Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kiwanis’ Work With Underprivileged Children, Rowan County

From Historical Tidbits in Recognition of the Club's 90th Anniversary

Walter Summersett, W.C. Maupin and C.I. Jones are given the principal credit for organizing the Kiwanis Club of Salisbury in 1920.  

The Kiwanis Club of Salisbury was organized with 65 members in November 1920.  Familiar names on the charter include Dr. Charles W. Armstrong; William T. Busby; Dr. J. Delaney Carlton; Samuel T. Carter; Ernest L. Foil; James F. Hurley, Jr;  J. Giles Hudson, Sr;  Samuel W. Harry; Dr. B. Whitehead McKenzie; Frank N. McCubbins; Walter (Pete) Murphy; R. Lee Mahaley; T.J. Maupin; R.W. Norman; Senator Lee S. Overman; Henry E. Rufty; Louis A. Swicegood; T. Walter Summersett, Sr;  and Dr. R.M. West.  C. Irvin Jones was elected the first President. 

From a description of club projects in the early years (1920-1932) there is mention of actively helping to raise an Endowment for Catawba College, organizing and equipping a boys’ drum and bugle corps, raising funds to provide tonsil operations for one hundred children, supporting a “milk fund” for undernourished children in the city schools, and providing Christmas baskets for needy families (that were hand delivered by members).

From a description of club projects in the early years (1920-1932), it is noted that “the Club has always taken an active interest in the Orphanage at Crescent” (now Nazareth Children’s Home).  “On each Christmas we have seen to it that every child received a Christmas present.  Chairs were bought for the new dining hall. The children have always been taken to the circuses and several luncheon meetings have been held at the Orphanage.”

The Club’s involvement with “underprivileged children” began in 1922 as a result of donations from club members and a movement started by charter member Theodore B. Brown to work with crippled children.  Money raised was turned over to fellow club member Dr. C.W. Armstrong who was Health Officer for Rowan County.  Dr. Armstrong worked with the Club to identify and sponsor operations and treatment for 104 seriously crippled Rowan County children over the next four years.  This project is recognized for influencing the establishment of Kiwanis International’s program emphasis on underprivileged children that began in 1923.

In 1929, with 2% of Rowan County school children suffering from glandular tuberculosis, the Club established a “Preventorium” summer camp on the grounds of the old Country Club, now the location of the Hefner VA Medical Center.  Facilities of the clubhouse were supplemented by three tents.  Thirty children spent the first summer there with 25 fully recovering, at a cost of $1800.  A permanent building was erected on the site and for a number of years the summer camp program continued there.  The “Health Camp” was later moved to a farm house site on Old Concord Road (site of present County Agricultural Building) where it remained until 1960 when the Kiwanis Camp property was purchased on Bringle Ferry Road.

The weekly club bulletin was started on May 14, 1943 by Teenus Cheney, who except for one year when he served as President, served as its editor until his death in February 1967.  Others have served since Teenus, but it’s a good guess that no one will best that record.

From Kiwanis Club of Salisbury History. Read the full history online at:

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