How about some of these names: Jim Bernard, Dave Sutherland, John Belknap, Jim Peltier, Paul Rhiel, Cal Colston, Elmer Stratton and Dick Stein. What do these men have in common? All served as President of the Kiwanis Club of Port Clinton between the years of 1963 and 1974.
Last Wednesday, November 4, was the 95th anniversary of the inception of the Port Clinton Kiwanis Club; officially chartered on November 4, 1920. I was invited to join in 1976 when Elmer Stratton was President and John Cooper was my sponsor. Elmer was the much beloved Pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church. What a preacher he was! I used to listen to his sermons while working the Sunday morning shift at WRWR.
Port Clinton, and in large measure, Ottawa County has been blessed over the years by groups of individuals organized to pay it forward. The Oak Harbor Rotary Club is legend. Port Clinton’s Rotary Club has long sponsored the PCHS Scholarship Banquet. The Peninsula and Port Clinton Lions Clubs have long been active in our communities, sponsoring events, raising money for community causes and creating a sense of fellowship among its members. Then we have been blessed by the activities of groups such as PEO, the Port Clinton Women’s Club and the Business and Professional Women.
Sadly, membership in groups like this has dwindled over the past 20 years or so. Dr. Robert Putnam, in his first book Bowling Alone looked at this phenomenon. He used the decline in participation in league bowling as his primary example. He noted that if the decline continued, we would all be bowling alone by the year 2020. How sad.
But 95 years of Kiwanis in Port Clinton! It has been my privilege to serve as president in 2000-2001 and then serve as Lt. Governor of Division 12 of the Ohio District of Kiwanis International in 2005-2006. Those positions allowed me to attend two International Conventions, one in Taipei, Taiwan and the other in Montreal, Canada. Truly, organizations such as Kiwanis serve as the cradle of leadership. A great for instance would be the leadership displayed by Kiwanis, Rotary and the Lions Club in Port Clinton to help raise money for the Flagship Playplace which should break ground in Lakeview Park next spring.
Our communities have been enriched dramatically by these organizations and I encourage all our readers who might be interested in giving back to check into membership. There is much to be done and the work never really ends.