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Bernardston Kiwanis Club celebrates 50 years, honors charter member

  • Attendees of the Bernardston Kiwanis Club’s 50th anniversary celebration dance to music by Backtrack under the Kiwanis Park pavilion on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • (From left to right) Erwin “Bud” Streeter, Phyllis Husslein and Charlie Deane watch a slideshow recapping the Bernardston Kiwanis Club’s past 50 years during an anniversary celebration under the Kiwanis Park pavilion on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • Photos recapping the Bernardston Kiwanis Club’s past 50 years were on display during an anniversary celebration under the Kiwanis Park pavilion on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • Bernardston Kiwanis Club charter member Charlie Deane cuts the cake during the club’s 50th anniversary celebration under the Kiwanis Park pavilion on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • Marsha Pratt and her son Will Pratt admire a memorial to her late husband Bill Pratt, a charter member of the Bernardston Kiwanis Club, during the club’s 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Kiwanis Park. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • A memorial to the late Bill Pratt, a charter member of the Bernardston Kiwanis Club, was installed just in time for the club’s 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Kiwanis Park. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline



Recorder Staff
Monday, June 19, 2017

BERNARDSTON — Sitting on a picnic bench alongside the Kiwanis Park pavilion, Jack Patch thought back to his first experience with the Bernardston Kiwanis Club.

“I remember when I was a kid the Kiwanis Club coming around selling brooms,” he recalled.

Coming to be a member 12 years ago, Patch thought of the Winter Fun Days he helped to organize and then shared with his wife, Sandie, and daughter, Chrissy.

Saturday proved to be a time for memories, as the Bernardston Kiwanis Club celebrated its 50th anniversary. The celebration attracted 130 people, including Kiwanis Club members from Brattleboro, Vt., Keene, N.H., Greenfield, Northfield and Shelburne Falls.

“When you stop and think, groups today don’t last this long,” Sandie Patch said. “It’s just a testament to what these guys do.”

The club is known for its community service, taking such forms as offering scholarships to Pioneer Valley Regional School students, planting marigolds in Cushman Park, or holding a fundraiser for The United Arc.

“A, we love kids (and) B, we love our community,” explained Bernardston Kiwanis Club President Brandon Grover. “That’s why we’re here.”

“We don’t look at how much work it is, it’s the project that counts,” added charter member Russell Deane.

But there’s certainly been a lot of fun along the way, club members agreed, with Erwin “Bud” Streeter, another charter member, recounting how late member Bill Pratt would wear stilts and walk along the street to entice people to the club’s pancake breakfasts.

“Every time you come here, it brings back memories of friends,” said Will Pratt, Bill Pratt’s son, as he looked around Kiwanis Park.

The celebration served as a momentous occasion for the Pratt family in more than one way. It was also when Will Pratt and his mother Marsha saw the memorial to their father for the first time.

“I learned about it, but I wanted to wait and come see it with Will,” Marsha Pratt said. “I had no idea what to expect.”

The stone memorial, planted among yellow and purple flowers in the flower bed near the pavilion, honored Pratt as “a friend to all.” The memorial was installed just last week, Jack Patch said.

Being at Kiwanis Park again led Marsha and Will Pratt to reminisce about fishing derbies in the adjacent brook or the horse shows and tractor pulls the club put on over the years. Marsha could even remember the club’s birth.

“I can remember our very first meet at the Northfield Hotel,” she said, remembering how the Northfield Kiwanis Club — the Bernardston Kiwanis Club’s sponsor — invited new members for dinner.

For today’s club members, whether they’ve been involved for 50 years or just a few, the friendships they’ve developed are invaluable.

“I’ve developed friendships that will last forever, young and old,” Grover said.

The Bernardston Kiwanis Club looks forward to another 50 years.

“We’ve accomplished a lot, and I’m sure we’ll accomplish a lot more in the years to come,” charter member Charlie Deane said.

Reach Shelby Ashline at: sashline@recorder.com

413-772-0261 ext. 257