Richmond Kiwanis Celebrates 65th Birthday

Richmond City Commissioner reads a proclamation delaring March the "Richmond Kiwanis Month" in Richmond. Show with Thomas are many members of the Kiwanis Club of Richmond.

David Harkleroad, the Richmond Kiwanis Club President, thanked the mayor and the city commission for the proclamation and told the commission about the many things Kiwanis has done in the community over its 65 year history. The Kiwanis Club of Richmond was officially chartered on March 12, 1946.

Following is a brief history of the founding of the Kiwanis Club of Richmond written by Richmond Kiwanian Jack Taylor.

Richmond Kiwanis Club History

The Richmond Kiwanis Club came into existence because of a snowstorm. The governor of the Kentucky-Tennessee District, Twiman Humphry, was driving south on old US 25 in December of 1945 on his way to speak to the Corbin Kiwanis Club when the road conditions became so bad he could not continue. He was forced to take lodging in the New Richmond Hotel.
Not being one to waste valuable time, he inquired of the hotel manager about persons in Richmond who possibly could be interested in organizing a Kiwanis Club. The manager referred him to G.L. Borders, a local insurance man.

Mr. Borders, at first, did not give him much encouragement. He stated that there were already three active civic clubs in Richmond -- Rotary, Lions and Exchange -- and he believed it would be difficult to organize a fourth. However, Mr. Humphry was not easily dissuaded and requested that Mr. Borders call together a group of 10 or 12 men who possibly could be interested in forming such a club. He along with Kiwanis members from neighboring towns would meet with them and talk more about this idea. The meeting was held and the group voted to attempt to organize the Richmond Kiwanis Club.

A petition was prepared and circulated by Mr. Borders seeking people who would become members. Twenty-six prospects were secured in about 30 days. The Berea Kiwanis Club agreed to sponsor the new club and the Richmond Kiwanis Club had its organizational meeting in late January 1946 at the New Richmond Hotel. G.L. Borders was elected president and Charlie Ellis secretary-treasurer. The Club was officially chartered on March 12, 1946.

The first community activity of the Club was to cooperate with Rotary, Lions and Exchange in sponsoring the Boy Scout Banquet. During the first year, the Club became involved in a city beautification project, the Agriculture Committee sponsored a Farm-City Dinner and a soil conservation demonstration that was attended by 150 farmers. The Support of Churches Committee assisted the Second Presbyterian Church in building a sidewalk and the Boys and Girls Committee found an adequate house for a boy and his mother who were living in an old dilapidated shed.

Not a bad beginning for the fledgling Kiwanis Club. By the end of the year the Club had grown from 26 to 30 members.

Mr. Borders stated in his end-of-the-year report: "Although our Club has not accomplished as much as we would have liked, I believe we have built on a solid foundation. We have tried to build club loyalty and a true Kiwanis spirit. I believe we have grown into an effective working body and feel we are in position to take our rightful place in the community for civic improvement."

Club Activities

The Club has been involved in many community projects over the years. There was always been an emphasis in helping individuals in need. For several years a dialysis machine was provided for a boy in town who could not afford the cost of such treatment otherwise.
In the early years of the club Louis Pigg and his Boys and Girls Committee provided socks and sometimes shoes for needy children who came to local schools inadequately attired for winter weather. His committee provided bundles of assorted size socks to be distributed, only to the needy, by the principals.

Kiwanis was a supporter of the Telford Community Center, which in its early years provided recreational facilities and wholesome activities for children and senior citizens of the low-income areas of Richmond. A member of the Club served on the Board of Directors of Telford for many years and was an early supporter of its expanding role into a YMCA. Kiwanis continues to support the Telford YMCA financially in its many activities, which require subsidizing in order for them to be available to low-income children. Some of these are: day care, open gym, swimming and other family activities.

.Kiwanis provided leadership in the organization of the Richmond Senior Citizens Center and in the hiring of the original staff. The Club provided a piano that is still used by the Center.
Farm-City Week, which was initiated by Kiwanis in its first year, was sponsored for many years exclusively by Kiwanis. Then, other clubs wanted to share in sponsoring the event and eventually it was taken over by farm Bureau and others, including Kiwanis. In the early days, the Club provided the dinner free to farmers who were invited guests.
In 1986, The Richmond Register launched an annual poll asking readers, among many other questions, to name the community's most active service club. The Richmond Kiwanis Club has been voted that distinction every year since.

Richmond Kiwanis Charter Membership in 1946

Charles T. Adams, J. Yost Bailey, V.E. Ballard, Dr. Max Blue, J.E. Bonnifield, William Brandenburg, G.L. Borders, Eldridge Carrier, John L. Cornette, William Elam, Charles H. Ellis, D. Thomas Ferrell (*), Dr. W.C. Floyd, William E. Frank, J.C. Green, William L. Keene (**), Merl C. Jenkins, C.P. Griggs, William G. Mason, Dr. William E. Mowery, M.B. Parish, Rev. E.N. Perry, George Robbins, Don Rose, Ray Stivers, James Stocker, Russell Turpin, Samuel Walker, William E. Frank, Harold Winburn, Merle B. Winburn.

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