ROCKLAND — For three quarters of a century, members of the Kiwanis Club of Rockland have been serving their community through active participation with children, education, fundraising events and hands-on service. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.
Founded in 1936, 21 years after the creation of the first Kiwanis club in Detroit, Mich., the local club celebrated the 75th anniversary of its charter granted by Kiwanis International with a party Jan. 22 at the Elks Lodge in Rockland. The event drew 75 attendees from across the Kiwanis New England District.
The Kiwanis Club of Rockland was founded by a group of local businessmen who at the time belonged to the long-disbanded 40 Club. The new organization was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Augusta.
For the 2011 event, current New England District Gov. Ron Sanville of Hardwick, Vt., was on hand to offer best wishes of the district and to recognize Rockland as “a Kiwanis community highly regarded throughout New England.”
Sanville presented the club with a commendation from the district and a special tribute from the Kiwanis International president to John Rapose. The club’s eldest and longest-serving member with active membership, Rapose was club president in 1976.
Other guests represented several Kiwanis clubs in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
After a buffet dinner, club formalities and a lot of good humor, Eric Stockinger, executive director of the Apprentice Shop in Rockland, was the featured speaker.
Capt. Elizabeth Bink of the Salvation Army was introduced as the newest member of the Kiwanis Club of Rockland. The induction ceremony was performed by Sanville and Division 4 Lt. Gov. Robert West of the Kiwanis Club of Augusta.
Since the beginning, 77 people have served the Kiwanis Club of Rockland as president, including current President Marjorie Kinney of Thomaston.
Like many organizations of its type, Kiwanis began as a male-only group. That changed in 1988, when women were invited to join.
One of the first women to be inducted into the Rockland group, Barbara Hanson of Spruce Head, became the local club’s first woman president in 1991. Since then, eight of the most recent 20 presidents of the Kiwanis Club of Rockland have been female.
As a testament to the local club’s involvement in the larger organization, seven of the last 20 presidents have gone on to serve as lieutenant governor on the Kiwanis New England District board of trustees. Each trustee represents as many as 10 clubs in a division of the district. Until 1991, the Rockland club sent a representative to the board of trustees an average of only once every decade.
Kiwanis meetings are held at noon Mondays during the winter at Trackside Station in Rockland and April through November at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.
For more information, visit rocklandkiwanis.org, www.newenglandkiwanis.homestead.com or www.kiwanis.org.