By COLIN KYLER
Warren Kiwanis recently celebrated its 90th year serving the community.
Photo submitted for publication
Seated at the table are Kiwanis left to right Dennis Hedges, Glenn Anderson and John Kersey.
"What does it mean to be 90?" Brent Casey, the group's president during the 90th year, asked at a recent club meeting. "Few of us will ever experience that!"
As a group, the members are experiencing it together. The milestone means about 45,000 programs and lunches, Casey noted, along with 1,080 board meetings, at least 45,000 handshakes and over $1 million in grant money distributed.
Charlie Merroth, Kiwanis member, said the community benefits from any service club year round in addition to the benefits to members. To operate for 90 years means 90 years of service to the community.
"It's an accomplishment all itself," Merroth said.
The traditional election night spaghetti dinner will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 6 at the Warren Area High School.
In August 1914 Alan S. Brown began efforts to organize a group of business and professional men into a fraternal club with a sick benefit feature. These efforts culminated in the creation of Kiwanis, Casey said, with the chartering of the Kiwanis Club of Detroit on January 21, 1915, the birth date of Kiwanis.
Brown made rapid progress organizing Kiwanis clubs in a number of cities, Casey said, which included Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Minn.; St. Paul, Minn.; Aurora, Colo. and Chicago. Bryant Kirby organized the Hamilton, Ont. club Nov. 1, 1916, and newspaper headlines proclaimed "Kiwanis Becomes International."
The Pennsylvania District of Kiwanis clubs was organized at a meeting held in the Hotel Brunswick in Lancaster on Sept. 25, 1918. At this time, Casey said there were 13 clubs in the district.
"By 1934, there were so many divisions in the state that they overlapped and it became impossible to designate the divisions by position," Casey said.
Therefore, Casey said the divisions were changed to numerical designation. The Northwest Division became Division #1 and presently consists of the Kiwanis Club of Warren, Cambridge Springs, Conneaut Lake, Corry, Edinboro, Meadville, Millcreek, Bradford, Erie, Fort LeBoeuf, East Erie County, Meadville Golden K and West Erie County.
On July 12, 1922 Kiwanis Club of Warren was composed of 53 members and the Kiwanis Club of Jamestown, N.Y. presented the charter to this new club. In keeping with the Kiwanis motto "We Build" and its "Young Children - Priority One" emphasis, Casey said the Warren Club serves the community with projects including Adopt a Highway, Blood Analysis Program, Boy Scouts Sustaining Membership, Children's Christmas Program, Cancer Society Dafodil Days, Four Flags Ceremony, Salvation Army Programs, Bell Ringing in December and July/August, Election Day Spaghetti Dinner, Caring for Life, Kid Care ID Project, Battle of the Books, CASA, Warren County 4-H, United Fund and Key Club Scholarships are awarded each year.
The Warren Club also assists Kiwanis International, Casey said, and its worldwide service project "ELIMINATE - maternal/neonatal tetanus."
To help in the development of leadership and community service skills, Casey said the Kiwanis of Warren sponsors a Key Club in Warren Area High School and Eisenhower Middle/High School along with a new K Club for kids at the YMCA. As an early project and fundraiser, the Kiwanis Players, Limited presented "Kiwanis Phoneytone Revue" at the Library Theater on midnight Nov. 5, 1929.
Under the chairmanship of Russ and George Templeton, Sports and Outdoor Shows were held in 1969 and 1970. Kiwanis members also installed a stainless steel kitchen at Camp Cornplanter and Kiwanis Lodge at Camp Olmsted, Casey said, and held the Warren Monopoly Game, toy collections, pancake breakfast and peanut brittle sales.
In 1947, Casey said Cecil C. Winans was president of the Kiwanis Club of Warren when it celebrated its 25th anniversary and his son, David Winans, officiated as president for the Golden Anniversary. Michael M. Stapleford presided as president during the 75th year.
Through the years, the club has organized additional Kiwanis clubs such as Bradford, Kane, Youngsville, North Warren and Good Morning Warren. Hugh Siggins held the office of Governor of Pennsylvania District, Lieutenant Governor of Division I and President of the Kiwanis Club of Warren, Casey said, while Al Webster was Lieutenant Governor of Division I; Jim Bloomquist was also Lieutenant Governor of District I, President and Secretary of the Warren Club; Albert Miller was Lt. Gov., President, Secretary and author of "Words of Wisdom" and the Ebert Miller Joke Book and Rosemary Green was the first woman to become a member of the Warren Club in 1992.
"Kiwanis will continue to volunteer changing the world through service to children and communities," Casey said. "When you give a child a chance to learn, experience, dream and succeed, great things will happen!"