Willmar Kiwanis Club Celebrates 100th Anniversary

January 2023 – 100 years celebration!

The Willmar Kiwanis Club was established in January of 1923.  For 100 years, your friends and neighbors have helped kids in Kandiyohi County—as members of the Kiwanis Club of Willmar. Each year our club raises money to donate to non-profit organizations that benefit children. We focus on children and youth services, community outreach programs, medical and emotional health of children and youth, education and schools, new businesses to the region, and community service projects.

The name Kiwanis came from a native American phrase “NunKeewan-is”.  That translates to “We have a good time – we make noise.”  The Kiwanis motto is, “Serving the Children of the World” to emphasize the primary focus of Kiwanis.

To celebrate our anniversary, our Willmar club plans to do 100 acts of kindness each month throughout 2023.  In January, we will be donating 100 cans of soup to the food shelf.  Our club is also planning a community event for children in conjunction with Willmar Fests in June 2023!

100 Acts of Kindness – the start of the soup cans being collected for our local food shelf.

In our 100th anniversary year, our club hopes to increase our club membership. The more members we have, the more kids we can help, because kids need Kiwanis in many ways. Some need mentors, some need books or school supplies, or academic help, or simple access to the fun other kids take for granted. Some kids do not even have dinner at home after school or coats or shoes to wear.

The Willmar Kiwanis Club also started a Key Club at the Willmar High School which is thriving and doing many service projects to help fellow students in school and kids in our community. Their latest project is a “Cardinal Cabinet” where students have free access to necessary items.

Imagine what we could achieve with even more hearts and hands. And imagine the fellowship you could enjoy by helping us make it happen. Our members enjoy banding together — and seeing the smiles of kids we have helped. In fact, studies show that volunteering gives people a greater sense of purpose: Life is enriched by opportunities for personal growth and acts of empathy, according to Encore.org, a nonprofit that helps individuals find and develop second careers as volunteers.

Volunteering even provides health benefits such as lower blood pressure, reduced stress, and better cardiovascular health, according to a study by Harvard University.

As a Kiwanis volunteer, you will have the power to solve problems, strengthen communities and improve the lives of others — while connecting to others who are doing the same. Ultimately, you will be helping kids grow up happy, healthy, safe, and loved.

The Kiwanis Club of Willmar is making a difference to help change children’s lives — and maybe even your own. Come find out more at our next meeting.  We meet the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at noon at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society.


Willmar Kiwanis Installs two new Members

We are so excited to share that we inducted two new members into our club today, Tim Ostby and Kyle Box. We are looking forward to getting to know them better and serving the community together.

Dewey Bock, Tim Ostby (new member), Dennis Hier, Kyle Box (new member) & John Lindstrom

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Our service projects address issues such as malnutrition, illiteracy and access to medical care. Working together, each Kiwanis club achieves what one person cannot accomplish alone. And along the way, club members share fellowship and laughter.  Our mission is to serve the children of the world!

The Willmar Kiwanis Club meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 12:00 at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society located at 610 Hwy 71 NE, Willmar.  If you are interested in coming to a meeting or have a question, please call Maribeth Williamson at 320-231-3777

Bob Rosenbrook receives Willmar Kiwanis Club’s Touch A Life Award for 2022

Bob and Dee Rosenbrook

The 44th Annual Kiwanis Touch A Life Award recognition dinner was held on October 20, 2022, at the First Presbyterian Church of Willmar. The award  was presented by Earl Knutson of the Willmar Kiwanis club,  to Robert (Bob) Rosenbrook of the Pennock community.  He was recognized for his exemplary and outstanding community service.  Bob’s community service impacts include being active in the Kiwanis service club project to upgrade storm shelters at the East and West Regency housing, President in 2015-2016 and on the set-up committee. As well as various positions at Vinje Lutheran Church including ushering, helping with Family Promise, and the Stewardship Committee for several years to support local outreach missions and the Loving Arms Childcare center,  and property upkeep. He also volunteers with delivery of Meals on Wheels.  Habitat for Humanity has also been a passion of Bob’s as he was a member of the Master Builders from 2008 to 2018, participated in building eight new homes, and refurbishing several others, for new families, site supervisor on a number of home builds and participated in the remodel of two spaces to house the Habit office  and ReStore (salvage sales facility). He is also a Pennock Lions member and served as Secretary/Treasurer, received the Melvin Jones Award, and participated in many Pennock Fun Days parades for the club. Pheasants Forever member and recipient of the Dalton Johnson Award for pheasant habitat in Kandiyohi County.

The program was led by President Maribeth Williamson who welcomed everyone and gave a background on the Touch A Life award.  Community volunteerism is a much-needed part of every community, and the award was created to recognize those who give of their time and talent in their community.   Bob has done an outstanding job for his community and the surrounding area to provide his time and talents for those in need.

