US Congressman Nick Rahall was in Logan on May 1, but he was not on the campaign trail. Congressman Rahall was getting back to his roots by spending some time with one of the areas most outstanding service clubs on their 90th birthday. Rahall was the keynote speaker for the Kiwanis Club of Logan’s 90th Birthday Party where he spoke about his own background with civic clubs and service organizations and the impacts they can have on people and communities.
Rahall discussed the year 1924 when the club was born, noting it was a year of major things both good and bad across the globe, from J. Edgar Hoover being appointed as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to a disgruntled convict named Adolph Hitler getting released from prison early.
“It was also an extraordinary year for progress,” Rahall added. “Not only did Howard Carter discover King Tut’s tomb, but Edwin Hubble announced the existence of other galaxies in the Universe. …And, not so coincidentally, the Logan Kiwanis Club was formed and founded.”
Rahall pointed out how club members and their wives and families had moved forward hand in hand with progress. Rahall pointed out that while Kiwanis old club logo “We Build” to “Serving the Children of the World.”
“But if you ask me, your focus has remained constant through all your 90 years - Your vision has been steadfastly focused on the future.”
The congressman became very personal when he spoke about his own background with service clubs and civic organizations going back to his youth.
“Some of you, such as former president Don Elkins, know that I credit my membership and participation in various service projects at the Key Club of Woodrow Wilson High School over in Beckley with my own very first interest in public service,” Rahall explained, adding that he discusses that impact with other organizations such as the Lions, Moose, Elks and Oddfellows clubs.
“I even tell my fellow Rotarians that I owe so very much to Kiwanis and their support of Key Clubs,” he said. “So on behalf of all the generations of young people you have called to serve their fellow man, we thank you very much.”
Rahall said that while many are aware of the impact teachers and mentors have in the lives of young people, it should be remembered that groups such as Kiwanis also have impact on youth.
“And just as surely, your support and service of and to generations of our youth is ample insurance your influence will be passed on to countless generations yet to come.”
Congressman Rahall singled out members of the Queen family for their own impact they have made in their role of the history of the Kiwanis Club of Logan.
“If you began calculating all the contributions of the Queen family - Governor Ervin, Jean, Earle and Radine, just to mention one generation- have made through this club and in their day jobs, it is amazing what an impact ONE family can have.”
Rahall said that America is a giving nation and he believes it has been blessed.
“I believe we can be guided by the hand of the almighty, but it falls on each of us to do His work here on Earth,” he said. “That is why this club is so very important. …Kiwanis is a central partner in that great American partnership of giving. You not only raise funds for worthy causes, you are worthy examples from which our young people learn some of life’s essential lessons.”
Rahall pointed to the 207 years of public service exemplified by Ed Eiland, Rex Browning, Howard MacDonald and Tank Williams who were honored that evening.
“What a tremendous inspiration,” he said. “We West Virginians have a track record of sticking with things. We are loyal to a tee when that cause is our future.”
Rahall also spoke about West Virginia’s tradition of civil service and major projects such as New Route 10 to Man and the Main Island Creek stream modification project and said that by working together West Virginians can get major accomplishments done.
“Every American has a role to play. It takes all of us working together,” he said, noting that for nine decades the Kiwanis Club of Logan has “held up its end of that bargain for the future.”