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Kiwanis Club celebrates 75 years!

In 2021, our club celebrated 75 years with the video below. Enjoy!

This captures the rich history and impact our club has made within the Lebanon community. 

Kiwanis Club of Lebanon 75th Anniversary Video Presentation

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*transcript of video*

Club Beginnings

The Kiwanis Club of Lebanon, TN was officially chartered January 6, 1946. With 40 charter members, the first meetings were held in the old Chamber of Commerce dining hall on the public square known as the arcade. The Lebanon club was formed by a small group led by R.C. Ford, a teacher at Castle Heights Military Academy. Mr. Ford contacted the Kiwanis Club of Nashville requesting them to sponsor a club and was elected as the first club president the night we were chartered.


A Working Club

The Kiwanis Club of Lebanon has always had the reputation as a working club. Being responsible for a number of projects within the Lebanon Community. One of the oldest projects in Wilson County is the Easter Sunrise Service starting in 1946. The first service was held outside at Castle Heights Military Academy. One reason for such a large attendance was all the cadets were required to attend. The location and the look changed through the years but this service continued for 75 years.

The newly formed club of business leaders quickly got involved. The State of Tennessee Legislation had recently reorganized laws for Cities and Counties to have Planning and Zoning. We had a speaker come to the club to discuss the new laws. We formed a committee and met City of Lebanon Mayor Frank Buchanan, explained the Kiwanis Club wanted to help start Planning. Mayor Buchanan said, “first time anyone wanted to do something for Lebanon without getting paid”. The City of Lebanon passed and formed a Planning Committee, one of the first communities in the state, committee were members of the Kiwanis Club and one representative of the City of Lebanon.



Lebanon Youth Baseball

The Kiwanis Club wanted to help the youth in our community and in the spring of 1955 Kiwanis Little League baseball was organized. George Dixon and Hanley Hall members of the Kiwanis Club of Lebanon had 11 year old sons. They both organized a team and played each other behind McClain School. George Dixon met with then Mayor Bill Baird, sharing how Little League ball fields were being built in small towns. Mayor Baird convinced the City Council that Lebanon needed to develop a recreation area. 

Little League was chartered in 1955 and by May the field and lights were ready for first pitch. The first 4 teams in the league were Lebanon Bank, Nokes Sports, Lebanon Blankets/Woolen Mill) and D & D Stores. In 1962 the league had grown to so many players it was split into Kiwanis Little League and Optimist Little League using George Harding’s suggestion of your birth month determining which league you were assigned. Over the years George Harding, a club charter member held Local, District and Regional positions becoming a State Representative for Little League on a National Level. Dr. T. J. Gallaher was involved in coaching, was in charge of scorekeepers training and volunteers. Dr. Gallaher and George Harding along with others were passionate about Little League throughout their entire lives. 

Kiwanis has benefited and contributed to thousands of lives from Coaches, Manager and players without ever charging any child to play. Still supported by Kiwanis, Youth baseball history was made in Lebanon in December 2012. Two local, long-time, youth baseball organizations came together as one to offer “a better brand of youth baseball to Lebanon.” The Lebanon Kiwanis Club and the Lebanon Rotary Club have sponsored Little League and Dixie Youth Leagues in Lebanon for a combined 70 plus years.


Women Join Kiwanis

During the Washington International Convention in 1987, women were allowed to join the Kiwanis Club. The issue received national media attention and in the first year, 8,500 women joined Kiwanis worldwide. John Bryan was President of the Lebanon Club and a delegate at the convention that year. “We voted our club’s wishes and I’m glad the majority vote favored the addition of women. We gained some great new female members and it’s been a positive addition for us,” states Bryan. Our local Kiwanis club proudly elected Martha (Marty) Bone as president in 1992, now with many females that have served as presidents as well as every other office. 

Strong Leaders

From the time we were chartered we’ve had 4 KY TN District Governors, and many Lt. Governor, speaking well for our club. In 2007, Eddie Callis served as 2007 International Foundation President, first member in our district to serve in that position.

Global Impact

As part of an international organization, we make an impact around the world. Kiwanis International has been fighting iodine deficiency (IDD) since 1994. Working with UNICEF, the Kiwanis family came together to raise more than 105 million dollars to help kids reach their full potential and today about 88 percent of households worldwide have access iodized salt. 

Another continuing international effort since 2010, fighting Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT). We’ve raised money for lifesaving vaccines, health education and safe birth environments for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. 

Local Impact

As a local club we have worked on many projects, A Day of Prayer for our Schools, the Sunday before schools starts each year, support of Wilson County CASA, Christmas for All, Pack Back program, and 5th Monday service projects, just to name a few. The long running “famous” Kiwanis Club of Lebanon Pancake Breakfast funds most of these. Remember when you see our fundraiser; it helps us give back to our community.


Our Future

Although our meeting location has changed many times over 75 years, the Kiwanis Club of Lebanon remains a thriving organization of men and women dedicated to serving children and our community. Our club meets each Monday from noon til 1:00. We share a meal, enjoy a brief message from a different speaker each week and fellowship with other club members. 

We invite you to come visit.

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