PEMBROKE — For 55 years, members of the Pembroke Kiwanis Club have been leaders in providing community services.
On Thursday, the club will celebrate those good works with a dinner meeting beginning at 6 p.m. at the East Wind Chinese Restaurant in Pembroke. Invited guests include members of the Lumberton and West Lumberton Kiwanis clubs. Dr. Martin Brooks, the club’s first president, is also expected to be present.
“The Pembroke Kiwanis Civic Club was chartered on Oct. 1, 1961, as an offshoot of the Lumberton Kiwanis Club,” Mitch Lowry, the club’s current president, said. “It’s great that the club has remained active in the community for so many years.”
Lowry said that the West Lumberton Kiwanis Club was later established as an offshoot of the Pembroke Club.
Former state Rep. Ronnie Sutton served as the club’s president from 1989 to 1990. His mother Vergie Sutton had a contract to cook for the club members in the early days of the club’s existence when they met for their meetings at Pembroke State College, now The University of North Carolina at Pembro0ke.
“That was in 1962 when I first came home from serving in the Air Force,” Sutton said. “I helped my mother serve meals to the club members.”
Sutton said he then joined the Kiwanis in 1985, and remained a member until 1992, when he was elected to serve in the state House of Representatives.
“This is a good organization,” said Sutton. “They do a lot for the local citizens … . They are a valuable service when it comes to helping those in need. They try to keep money in their treasury that can be used to help people in a time of emergency.”
According to Sutton, the club in the past has provided financial support to local sports teams that have needed money to compete in out of state athletic events. Funding has also been made available to people who have been “burned out of their homes” by a fire,” he said.
According to Lowry, the club now has a membership of between 10 and 15 members. In the past, he said, the club averaged about 25 members.
“A member of Kiwanis takes a lot of time and a lot of people just don’t have the time to give,” he said. “We continually try to recruit new members from the professional and business communities.”
Currently, the Kiwanis support activities of the local Boy Scouts; sponsors an annual Pembroke bicycle ride; sponsors an annual 5K run and fun walk; and supports a local baseball camp and league.
During Thursday’s meeting, the following officers for the coming year will be installed — Lemark Harris as president; Dale Thomas as vice president; Faline Dial as secretary; and Bryan K. Maynor as a member of the board of directors.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.