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Kiwanis International  

Kiwanis International was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1915 and is now headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Initially, the first clubs organized to promote the exchange of business among members, but this quickly changed and by 1919 the mission was changed to community service.  Today, the Kiwanis family has more than 600,000 members in 96 countries responding to the needs of their communities and addressing worldwide issues.  Throughout its history, the Kiwanis name has been synonymous with endeavors that build character, knowledge, commerce, communities, and – through genuine concern for children – hope.  The Kiwanis motto is “Serving the Children of the World.”  

 


A Brief History of Kiwanis Service in St. Peter
 
  • Founded in 1979 by C.W. (Tim) Johnson and John Hasselberg of Gustavus
  • From the beginning the club operated with four officers:  president, vice president/president-elect, secretary, and treasurer.
    • Officers are elected in May and installed in late September.
  • The Kiwanis Club of Saint Peter responds to the needs of the community using the Kiwanis defining statement, adopted in October 2014, "Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time."
  • For many years the Kiwanis Club of Saint Peter has recognized one are citizen through a distinguished service award at the annual club banquet.
For more detailed history please read the information below or check out the book at the Nicollet County Historical Society.

 (Much of this history is from a report compiled by Frank Gamelin called "The First Twenty Years of Kiwanis Service in St. Peter, Minnesota" now retained by the Nicollet County Historical Society as volume one in the Kiwanis archives stored there.  More recent information has been inserted in this report also.)

Founding of Kiwanis in Saint Peter: C.W. (Tim) Johnson and John Hasselberg of Gustavus supplied the leadership and initial enthusiasm in 1979 for organizing Kiwanis as a third service club in Saint Peter. Rather than compete with established Lions and Rotary clubs for luncheon members, Johnson and Hasselberg sought men (women were not eligible for membership until 1990) who preferred breakfast meetings. According to the August 2, 1979 Charter Night program, 27 signed up as charter members. However, only ten attended regularly, but these included two—Tim Johnson and Jerry Stamps—who remained members throughout the club’s first twenty years. (Nearly thirty two years later, Tim Johnson is still a member.)

Membership Problems: Membership proved to be a perennial club problem. The founders hoped to enroll 50 members, but struggled to reach 15. However, in 1995 the club regained “charter strength” of 25 members, largely through the enthusiastic leadership of the late James O. Hanson, who earned a Kiwanis GEAR Award in 1995 for sponsoring four new members. Since then, membership has stabilized at 25-27.

Officers: From the beginning the club operated with four officers: president, vice president/president-elect, secretary, and treasurer. Usually these officers were elected in May and installed at an annual club banquet in late September. Because of the automatic succession of the vice president/president-elect to the presidency, no president has served successive terms. However, C.W. Johnson served two separate terms and Richard O. Paulson three separate terms. Two presidents served less than a full term—Steve Sizer, who resigned in November, 1993, and Frank Gamelin, who completed that term. The following have served as club president: 

        1979-1980    C. W. Johnson                                      1999-2000    Dean Peterson  
        1980-1981    John M. Hasselberg                               2000-2001    John Nadeau 
        1981-1982    Thomas J. Jeffrey                                 2001-2002    Dayton Hale 
        1982-1983    Richard O. Paulson                                2002-2003    Bob Maharry 
        1983-1984    Ronald G. Hardesty                                2003-2004    Carol Peterson 
        1984-1985    Richard O. Paulson                                2004-2005    Bob Lamb 
        1985-1986    Jerome L. Stamps                                  2005-2006    Roger Nelson 
        1986-1987    Robert Bruns                                         2006-2007    Colleen Spike 
        1987-1988    John G. Nadeau                                     2007-2008    Curt Stolee 
        1988-1989    C. W. Johnson                                       2008-2009    Marcia Applen 
        1989-1990    Joel D. Moline                                        2009-2010    Ray Jacobson 
        1990-1991    Arden B. Olson                                       2010-2011    Bernie McGuire 
        1991-1992    Larry Biederman                                     2011-2012    Ray Jacobson
        1992-1993    Terry Endresen                                        2012-2013    Kris Kelly
        1993-1994    Steve Sizer/Francis C. Gamelin               2013-2014   Kris Kelly
        1994-1995    James O. Hanson                                     2014-2015    Kris Kelly
        1995-1996    Elder W. Jackson                                     2015-2016    Kris Kelly
        1996-1997    Jane Wahlund                                          2016-2017 Amy Hoffman
        1997-1998    Martin J. Larson 
        1998-1999    Richard O. Paulson

Two of the especially gifted club presidents, C. W. (Tim) Johnson and Martin J. Larson, were selected to serve as lieutenant governors for the MinDak District to which St. Peter belongs.


