In the 100 years since Marion Kiwanis held its inaugural meeting in 1923, the world had changed, but the organization still is needed, members were told Thursday evening.
At a celebration on the exact anniversary of the first meeting, 49 Kiwanis members looked back at 100 years of Kiwanis history and forward to continued service to children.
Member Roger Hannaford noted similarities from that time to this. The group started as the nation still felt the effects of a pandemic, just as it does now, he said.
Over the club’s years, members saw changes of presidents; invention of the bulldozer, convertible cars, and traffic lights; and development of antibiotics, Hannaford said.
Guest speaker David Hurrelbrink, a member of Kansas City West Kiwanis Club and former member of Kiwanis International Board of Trustees, talked about the past century but focused on the organization’s continuing purpose and the difference it makes for children.
“How many homes have we affected?” Hurrelbrink said. “How many thank-yous have we gotten? How many smiles?”
Kiwanis-sponsored K-Club groups in elementary schools open children’s eyes to the world, he said.
Recent years have brought changes that affect everyone, he said. One is the advent of Internet meetings, during which people can sit in their living rooms and meet with people all over the world.
When a child is told to go back to the end of the line and says, “I hate you all” before going back, Hurrelbrink is concerned about that child.
“Is he the next shooter?” Hurrelbrink asked. “We need to be involved.”
Guest speaker Victor Steiner, Kiwanis district governor and member of Manhattan Kiwanis Club, encouraged members to reach out in their community and to people in other communities, talking about their own experiences as Kiwanis members. Doing that can inspire others to join the organization, he said.
Marion Kiwanis members are involved with Chingawassa Days, Old Settlers Day, and school clubs.