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Kiwanis of South Whidbey expand membership, vision

Ron Myers, the former Kiwanis of South Whidbey president, holds the “Distinguished Club” patch for 2010-2011. Myers was elected to be a lieutenant governor this year.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Ron Myers, the former Kiwanis of South Whidbey president, holds the “Distinguished Club” patch for 2010-2011. Myers was elected to be a lieutenant governor this year.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

FREELAND — Hello, Mr. Lieutenant Governor.

Big moments were about as plentiful as the catered food at the recent Kiwanis of South Whidbey meeting.

For the first time, the Kiwanis International Pacific Northwest Governor visited the South End club. For only the third time, a South Whidbey member was appointed to be a lieutenant governor. And the Kiwanis celebrated the 25th anniversary of women’s membership in the youth issues group.

Ron Myers, the Kiwanis of South Whidbey president since 2010, stepped down from that position and up to another one on Thursday at Trinity Lutheran Church.

“I’m impressed with the way he started out,” said Kiwanis Pacific Northwest District Governor Claudell King. “He’s following the project and recognizes the members for what they do.”

Kiwanis of South Whidbey did a lot in 2011, donating nearly $6,000 to nonprofits and the South Whidbey School District. Much of the money came from the club’s most visible — and delicious — work in the food booth during South Whidbey High School home football games.

Bob Welch, club secretary, was voted as the Kiwanis of South Whidbey president.

“I’m still very busy in this club,” Myers said, just moments after passing around the food booth signup sheet.

Myers and Welch, along with other stalwart members saved the club from dissolution back in 2010. Membership was low, so low that former Lt. Gov. Twyla Brink remembered when she first visited the Kiwanis of South Whidbey there were only five people at the meeting.

“We were just eating doughnuts,” Myers laughed, motioning to the catered table of sandwiches, salads and desserts in the back of the room.

“We’ve become a family.”

Now, the club’s membership has grown to 23 members, and both Welch and Myers expect to add at least a couple more members next year.

“This club is the only club in the district that grew over 100 percent the past two years,” Myers said of the Pacific Northwest District which covers Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, the Idaho Panhandle, Washington, Oregon and down to Northern California. More than 300 Kiwanis clubs are active in the district.

Last year, Kiwanis of South Whidbey donated $1,000 to two district-wide projects — tetanus prevention and cancer research. The club also donated

32 blankets to cancer patients and had its middle school club at Langley Middle School, the Builders Club, also donate $1,000.

The district governor set a governor’s project, “2010 until the cure,” in 2010. King, an Oregon resident, wanted to raise money for cancer research and create a long-term project.

“Typically it changes every year. I changed that,” King said.

As the lieutenant governor, Myers is tasked with visiting and assisting six clubs in Anacortes, Oak Harbor, Friday Harbor, Orcas Island and South Whidbey.

“I want to come together as Kiwanis with a vision,” Myers said.

The South Whidbey club was honored as an “Outstanding Club” in the Pacific Northwest District for 2010-2011, one of 339 clubs in the district.

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