News: Neillsville Kiwanis Club Celebrates 100 Years (2022)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Cook, Harnisch, Berry, Quicker, Ratsch, Shoup, Hellios, Herbrand, Levac, Osegard, Quicker, Slezak, Solberg, Seebandt, Karlen, Morrow

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 5/11/2022

Neillsville Kiwanis Club Celebrates 100 Years Serving the Community;
Club seeking new members

The Neillsville Kiwanis Club celebrated with community members after reaching the milestone of 100 years of service to the community. Members shown are club President Mark Cook, Vice-President Tom Harnisch, Henry Berry, Pam Harnisch, Jessi Quicker, Russell Ratsch, Brent Shoup, Pete Hellios, Dan Herbrand, Kathy Levac, Larry Osegard, Don Quicker, ken Slezak and Bob Solberg. Other members include Herman Seebandt, Mary Karlen, Jeff Karlen and Judy Morrow. Jesse Heslip/Clark County Press

By Jesse Heslip

Founded in 1915 and officially deemed the organization we know today in 1916, Kiwanis International boasts more than 7,000 clubs internationally with a total of 141,925 members in North America alone. That’s not to mention the countless partnerships they have established over the years; the reach of the Kiwanis club is ever growing.

One local Kiwanis club took time recently to recognize its efforts in adding to a legacy of community service.

The Neillsville Kiwanis Club celebrated its 100th anniversary on April 23 at the Strike Time Lanes bowling alley. They had open bowling lanes and all kinds of food and drink for all the community members who wanted to celebrate with them.

The Neillsville Kiwanis Club was established in 1921 and is known as the longest continuously operating service club in town. They have hosted meetings in many places over the years, including the basement of the Neillsville Bank, The Merchants Hotel, the Arbutus Café and Mary Lou’s Restaurant. The club now meets at the Legion Club and has done so for many years at this point.

The club is responsible for things like awarding three scholarships to local students every year and has supported the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts since 1938. Kiwanis members have been active in community building projects dating back to the events surrounding Schuster Park being awarded to the city of Neillsville. Recently the club has started working on bringing a Groundhog Day celebration to Neillsville and is really looking to get the community involved.

“I don’t think there is more than a few [Groundhog Day celebrations] in the Midwest, so we think it’s something that the community and surrounding areas could get involved in,” club president Mark Cook stated.

The club is active in assisting in the Christmas Angel program as well as many different local food pantry drives. The Kiwanians actively support Neillsville beautification projects and help fund the hanging baskets seen in town. They also sponsor travel costs for local high school students to attend Badger Girls State, and educational program to learn about civics and government. Further, they participate in the Lights of Love program and help young lads on their way to becoming an Eagle Scout.

“A local Boy Scout who is working towards his Eagle Scout Award had to perform some community service, so he built a public display at the park, and we went down there and painted it and are actively working on adding benches and some landscaping for the community to enjoy,” Cook states.

Kiwanis members have also helped with spring and fall highway cleanups. The club names a Neillsville High School senior as “Junior Kiwanian” each month to honor that student’s achievements.

Recently, the club provided a specially designed table to a non-verbal special needs child in Neillsville Kiwanis Club Celebrates 100 Years County, giving the family and the child the ability to communicate.

With all of its volunteer work over the years, the full impact that the club has had on the community cannot be measured.

The Kiwanians are encouraging people to join their club so they can continue to support local youth and the community as a whole. The Kiwanis Club has open membership currently.

“We have decided we are waiving the first year’s membership dues for any new member who wants to check it out and see if it’s a good fit,” Cook said.

The club meets the second and fourth Monday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the Neillsville American Legion. People interested in learning more about membership can call Cook at 715-937-5033.



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