Kiwanis Club of Sandhills Celebrates 90th Anniversary
Five of its former presidents helped Kiwanis Club of the Sandhills celebrate 90 years of continuous service Thursday evening.
The 90th anniversary gala at the Country Club of North Carolina featured a video of its history that Norris Hodgkins and others spent months assembling from decades of photographs, home movies and scrapbooks.
“This was a big deal,” said the club’s current president, Suzy Carlson, in a telephone interview Friday morning. “They had a 75th anniversary celebration (in 1997). At first, we didn’t want to do it too big this time. We were waiting for our 100th.”
A lot of the club’s current members have been Kiwanians for quite a few years.
“Many of our members are seniors, and 90 is remarkable,” she said. “The club started in 1922 in Aberdeen.”
A first name for the club was rejected when one of the founders, Richard Tufts, opposed limiting it to only one of the Sandhills towns.
“I live in Pinehurst,” Tufts said. “I couldn’t be part of a club based only in Aberdeen.”
Tufts had been one of an original group who met for breakfast there to discuss their common goals in life, then decided to organize as a Kiwanis club. After his objections, they named their new club “Kiwanis of the Sandhills” — broadening it to include all the communities in their section of Moore County, Carlson said. Since its founding, the Sandhills club helped start Kiwanis clubs in Seven Lakes, Southern Pines and Pinehurst.
“The founders were interested in building the community, and the club has had many initiatives to strengthen the Sandhills,” Carlson said. “We meet at the National Golf Club, but the club moved from location to location to suit members’ needs and times. It is the — the fabric, I suppose, is a good word — the fabric of values and common purposes of members that had kept them together all these years as an organization. That is worth celebrating, absolutely.”
The Builders Cup is the club’s most prestigious award. It is given every year to an individual to honor the person’s work building community in the Sandhills, she said. Sandhills Community College President John Dempsey is its most recent recipient.
“Our club built the Head Start building in Southern Pines,” Carlson said. “That is what we mean by ‘building’ as well as building with people in ‘building community’ — our original purpose.”
Internationally, Kiwanis focuses on the needs of children.
“Kiwanis International is more about ‘building one child at a time’ around the world, as well as here in our own country,” she said. “Our mission is to serve children. That is what we do — and do very well, I might say. We give numerous scholarships. There is a Junior Builders Cup scholarship for a high school senior.
“There is a John Williams scholarship named for the Pinecrest High School coach who was tragically killed in Southern Pines when a train hit his car. It is one of our very special contributions every year, and it is for Pinecrest High School seniors. We also do one called the Picquet Music Scholarship, named for Charles Picquet.”
Picquet operated the Carolina Theater in downtown Southern Pines — now Theater Antiques — and the Pinehurst Theater, the shell of which still stands in the village. Its theater interior was razed years ago to transform the building into a shopping mall.
At the gala, former club presidents Bruce Warlick, Jim Dawson, Wendy Russell and Chris Smithson joined Hodgkins on screen to introduce four segments of the club’s 90-year history.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or jfchappell @thepilot.com.
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