Pastor John Wertz, Jr. was recently recognized by the Kiwanis Club of Blacksburg for his outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing and raising awareness about issues of hunger and clothing for children in our community.
He has served as the St. Michael Lutheran Church Blacksburg Pastor since 2004. His wife Kris, a private counselor, has served by his side in many ways while serving the Blacksburg community.
Upon arrival, he soon visited Prices Fork Elementary School and asked Principal Dollie Cottrill if there were any specific needs for the school’s students and their families?”
The Micah’s Caring Initiative (Micah’s Backpack) began in 2007 as a way to provide needed food starting with five families at Prices Fork Elementary and five at Gilbert Linkous Elementary.
Now, the partnership has grown to assist 10 Blacksburg schools and provides healthy food to over 280 children.
Every Friday during the school year, the identified students receive a backpack (actually plastic grocery bags) filled with two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, snacks, juice and milk boxes. Approximately 100 volunteers from various community groups pack and deliver bags to partner schools.
In the summer, Micah’s Mobile Backpack provides food and a small library of books to local neighborhoods.
This Micah’s Backpack initiative has expanded into other Montgomery County communities. According to school Superintendent Mark Miear, the school division’s free and reduced lunch population is 39 percent.
Feeding hungry children is an effort that has been embraced by the entire Montgomery County community. On behalf of Montgomery County and Blacksburg, thank you Pastor John.
Kiwanian of the Year: A member of Kiwanis since 1983, H. Jim Lyons has served as club president, Lt. Governor, and chair of the club’s 501(c)3 foundation.
For 15 years, he has served as chair of the social committee, planning annually three picnics, installation banquet, Christmas party, and coordinates the 40-45 Christmas Angels through Salvation Army for boys and girls six and under.
This is one of Kiwanis’ Young Children Priority One programs. Jim has given 35 years of outstanding service.
— Sam Wall