary Club President, Joe Ross.