Willmar Kiwanis Club Donates $10,000











The Willmar Kiwanis Club recently donated $10,000 to United Way of West Central Minnesota for their Imagination Library program. This program helps prepare kids in the region for Kindergarten by providing a book a month to children ages birth to five years of age at no charge to the families enrolled. This donation was made possible by the Kiwanis Peanut fund raising campaign supported by area individuals and businesses.  Thank you to all that participated in this fundraiser!

Kiwanis Celebrates 100 Year anniversary

The Willmar Kiwanis Club celebrated the 100 year anniversary of Kiwanis International with a dinner and program October 20 at The Oaks at Eagle Creek.  Bob Rosenbrook, President of the Willmar Club said Kiwanis was founded in Detroit, Michigan, January 21, 1915.  Internationally, Kiwanis has grown to 630,000 members belonging to over 16,000 clubs in over 80 nations.   Kiwanis elected its first woman President, Sue Petrisin, at their international convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, last June.  “Its truly an honor to be the first woman president of Kiwanis International, Petrisin said.  “Most importantly it’s an honor to serve alongside men and women around the world who are dedicated to improving the lives of children in their communities and in places they will never visit.”

At the October 20 event, the Willmar club honored long-term member Arlen Sjerven for 45 years of service.  Also honored were past members Lowel Melbye for 53 years of service and Ron Schneider for 45 years of Service.  Deceased member Richard Hoglund was honored by presenting a certificate of service to his widow, Delores.  Dick has the memorable record of bringing in over 100 new members during his 41 years of service.  The annual Touch-A-Life award was presented to Wayne S. Nelson, retired president of Heritage Bank for his many years of outstanding volunteer service on many boards and foundations.

The Kiwanis Club of Willmar has 42 members and meets at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society at noon every Tuesday.  Anyone interested in helping to improve the community and serve children of the world is invited to join us for a meeting or contact the club secretary at wandastallman@jmsklaw.com, phone 320 894 6761. More information is available at the club’s website http://willmarkiwanis.areavoices.com/.

Kiwanis recognizes Willmar man for community service

nelsonwayne2012Wayne S. Nelson of Willmar has received the 2015 Kiwanis Touch-A-Life Award.  According to the announcement from the Willmar Kiwanis Club, the award recognizes a citizen of Kandiyohi County who has an outstanding record of volunteering service to the community, his or her church, school system, local government, or other organizations or programs.

Nelson has been involved in various groups or organizations over the years. He is a past Chamber of Commerce president and a member of the boards of West Central Industries, Rice Hospital, Rice Health Foundation, United Way and Ridgewater College Foundation.

He is a former Lions member, Rotarian and Paul Harris donor. He participated in the Blandin Fellowship Leader program and is a past Willmar Fests chairperson.

He is on the board at Calvary Lutheran Church, as well as the president of the congregation.

Nelson was also active in all of his children’s sports clubs throughout their high school days.

He is currently on the board of the Willmar Community Foundation and Family Promise of Kandiyohi County for Homelessness.

Nelson retired in December from Heritage Bank in Willmar. As a banker, he was expected to be involved in activities within the community. Nelson went above and beyond and was vigilant in attending meetings not to just one but several organizations at the same time. In retirement, the volunteering has not stopped.

Nelson is a graduate of Willmar High School, Concordia College in Moorhead and The School of Banking in Wisconsin. He is married to Linda Nelson and has three children.

2015 Peanut Partner – United Way of West Central MN

We are pleased to announce that our 2015 Peanut Partner is the United Way of West Central MN.  Money received from our fundraiser will be used to support the following programs:

Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.  Each series of books contains certain characteristics specific to age appropriateness from birth to age 5.  Since her county loved it so much, it has become a nationwide program and United Way of West Central Minnesota is a part of it!

Little Free Library

A Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange. In its most basic form, it’s a wooden box of books (United Way of West Central is making them look like houses with the help of West Central Industries, Jennie-O Turkey Store and various volunteers) where anyone may pick up a book or two, or bring a book to share. If this were just about providing free books on a shelf, the whole idea might disappear after a few months. Little Free Library book exchanges have a unique, personal touch and there is an understanding that real people are sharing their favorite books with their community. People will be responsible within the community to watch what books are placed in the houses so that they are age appropriate.

If you would like to support these programs, please contact a local Kiwanis member.  As a thank you for your donation, we will give you a box of peanuts!

