July 17–20, 2014
Kiwanis International Convention Tokyo Chiba 2014

John Button for president

Club: Ridgetown, Ontario 
District: Eastern Canada and the Caribbean

What experience and strengths would you bring to the board as president?
I was fortunate to have been raised in a household where service to the community was an integral part of the family fabric. I believe that those of us who have been blessed by geography, opportunity and circumstance need to be a blessing to others. It is a privilege to serve.

I believe in the philosophy and the practice of servant leadership where the focus is primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities in which they live. Servant leaders put the needs of others first and help them succeed. They invest whatever it takes, and then some, into the success of others.

And most importantly, I bring Debbie.

I have been caring for and advocating for children and families for over 35 years. As a family doctor, I made countless decisions daily, often, tough decisions. Over the years, I have delivered hundreds of babies and am committed to improving maternal and neonatal health. I was in at the beginning of The Eliminate Project. I have shared my passion for the campaign across the Kiwanis world. I want to be there, in 2015, when we proudly proclaim that we, Kiwanians, have eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus.

What is your Kiwanis moment, a Kiwanis experience that made a difference in your life?
In the fall of 2004, the island of Jamaica was devastated by Hurricane Ivan. The hurricane destroyed 1,500 elementary schools as well as the entire banana crop. Bananas are the island’s chief export. The island, and its economy, was on its knees.

Over the Christmas holidays that year, the tsunami struck Southeast Asia.

As governor of the Eastern Canada and the Caribbean District, I made my official visit to Jamaica in March 2005. I visited the Kiwanis Club of Monneague. Monneague is a small town located in the Blue Mountains. This club  is responsible for the town infrastructure. The president of the club was David James, a Rastafarian complete with dreadlocks tucked away in his black, yellow and green toque. The first thing that president David did was hand me three crisp US$100 bills. When I asked what they were for, he explained that they were his club’s contribution to tsunami relief. Club members had canvassed their town selling tsunami t-shirts and raised 24,000 Jamaican dollars to send half-a-world away to help people they did not and would not ever know and who would never be able to say thank you to the members of the Kiwanis Club of Monneague.

This was a Kiwanis moment for me and defines my sense of community.

Biographical information
Family: Wife, Debbie; one son; one daughter; two granddaughters and one grandson Profession: Family physician (retired)
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Science (University of Western Ontario); Doctor of Medicine (University of Toronto) Hobbies: Music, reading, photography, wood-carving, bird watching, the outdoors

John and Debbie Button