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Club History

The West Side Kiwanis Club was chartered as one of 7,700 clubs in 80 countries in 1957. Our motto is "Serving the Children of the World".  We are a member of the Michigan District.

Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo, Westside was chartered November 17, 1957, on Monday November 25th the official charter was presented on Charter Night at Welles Hall, Kalamazoo College, by District Governor Earl Confer.  President Donald Nantz accepted for the 41 member club and other principle officers were Vice President Norman Russell and Secretary John Pruis.  The Club is listed as #170 by the Michigan District with Downtown #4.  Membership peaked in 1976 at 54 and at 43 in 1997 and the passing of key members, Norm Russell, Jim Thorne, Vern Marietta, Brad Reid, Sam Ross, John Preston.  

Meeting sites for Westside have ranged from the old Harris Hotel, Schensuls on West Main in the mid 1970's to Holiday Inn West to the Elks Club and since 2000 the Fountains at Bronson Place.  A Boy Scout of America troop at the State Hospital was organized and funded for several years until that facility changed its mission.  Circle K clubs have been sponsored at Western Michigan University for many years and an outstanding student group was noted for supplying the District President, Secretary and Bulletin Editor.  

Westside takes pride in the leadership it has given District 13 with eight Lt. Governors: Norm Russell, Don Nantz, Vern Marietta, Brad Reid, Jim Thorne, Jerry Humitz, Richard Buttery, and Dennis Yule.  Five have served as President.  The club has been a leader in reaching out to all the clubs in the division by regular visitations (inter clubs).  Presentations at each weekly meetings have reflected Kalamazoo's rich cultural/arts heritage, plus sports, education, social services, politics, travel adventures and area problems and its needs.  Especially memorable programs have been a moving account by Erik Jensen of his role in the Resistance Movement to the Nazis in his native Denmark.  The club also has given Citizen or Educator of the year and Kiwanian of the year awards for outstanding achievements in the community.  

We feel a sense of service rendered to our community and proudly salute the flag.  While our singing is usually suspect there is genuine warmth in the camaraderie between our members, all whom share the Kiwanis bond.