The club secretary frequently was elected to more than one term. The following have served: 

        1979-1980    Jerry Stamps                                          1999-2002    Martin J. Larson 
        1980-1984    Robert Bruns                                          2002-2003    Arden Olson 
        1984-1986    William Burkett                                       2003-2007    Joan Williams 
        1986-1988    Arden Olson                                           2007-2017   Rich Helgeson 
        1988-1991    Terry Endresen 
        1991-1994    Corrine Brenke 
        1994-1998    Stan Benson 
        1998-1999    Arden Olson


The club usually has re-elected its treasurer. Consequently, only two men (now three) have served: 

                                                    1979-1982    Bertram Prust  
                                                    1983-2013    Craig Hanson

                                                     2013-2017    Gary Schuft


Kiwanis Services to the Community: Since “Kiwanis is a worldwide service organization for people desiring personal involvement in the leadership and improvement of their communities,” the Saint Peter Club from the beginning responded to community needs. Particularly, it met needs of Saint Peter children and youth. Because its first service project, development of a Youth Services Directory , proved popular and useful from its first issue in 1981, it was revised annually and distributed free (still was in production through 2011 through the Saint Peter Leisure and Recreation Services Department).

Direct services to children and youth were first provided by Kiwanis volunteers in 1980 and 1981. More often, the club helped school and community groups raise funds to support their services. The following is an early list of Kiwanis service projects for which documentation is available:

Arts, Heritage
Ice Cream Social
Elementary School Reading Assistance
Gorman Park Playground Construction
St. Peter Girls Softball Pancake Breakfast 
High School Band Pancake Breakfast
Y-Cap Pancake Breakfast
Y-Cap Volunteers 
Youth Services Directory

In addition to direct services, Kiwanis was asked frequently for cash donations to facilitate the work of school and community organizations serving children and youth. The first such grant was made in 1982 to Dollars for Scholars for  a scholarship awarded to a Saint Peter High School graduating senior. Scholarships have been awarded annually since 1982.

The following list indicates the range of documented grants during the club’s first twenty years: 

   Books for Babes/Children               International Student Aid                  St. Peter Area Food Shelf
   DARE Program                             Kiwanis International IDD                St. Peter Education Foundtn
   Dollars for Scholars                       LaLeche Posters                             St. Peter Expo
   Elementary Grades Projects            Literary Program                             St. Peter Govenaires
   Gymnastics Boosters                     MN Square Playground                    St. Peter Public Library
   Habitat for Humanity                      MVED Field Trip for Deaf               St. Peter Torch Run
   Healthy Heart Run Club                  PCN/Mixed Theater                         Student Educ. Scholarships
   Henderson Frog Study                   Santa Anonymous                            Winter Follies
   High School Events                       Special Olympics 
   Individual requests                        Spinoza Buddy Bear Project

More recently, the club’s service projects have also included Meals on Wheels, publicity efforts such as videotaping presentations at weekly meetings, Vine Faith in Action (often volunteer drivers for doctor visits), human/spiritual needs in the community, volunteer and financial assistance to “The Kitchen,” a youth-sponsored community soup meal once per week at Trinity Lutheran Church, financial support of the Tremendous Playground, the annual fourth grade student essay contest about how the student would spend $100 in support of local/regional human service projects, the annual Salvation Army Red Kettle fund raising event, sponsorship of the Aktion Club of St. Peter and the Circle K Club of Gustavus Adolphus College, helping the Mankato Million Lights in Sibley Park, support of the St. Peter Area Food Shelf and the Children's Weekend Food Program, a collaborative project with the St. Peter Lions Club and Nicollet County Social Services for the Back to School Supplies Project, and many other types of projects too numerous to mention in detail here.

To make grants possible, the Saint Peter Kiwanis Club has raised money in two ways, member donations and fund raising projects. Donations were placed in a Cash Can at the beginning of meetings as members reported on their or others’ activities. In 1997-99, they gave substantially larger donations to support the Kiwanis International project of eliminating iodine deficiency diseases throughout the world. But requests for help have always exceeded club income. 

Most recently after successfully fulfilling its goals for the iodine deficiency project, Kiwanis International teamed up with UNESCO to eliminate maternal-neonatal tetanus in underdeveloped nations (Project ELIMINATE).
 

To support these projects, the Club has conducted numerous fund raisers. Documented fund raisers and donations during the first twenty years (and later) are listed in the following table: 

        Aluminum Can Collection                             Iodine Deficiency Project Donations         
        Silent Auction                                                Key Club donations                                 
        Battery/Appliance Pick Up                            Family Fresh Certificate Sales 
        Cash Can donations                                        Pancake Breakfasts                                        
        Chili Supper                                                    SHARE Shuttle donations                           
        Garage Sale                                                     Tornado Relief donations from others               
        Hot Dog Stand                                                 TRAM Kabob Stand       
        Ice Cream Stand                                               Traverse Encampment 
        In Memory of James Hanson Donations         Twist of Fate Book Sales 
        Branson On The Road

Besides donations by members and fund raisers, the list above shows “Tornado Relief... from Others.” These were unexpected gifts of $4,739 from other Kiwanis clubs after the March 29, 1998 tornado to enable the Saint Peter club to respond more generously to needs multiplied by the disaster. More recently, the club sponsored “Branson on the Road@” as a fund raiser, with proceeds dedicated to the scholarship fund.

