‘Wow!’: Darlington Kiwanis Club celebrates 100 years

The current membership of the Darlington Kiwanis Club gathers. PHOTO BY BOBBY BRYANT

By Bobby Bryant, Editor


“A hundred years old! Wow!” Judge James Lockemy weighed the passage of so much time as he spoke at the Darlington Kiwanis Club’s 100th-birthday celebration May 20 at the Darlington Country Club. “I guess we should expect Willard Scott to appear tomorrow on the ‘Today’ show and recognize the club,” said Lockemy, chief judge for the South Carolina Court of Appeals and an active Kiwanis member. “But then again, I guess not, because like so many of our fun things about life in the past, even that has gone away in this era of constant news, discord over politics and other things,” added Lockemy, a Dillon resident. In May 1921, about 50 Kiwanians formed the service club, which today is one of the oldest in the Pee Dee. Only a year before, Lockemy noted, the United States held its first presidential election in which women were allowed to cast ballots. In 1921, he added, Wheaties – “The Breakfast of Champions” – first appeared on America’s tables. That same year, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated, Lockemy said. “In the atmosphere of that year, 50 or so people in Darlington got together and formed this Darlington Kiwanis Club, with an idea of service, with an idea of doing things for the people of this community.” Lockemy said. “And you have done, over many decades that I’ve seen, so many things.” “You got involved with vaccines. … You got involved with forming the Pee Dee Area Boy Scouts of 1928. … You began to give yourself (in) service … giving all you can for others, all your wonderful projects that you have been involved in.” “When you do that,” Lockemy added, “you realize that there are a lot of wonderful things that would not have been done” had the Kiwanis chapter not been formed here. He cited Darlington native and famed World War II bomber pilot William “Billy” Farrow as someone almost certainly influenced by Kiwanis through its work with the Boy Scouts, of which Farrow was a member. Of course, there have been frustrations, Lockemy said. “Reading the history of your club, reading the history of any group that hopes to do services, you see the failures, you see the frustrations, you see the unappreciation that you feel in the community when people take things we do and instead of bettering themselves with it, they … throw it away, or they don’t benefit from it. …” The Darlington Kiwanis Club currently numbers about 55 members; its current president is former County Council member Robert “Bobby” Kilgo. City Council member John Segars is secretary, Linwood Epps is treasurer, and Charles Bailey is president-elect. The club meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month at Darlington Country Club. .Their website address is: https://www.facebook.com/DarlingtonKiwanis

Author: Stephan Drew

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