About Us > History
History of The Kiwanis Club of Keene, NH
In the fall of 1988, three individuals from different Kiwanis backgrounds came together to bring Kiwanis back to life in Keene. The three were past Lt. Governor Fred Bishop from the Manchester, NH, Kiwanis club, former Kiwanian George Fellendorf who had recently relocated to Keene from Wheaton, MD, and Police Chief Tom Powers, past president of the Kiwanis Club of Exeter, NH. Along with 10 members from the Kiwanis Cub of Manchester, they hit the streets to recruit a new club nucleus. Within 6 weeks they had assembled the minimum 25 members needed to officially organize a new club. By the time the club was organized on January 11, 1989, it had 27 members. Four of these were members from the original Keene Kiwanis Club which held evening meetings from 1961 to 1987 who wanted to continue their Kiwanis experience: Peter Espiefs. Phin Chamberlin, Jimmy Ballas and Billy Bergevin.
Over 150 Kiwanians and guests from all over New England attended the charter event at the Ramada Inn (currently Best Western) on March 18 . NE Kiwanis Governor John Forbes from Colebrook, NH, presented the charter to President George Fellendorf. Kiwanis International Vice President John Morton attended and brought congratulatory remarks from Kiwanis International. Morton would later become the only Kiwanis International President from the New England District.
Although the new club initially met at The Ramada Inn, it soon moved to Libby’s Restaurant (currently Papagallos) where it met for several years. The club continued to grow and soon had the Kiwanis logo prominently displayed in southwestern New Hampshire. The club sold hammers – the very same hammers that the club continues to present to guest speakers at our meetings – as a fund raiser. They also sponsored a very successful art auction to fund their community service projects. The club was a leader in medical related causes including an infant car seat program in conjunction with the Cheshire Medical Center and training local EMTS in infant and pediatric emergency trauma care with help from KPTI. It also resumed sponsorship of the Key Club at Monadnock High School.
From this modest beginning our Phoenix-like club has grown and prospered for the past 20 years. As a testament to the power of Kiwanis, we still have three original charter members active in our club: Paul Bothwell, Peter Espiefs, and Brian Mattson. [Pictured above is Paul Bothwell at a Kiwanis Car Show.]
This section will contain "reflections" by club members about how Kiwanians have served the Keene area over the years. It is a work in progress and new contributions will be presented from time to time. So, take a trip and see club members' "reflections". (PDF)
Take a look at our past and present officers. (PDF)
New England Division 20 Lieutenant Governors
Each division of the New England District of Kiwanis International has an annual caucus to elect a Lt. Governor from one of the division clubs. Our Keene club is proud to have had three outstanding members step up to the plate to provide hands-on leadership to the other clubs in our Division 20.
Legion of Honor and Legion of Merit
The Kiwanis International and the New England District have instituted two programs to honor those members who have contributed their time and their energy in making their communities, and therefore the world, a better place to live. The Legion of Honor program is the means to honor those members who have achieved 25 years of Kiwanis service. They are honored every five years after that. The Legion of Merit program is the means to honor those members who have achieved 5, 10, 15, and 20 years of Kiwanis service. Beginning with the 2009 year, the club will so honor club members on an annual basis. See a description of both programs (PDF) and see the merit awards presented to date. (PDF)
Periodically, the club presents awards to our members for their outstanding service to the community and our club. See the so-honored members list.
Annual Club Budgets
According to the Kiwanis International By-Laws, our club is required to prepare two annual club budgets: an Administrative Budget and a Service Budget. See our club's income and disbursements over the years.
Student Scholarship Awardees
For many years, the club has awarded college scholarships annually to area high school seniors and KSC Circle K members. See the criteria for these awards and the past recipients.