Wednesday 12:00 Noon
The Kiwanis Club of Durant was organized at a meeting in the Durant City Hall on November 9, 1949. The charter Banquet was held in the Dining Room on the campus of Southeastern State College on November 30, 1949. F. L. McDonald, Governor of the Texas-Oklahoma District of Kiwanis International presented the charter and F. 0. Babcock, President of the sponsoring Kiwanis Club of Denison, presented the club banner, gong and gavel.
The Kiwanis Club of Durant was chartered with 47 members. John Allen Phillips II was the charter president and served as president through December, 1950. Clark Jones was elected Vice President and the club began meeting at 12:05 p.m. on Thursdays at Sherrers Restaurant.
During the early years the club’s fund raising projects included stage shows and beauty contests. The first Pancake Day was held in Tom's Lunch on December 9. 1954 with a total proceeds of $400. Currently, the club raises about $12,000 selling pancakes. Pancake Day has become a Durant tradition, being held on election day(first Tuesday in November) for the past several years. In recent years a silent auction was an added fund raiser during the Pancake Day. Other fund raisers have include Ford Gumball machines, boxing matches, the corn-on-the-cob booth at the County Fair, the printing of the Durant Centennial program, selling roses and popcorn and the two most forgettable, fourth-of-July fire work stand(in 100 plus degrees!) and the circus(we only lost $50 while expending close to 200 man-hours!).
The club continued to meet at Sherrer’s Restaurant through 1952 when we moved to Mildred’s Banquet Room located on the northeast corner of Fifth and Main upstairs over the Pay And Take Grocery. At this time we changed our meeting time to Wednesday's at noon. In 1966 the meeting place was moved to the Sands Motel(later the Holiday Inn) where we met until 1992. Since 1992 we have met in our present location in the Side-Walk Cafe on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
The Durant Kiwanis Club was originally assigned to Division 21, which included clubs in Ada, McAlester, Stillwell, Shawnee and Tahlequah. Because of the difficulty in inter-clubbing with these clubs, the Durant club petitioned the District to be assigned to Division 8 which has been our home division since 1954. The “old Division 8” originally covered the area including Paris, Sulphur Springs, Denton, McKinney and Commerce, Texas plus those clubs presently in Division 8. Durant remains the only Oklahoma club in the division.
The civic activities of the Club have included: sponsorship of little league basketball and baseball, National Kids Day, Operation Drug Alert for all Bryan County, Salk Polio Vaccine Clinics throughout Bryan County, Campfire girls equipment and scholarships, pig program for rural Bryan County students for County Fairs, Durant Church Directory, Annual Easter Egg Hunt, delegates to Boys State, RSVP Banquet, Special Olympics, Elementary School Track Meet, Durant Citizen of the Year, Men’s Civic Club Prayer Breakfast, eyeglasses for children, Every Kid a Swimmer Program, Know to say “No” Program and Terrific Kids. While continuing many of these projects, in recent years new projects have included, Shots for Tots, Bicycle Safety Programs, Parking Cars at Ft. Washita during their “Rendezvous “, adoption of the Schuler Kiwanis Park on North Fourth, renovation of the Eastside Little League Baseball Field and fund raising projects for the Kiwanis World Wide Service Project…the program to eliminate iodine deficiency world wide. Most recently, the club has donated $25,000 for the construction of playground equipment at Durant's new Multi-sports Complex..
The Club has been involved in the sponsorship of seven new Kiwanis clubs and also organized and sponsored The Durant High School Key Club(1967); the Southeastern Oklahoma University Circle K(1970); the Durant Middle School Builders Club(1992).
The Kiwanis Club of Durant has a rich heritage of service to its community of Durant and Bryan County as well as furnishing leadership to its division, district and Kiwanis International. It continues to be recognized as one of the truly outstanding service clubs in its community and in the Texas-Oklahoma District, as well as throughout Kiwanis International. We are now in our 58th year of “altruistic service” to Durant and Bryan County, true to our motto, ‘WE BUILD'!