Early 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.
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 here.
Our club is a public service club focused on the youth of our community. Our members serve that constituency by raising money and supporting worthy
organizations with cash donations and by performing community service. As in any organization, historical membership fluctuates over time. Our historical membership numbers can be found here.
Club Board Members
The club's Board of Directors are elected at the annual club meeting each spring. The club's Directors from 1989 are listed here.
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.
Club Committee Chairs
The club has a number of standing committees to help implement the goals of the club. Individual club members provide leadership by volunteering to accept the responsibility to chair different committees for the year. The standing committees and their chairs over the years are here.
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. Click here for a description of both programs and the merit awards presented to date are here.
Periodically, the club presents awards to our members for their outstanding service to the community and our club. The so-honored members are here.
Weekly Club Speakers
During the club's Wednesday meetings, we endeavor to provide guest speakers on interesting topics to address the membership. A list of recent speakers and their topics can be seen here.
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. Our club's income and disbursements over the years are here.
Student Scholarship Awardees
For many years, the club has awarded college scholarships annually to area high school seniors and KSC Circle K members. The criteria for these awards and the past recipients can be found here.