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 Kiwanis Club of Martin, Tennessee
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Club History  

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE KIWANIS CLUB OF MARTIN, TENNESSEE

(Click here to view the Charter Night program.)

The Kiwanis Club of Martin had an unusual beginning in 1968.  It was unusual because a Circle K Club played a major role in organizing a Kiwanis Club.  It is usually the other-way-around.  The sponsoring club - the Kiwanis Club of Union City, Tennessee - and The University of Tennessee at Martin Circle K were partners in the organizing effort.  The Circle K Club had been chartered in 1966 with Brown Kendall as their faculty sponsor. The Charter Night committee had members of the Circle K Club working with Kiwanians from the Union City and Martin Clubs.  Charter Night was held in The University of Tennessee at Martin University Center on May 23, 1968.  The evening was highlighted by the presentation of the Kiwanis Charter to Club President David Small by Herman L. Moore of Natchez, Mississippi, the Governor of the Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Tennessee District of Kiwanis International.  David Small can take pride in the fact that he was the first president of the Kiwanis Club of Martin and was the first president of the Circle K Club at UT Martin.  There were thirty-two club members that night.  Three of the charter members, S.K. Airee, David Brodrick, and Harry Henderson remain active in the club today.  (See the photos section of this web site, "The early years", to see pictures of the charter night activities.)

The first meetings were at noon on Wednesday at the Gateway Restaurant.  When the Gateway Restaurant closed, the club meetings moved to the University Center and the club temporarily became a breakfast club due to limited space at the University Center during the noon hour.  In order to start meeting again at noon, the club began meeting in the basement of the First Methodist Church with the meals catered.   Club meetings were then moved to the Colonial Inn Restaurant (now the Catfish Restaurant and Steakhouse). Later, the meetings were held at the Circle T Restaurant on Jackson Street.  In 1983 the meetings returned to the UT Martin University Center and remained there until the massive renovation of the University Center was started in 1998.  The club then moved the meetings to the Hearth Restaurant on Lindell Street.  The club returned to the UT Martin University Center in 2000.

The Club sponsored the first Pancake Day fund raising project in January of 1969 and mainly through the supervision of charter member David Brodrick and our club members has continued to prosper through the years.   A second fund raising project was begun in 1986 and continues to prosper.  This project involves the selling, preparation, and delivery of Barbecue lunches to members of the Martin community.  The club usually sells over 1000 lunches.  The proceeds of the Pancake Day and Barbecue Day fund raising projects are the main source of funds we spend on community projects.

The club has sponsored many activities through the years.  Some of the community projects sponsored in the early years were:  Explorer Scouts Post 37, Christmas parties at City Hall for underprivileged children,  a city-wide clean up - fix up day in preparation for the city of Martin Centennial Celebration, and Special Olympics benefit basketball game.  Some of the continuing projects in which we have been involved are:  the sponsorship of the Martin Primary School K-Kids, the Martin Middle School Builders Club; the Westview High School Key Club;  The University of Tennessee at Martin Circle K Club; the Aktion Club for developmentally disadvantaged adults from Community Developmental Services; the annual Martin Christmas Parade;  providing workers for the annual Youth Fishing Derby sponsored by Martin Park and Recreation Department; and sponsoring and staffing the annual Tennessee Soybean Festival 5 Kilometer Race. To View a List of Current Club Activities and Sponsorships (Click Here)

The Martin and Union City Kiwanis Clubs co-sponsored the Kiwanis Club of South Fulton, Tennessee, in 1971.  In 1984 the Martin Club organized and sponsored the Kiwanis Club of Milan, Tennessee.  Unhappily the Milan Club did not survive its second year.  Our club helped to organize a club in McKenzie, Tennessee in 1998.

The Kiwanis Club of Martin was an all-male club until delegates to the International Convention made it possible for women to participate as active Kiwanians.  The first women to be inducted into our club were Nadine Gearin and Bettye Giles and, although Nadine has passed away, Bettye is still an active member.  Other women have subsequently joined the club and now women make up about two thirds of the membership.  The Club has maintained a membership of about 40 - 50 for many years. 

Our club has been very active in the Worldwide Service Project sponsored by Kiwanis International and UNICEF to eliminate Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) by the year 2000.  We can be very proud of the personal and fund raising commitment we made in order to surpass our goal for contributions to this worthy cause. The worldwide project was a complete success!!

Nine of our club members have served as Lieutenant Governor for Division 1A of the Louisiana, Mississippi, West Tennessee District.  They are, in order of their year of service:  Brown Kendall, Webb Hall, Ernie Blythe, David Sudberry, Jerry Rachels, Jim Scott, Linda Ramsey (two terms),  Misty Menees (two terms), and Otha Britton.  Ernie Blythe served as District Governor for the 1994-95 Kiwanis year. Linda Ramsey and Evelyn Blythe have both served in various roles with the La-Miss-Tenn District and the District Foundation. Linda Ramsey was installed in August 2010 as the District Governor for the 2010-2011 year and is the first female governor of our district.

Kiwanis Defining Statement
Copyright 2007 Kiwanis Club of Martin, Tennessee. All Rights Reserved.