Kiwanis aid is local, international

SPECIAL GUESTS — The Brooke High School Madrigal Choir performed for the Wellsburg Kiwanis Club in one of many appearances made by the group in December. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Those traveling state Route 2 in Wellsburg today, especially tonight, will notice the many bagged candles along the highway.

The luminaria are a Wellsburg tradition, thanks to the Wellsburg Kiwanis Club, which also is working to light a ray of hope to local residents in need and people in underdeveloped countries who face death as a result of tetanus.

At the club’s recent Christmas meeting Carol Churchman, the group’s president, presented $500 raised by the club’s annual rose sale to Salvation Army Major Mike Morton.

Such donations allow the Salvation Army to provide not only food and gifts to hundreds of local residents in need, including many children, but also to aid them with utility bills and other needs throughout the year.

The Wellsburg club has had a long relationship with the Salvation Army, with many members volunteering their time as bell ringers for its Christmas kettle campaign also.

Churchman said the Hooverson Heights Primary School K-Kids and Brooke High School Key Club also have raised funds for the organization.

The two clubs were formed by the Wellsburg club to encourage youth to engage in community service.

Leaders of a third such group, the Wellsburg Primary School K-Kids, were on hand to present a donation of $200.30 for Project Eliminate, a joint endeavor by Kiwanis International and UNICEF to eliminate tetanus in 18 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

Many Americans associate tetanus infections with cuts from rusty nails. But tetanus are bacterial spores found in soil everywhere and in many things, including rusty or clean nails, that have touched it.

While many children in the U.S. and other nations have been immunized against the disease, it remains a serious threat to poor and secluded populations in underdeveloped countries that lack access to medical care.

UNICEF officials estimate that a baby dies every 11 minutes from maternal and neonatal tetanus. Such infants experience repeated, painful convulsions and extreme sensitivity to light and touch, they note.

“The two most breathtaking things I have seen are the Grand Canyon and a baby with tetanus,” Churchman said, adding such infants have little hope for survival.

But Kiwanis International and UNICEF are working together to provide the three doses of immunization needed by mothers to protect themselves and their infants against the disease.

Churchman noted the Hooverson Heights K-Kids club raised $186 also for the cause.

The Kiwanis Club and their guests were entertained by the Brooke High School Madrigal Choir. Led by Celesta Byard, the group is known for its costumes inspired by the medieval period and performing songs from a various eras a capella.

(Scott can be contacted at