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Capital City Kiwanis Club
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Club History

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CAPITAL CITY KIWANIS CLUB:

 

The Capital City Kiwanis Club was chartered on August 31, 1959 by the Tallahassee Kiwanis Club, with Kiwanis Lt. Governor (and future Governor) Ralph Davis presiding at the Capital City Country Club.  There were 58 charter members led by President Dr. J. David O'Dea.  The roster included many prominent citizens such as State Treasurer Broward Williams, future college president Hugh Adams, contractors Carl Ferrell and Fred Turner, developer J. T. Williams, banker Tom Humphress, numerous attorneys, and businessman Hilmar Skagfield. Originally the club met in the evenings at the old Cherokee Hotel, but moved to a noon location at the old Floridian Hotel in August, 1962.  Other meeting places over the years included the University Holiday Inn, the Parkway Holiday Inn, the Brown Derby, the Western Sizzlin', the Sheraton, Howard Johnsons, Denny’s, Olive Garden, the Brokaw-McDougal House, and since 2008, Golden Corral.  Since its inception, the Capital City Club has been working to make Tallahassee a better place to live and work by providing services which are beyond the scope of government.  The Kiwanis Motto, "Serving the Children of the World," is best exemplified by a look at some of the many club projects throughout the club's existence.

 

A major emphasis of Kiwanis International is the support of youth.  The Capital City Club firmly believes this goal is one way to nurture better leaders for tomorrow.  Over the years, the club has sponsored three high school Key Clubs, a Circle K at Tallahassee Community College, a Cub Scout Pack at Gretchen Everhart, youth baseball teams, youth soccer teams, a citywide Pet Show, a citywide Kite Contest, the "Terrific Kids" program at Ruediger Elementary School, and a "Special Kids" blood bank account for emergency transfusion needs of children.  Currently, the club sponsors K-Kids at Ruediger Elementary, Builders Club at Raa Middle School, and Key Clubs at Rickards, Lincoln, and SAIL High Schools. Club resources have supported drug abuse programs, an on-going student loan fund at Lively Vo-Tech Center, and the Kiwanis Scholarship House at FSU.  Major emphasis also has been placed on early childhood intervention programs such as the World's Largest Baby Shower, the Salvation Army Sharing Tree, the Healthy Start Coalition, the Easter Seals Telethon, and Healthy Families Florida.  One project focuses on the children of homeless families at transitional housing operated by ECHO, including a Christmas Party each year, and the club provides rent support and activities for the children throughout the year. Members also volunteer their time to read and mentor children through the Tales for Tots and Reading Pals programs. Truly, Capital City Kiwanis cares about youth.

 

Even with this special emphasis on youth, adults and other community services are not overlooked.  The club has proudly supported the arts through the LeMoyne Art Foundation and the FSU School of Music.  Blood pressure testing, conservation projects, a Landscaping to Save Energy program, and the Adopt-A-Highway project all have benefited the general public.  Capital City assists the homeless through quarterly meal service, sponsored an Easter Sunrise Service for eleven years, and published a Directory of all churches in the Tallahassee area.   Senior citizens are assisted through Meals on Wheels, entertainment programs, and landscaping at Georgia Bell Dickinson Apartments.  The club's efforts to improve the quality of life reach all sectors of the community.

 

Capital City Kiwanis also has been a leader in the Florida Kiwanis District.  Ten Lt. Governors have come from the club, and it has consistently been a leader in northwest Florida.  The bulletin and inter-club work of Capital City have won state awards, and several members have served in statewide capacities.  In 1971, the club inducted the first African-American members in Tallahassee (Herb Alexander, Jim Davis and Ed Thorpe); in 1987, the first woman (Susan Babcock); and in 1989, the first couple (Red and Joan Messer). 

 

On January 14, 1964, Capital City sponsored the sixth club outside North America in Reykjavik-Hekla, Iceland.  This club chartered with 52 members, and was the first of more than 45 clubs with 1,300 members now in the Iceland District.  This new club occurred mainly through the efforts and connections of Icelandic Counsel to Florida, Hilmar Skagfield, a charter member.  In 1981, the Capital City Club held the first of many Icelandic Nights.  At this event, the club received the Icelandic sheepskin which plays a part in the club's annual installation of officers.  Many distinguished guests have visited Tallahassee for this event, including District Governors, International President Eddie Siggurdson, who was a charter member of the Hekla Club, and International Past President Nick Swain, who was in office when Hekla was established.  Additionally, Past President Leonidas Lipovetsky is an internationally famous concert pianist who has been an ambassador for Capital City Kiwanis on many tours around the world.  Thus, the efforts of this Tallahassee club have extended far beyond city and country.

 

More than 260,000 individuals in 96 countries around the world proudly wear the "K" of Kiwanis because they have the desire to become personally involved in their communities.  As a group, they achieve what individuals cannot do alone. Truly, this has been one of the prime objectives of the Capital City Kiwanis Club.