LEWISTOWN - More than 100 local members gathered Friday evening to celebrate the anniversary of the Kiwanis club. For 90 years, Kiwanis of Lewistown has been giving back to the community through their members, local clubs, and charities.
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. The organization works to revitalize neighborhoods, organize youth programs, feed the hungry and sponsor numerous school programs designed to help children develop leadership skills and achieve success in their adult lives.
The oldest club in Division 11E, Lewistown Kiwanis Club started in 1922. During their 90 years of service to the community, the club has initiated many service projects such as working with guidance councilors in local schools to purchase clothing for children who are referred by school personnel. In addition, this year alone, they donated 18 backpacks filled with school supplies to middle, junior high and high school students. The Lewistown Kiwanis Club also serves community members through sponsoring the Key, Builders and Aktion Clubs, and awards scholarships each year.
Sentinel photo by HILLARY CLARK
Mike Palm, left, and Bob Richard, right, present Zellers Awards to their wives, Susan Richard, second from left, and Phyllis Palm Friday evening at the meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Lewistown.
Lewistown Kiwanis is known for their Pancake Festival fundraiser in which they serve over 700 attendees each year to help raise money to fund scholarships, and their clothing project for underprivileged children. They are also responsible for organizing the annual Lewistown Christmas Parade.
As the festivities of Friday's event unfolded, members from all of the clubs included in the 11E Kiwanis Division gathered at the Lewistown Country Club in honor of the Lewistown Club's 90 years.
Lewistown Kiwanis Club President, Robert Richard, began the ceremony by thanking all of the members for their service to the community. Special thanks was given to several key members of the club for their many years of service.
The Legion of Honor award was presented to 21 members overall, one of which was Donald A. Linn, whom has been with the club for a total of 55 years. Linn was unable to attend due to an injury suffered earlier in the week. In addition, six members were granted honor awards for 25 years of service, eight members for 30 years of service, two members for 35 years of service, three members for 40 years of service and one member for 50 years of service to the club.
Also presented with awards that evening were Phyllis Palm and Susan Richard, each receiving Mother's Day Zellers Awards for their Lemonade Campaign. The two awards represented the 1,380 lives of mothers and babies that were saved from tetanus as a result of the campaign.
The highest award of the evening, the Tablet of Honor, was presented in memory of Mr. C. Wesley Wallace for serving the club faithfully for 55 years, up until his death in 2011. The Wallace family was unable to attend the event, so the Heath family accepted the award in honor of him.
After receiving the award in honor of the Wallace family, Bob Heath recalled memories of the years he spent with Wallace.
"Wes was a dedicated worker devoted to the community," said Heath. "He had some very important loves in his live; his family, church, MetLife, Kiwanis and card games."
Read by Phyllis Palm, Wallace's daughter Desire wrote a letter representing the family's thanks for the award in his honor.
"If we asked Dad where he was going on a Tuesday night," wrote Desire, "he would just belt out 'Kiwanis, Kiwanis, good fellows meet tonight."'
"He loved Kiwanis and what is stood for; as his health declined, a fellow Kiwanian always picked him up and drove him to the events."
Wallace's daughter ended her letter by giving a toast to her late father, "Cheers to you, Dad, look around at all the people you have touched and changed. We miss you and love you. Congratulations!"
Keynote speaker, Cathy Szymanski concluded the event with a speech thanking the Lewistown Kiwanis club for their service. Now the District Governor for E11, Szymanski has been with the Kiwanis organization for 18 years.
In addressing the members, Szymanski marveled at the gathering in front of her. "Every single club in the district is represented here tonight. It's incredible."
"It's one thing to sponsor a club but it's a whole other thing to be active in a club; and that is just a testament to your dedication to Kiwanis, said Szymanski. "Give yourselves a round of applause for everything. What you are giving to your community is extraordinary and don't ever forget that!"
The ceremony ended with club President Robert Richard, presenting Szymanski with a basket of appreciation, filled with local Lewistown favorites including Hartley's BBQ chips, Asher's chocolates and locally made wine.
The club will celebrate their next major meeting at the District Convention in Indiana, Pa., Aug. 16-19.