Kiwanis was founded in Detroit in 1915, expanded into Canada in 1916 and became independent as a volunteer service organization in 1919.
The downtown Omaha Kiwanis Club was chartered on February 13, 1919, and the Lincoln Capital City Club was chartered on March 21, 1919. These were the first clubs in Nebraska. A year later, the Lincoln Club sent a delegation to Fremont and organized a group of businessmen resulting in a charter for the Fremont Kiwanis Club on November 5, 1920.
M.C. Rathburn was the first president of the Fremont Kiwanis Club and began with a membership of 50 prominent businessmen. Serving as the club's first secretary was Cassius Reynolds.
Since its beginning, our club has been recognized for its leadership in the Nebraska and Iowa District. Two of our past members have served this District as Governors: Dr. William Zimmerman in 1939 and John G. Hansen in 1945. Twenty four of our members have served as Lt. Governors.
One of our longest serving member, James L. "Jim" Paulin, joined our club on June 3, 1953, and was a member until he passed away in April 2016. Jim has honored our club by setting up a scholarship foundation for Fremont High School and Midland University students.
Our first female member is the Rev. Dr. Nicki McIntyre who was inducted into Kiwanis on January 21, 1988. Not far behind Nicki is Karen Nuding who joined in October of that same year and was elected as our first female president in 1994.
Mel and Joey Schwanke have faithfully mailed our weekly newsletter the BUZZ since 1958. Tracy Buffington is serving as our BUZZ editor and publisher.
Fremont Kiwanians have been instrumental in forming other Kiwanis Clubs and growing membership throughout the eastern Nebraska area. They helped charter the York Club in 1940, West Point in 1967, Fremont Golden K in 1979, Midland University Circle K in 1986, Bergan Catholic Key Club in 1999, Wahoo Kiwanis Club in 2001, Fremont High Key Club in 2003, Fremont Builders Club in 2003, Grant Elementary K-Kids in 2002 and last, but certainly not least, the Fremont Aktion Club in 2010.
Our club also co-sponsored the Drury, New Zealand, Kiwanis Club in 1989.