Kiwanis celebrates 90 years

Members ready serve community’s children

The Kiwanis Club of Maryville recently celebrated their 90th birthday and president Kathy Pagles said this is no time to slow down.

Pagles, speaking during the Aug. 21 anniversary banquet at Clayton Center for the Arts, said the Kiwanis Club of Maryville is just 10 years away from celebrating 100 years of service in the community. “I hope you all get a sense of the fact we’re not finished,” she told the group. “We have work to do - change this world one child and one community at a time.”

A crowd of more than 200 packed the foyer of the Clayton Center for the Arts to celebrate the club’s anniversary. Members listened as leaders from other groups congratulated them, and State Sen. Doug Overbey, a member and former president, praised the Kiwanis Club of Maryville.

“There is doubt Maryville Kiwanis club is known for community involvement and community service,” Overbey said.

Pagles said the organization has always been involved in the community. “We have a long history of working in the business community, helping orchestrate charities and were even instrumental in founding the library,” she said.

Member David Erwin said it is one of the premier clubs of Maryville and one of the oldest clubs in Knoxville. “Our service is for children. That’s our main project. Our emphasis is on making life better for children of the world,” he said. “My father was president in 1951, and I was in the Rotary Club in Charlotte. When we moved back here, my heart was with Kiwanis.”

Debra Whaley said she has been in Kiwanis for five years. “I wanted to give back to Blount County. Plus, I’m in real estate, and it’s a great networking tool. One of the main reasons I joined was to support Imagination Library,” she said of the state-wide effort started by Sevier County native Dolly Parton. The ongoing project, funded in Blount County by Kiwanis, ensures that every child from birth to age 5 gets a free age-appropriate book every month.

Dan Lawson joined 40 years ago after leaving the Maryville/Alcoa Jaycees at age 35.

“A friend recommended it. The club has changed over the years, but it has always been community minded. I’m a past president, and one of the things I’m most proud of is that I introduced the first female member, Leslie Nier, an administrator at Maryville College.”

Mary “Lib” Jackson was named a Hixson Fellow for her contribution to the Kiwanis Foundation to help fund the foundation’s Iodine deficiency project. “That disease has already been removed and was our first successful world project,” she said. Member Buddy Allen said he enjoys being involved in the community through Kiwanis. “Also, I like the camaraderie of being with others,” he said.

Incoming Blount County Mayor and Kiwanis member Ed Mitchell said different institutions in the community, such as the Blount County Public Library and the Chamber of Commerce as well as Imagination Library, were started with Kiwanis Club influence.

“They wouldn’t be here without Kiwanis involvement,” he said.

President-elect Robert Russell said he joined Kiwanis Club of Maryville, which meets weekly at Green Meadow Golf and Country Club, years ago. “Why did I join? I fell in love with the mission of Kiwanis, and I made some of my best friends through Kiwanis. We get to do meaningful projects to help kids in Blount County.”

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