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Chula Vista isn't the only one celebrating 100 Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Mar 05 2011 12:00 PM

As we reported last week, we made an appointment and met with Carolynn Ketterer, the president of the Sweetwater Woman's Club, one day at the Bonita Museum. The club, as was mentioned, is in the midst of the vast preparations that go into any unit anticipating its 100th birthday. President Ketterer, as you might imagine, is right in the center of everything.

The big event, one that involves the entire community, will be on Saturday, March 12, starting at 1:30 in the afternoon.

The idea here is for the club to reach out to the community that was so supportive of their philanthropic efforts over the many years.

The woman's club is acknowledging the community support they have received in their major fundraisers, particularly the home tours and Christmas art sale that are conducted each year. Without support the club could not have been able to give the money that they bestowed on many of the area's charities.

The celebration on that Saturday will consist of a cake and ice cream social and an open house at the clubhouse. In our last column we mentioned how the ladies had built their clubhouse and enjoyed it for a short time before it became one of the many tragedies of the flood of 1916.

After the flood the ladies met at various places, schools, church halls and members' homes. In 1934, Cliff May, a famed architect, was hired to design a building. Before too long the Sweetwater Woman's Club once more had a home. We know the building as the structure that sits at the west end of the valley, a sort of sentinel that greets anyone entering the valley from the west.

Over the years the structure has remained the same. There have been repairs, of course, and improvements, but basically it is the clubhouse designed by May. He, by the way, went on to design other buildings, mostly homes, in the valley. One classic structure attributed to May is the former police station in San Diego.

The organizations receiving monetary donations and other types of aid are many. During the past fiscal year, for example, the woman's club gave $4,500 in academic scholarships to deserving students in the community. A domestic violence shelter received $1,600 and more than 100 sets of sheets. The Valley Vista library and the Bonita Vista High School Club Blue were also recipients of fiscal aid.

In all, 24 organizations received monetary aid while 21 groups received other aid. In the latter category there is one project in particular that we would like to point out. Some years ago club member Audra Palmer and her late husband, Harry Palmer, begin sewing and finalizing work on stuffed bears that were distributed to children who had viewed or been involved in some accident.

Most of these were given to the fire department to be given to children exposed to a trauma that involved the emergency units. We have heard many positive remarks about the "sweetie bears" as they are called.

Ketterer, like many others, came to our shores courtesy of the U.S. Navy. She and her husband and son settled in the South Bay in 1964. She almost immediately went to work in the Sweetwater school district as a teacher and later the librarian at Castle Park High School.

Since her retirement she has been involved in various hobbies - principally quilting - with a group from various church denominations in the community. Her main interest, we would have to say, is in the Sweetwater Woman's Club. She speaks very highly of the members who have worked so hard on the centennial celebration, particularly those who have been instrumental in getting rentals for the clubhouse, one of the principal sources of revenue. The clubhouse, you know, is available for receptions, birthday parties, even weddings.

The Sweetwater Woman's Club is always looking for new members. For any lady who finds herself with a little time and a desire to help out in the community, I can think of few better options than this woman's club.

On top of that you get to meet in a classic clubhouse.

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