Willmar Kiwanis seeks nominations for Kiwanis Touch-A-Life Award

Each year, beginning in 1978, the Willmar Kiwanis Club has recognized a citizen of Kandiyohi County who has an outstanding record of volunteering service to our community. Typically the award winner has provided ongoing volunteer service to the community, his or her church, school system, local government, or other organizations or programs.   The first awardee was Bev Rosenbaum and the most recent three were Audrey Nelson, Jim Buisman and Irene Whitmyre.

We are seeking nominations for 2015.   Application deadline is September 1st.   If you would like to make a nomination, please click on this link to get the application:  Touch-A-Life Nomination Form

Kiwanis Club donates $500 to the Willmar Food Shelf

Food shelf donationRadio for Relief 2015 – Food Shelf Benefit

Earl Knutson, President of Willmar Kiwanis Club is shown being interviewed this morning by Dan Schell of Q102.   Earl presented a check for $500 to the Willmar Food Shelf on behalf of the Kiwanis Club.  The Kiwanis mission is Serving Children of the World.  The funds were raised by passing a hat during our weekly Tuesday noon meetings in March.  If you’d would like more information about Kiwanis, please call 231-3777 and talk to Maribeth.  Guests are welcome anytime at our Tuesday noon meetings.   Our meetings are held at the Willmar Historical Society


The Willmar Kiwanis Club donated $10,000 to the Resource Center at West Central Industries for their Lego Fun & Friendship program. It’s a new program that positively impacts children ages 7 to 12 with challenging skills due to autism, ADHD, fetal alcohol syndrome and other disabilities. With support these children become accepted, active participants in the community. In the club, the children learn teamwork, listening skills, emotional management, pride and empathy.  The donation was made possible by the Kiwanis Peanut fund raising campaign supported by area individuals and businesses.

Kiwanis Peanut Partner for 2014 – Lego Fun and Friendship Club!

Kiwanis is pleased to announce the 2014 Kiwanis Peanut Partner The Lego Fun and Friendship Club!   The club is a project of The Resource Center Program at West Central Industries. This program positively impacts children with challenging social skills due to autism, ADHD, fetal alcohol syndrome and other disabilities.

With support these children become accepted, active participants in the community. In the club using colorful Lego blocks, the children learn teamwork, listening skills, emotional management, pride and empathy. Parents are taught the tools used with the children so they can reinforce the children’s new skills . Children, parents and ultimately the community win, now and in the future.

Pictured above are volunteer advisory board members Marlys Larsen, Arlen Christianson, Susan Lange, along with Jamin Johnson, Program Manager.  Please donate $100 to this great cause. In return, Kiwanis will give you a box of 100 bags of peanuts as a thank you!  For more information, please call Maribeth Williamson at 320-231-3777.

Roger Rhody Receives Walter Zeller Fellowship Award

Roger Rhody received a Walter Zeller Fellowship award which was presented by Dennis Hier.

Below is some information about the award:

A native of Waterloo County (near the city of Kitchener, Ontario), Zeller was the founder of Zellers chain of thrift stores. He began his business career in 1912 with a job as a stock boy with the F.W. Woolworth Company, and was later the General Sales Manager for the Metropolitan chain of stores for New York. He was considered by co-workers to be energetic, forthright, and magnetic, and served as director-at-large of the National War Savings Committee and a special advisor to the chairman of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board.

Zeller gave much of his life to philanthropy, serving as the Montreal Director of the YMCA and staying involved in many capacities with his Kiwanis club. He served as the Montreal President and Governor of the Ontario-Quebec-Maritime District.

On behalf of The Eliminate Project, we are proud to honor Walter Zeller’s commitment to service by creating the Walter Zeller Fellowship. This is a very special opportunity designed exclusively for The Eliminate Project. You can become a Walter Zeller Fellow by making a one-time gift or two-year consecutive pledge of US$1,250 to The Eliminate Project. All Walter Zeller Fellows will receive a special medallion, lapel pin and certificate. We encourage you to join us to honor Walter Zeller by supporting The Eliminate Project as a Walter Zeller Fellow.

Kiwanis Talent Show – Fundraiser for The Eliminate Project!

The Willmar Kiwanis Club held a talent show on Monday, April 28, at the First Presbyterian Church in Willmar.  The talent show featured the Willmar High School 2701 choir along with other talent.   A silent auction was held in conjunction with the talent show to raise money for The Eliminate Project.   Kiwanis International and UNICEF have joined forces to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. This deadly disease steals the lives of nearly 60,000 innocent babies and a significant number of women each year. The club raised nearly $1800 to help immunize the mothers and their babies.