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Kiwanis Kronicle: What's the story!

Greg Kier and his mother, Donna Kier, are pictured with the latest StoryWalk book to be featured in Mary Park. Submitted photo

Kiwanis=Kids and Kiwanis has been serving the children of the world since 1915. There are nearly 560,000 adult and youth members and over 16,400 clubs throughout the world. Each year Kiwanis clubs sponsor nearly 150,000 service projects and raise more than $100 millions. Kiwanians volunteer more than 18.5 million hours of service to communities. Every Kiwanian impacts the lives of 200 children on average. That's the big picture story.

Locally, Kiwanis — New Richmond has what is called a "Signature Project" and it is StoryWalk. Kiwanis sponsors books on display at Mary Park. If you start walking the trail near the front entrance, books are on display on weather-proof stands. It is a great way to read and get exercise at the same time.

"Bee Dance," by Rick Chrustowski, is the newest StoryWalk book on display. Jessica LaPean and her team at the library have done a great job coordinating this project which Kiwanis sponsors. Rick Chrustowski himself was actually at the kick-off and did a wonderful job explaining his writing and illustrating process. Jerome Rodewald of Rodewald Honey near River Falls presented and sold honey. He explained the process of being a keeper and how to be bee-friendly.

The story of Kiwanis-New Richmond is nearly as long as Kiwanis International. Kiwanis-New Richmond started in 1919, 99 years ago and has a long history of supporting major projects for children and the community including bringing Friday Canning to New Richmond, major sponsorship of Holy Family Hospital (now Westfields), construction of shelters at Mary Park, paving streets, coordination of past Fun Fest Parades, and even updated street lights for greater safety. Kiwanis also promoted bringing WITC to New Richmond and was a major force behind efforts to clean up the Willow River. Kiwanis Clowns were very popular for many years. These are a few major accomplishments in our story.

My father was a Kiwanian while I was growing up. To be honest, I had absolutely no idea what Kiwanis was about until just over a year ago. Once I found out, I was hooked ... and my parents, Milton and Donna, joined (in Dad's case, re-joined) to be a part of the Kiwanis fun in New Richmond. Our story is a family affair and it is fun to serve together. We are Kier Kiwanians together since 2017. I actually write these articles to figure out how everything works.

Jill Fox joined at nearly the same time and said she wanted to be a part of a community organization that benefits the youth in our own community. Well said! She is proud of our support of the Backpack program (providing backpacks of food to children in need) and her favorite activity so far has been the Holiday Light Judging process last December. Jill's story adds to the Kiwanis story.

Richard (Dick) Mullen is tenured. No, " ten-yeared" is more like it. He joined in 2008 because there were interesting programs for kids and he loves to help raise money for kids. His ten years adds to the story also enhances the nearly 100 year tradition of our local Kiwanis.

Kiwanis=Kids, and Kiwanis has a long, rich, dedicated story to share about providing support and service to our community and its youth for nearly 100 years. New members are always welcome. That's the story and we are sticking with it!

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