Kiwanis turns 100 Darlington Kiwanis Club celebrates centennial of national club

Members of Darlington Kiwanis  photo by Samantha Lyles

Members of Darlington Kiwanis
photo by Samantha Lyles

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpressonline.com

Kiwanis International celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2015, and clubs around the country are observing the centennial with special events featuring remembrances of their own local club history. Darlington Kiwanis Club honored the organization’s national and local past on Jan. 29 with a luncheon at the Darlington Country Club featuring an address from South Carolina Kiwanis governor Gary Cooper.Kiwanis Gary Cooper

Darlington Kiwanis dates back to May of 1921, when a group of 51 men united to found the local club. In those days, Kiwanis was something rather new, and the prospect of merging altruistic public service goals with socializing and learning appealed to the city’s gentlemen.

In those early years, Kiwanis’ annual projects focused on a broad range of goals, like supporting local agriculture, boosting flagging businesses during the Great Depression, and building the city’s economic infrastructure by establishing banking and loan firms.

In 1939 the club turned its energies toward helping underprivileged children, and although Darlington Kiwanis continued to give aid where needed, such as providing medical equipment for disadvantaged convalescents and local rescue squads, kids became the central focus for Kiwanis clubs across the nation.

Major Darlington health initiatives included a very successful polio immunization program and an equally vital rubella clinic. On the education front, Kiwanis established a thriving Key Club organization with local high schools, funded scholarships for promising students, and helped form and support school booster clubs.

Cooper noted that Darlington Kiwanis still has approximately the same amount of members it had in 1921, and he urged the club to continue replenishing its numbers and serving children in need.

“What I’m concerned about is all the kids that aren’t being served. We need more people,” said Cooper. “That’s my concern and that’s my plea. We need to grow for the children.”

Cooper urged the club to contribute and help raise funds for Kiwanis International’s 2015 Eliminate Project, which aims to end maternal/neonatal tetanus – a disease that kills one baby every nine minutes in some of the poorest communities around the world.

Also at this meeting, three Darlington Kiwanians – Jim Stone, Linwood Epps, and Theron DeWitt – were honored for perfect attendance during 2014.

rom left, Theron DeWitt, Linwood Epps, and Jim Stone were honored by Darlington Kiwanis for perfect meeting attendance in 2014.

rom left, Theron DeWitt, Linwood Epps, and Jim Stone were honored by Darlington Kiwanis for perfect meeting attendance in 2014.

To learn more about Kiwanis, contact any local member or visit www.Kiwanis.org.

Author: Jana Pye

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