Of roses and the Walter Zeller Award

It was a busy Aug. 20 meeting for the Steubenville Kiwanis Club that packs a lot into a one-hour noon luncheon meeting.

First there’s lunch, and a good one it was, served at the YWCA located at 320 N. Fourth St., Steubenville.

The Kiwanis are in the midst of their key fundraiser – selling roses by the dozen. George Pugh is chairman of the sale with orders being accepted through Sept. 10.

The long-stemmed roses are $18 for a dozen for local delivery to Steubenville, Wintersville, Mingo Junction, Toronto, Brilliant, Weirton and Follansbee. Mailouts are $25 and include the 48 continental states.

The roses will be delivered on Sept. 17, with the Kiwanis having help from the students in local Key Clubs. The Kiwanis had three Key Club members from Steubenville Catholic Central High School on hand at this meeting, including Reha Rabbani, Michael Barber and Ashlynne Daley.

Orders can be placed through any Kiwanis Club member or by calling Tom Timmons at (740) 314-9574 or (740) 264-0650.

The meeting also included a thank-you from longtime Kiwanian Paul Brandt, who was recognized at the club’s recent steak fry at Bella Hall in Steubenville as a Walter Zeller Fellow.

“It’s a little overwhelming, and I do appreciate it,” Brandt told his club colleagues in expressing his appreciation for the award given in recognition of service and a giving spirit. Brandt explained a little about who Walter Zeller was.

In 1940, one year after the Kiwanis International Foundation was established, Walter Zeller made the first donation – 25 Canadian silver dollars that he hoped would turn into the foundation’s nest egg, according to the Kiwanis International website.

And that it did when his coins were auctioned for $625, launching the Kiwanis International Foundation’s worldwide service efforts. Thousands of donations later, the website notes, the foundation has grown into a multi-million dollar organization that awards grants to Kiwanis clubs and underwrites life-altering worldwide service projects.

Zeller was a Canadian and founder of the Zellers chain of thrift stores who began his business career in 1912 with a job as a stock boy with the F.W. Woolworth Co., and was later the general sales manager for the Metropolitan chain of stores for New York.

Zeller gave much of his life to philanthropy and was active in the Kiwanis.

Walter Zeller Fellows, so named in honor of the first donor to the Kiwanis International Foundation, receive a commemorative lapel pin and a medallion to wear.

The club singled out Brandt with the award honoring his service to the club by donating $1,250 to the Eliminate Project. Through it, Kiwanis International and UNICEF have joined forces to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.

In other business Aug. 20, Judy Manfred, August program chair, introduced Marlyn Neely, executive director of the YWCA, was the program speaker, telling the club members that the local presence will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2014.

“The YWCA is a women’s membership movement nourished by its roots in the Christian faith and sustained by the richness of many beliefs and values,” according to promotional literature. Its motto is “Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women.”

Neely said the local YWCA has 200 members and overall is one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation.

Its community outreach programs include a women’s residence, “a safe place for women to live while they are pursuing education or returning to the work force.” There are presently four residents at the local facility, she said.

Other outreach programs include informational seminars, girls day camps, cooking classes, financial planning, educational series, Y-Teen programs, wellness programs, working with local high schools on eliminating racism and violence, parenting programs and support groups.

The YWCA also hosts card parties and has its social hall available to businesses and groups for lunches or meetings. The YWCA also is available to cater gatherings there.

The YWCA is a member agency of the United Way of Jefferson County.

For information, call (740) 282-1261.