Distinguished Service Awards: Beginning in its first year of operation, 1979-80, the Kiwanis Club of St. Peter decided to recognize one area citizen each year with a Distinguished Service Award. The award was made at a regular breakfast meeting or at the annual banquet in September. Beginning in 1997, two awards were given, one for Distinguished Volunteer Service and another Distinguished Public Service. Beginning in 2009, the club also recognized two youths, one for Distinguished Youth Leadership and one for Distinguished Youth Service. Recipients are identified in the table immediately below: 

            1980 Bill Pell, Distinguished Service Award     
            1981 Mary Lou Hoffman, Distinguished Service Award     
            1982 David Doft, Distinguished Service Award 
            1983 Paul Anderson, Distinguished Service Award 
            1984 Don Glimsdal, Distinguished Service Award 
            1987 Jerry Kurth, Distinguished Service Award 
            1988 Joel Moline, Distinguished Service Award 
            1989 Barbara Olmanson, Distinguished Svc. Award 
            1990 Frank Gamelin, Distinguished Service Award 
            1991 Dagney Pearson, Distinguished Service Award 
            1992 James Siewert, Distinguished Service Award 
            1993 Lavinia Bloomquist, Distinguished Svc. Award 
            1994 Martin J. Larson, Distinguished Service Award 
            1995 M. Donald Olmanson, Distinguished Svc. Award 
            1996 Warren Forsythe, Distinguished Service Award 
            1997 Ellery Peterson, Distinguished Service Award 
            1997 Lois Menk, Distinguished Volunteer Award 
            1998 Teresa Skramstad, Distinguished Service Award 
            1998 Mark Solyst, Distinguished Public Service Award 
            1999 Gil L. Carlson, Distinguished Public Svc. Award 
            1999 Roger Nelson, Distinguished Volunteer Svc Awd 
            2000 Jerry Hawbaker, Distinguished Service Award 
            2001 Martha Morrow, Distinguished Service Award 
            2001 Tracey Peymann, Distinguished Service Award 
            2001 Wendy Bachman, Distinguished Service Award 
            2002 Stanley Benson, Distinguished Service Award 
            2002 Jane Timmerman, Distinguished Service Award 
            2003 Larry Haugen, Distinguished Public Service Award 
            2003 Sue Gray, Distinguished Volunteer Service Award 
            2003 Joy Sanderson, Distinguished Volunteer Svce Award 
            2004 Colleen Spike, Distinguished Public Service Award 
            2004 Margaret Wenner, Distinguished Volunteer Svc Awd. 
            2005 Todd Prafke, Distinguished Public Service Award 
            2005 Craig and Colleen Hanson, Dist. Volunteer Svc. Awd 
            2006 Mary Gover, Distinguished Public Service Award 
            2006 Doug Stensby, Voluteer Service Award 
            2007 Slyvia Perron, Distinguished Public Service Award 
            2007 Ann Volk, Distinguished Volunteer Service Award 
            2008 Windy Block, Distinguished Public Service Award 
            2008 Rosemary Mickelson, Distinguished Volunteer Serv. 
            2009 Jerry Pfeiffer, Distinguished Public Service 
            2009 Dale Mowbray, Lloyd Elton, Craig Hanson Distinguished Volunteer Service 
            2009 Beau Bachman, Distinguished Youth Leadership Awd 
            2009 Reed Woyda, Distinguished Youth Service Award 
            2010 Bruce Gray, Distinguished Public Service Award 
            2010 Carol Moline, Distinguished Volunteer Service Award

            2011  Dr. Jeff Olson, Distinguished Public Service Award

            2012  Wilbur Neuschwander-Frink Distinguished Public Service Award; Nita Aasen Volunteer Service; Tailor Raymonbd Leadership; Faith Dontje Lindell Community Service

            2013  Terry Hoehn, Volunteer Service; Cassie Lamb, Youth Leadership; Bryce Edwards, Youth Community Service

            2014  No banquet, no awards

               2015 No banquet, no awards

               2016 David Arpin, Distinguished Public Service Award

               2016 Heather Rednius-Tollefson, Distinguished Volunteer Service Award


Members: In its first twenty years, the Kiwanis Club of Saint Peter enrolled 98 members. There may have been more, but documentation is not available. Charter club members include Bruce Bailey, David D. Bell, Gary G. Bergeson, John A. Cullen, James Gatchell, Larry E. Hahn, David W. Hann, John M. Hasselberg, Thomas J. Jeffrey, C.W. (Tim) Johnson, Ron C. Johnson, Michael O. Kemp, Jim Malmquist, Rev. Myles McGowan, Gene M. Mutsch, Louis M. Nolan, David M. Olson, Gar Olson, Bertram H. Prust, Keith G. Rasche, Earl Rients, Greg Seitzer, LeRoy Selden, Douglas W.Schultz, Jerome Stamps, Craig Tolzman, Robert Wellman, and Steve Wilkinson.

Throughout the years, membership in the club has remained relatively stable at about 25-30 members per year. Since its inception the club has enrolled approximately 130 members until the current time in 2011.