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Marysville Kiwanis celebrates 50 years of service to community

MARYSVILLE Its a golden anniversary for the Marysville Kiwanis Club as the local institution celebrates 50 years in town with an open house and awards ceremony this weekend.
The Nov. 18 celebration will also honor a club member for half a century of service. Ray Harding is a former Marysville Junior High School principal who was elected president of the organization back in 1966. He will be awarded with the Legion of Honor at ceremonies at the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center. The open house will be from 2 - 6 p.m. and Harding will be honored about 4 p.m., according to current Marysville Kiwanis president Dave Voigt.
He missed being a charter member by a couple of weeks, Voigt laughed, noting that Harding joined the club just after it was formed by 31 civic leaders in 1956. They included four doctors, four teachers, two ministers, three farmers and a cross section of Marysvilles commerce. There was no butcher, baker or candlestick maker among the lot, but many parks and streets are named after those founders.
The birthday party is a great opportunity to show what Kiwanis does for the community, Voigt said. The groups forte is children and they partner with many local agencies including the Marysville Historical Society, Boy Scout Troop 80 and Cub Pack 80, Junior Achievement, the YMCA and Special Olympics.
The core objective is to help children, its as simple as that, Voigt explained. Our club in Marysville is really small but we feel like we accomplish our program effectively and efficiently.
The group partners with the Marysville Soroptimist Club in sponsoring the students of the month for the Marysville School District, which highlights super achievers at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and Marysville Alternative High School. They also sponsor a scholarship for a deserving high school student each year and will be expanding that soon to include Everett Community College.
Thats where we are able to offer scholarship funds to students who exhibit certain ambitions, skill and are really diligent students, Voigt said. They have goals that need scholarship support and we are happy to help.
The group also provides a forum for kids to not only get help but to get involved, including activities and sections for high school and junior high students.
Kiwanis does have clubs and group opportunities that go all the way down through school levels, Voigt said. That is unique to Kiwanis.
The group meets on Tuesday mornings at the Village Restaurant in downtown Marysville and is always looking for new members. There is no mandatory level of service for volunteers and Voigt notes that some are retired snowbirds seen every few months, while others like city electrician Tom King and former Marysville postmaster Mike Ferri are there for every pancake feed and every weenie roast. Voigt and his cohorts have achieved a machine-like efficiency with the spatulas and help feed the masses at many local charity fundraisers in town.
They are there for the Merrysville for the Holidays Parade in Comeford Park and the police departments National Night Out at the same site. They also helped open the new Harley-Davidson dealership in Smokey Point and members fix bicycles claimed from the police departments lost and found. Those are given away to needy families at Christmas by the Operation Marysville Community Christmas. The Kiwanis also help with the OMCC holiday food drive every year.
For more information see their website at www.snohomishkiwanis.org and click on the Marysville link. The 50th anniversary celebration will be held Saturday, Nov. 18 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center, 514 Delta Avenue, Marysville.

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