During this time of sadness and reflection, our community has come together to celebrate Dr. Wil Blechman’s amazing life of service. An overwhelming amount of members have shared their favorite memories with Dr. Wil and his impact changing their lives. As a way to remember his memory, we want to share them with you.

“In 1990, Dr. Wil spoke about Young Children Priority One and Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) at Marco Island KI Convention. His honest caring, devotion, and love of children overwhelmed me. His devotion to children was compelling… For Kiwanians, we all have a Kiwanis Moment. A moment when you know that everything you do for Kiwanis was worth it. This is called a Kiwanis Moment. He was my “Ah Ha” Moment. Every year, he encouraged me to serve within Kiwanis leadership. After many suggestions and nudges, I listened and honored his wishes. He always called me by my first name, always with a smile and it would make me so proud to know him. He was a gentleman and a scholar. I miss him very much. May he rest in peace. We will carry on to fulfill your Legacy “Young Children Priority One.”

– Jeannette Igoe, Past Florida District of Kiwanis Lt. Governor Division 22


“Wil Blechman was passionate about his patients and about children: the opposite ends of the life span. He wouldn’t merely follow the path that others had laid out but searched for a better path. That better path led to Young Children: Priority One and changed Kiwanis forever. He loved his role in Kiwanis, not only at the upper echelons but also at the club level: whether it was 1980 or 2019. He was a very real person: no pretense there. When he was your friend, he was a real friend. He wasn’t focused upon his life: but always the lives of others. I’m very thankful that what I have just written are not platitudes but facts about a close friend of mine that I learned throughout the years from being his friend.”

-Thomas R. Weller, Esq., Florida Kiwanis Foundation Division 4 Trustee


“My mentor, my friend, my inspiration, Dr. Wil Blechman, passed away. Former President of Kiwanis International, Dr. Wil, along with his lovely wife Rachel, introduced Young Children Priority One (YCPO) to Kiwanis and it has been one of the organization’s guiding principles ever since. We’ll try to carry on your legacy. May his memory be a blessing.”

– Lewis Matusow, Florida District of Kiwanis PR Chair


“My most memorable moment was not listening to one of Dr. Wil’s inspiring speeches or discussing the effect of proper nutrition on a baby’s brain development. It was on a more personal note; I was attending a convention at which I was required to wear a tuxedo on stage. I realized much too late that I forgot my bowtie. As I was lamenting this, waiting to enter the hall, Dr. Wil overheard my predicament. He then proceeded to remove his own tie and offered it for me to wear. Furthermore, he helped me tie it! The small, self-less and thoughtful act truly reflects the love and kindness Dr. Wil exemplified.”

-Jeremy Riehl Florida District of Kiwanis Leadership Development Coordinator


“Our Kiwanis International community has lost a visionary! Dr. Wil forever changed our hearts and minds. We will continue to strive to his level of

greatness and dedication for children.”

-Richard Leys, Florida Kiwanis Foundation Immediate Past President


“I am terribly sorry for the loss of Dr. Wil. He was a wonderful man and he will be missed. May we continue to honor his legacy by learning and assisting young children around the world”.

-Gwen Leys, Florida Kiwanis Foundation Secretary


“Dr. Blechman’s legacy is that he was the most dedicated and supportive Kiwanis Member ever. No other has accomplished so much for the organization and especially for children at all levels of Kiwanis International. He will be greatly missed.”

– Jo A. Willis, Florida Kiwanis Foundation Trustee Division 3


“It was an honor to know Dr Wil and I was thrilled that the Rachel and Wil Blechman legacy was started during my term as President of the Florida Kiwanis Foundation.”

-Winifred Holland, Florida Kiwanis Foundation Past President


“My favorite quote is from Mark Twain…”the two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”…I think of Wil Blechman every time I hear or think of these words. His relentless, passion-fueled pursuit of a better world for young children served as definitive proof that he was one of the truly special who “found out why” and DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!”

– Steve LeBlanc, Past Florida District of Kiwanis Governor 


“Everyone that knows Dr. Wil Blechman is aware of all that he has done for children around the world with his focus on Young Children: Priority One.  We had the honor of being the Young Children: Priority One chairs for the Florida District shortly after we had our first child, Xander. Dr. Wil was very supportive of us with emails, advice, and even attending our convention workshops. He left an indelible mark on us that will shine through our lives as we continue his mission to serve the children of the world.”

– Prairy & Jeremy Riehl

2024 Golf Tournament

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