By Randy Pierce
FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS – Establishing a positive and beneficial impact on the community has been at the forefront for members of the Fairview Heights Kiwanis Club who recently celebrated their 50th year of existence, having been chartered not long after the city incorporated as a municipality in 1969.
As explained in information prepared by one of the club’s members, Jerry Vallina, for a printed program given to all who attended the anniversary celebration dinner, the Fairview Heights Kiwanis was founded May 2, 1972, by a group of local businessmen dedicated to the principles of the international organization, “changing the world, one child and one community at a time.”
For those 50 years, the local Kiwanis members have spent countless hours offering support and raising funds for charitable causes, both local and non-local. Their broad range of impact has helped efforts represented by the Spastic Paralysis Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, Salvation Army, National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia, Boy Scouts of America, the Illinois Center for Autism, the elimination of maternal/neonatal tetanus, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and much more.
The club’s local support has included the providing of assistance to the Fairview Heights Food Pantry, students in elementary schools, the Midwest Salute to the Arts, the Parks and Recreation Department annual Easter egg hunt, Cub Scout Pack 585 and Boy Scout Troop 585.
At the celebration event, Fairview Heights City Clerk Karen Kaufhold read a proclamation honoring the Kiwanis that was issued by Mayor Mark Kupsky while commenting the community “would not be nearly as great if it were not for organizations” like this one.
Cindy Hill, its current president, served as master of ceremonies at the celebration dinner which was attended by Kiwanians from Belleville, Collinsville, O’Fallon, Glen Carbon-Edwardsville and Alton-Godfrey along with special guests such as the organization’s Division 34 Lieutenant Governor Sean Louth and Fairview Heights Alderman Pat Peck and her husband David.
Part of the evening was set aside for a review of related trivia focused on the year the club began including questions about the release of “The Godfather” movie and the beginning of Gloria Steinem’s “MS” magazine back then.
The Rev. John Dawson, member of the local club, delivered the invocation and closing prayer as part of the program which opened with the posting of the colors by Fairview Heights Boy Scout Troop 585.
Also incorporated into the evening were the pledge of allegiance, the singing of “God Bless America” led by Kiwanian Dick Erdmann, the longest serving member of the Fairview Heights club who was presented with a 50-year pin by Hill, a meal and the recitation of the club pledge: “As our country’s flag signifies purity, valor and justice, may we, as true Kiwanians, exemplify these virtues as we serve the children of the world.”