Fallon Kiwanis Club disbands due to low membership | NevadaAppeal.com

Fallon Kiwanis Club disbands due to low membership

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus
A Navy volunteer pours syrup on Jan Brown’s pancakes.
Steve Ranson / LVN

After serving the community for almost 68 years, the Fallon Kiwanis Club disbanded at the end of April because of a lack of membership.

“We can’t grow the club,” said Mike Mader, who has served as president seven times and was the past lieutenant governor for North-Central Nevada. “We’re at a point we can’t keep up with what’s going on.”

Mader said the club’s enrollment is about 10 members who, he said are “tired and stretched.” The Kiwanians held a final meeting in April where they determined which groups would receive the club’s remaining money. Unfortunately, the Navy veteran sees a similar trend affecting other service organizations including military groups such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The lack of the familiar sight of Fallon Kiwanians and other volunteers serving breakfast on Labor Day, at other events or helping the community with donations saddens Mader. Over the years the membership has become older and smaller.

“If people don’t want to volunteer, we can’t do a thing,” added Mader, a retired veteran service officer with the Nevada Department of Veteran Services.

Recently, though, the Kiwanis Club served breakfast at the youth baseball opening day, and in the past, the organization was a major part of the local Relay for Life when members served breakfast on the final day. Like the Kiwanis Club, the Relay for Life faltered, and the event hasn’t been held in Fallon for several years.

Chartered on June 26, 1951, the Kiwanis have donated thousands of dollars to various community endeavors, most recently teaming up with the Fallon Lions Club for the annual Easter egg hunt at Laura Mills Park. Mader said the club assisted in the buying of hundreds of eggs. He said the organization helps the children and families in the community.

Yet, it’s the annual Labor Day pancake breakfast on South Maine Street that Mader will remember the most. For half a century Kiwanians have set up the portable grill in the parking lot next to the E.H. Hursh Insurance building. He said the breakfast drew upward of 1,000 people including many politicians running for either statewide or local offices. Now, Mader said the recent breakfasts attracted about 400 to 500 people and a handful of politicians. Lately, he said, politicians skip the breakfast but, instead, ride in the parade.

“It used to be a good family event,” he said. “It was a good breakfast at a reasonable price.”

But the costs for putting on a big breakfast have risen over the years, Mader said. Every year, he said between six to eight volunteers from Naval Air Station Fallon helped flip pancakes or served hash browns or cantaloupe, and last year Boy Scouts assisted by handing out milk and juice. All is not lost, though. He said the Fallon Rotary Club will serve breakfast at this year’s Labor Day event, which grew into the Kiwanians biggest projects of the year.