Although I understand the reasoning behind the decision to fold the Sweet Home Kiwanis Club (as reported in the March 31 edition), I am sad to see it occur.
I have many fond memories of my 20 years as a club member, starting in 1985.
In my mind’s eye I can almost see Lloyd White, Lloyd Sheldon, Dr. Hyland, Lester Steckly, Bennie Dahlenburg, Red Burnett and Harry Harvey – to name a few – sitting around lunch tables in the basement of the Elks Lodge for our weekly meetings.
In those years, we filled several tables and nearly every week we had a guest speaker.
Mona Waibel was the first female club member and was soon joined by Nancy Slauson. Both proved to be enthusiastic club members and true community servants.
We had many fun community projects, usually involving good things for kids. Nancy and John Slauson headed up our Shoes for Kids program that gave away thousands of shoes to local children.
With much work by Clarence Mansfield, we turned a “well-loved” camping trailer into a food cart and used it to sell hot dogs and blooming onions at the Oregon Jamboree. Proceeds went to community programs.
For me, Kiwanis has extra special memories because our son T.J., then 5 years old, was perhaps the youngest unofficial Kiwanian in the country. I would pick him up from kindergarten and he would attend the meetings with me nearly every week.
He loved being the “tail twister,” getting fines from club members. He knew the opening program and could probably still sing “Oh, Canada” with the best of them.
I still have his membership button out in my shop.
I see that even with its passing, the club is helping the community by dispersing funds to local programs and that makes me smile.
To all who have kept the club going for so long, especially over the last year, I say thank you.
P.S. Congratulations to Scott and Miriam Swanson, who have entered the wonderful phase of life known as being grandparents. God bless all, the best is yet to come.