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Faces change, mission is the same Richard Pena | Sat, Oct 06 2012 12:00 PM

We went over to Mangia Italiano the other evening to be part of the changing of the guard of the Kiwanis Club of Bonita. I was squired around by Emerald Randolph, an old friend and long time Kiwanis member who was gracious enough to drive me to the affair.

I have often written of my affinity for formal, or semi-formal, rituals. The changing of the officers of service club, though rather informal, still falls in this category. We have a group of club officers, who have done a splendid job in the past year, lauded and thanked and we have another group, just waiting in the wings, ready to take on the mantles of leadership.  This is the way it works.

According to the literature it was 1971 when a fellow named Phil Wilson was inducted as the first president of the fledgling Bonita club.  The club was a spin-off from the Chula Vista club. I never knew Wilson.  All we know about him is that he gave the new club its start, an impetus that has carried it for the next 41 years. Among those early members was an old friend and a colleague from my days in education, Bob Montgomery who is still around and has plans to remain a practicing Kiwanian.  He related how it was he and a few others that included the late Tony Maio who were the plank owners of the Bonita club establishing a legacy that is alive today.

Now we fast forward to 2012.  Accepting the gavel as president for this, the 42nd year of the club’s existence is Mike Kilman.  Kilman is not new to the club.  He served as president in 1998 and is reprising the role this year.  The outgoing president is Peter Matz a former school principal, also a long time Kiwanian.

I had been a member of a San Diego club for some years before I transferred over the Bonita club in the late 1970’s.  The club’s greatest asset is that it has always been an active unit.  In service clubs we often hear the term “a knife and fork club” meaning that members are merely on hand for the meal (breakfast or lunch) in which they are going to partake and then forget the other responsibilities and duties that come with membership.

Those responsibilities that are assumed by the Bonita club are numerous and varied. For many years they have been associated with many youth groups, the emphasis of the international body of the organization leaning in that direction.  The Bonita club has been active in  aiding the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Boy Scouts of America, the Stand Up for Kids (homeless teens) and various tasks in the local schools.  The club sponsors Key Clubs at Eastlake and Bonita Vista High Schools, and in the San Diego School for Performing and Creative Arts.  Not forgetting the seniors of the area the Kiwanis club champion such activities as Christmas In October, the Salvation Army and Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets of  food during the holidays.

The Master of Ceremonies for the change the other evening was Bill Sears a longtime active member of the club.  A past president and past Lt. Governor he was ably assisted by Shirley Nakawatase the present Lt. Gov. and Doug Frost the incoming one.  Sears, as well as others who spoke, lauded the women of the organization who have lent much credence to Kiwanis.  In addition to the aforementioned Randolph the local club has Sandy Groves, who is the incoming president elect and Vanessa Chicca a board member.

New president Kilman, in his remarks congratulated Matz and the other outgoing officers for their work the past years.  He vowed to continue the trend.  We wish him well.

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