‘Hospitality’ selected as latest character word

Mike Hall Capital-Journal

A poster of November’s character word will be included in Tuesday’s newspaper.

By Mike Hall

The Capital-Journal

There was no shortage of “Character” in Topeka this week.

On Friday, the Topeka City of Character Committee introduced “Hospitality” as the Character Word of the Month for November. And on Thursday, a Robinson Middle School sixth-grader received the Youth of Character award.

Ian Thomas Girdler was recognized at the weekly Rotary Club of Topeka meeting for exhibiting two previous months’ qualities: diligence and loyalty. The Youth of Character award is co-sponsored by the Rotary Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the City of Character Committee.

The November word was officially announced at a news conference Friday at the Topeka Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1275 S.W. Topeka Blvd., where program sponsors said Topekans already are renowned for “Hospitality.”

Mayor Butch Felker said he frequently hears visitors who come to town say the hospitality of Topekans made them feel they had received royal treatment.

Officially, the character word program defines hospitality as “cheerfully sharing food, shelter or conversation to benefit others.”

The Rev. Barry Feaker, coordinator of the Topeka City of Character Committee, offered other definitions from a dictionary and from historical quotations, including one from Anonymous, “Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even when you wish they were.”

Ian was nominated for this month’s Youth of Character award by his father, Todd Girdler.

In his nomination letter, Girdler explained that Ian was born 12 weeks early and weighed only 2 pounds at birth. One long-lasting effect was a malformed foot.

“He has never used this trait as an excuse,” Girdler wrote. “He just does his best.”

He said Ian needed exceptional diligence to graduate from Cub Scouts. He spent three months trying to accomplish three athletic requirements that most boys do in five minutes.

“The hardest part was the 5-foot standing broad jump. It took him months of jumping every day to accomplish that,” his father wrote.

Mike Hall can be reached at

(785) 295-1193 or mhall@cjonline.com.

Copyright 2002

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

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