His children, Laurie Ukestad and Brad Rosenbrook, along with all of Bob’s granddaughters were in attendance and commended him on his acts of kindness in the community and are very proud of his accomplishments over the years, especially the time he has put into building things with his granddaughters.  He is truly their “Bob the Builder”. 

The Willmar Kiwanis “Touch a Life” Award has been honoring citizens since 1978 with an award to be given each year to a resident of Kandiyohi County for donating their time, talent, ability and service as a volunteer to our community, above and beyond the ordinary. Nominations are solicited through Kiwanis members themselves and the community at large.  Applications are reviewed and voted on by the Nominating Committee which consists of the three past presidents and the current officers.

Willmar Kiwanis seeks nominations for the Touch-A-Life Award

Each year beginning in 1978 the Willmar Kiwanis Club has recognized a citizen of Kandiyohi County who has an outstanding record of volunteering service to our community.  Typically, the award winner has provided ongoing volunteer service to the community, his or her church, school system, local government, or other organizations or programs.  The first awardee was Bev Rosenbaum and the most recent three were Dennis Benson, Earl Knutson, and Vickie Vogt.

The Willmar Kiwanis Club is now accepting nominations for the 2022 Touch-A-Life Award. Nomination forms as well as the history of the award is attached.  Nominations will be accepted until August 31, 2022.

2022 Peanut Partners

Pictured from left, are Kiwanis President Trey Allis, Jennifer Holweger, of The YMCA, Samantha Loomis of Carris Health, Matthew Onnen of Willmar Music Matters, & Beverly Crute Kiwanis Grants Committee Chair.

The Kiwanis club of Willmar recently made its annual Peanut Partner check presentations to 3 local non-profit organizations that work with children in our communities. The recipients, Carris Health Diabetes Children’s Fund, YMCA Annual Campaign and Willmar Music Matters.

The Kiwanis Club has given over $100,000 in donations over the years to local non-profit organizations in our community to help local children’s programs. Thank you for making a difference in our community and the lives of our children. Our mission is “Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.

Kiwanis is seeking new members and welcome you to join us at a meeting.  Please contact Maribeth Williamson at 320-231-3777 for more information.

West Central Minnesota Baseball Hall of Fame

Carol Rambow, RIck Maursetter & Obert Gjerde

On Tuesday, the Willmar Kiwanis club hosted the Willmar Stingers at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society to honor the 2022 inductees into the West Central Minnesota Baseball Hall of Fame.

This year’s inductees were Obert Gjerde of Sunburg, Rick Maursetter of Willmar, and Allan Rambow of Willmar.

Obert Gjerde was born in Sunburg and graduated from Kerkhoven in 1957, and although he didn’t play much ball until after high school, he played a big role in the development of the Norway Lake Lakers program, now Norway Lake-Sunburg. He joked that he wasn’t getting this recognition because of his playing abilities, and always appreciated his mentors who taught him the game.

Rick Maursetter started his playing days in Montevideo before he attended college at St. Olaf where he played baseball for 4 years. Rick eventually moved to the “big city” of Willmar where he played, coached, and was a member of the Willmar Baseball Boosters for over 25 years. He also was the committee chairman for building Bill Taunton Stadium. Rick is proud of the work that he and others involved in the initiative had done and was also grateful to see the groundwork being laid for the future of baseball in the Willmar area with the Invest in Willmar project; part of which is going to upgrading area baseball and softball fields.

Allan Rambow was born and raised in Kandiyohi county and unfortunately passed away last fall before he knew of his induction into the West Central Baseball Hall of Fame. However, his eldest son who accepted the award on his behalf made mention that Allen would be extremely proud of the honor as he recalled stories of picking up rocks in between games on the black dirt infields prevalent back in the days before turf fields.  Pictured with his award is his wife Carol.

The Kandiyohi County Historical Society started the baseball hall of fame in 2014 to preserve the history of not only the county, but the greater West Central Minnesota area. The Willmar Kiwanis Club is delighted to be part of this tradition with the Historical Society and the Willmar Stingers.

2021 Touch A Life Award

Vickie Vogt was presented the Touch a Life Award from the Willmar Kiwanis club. Pictured with Vickie are club members Dennis Hier, John Lindstrom and President Trey Allis.

The Willmar Kiwanis Club presented its Touch A Life Award to Vickie Vogt of New London. She has a nursing degree and an associate degree. She volunteers at Peace Lutheran Church, including as a superintendent and a Sunday school teacher, and also volunteers with the New London Ambulance, the Kandiyohi County Food Shelf, The Link and serves as a Link board member.

Vogt has volunteered on a Metrodome first aid team and also provides first aid for the Little Crow Ski Team; is president of the Benevolent Order of Does; and has been a member of the Elks for several years. She also delivered Meals on Wheels before, after and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and also delivered City of Hope meals. Vogt is currently helping several individuals in the community with daily living needs, including house cleaning, meals, bill paying and employment opportunities.

