Through good times and not so good, past presidents of the Lebanon Kiwanis Club shared stories Monday in honor of the club’s 68th birthday.
According to member Eddie Callis, who served as past president, lieutenant governor, district governor and the club’s only president of the Kiwanis International Foundation, the Lebanon Kiwanis Club’s official birthday was Jan. 9 when its charter was approved in 1946.
“A gentleman by the name of Mr. R.C. Ford came to Lebanon to teach at Castle Heights Military Academy,” Callis said. “He helped decide, and others decided, there should be a Kiwanis Club in Lebanon.”
Callis said at the time Ford and other charter members pushed to get the club off its feet, the Nashville Downtown Kiwanis Club wasn’t interested in sponsoring it. So Ford and others approached the Murfreesboro club, but it was in a different district.
Eventually, Callis said the Nashville members came around, and the club was born.
Callis said the first meetings were in the Arcade currently under renovation on the square in Lebanon. It’s since changed venues a few times before settling in its current meeting spot at Cross Style Church.
“The very first community service project we sponsored was the Community Easter Sunrise Service, and we’ve done it every year since 1948,” Callis said. “That is an important part of the history of this club, and we need to continue that.”
The 69th Community Easter Sunrise Service is set for April 20.
In addition, the club has started other continuing community services, including helping organize the first Lebanon Planning Commission and starting the Little League program in 1955.
Current members T.A. Bryan and Dr. T.J. Gallaher helped start the Little League in Lebanon.
One by one, several past presidents stood and shared their stories of the club and how it touched lives, including Tony Shipp, Pat Bone, John Bryan, Charlcie Finley, Wes Dugan, Tom Brashear and others.
To end Monday’s program, Callis spoke about the future of the club and issued a call to action.
“We need members,” he said. “The future of our club depends on support of our administration. We have got to make this club grow.”