Early in 1930, a group of Marietta business and professional men became interested in organizing a Kiwanis Club in the city. Several members of the Atlanta Kiwanis Club assisted in completing the application for a charter with 25 members. The charter was approved by Kiwanis International March 3 and on March 10 was presented to the Marietta club by District Governor W. Ben Gibbes of Jesup. Past International President Henry C. Heinz of Atlanta was the principal speaker on the occasion.
The Club elected officers and was off to a start in community service. Dr. Ralph W. Fowler, a well-known and beloved general practitioner who later specialized in pediatrics, was selected first president and served in that capacity for the balance of 1930 and for the year 1931. Under his leadership, a going club was soon established with committees functioning and good programs prepared for each meeting. Atlanta, the sponsoring club, was generous in helping with talent to augment local efforts in entertainment. President Fowler remained an active and dedicated Kiwanian until his death in 1967.
A Tradition of Service
From its beginning in 1930 to the present, the Kiwanis Club of Marietta has been a strong service organization, with a special outreach to children in our community. One of the Club's earliest service projects was assisting in the establishment of a charity ward at the Marietta Hospital in 1933. Other early projects focused on helping deserving students finish high school, working with the county health department in eliminating common and deadly diseases, and increasing agricultural efficiency by sponsoring registered "Pig and Corn" contests for 4-H youth. The Club was instrumental in helping acquire land for Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and the Club was at the forefront of an effort to raise funds to qualify for matching federal funds to improve the facilities at the Park. In September 2003, the club honored those killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, through a project called The Field of Flags Tribute Project at Kennesaw National Battlefield Park. This project received national media attention with over 3,000 American flags displayed for 5 days in recognition of the lives lost due to the attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. This project was repeated in September 2011 to honor the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
Other noteworthy service projects have included:
• Work on the Battered Women's Shelter and the Children's Place daycare facility for children of the homeless at the YWCA
• Sponsorship for many years of the highly successful "Six Flags Special Olympics Day," which provided a day of fun at Six Flags for Special Olympians and other special needs individuals
• Being a "Partner in Education" with six public schools
• Built a nature garden at Lockheed School
• Sponsored a county-wide literacy program through the Read-A-Book program
• Participation in the Roosevelt Circle "Habitat for Humanity" project
• Sponsorship of the annual Soap Box Derby event for Marietta and Cobb County
• Provided rocking chairs and gift bags for parents in the NICU at WellStar Kennestone Hospital
• Sponsored a drug dog, "Kiwanis Blue," for the Marietta Police Department
• Worked with the Center for Children and Young Adults to improve their facilities
• Improvements to the facilities and playground at Mothers Making a Change
• Worked with corporate sponsors to build a playground at Victory Park in Marietta
• Participation, along with other local Kiwanis clubs, in the Georgia Special Olympics Winter Games in Marietta
• Annual donations to various nonprofits in the community
• Annual scholarship awards to local students
• Acknowledging faculty and student achievements at Marietta City Schools with GEM Awards for "Going the Extra Mile"
• Sponsorship of the annual Easter Sunrise Service at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
• Annual Holiday Flag Project where American flags are placed around Cobb County on six nationally recognized holidays each year
• Ringing the Salvation Army bells in December each year
• Installation of the Forever Remember statue just off the Marietta Square
• Purchased a service dog for a Cobb County child
• Sponsorship of the annual Veterans Day Parade in Marietta
• Support of the Graduate Marietta initiative of the Marietta City Schools
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Soap Box Derby
Field of Flags
Work on the Playground at Mothers Making a Change
Georgia Special Olympics Winter Games