Vogt was honored at the 43rd annual Kiwanis Touch A Life Award recognition dinner in October at the First Presbyterian Church of Willmar. Her sons, Nate and Nick, her grandchildren and her parents, Lee and Bev Bahr, were in attendance. She cared for her late husband, Bruce “Spoonie,” before he died in 2019.

The Willmar Kiwanis “Touch a Life” Award has been honoring citizens since 1978, with an award to be given each year to a resident of Kandiyohi County for donating their time, talent, ability and service as a volunteer to our community, above and beyond the ordinary. No award was presented in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Willmar Kiwanis seeks nominations for the Kiwanis Touch-A-Life Award

Each year beginning in 1978 the Willmar Kiwanis Club has recognized a citizen of Kandiyohi County who has an outstanding record of volunteering service to our community.  Typically, the award winner has provided ongoing volunteer service to the community, his or her church, school system, local government, or other organizations or programs.  The first awardee was Bev Rosenbaum and the most recent three were Carol Myer, Dennis Benson and Earl Knutson.

The Willmar Kiwanis Club is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Touch-A-Life Award. Nomination forms as well as the history of the award are available from Kiwanis President, Pastor Scott Thompson at pastorscottthompson@msn.com or club secretary Wanda Stallman at wandastallman@jmsklaw.com

Nominations will be accepted until August 31, 2021.

For the 2021 Kiwanis TAL nomination form, please download below.

Destiny Rescue

Lew Anderson, Destiny Rescue & Kent Underland, Kiwanis Host
Lew Anderson, Destiny Rescue & Kent Underland, Kiwanis Host

Human trafficking is one of the greatest social injustices of our time and the fastest growing illegal enterprise in our world today.  Sadly, 1.2 million children are trafficked each year, the majority of them ending up in the sex trade.  Fortunately, there is hope for these kids in Destiny Rescue (DR).

This week, Willmar Kiwanis had the privilege to hear from Lew Anderson about the work Destiny Rescue is doing to rescue, restore, and protect exploited children around the world.  Started in 2011, DR has rapidly grown to operating in seven countries.  DR has rescued 5,000 teens so far, with 1400 of those saved in 2019 and a goal of over 1600 in 2020.

Lew told us about the agents who risk their lives going undercover into brothels and bars, finding girls in need of rescue, and then getting them out of that environment. Often times, the local or even national government is part of the problem.  However, DR’s success has led to support from a growing number of governments and larger operations are taking place, saving multiple girls at a time.

The work doesn’t stop with a rescue though as DR also restores.  They show love to girls who have never known what it feels like to be valued.  Many of these girls feel worthless and have to work several times a night.  Many times girls will sleep for a day after being rescued, as they have not had a chance to rest in years. Currently, DR cares for 300 girls, providing counseling, healing, and training. DR teaches the girls life skills and vocations so that they can thrive in society when they are ready to.

As DR continues to grow and gain support around the world, more children can experience hope of a life outside of the trafficking darkness. Though the injustice can feel overwhelming, it was good to hear that there is an organization out there fighting for victims of trafficking and working towards a world where every child feels love.

Article by Kent Underland

Inspiring Innovation at Kiwanis

Carl & Trey
Trey Allis – Kiwanis Host and Carl Douglass – DI Labs

Imagine living in a world where you broke your arm, in a matter of hours you could be fitted with a durable, lightweight, breathable cast that could be created specifically for you and your arm. Years ago, Carl Douglass had this vision and saw many other opportunities that would follow in its wake. This week, the Willmar Kiwanis Club had the fortune of hearing about how Carl and his company, DI Labs, is shaping the future!

In 2013 Carl and his brother Brian founded their company in their shop near Spicer, MN where they are now industry leaders in digital manufacturing, new product development, and overall problem solving. Since their start, the team (now including Carl and Brian’s third bother, Sean) and business have been growing from a couple 3D printers, to nearing a dozen machines including the first of its kind vapor fusion surface finisher all the way from Germany.

Listening to Carl, and hearing from others on their team via DI Labs’ videos online (www.dilabs.cc), you can feel the passion they all have for the work that they do. In this cutting-edge industry of 3D printing and rapid prototyping, they get to work with technology and machines that weren’t around 5 years ago to produce a physical creation that was only an idea in someone’s mind within days, if not hours. At the meeting we were able to feel and handle prototype parts like customized football helmet padding, engine intake manifolds, and other shapes, material, and configurations that would be nearly impossible to create any other way.

Those at DI Labs believe that there is a solution to every problem out there, and they’re determined to find it. This is why one of the primary job titles at DI Labs is “Solutionologist.” They use this mindset to help local plastic extrusion manufacturers with developing new products all the way up to producing food-safe processing equipment and medical-grade surgical tools and products.

This was a great look into the future of manufacturing, product development, and customization; A future that Carl and his company are creating where we could one day be living in a fully 3D printed house, and outfitted with completely one-of-a-kind casts, prosthetics, or even living organs!

Article by Trey Allis