The Club with the "Dash"!

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The Kiwanis Club of South-West Peoria

1957 to 2007

The Peoria and Surburban Kiwanis Clubs sponsored the Kiwanis Club of South Peoria on May 28, 1957. The first President was James Dillon, who served two terms. The Club was officially chartered by Kiwanis International on July 15, 1957 as Club #4803 and in the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District as Club #246. It wasn't until 1962 that Kiwanis Club of South Peoria became the Kiwanis Club of South-West Peoria. When the application was made to Kiwanis International for the name change to South-West Peoria, it was denied -- with the reasoning there was no club with a hyphenated name -- so the name should be the Kiwanis Club of Southwest Peoria. Since Clubs were assigned geographical boundaries, the Club insisted it was NOT a club of Southwest Peoria, but of both south Peoria and west Peoria. After some firm negotiation, the applicants persisted and South-West Kiwanis Club, the "Club with the Dash" was established. The initial chartering members were primarily from south Peoria, representing businesses from that area. Today, the territorial assignment really does not pertain to a restricted region.

Over the years the Club has held its luncheon meeting in many different locations. They include the original meeting place of the Stockyards Inn, The Mecca on Farmington Road, Ramada, Elks Club, VFW on South Adams Street, Jumer's Castle Lodge, Country Buffet, St. Sharbel Center, Landmark, Mangiano's Italian Restaurant on Forrest Hill, Willow Knolls County Club�and now back to the original Jumer's location, which is now named the Radisson Flagstones.

Kiwanis has four organizational levels:  Kiwanis International, Districts, Divisions, and local clubs. Although South-West has not yet sponsored an International President, as of the 2006-2007 Administrative year, South-West has the honor of having had one of its members serve as Governor of the Illinois-Eastern District, and nine members who have served as Lieutenant Governor of Division 20.

The Illinois-Eastern Iowa District bestows an Amador Medallion Award upon members who are recognized for outstanding service to their home Kiwanis Club and their Community. South-West takes pride in the fact that twelve of its members were honored as recipients of the Amador Medallion.

Kiwanis International bestows a Hixon Fellowship Award to members who meet certain criteria. South-West is honored and proud of its four members have received the Hixon Fellowship Award from Kiwanis International.

One of the six Objects of Kiwanis states "To provide, through Kiwanis Clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic services, and to build better communities." The "Club with the Dash" has a long record and a proud legacy of fulfilling this Object.

The following are some, but not all, of the projects or fundings sponsored by or participated in by the Dashers:

1963 With other Peoria Kiwanis Clubs, sponsored development and construction of Kiwanis London House for senior citizens, with continuing support today.

1966 Sponsored a Circle K Club at Bradley University.

1967 When the Allied Agencies Center was constructed, South-West agreed to pay for moving a flag pole from a closed school to Allied Agencies. When it arrived, it was noted that there was no ball on top. Not to worry. A member who owned a bowling alley came to the rescue. A bowling ball was drilled, painted gold, and placed on top of the flag pole -- where it sits today!

1971 Sponsored the University of Illinois intra-squad football game at Richwoods Stadium.

1972 The District 150 Peoria Stadium was condemned, due to structural deterioration and no sporting events could be held there. The South-West and Suburban Clubs cosponsored a fund-raising program, SOS, "Save our Stadium." Many fund-raising events were held, and in 1972 the Club presented Peoria Public School District 150 with a check for $28,000 (big bucks in those days) to begin rehabilitation. Fundraising continued into 1973.

1974 Co-sponsor with the Limestone Club the formation of Peoria North Club.

1975 Provided funding for resurfacing of basketball and tennis courts at Carver Center.

1976 Constructed the Viet Nam Memorial at the Prospect Road entrance to Glen Oak Park, the first such Memorial in Illinois, to memorialize the men and women of Peoria County who gave their lives to preserve our freedom. It was recently expanded to include the men and women of all wars who gave their lives for their Country. South-West has conducted a Memorial Day Service there every year since 1976.

1980 Sponsored the first Peoria County Sheriff's Award Luncheon with our continuous support. Held during Police Memorial Week, we have been a part of this for 28 years.

1980 With the Peoria Park District, co-sponsored the Clyde West Fishing Derby at the Glen Oak Park lagoon. It continues today.

1980-2007 South-West Kiwanis is the second longest continuing donor to St. Jude Midwest Affiliate, and an original contributor to the "Saint Jude Run" from Memphis to Peoria

1983 Purchase of Impaired Sight Visual Aid machine for Bradley Cullum-Davis Library.

1983-2003 According the late William Rutherford, South-West is the only service club to help support Wildlife Prairie Park. Over the years, projects have included the Ray Wolf Memorial Kiwanis Playground, the Teepee Village, a stone walk in the Bird Aviary, and financial donations.

1985-2017 Arbor Day Tree Planting -- Donated and planted a substantial-size tree to the City of Peoria for 32 years. Other Arbor Day activities.

1990-1991 Planted dozens of trees at Detweiller Marina in conjunction with Riverfront improvement.

1992 Provided support for "Save the Giant Oak trees" in peril in older Peoria locations.

1995-1999 Ongoing participation in Common Place and Southside Office of Concern Programs.

1996-1999 Supported Children's Home residents with needed items for sports participation.

1997 Organized and arranged special lifesaving and trauma care of infants for expectant mothers conducted jointly with the Red Cross.

1997-2007 Children's Hospital of Illinois -- over the past decade, have contributed annually, and in total have contributed over $30,000 -- mainly for use by the Peoria Children's Hospital for therapy equipment.

1998 Planted shrubs and flowers in street dividers designed to slow and deter traffic in marginal neighborhoods.

1999-2004 Participated in the original Parents' Television Council.

2002-2007 Participated in "Bringing up Grades" (B.U.G.) program at Trewyn Middle School.

2003 Provided $10,000 to the University of Illinois Extension Service 4-H Club, Peoria County, to continue operation after Illinois funding reduced.

2006 Co-sponsored an AKTION club for adults with disabilities -- jointly with other Division 20 Clubs.

2016 - Day Treatment School at Trewyn - This partnership was created between Peoria Public School Foundation and South-West Kiwanis of Peoria.  Club members work with students as mentors and tutors.  They also volunteer to help plan activities for parents and staff.

2017 - Lend A Hand - This project makes funding available to children with disabilities in need of equipment relevant to their special needs.   The Club reaches out to families who have exhausted all other funding sources.

There are some projects that South-West provides continuing support, these projects include:


  • Spastic Research Foundation, the I-I District's ongoing special project -- one that is the envy of the other Districts of Kiwanis International. Commonly known as "Spastics," this Districtwide program is our "Finest Project."
  • Emergency Fund -- Any child in need of necessary dental care or eyeglasses, or anything that may hinder their functioning in school may obtain assistance by requesting a member sponsor them through the Club's Emergency Fund.
  • Annually participated in the Salvation Army Bell Ringers.
  • Annually provided 14 Flags for the City of Peoria Constitution Garden Flag Day Ceremonies.  The 14 Flags represent the original 13 colonies and the U.S. Flag, and fly at the horseshoe flag display at Constitution Garden.
  • Provide annual College scholarships to our two Manual Key Club graduating seniors.
  • Participated in various other scholarship programs, such as the MD camp, HOBY, and Youth Leadership Schools.
  • Annually participated in the Special Olympics programs.
  • Annually participated in the Infant Car Seats, a District-wide program to provide infant car seats to parents through the Saint Francis Nursery.
  • Participated in various food pantry programs, such as Loaves and Fishes meal programs, through donations of food and money.
  • Participated in various mentoring/reading programs through member activities and financial assistance.

The South-West Kiwanis Club of Peoria, Illinois, has been in the forefront of public service for its fifty year life. Its members are active and involved. They will continue to better their community by offering their ideas, initiatives, and energies into their next fifty years.