They give where they live 0
tina peplinskie firstname.lastname@example.org Sophie Levasseur, a performer at the annual Kiwanis Music Festival, sang It Only Takes A Spark during Friday night's 90th anniversary charter night for the club. She was one of five shining young stars to showcase their talents during the evening. For more community photos, please visit our website photo gallery at www.thedailyobserver.ca.
When the Kiwanis Club of Pembroke marks a milestone, it knows how to throw a party.
On Friday night, close to 100 people came together at the Best Western Inn and Conference Centre to celebrate the 90th birthday of the service club and all it has accomplished.
The club was organized on April 25, 1922 and was chartered June 6 of the same year. Its sponsoring club was the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, whose current president was on hand for the charter night to present a plaque to Pembroke Kiwanis president Raghavan Vijay.
The night included a number of special presentations made by Mr. Vijay to three stunned recipients. Gerry Binhammer, who has been a Kiwanian for more than 50 years, received the Walter Zeller Fellowship Award which recognizes high impact donors.
Mr. Binhammer is a generous man, who needs no fanfare, is reserved, is appreciative of others but not overstated, and above all always dignified, said Mr. Vijay.
"One of the most singular qualities of this gentleman is his philanthropy," the president added, noting the club's newest Walter Zeller fellow has contributed generously to many worthwhile causes over the years as well as to many community projects.
"Gerry Binhammer eminently qualifies for a high impact donor award as his bountiful gifts would have saved and protected thousands of lives and helped to fund the education of hundreds of children," Mr. Vijay said.
The club's donation goes to the Eliminate Project, which aims to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. The contribution will be made in Mr. Binhammer's name. Janet Atkinson Des Roches, Kiwanis District Governor for Eastern Canada and the Caribbean, noted the donation will help vaccinate approximately 1,000 mothers.
Kiwanis past-presidents Joyce Moore Cowan and Jay McLaren were also surprised to learn that they were the recipients of the Mel Osbourne Fellowship Awards, which are presented to Kiwanians who have contributed to the growth and work of Kiwanis.
Mr. Vijay noted Ms. Moore Cowan was the first woman inducted into the Pembroke Kiwanis Club on May 1, 1991. He listed her numerous contributions including serving as chairwoman of many committees, establishing and running many projects, receiving a seven-year perfect attendance pin, serving as distinguished secretary, serving as club president twice, serving as Distinguished Lt. Governor of Division 13, receiving the Distinguished Lt. Governor award, among others.
She also helped Mr. McLaren establish a new charter of Circle K International at Algonquin College, initiated and raised funds through three successful trivia nights and served as a presidential advisor to Mr. Vijay.
"Joyce is the embodiment of energy, enthusiasm, joy, animation, optimism and dynamism," he said.
Mr. Vijay called Mr. McLaren the embodiment of Kiwanis' aims, objectives, goals, causes and pursuits. The president highlighted his significant achievements since joining the club in 1989. He has held many positions at the district level and locally he has served as president twice and chairman of many committees and advisors for others. Under his leadership and with the co-operation of other Kiwanians, the club raised $50,000 for the Pembroke Regional Hospital, and has pledged the same amount to Algonquin College Renaissance Square. He was also instrumental in the creation of the college's Circle K club.
"Jay McLaren brings complete co-operation to a team, brings honour and integrity to his specific tasks, brings humanity and warmth to his benevolent services, brings challenges and opportunities together almost magically, brings unflinching dedication and commitment to Kiwanis causes, brings genuine pride and a sense of belonging to causes much greater than ourselves," Mr. Vijay said.
After his surprise award presentations were out of the way, Mr. Vijay also received a special award from the district governor to recognize his term as club president during the club's 90th anniversary year.
During the evening, charter chairwoman Ms. Moore Cowan had a few surprises up her sleeve, including a performance by four members of the Kiwanis Youth Choir who performed at the Kiwanis International Convention in Toronto and Expo '67, and recorded an album. Pat Charette, Margaret Mackay, Netty Graham and Nora Stewart opened the event by singing O Canada while being accompanied by Doris Siegel, who provided the music on the album.
With the club's focus on children and the significant role music has played in the Pembroke Kiwanis Club's history, it was fitting that a portion of the event was dedicated to some shining young stars from the Kiwanis Music Festival. Kelvin Leung performed a piano solo, Diane Han and Robert Murphy performed a piano duet, and Sophie Levasseur and Kelsey Stewart did vocal solos while being accompanied by honorary Kiwanian Helen Carmichael.
Another highlight of the evening was a performance by the Valley Harmonizers, a barbershop chorus made up of men from across the Ottawa Valley. While the show started with the a cappella numbers in the typical barbershop formation, after a few songs, the jackets came off and the guitar, accordion and fiddle came out for a good ole down- home singalong.
Although she has visited the Pembroke club before, Gov. Atkinson Des Roches was impressed with the celebration to mark such a milestone as a 90th anniversary. On a previous visit, she got to see Pembroke through the eyes of Kiwanis as she was able to see all the club has done for the city.
"It is just awesome," she said. "Congratulations for all you do for your community, it is truly amazing."
The program for the evening listed some of the projects the club has helped to fund over the years. Among them: Pembroke and Area Community Centre, Champlain Trail Museum, Kinsmen Pool, Pembroke Welcome Centre, Pembroke Public Library elevator, Kiwanis Way, Kiwanis Fieldhouse, Festival Hall, Riverwalk Amphitheatre, Audiology Clinic, Dialysis Unit, Miramichi Lodge lounge, Pembroke Regional Hospital, Algonquin College and the new splash pad at Riverside Park. The funding for these projects alone totals $885,000.
Mayor Ed Jacyno thanked the Kiwanis Club for its contribution to the city and, on a personal note, for his involvement with the school key club which he believes kept him on the right track.
He presented Mr. Vijay with a Mayor's Commendation to recognize all the club has done for the city of Pembroke.
The club's current youth projects are the Highview Public School Builders Club, Fellowes High School Key Club and the new Circle K Club at Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley. Its longest-running program is the Kiwanis Music Festival, which will celebrate 65 years next year.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Whit Fraser, an old friend of Kiwanian Bob Pilot and chairman of the board of directors for the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation.
The organization's mission is to work at all levels to assist Arctic children and youth to attain standards of living, education, opportunities and health and well-being equal to those of other Canadians.
It is a charitable foundation with the primary objective of championing activities that will improve lives and provide greater opportunities for the Children and Youth throughout Arctic Canada.
The Kiwanis Club of Pembroke provided a monetary donation, which Mr. Fraser hopes can be matched and potentially doubled through government funding.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist