Club History

The Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven was chartered in 1935. Our motto is "Serving the Children of the World" as one of 7,700 clubs in 80 countries.


Excerpt from Chapter 127 "Our Civic Clubs" of the History of Winter Haven Florida
Published: 1974

  The Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven was chartered on April 5, 1935...Bartow and Lake Wales Clubs assisted the Winter Haven group to get started.
  Norman A. Street was the club's first president.  There were 24 charter members...
  Club projects were slanted toward helping young people in many ways.  Its most ambitious project was establishing Camp Kegan, dedicated in 1942...on the shore of Lake Josephine in Dundee.  The camp was primarily for the use of underprivileged children, and has been in great demand by Scouts and similar groups over the years.
  In 1952 the club recognized the need for a swimming beach in Florence Villa area, and with the help of citizens there, a fine beach and recreation area was established on Lake Maude, which was later deeded to the city.
  During the 1950s, the Kiwanis Club, in cooperation with the city, maintained and staffed a large Life Guard Corps of high school students under the direction of Tom Costello.  This group served the several beaches of the city during the entire swimming time for several years.
  The Club is very proud of its Student Loan Fund, through which...young persons have been able to go to college.  It has also the Southern Scholarship and Research Foundation of Tallahassee.
  Other activities are the Little League teams, aid to children in foster homes through the State Welfare Board, helping young people in agricultural projects such as steer feeding, a Scout Explorer Post and the support of Key Clubs in the high schools...
  In 1969 the club membership is over 120 and it is recognized as one of the outstanding Kiwanis Clubs in the state.


The following excerpts were taken from the 1956 Directory, published by the Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven, Florida.
Published: 1956

…The most conspicuous part of our club activities, the weekly meeting and program, has served well to give each member a chance to know a selected group of citizens, a group with very varied interests. Here the hard working and driving executive becomes a genial friend. Our program speakers have kept us abreast of the problems that arise in all community life…have given governing officials the opportunity to discuss their work before a group interested in good government rather than partisan political advantage.

The public has come to look to Kiwanis for help and leadership in all worthy causes. Currently in the establishment of a Boys Club…directing the local Red Cross Spring Drive…provided our Citrus Expedition with such an outstanding opening day parade….But one does not publicize a grant that enables a nurse to complete her training or a gift that enables an underprivileged boy the chance to enjoy some benefit that his more fortunate friends consider commonplace….this is one of our nobler functions even though one of the lesser known.

Kiwanianne Club of Winter Haven

Before women were full-fledged members, many wives took active roles supporting their fathers, grandfathers and husbands in a variety of ways, many serving side-by-side with the men. Kiwanis International saw and heard of the interest women had in joining. As a compromise to allowing women to join Kiwanis clubs, a separate club option was created in the mid-1980s: Kiwanianne clubs. Any Kiwanis club could sponsor and charter a Kiwanianne club, inviting community businesswomen and especially wives and widows of Kiwanians to join. Within the first year, 50 clubs were chartered and more than 1,500 women became members. Kiwanianne clubs popped up all over, and soon women were getting their hands dirty with service on a larger scale.

The face of Kiwanis International changed forever in the summer of 1987 when delegates at the 72nd annual Kiwanis International convention voted to allow women to join the organization. Lagging behind its student programs, Circle K International and Key Club International—which had female members since 1973 and 1977, respectively—Kiwanis finally had the chance to invite wives, mothers, sisters, granddaughters, nieces and daughters to serve the children of the world as official “members.” It was a historic vote. And it changed everything. Kiwanianne charters were eliminated in September 1996, converting some Kiwanianne Clubs to Kiwanis Clubs or merging clubs together as a single Kiwanis Club.

Notable Members

Walter J. Coleman
Club President 1977-1978
Walter Jackson Coleman's commanding presence, eloquence, and vision contributed to his success as an outstanding business and community leader and educator. Throughout his life, Walter Coleman was an exemplary leader, serving his church, community, and country in so many valuable roles. His contributions were significant, his standards were high, and his love of family was unquestioned.
     The Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce auditorium named for him is a fitting tribute for the outstanding community leader. An unprecedented two-time president of the chamber of commerce and 1986 Banker's Cup recipient, Coleman organized and chaired the fundraising committee to obtain the money for the current downtown location. He was also a driving force in getting the $500,000 mortgage paid off in less than five years. Coleman was also active in economic development serving on the boards of the Central Florida Economic Development Council and East Polk County of 100. He was appointed to the Workforce Development Board, which was created by the federal Job Training Investment Act to distribute the millions of dollars allocated to Polk County.
     He was accorded the highest honor of the Kappa Alpha Order, the Knight Commander's Accolade, for his service as alumnus and faculty advisor at Florida Southern College (FSC), in addition to his outstanding achievements and service to numerous areas of business and economics. Coleman was an associate professor at FSC from 1988 until his death in 2008, frequently teaching entrepreneurship at the FSC program in England. His 35 years of applied business experience ranged from entrepreneurial activities as the CEO of his own organizations, to the strategic environment of the board of directors of a New York Stock Exchange listed company. He taught strategic management and computer science concepts, as well as human resources management, having served at one time as the regional director of personnel for the twelfth largest company in the Fortune 500 index.
     Having traveled extensively throughout Eastern and Western Europe, he served as an international business consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development in former eastern block countries such as Ukraine. For many years the author of a fortnightly syndicated column, he also served as chairman of the corporate governance committee of a diversified company owning subsidiaries in information technology, propane and natural gas transmission distribution, interstate pipelines and water distribution.
     Coleman was a national Toastmasters International finalist and advisor to the FSC student chapter of Toastmasters International and coordinated the FSC MBA Abroad program. His influence extended into education and he was elected "Teacher of the Year" by his students. He recently received the national Methodist General Board of Education Outstanding Teaching Award. Coleman was also a Marine veteran, having served in the Korean War and was an avid outdoorsman, nationally ranked in skeet shooting and a competition handgun champion.


Marice & Roger Crabill
Hailed as one of Winter Haven's most popular couples by local journalist Billie Ellis, Roger & Recie Crabill moved to Winter Haven from Falls Church, VA in 1979. They immediately became community activists stating they did not need to pay back to the community, but that they had to earn their place in the community. Roger was a federal employee, a civilian with the Navy department. His expertise was in computer technology and he helped design a system to keep track of intelligence information, working with a prototype group in London, San Francisco, Hawaii, and Washington. He attended George Washington University and the University of Michigan.
     The Crabills contributed so much in their volunteer work they are one of the few husband-wife teams to receive the coveted Bankers Cup in 1993. The couple was also chose as Volunteers of the Year in 1991 by the East Polk Unit of the American Cancer Society. Recie served as an executive officer of the Kiwanianne Club of Winter Haven while Roger served on the Board of the Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven. Recie joined Kiwanis when the organization opened its membership to women. Roger also served as Secretary of the Board for the Citrus Center Boys & Girls Club, Treasurer of the American Cancer Society, was a Board Member of Tri-County Healthy Start Coalition, and one of the originators of the Chistmas Boat Parade.


J. Drexel Dennis
Born in Pattersonville, Ohio, on Sept. 12, 1912, Drexel Dennis came to Winter Haven from Gainesville in 1962. He received his master's degree from Ohio State University and was a chemist for the Department of Agriculture. Drexel was a member of the Winter Haven Kiwanis Club for 35 years and was voted "Mr. Kiwanis" in 1975. He was presented the Banker's Cup in 1987 for his civic, individual, and community activity. He was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Winter Haven.


Mike Easterling
Former Winter Haven Mayor Mike Easterling served as a City of Winter Haven employee for 21 years followed by two terms as a City Commissioner after his retirement. He demonstrated his commitment and love for the city in a variety of positive ways. Mike was involved with the Winter Haven Vision process, which sought the input of several hundred individuals, and he kept city management focused. Because of Mike's highly valued experience, he was appointed to serve as a board member of the Polk Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) and the Metropolitan Transportation Organization (MPO) out of Orlando.
     Mike played a pivotal role in developing service partnerships between Kiwanis and the City of Winter Haven. For more than a decade, numerous City departments collected donations for the annual Stuff the Bus school supply drive and have continued their support through Christmas in July. One ongoing signature project for Winter Haven Kiwanis, Every Child A Swimmer, young children are provided free swim lessons, twice each year, by City of Winter Haven Parks & Recreation.



James W. "Jim" Gray, Jr
Club President 1964-1965
A native of Lake Alfred, born December 13, 1928, Jim Gray lived most of his life in this area. He graduated from Winter Haven High School in 1946 and from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1950 as an ensign in the United States Navy. After serving in the Korean Conflict he volunteered for submarine service in 1952, spending 31 years both as an active duty and reserve officer retiring in 1977 as a Rear Admiral. During those years he also worked in the family business, Gray Truck Line Co. He was a long time member of First Presbyterian Church, Kiwanis International and many other civic organizations.



Andrew Poysell "Andy" Ireland
Born August 23, 1930 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Andy Ireland attended a prestigious private school within the city finishing his high school career at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He studied business at Yale University and did his graduate studies at Columbia University. Ireland became the president, chairman and chief executive officer, of American National Bank of Winter Haven, Florida. From 1968 to 1970, Ireland served as a member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, Georgia. Ireland became involved in politics in 1966, when he successfully ran for the position of Winter Haven city commissioner. In 1981, he served as a delegate to the United Nations. Ireland was elected as a Democrat to the 95th United States Congress and to the three succeeding Congresses. However, on July 5, 1984, he switched party affiliation and continued in office as a Republican. Ireland was reelected as a Republican to the 99th United States Congress and to the three succeeding Congresses. He served in the House of Representatives from January 3, 1977 to January 3, 1993 before retiring. Andy Ireland was the first recipient of the Blarney Stone, awarded annually by the Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven to the member most proficient at "shooting the bull."


Suzanne "Suzie" Moraco
Club President 2006-2007
A native Floridian and a Winter Haven resident since 1991, Suzanne (Suzie) Moraco was actively involved in the Winter Haven community since the moment she moved to the area. Her tireless dedication to organizations and causes outside of the scope of her daily work-life is a prime example of how she left a legacy in the Winter Haven community. Suzie graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and later completed her Masters of Education with a concentration in Organizational Management.
     Her service to the community included volunteering for children-focused organizations such as President of The Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven and member of the advisory council of Our Children’s Rehab. She was a 2004 graduate of the Leadership Winter Haven program and was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for Leadership Winter Haven in 2008. She served on the Chamber’s board of directors from 2005-2011. Suzie volunteered for the Humane Society of Polk County (HSPC) for more than 15 years. Working with their executive director and fellow Past President of Winter Haven Kiwanis, Lisa Baker, Suzie led the effort to build a brand new HSPC shelter on Dundee Road, saying yes to extending her term as President to ensure the process carried through successfully. She also volunteered for many years with the Community Foundation of Winter Haven, now known as GiveWell Community Foundation, and served as Board Chairwoman for 2016-2017.
     In 2011 Girls Inc. of Winter Haven recognized her with the “She Knows Where She’s Going” George Jenkins award. This award recognizes women whose abilities, aspirations and achievements distinguish them as exceptional role models. Her influence and impact is significant beyond her past and current obligations, as she remains loyal to her affiliations retaining membership and maintaining a high level of involvement and support for projects well beyond her official service on a board. All of this is in addition to her “day job” as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management from which she retired in May 2017. Suzie was named a 2016 recipient of the Bankers Cup as Female Person of the Year for the Winter Haven community.

Ronald A. Morrow
Club President 1984-1985
A long-time resident of Polk County, Ron Morrow served as Executive Eirector of East Polk Committee of 100 until being appointed as Director of Polk County Operations for CSX Corporation. Morrow played a key role in supporting the development of CSX’s intermodal and automotive terminals in Winter Haven, responsible for community relations and liaison with public and private organizations. “We are fortunate to have Ron as part of our Florida team,” said Rick Hood, Assistant Vice President-CSX real estate sales and operations and project manager for the intermodal and automotive terminals. “He will help us better understand community concerns and lead our efforts to address those concerns. Ron understands the county’s needs and opportunities.” Morrow is a past Chairman for United Way of Central Florida and has served as a Board member with the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, Ridge Chapter of the American Red Cross, Winter Haven Downtown Development Authority, Florida Citrus Showcase, and Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven. He is a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Winter Haven.



Carroll Elder Teeter
Club President 1959-1960
"He never backed down from a position he strongly believed in. He was a man of courage and integrity."
-Carl Strang, founder of the Winter Haven-based 6/10 Corporation

Carroll Teeter was a civic leader, businessman, writer and editor known around Winter Haven for decades. While attending Winter Haven High School, he founded and edited The Blue Devil, the school newspaper at the time. He graduated from Florida Southern College in Lakeland in 1939 with a degree in English and journalism. During World War II, Teeter served in the Signal Corps, commanding a fixed radar station in the South Pacific, from 1943 to 1944. Teeter was a founder of the Winter Haven Daily News in 1946. In 1948, after a stint as business manager for a Sebring citrus labeling company, he joined the News Chief. He helped develop its former printing division called the Star Press and retired from the newspaper 30 years later as the executive vice president.
     Through the years, Teeter served as the chairman or president of a wide range of local organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven, Friends of the Winter Haven Public Library, the Winter Haven Housing Authority and the United Way of Winter Haven. Teeter also served as president of the Winter Haven Community Concert Association, as well as Transition House, a program for women dealing with drug abuse and other issues. He helped found Habitat for Humanity of East Polk County in 1987 and Hospice of Polk County. He was a founding director of Haven Community Center in Florence Villa, alongside Ann Teeter and took part in launching Good Shepherd Hospice. He also served as the adjutant of American Legion Post 8 and as a board member of the Polk County Farm Bureau and the Polk County Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. 
     In 1961 he was rewarded for his community service efforts with the prestigious Banker's Cup. His wife, Ann, who died in 1999, also received the award in 1973. Later in his life, Teeter worked with Bob Gernert, former executive director of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, to create the Museum of Winter Haven writing histories on several local groups including Habitat for Humanity of East Polk County, the News Chief, Friends of the Winter Haven Public Library and Good Shepherd Hospice.


Carl James Strang, Jr
Club President 1969-1970
A long time resident of Winter Haven, Carl Strang, Jr was active in a wide array of private and civic endeavors for more than fifty years. He was born on September 1, 1933, in Eufaula, AL. Upon graduation from Eufaula High School, he attended the US Naval Academy and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1955. He served on active duty from 1955 to 1959, with an operational tour as fleet pilot with Attack Squadron 85 flying AD-6 Skyraiders logging 114 carrier landings. After his career with the US Navy, Carl received a degree from the School of Banking at Louisiana State University and became president of the American National Trust & Bank (later Barnett Bank) in Winter Haven. Over the ensuing decades, his business and entrepreneurial drive led to numerous chairmanships, partnerships, directorships and affiliations with entities including The Strang Corporation, 6/10 Corporation, Florida Data Bank Inc., DocuLex Inc., WEBE Investors, Gapway Grove Corporation, Island Grove Ag Products, Cheneyhatchee LLC, Florida Cypress Gardens Inc., Saddle Creek Corporation, Citrus & Chemical Bank, Adams Packing, and Phoenix Industries.
     Carl was truly a cornerstone of the community. His civic affiliations included serving as Mayor and City Commissioner of the City of Winter Haven, Founding Director of the Community Foundation of Greater Winter Haven, Trustee of Winter Haven Hospital, Commissioner of the First Polk County Charter Commission, Director of the Polk County Workforce Development Board, Commissioner of the Judicial Nominating Commission of the Second District Court of Appeals, Co-Founder of Friends of the Green Swamp, Founding Director of Polk County Crime Stoppers, Co-Founder of Polk County Rails-To-Trails, Founder and Chairman of Tri-County Mental Health Board, Founding Director of Polk Senior Games, President of PHH Mental Health Services, President and General Campaign Chairman of United Way of Lake Region, Chairman of Service Academy Selection Committee for the Twelfth Congressional District, Chairman of Winter Haven Public Library, Chairman of Polk County Health Facilities Authority, Vice-Chairman of Polk County Industrial Development Authority, Director of Winter Haven Area Chamber of Commerce, Governor of Polk Museum of Art, Delegate to the 1985 White House Conference on Libraries, Founding Director of Episcopal-Catholic Apartments Inc, Chairman of the American Red Cross (Polk Chapter), Lay Eucharistic Minister and Warden of St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Winter Haven, Charter Member of the Lake Region Yacht and Country Club, Executive Committee Member of the Libertarian Party of Florida, Founder of Friends of the Winter Haven Library, Past President of the Kiwanis Club, and Founder and Corresponding Secretary of the Lake Otis Men's Garden Club.
     Strang was honored by the Winter Haven Jaycees as 'Young Man of the Year' in 1968. He received the Sertoma Service to Mankind Award in 1982 and the Winter Haven Man of the Year Bankers Cup Award in 1983. The Gulf-Ridge Boy Scout Council selected Carl as the first recipient of their Distinguished Citizen Award in 1989. In 1990, he was named the 'Most Influential Person in the Winter Haven Area'. Carl Strang, Jr was the second recipient of the Blarney Stone, awarded annually by the Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven to the member most proficient at "shooting the bull" and served as the club's 35th President from 1969-1970.


Norman Arthur Street
Club Charter President 1935-1936
Norman Street was instrumental in founding several community organizations in Winter Haven's early years. Before serving as the Charter President for the Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven in 1935, he was among the nine original members who envisioned and founded the Lake Region Country Club (now
The Country Club of Winter Haven) on 200 acres along Lake Hamilton. Born October 8, 1876, Norman A. Street died July 1, 1968 at the age of 91.


Irving Wheeler
Irving Wheeler was an attorney and real estate developer who founded Florida Citrus Growers with his wife, Carolyn Paul Wheeler, in the early 1970s when he acquired a grove near LaBelle but couldn't get permission from authorities to develop the land for housing. Irving is a graduate of Kathleen Senior High School in Lakeland. Irving and his wife supported the local Symphony Guild and the Columbarium at Hope Presbyterian Church in Winter Haven was named in honor of Carolyn and Irving with a dedication on Palm Sunday in 2008.




Banker's Cup Recipients
The Banker’s Cup Award has been considered Winter Haven’s highest honor since 1923. It annually recognizes one male and, since 1965, one female who have made a significant impact/contribution over a number of years or through a single project, as "Citizens of the Year" .

2016     Suzanne "Suzie" Moraco
1999     John Cunningham
1993     Roger & Marice "Recie" Crabill
1990     Ronald A. Morrow
1987     J. Drexel Dennis
1987     Carolyn Paul Wheeler (wife of Irving Wheeler)
1986     Walter J. Coleman
1983     Carl J. Strang Jr
1979     James W. Gray Jr
1973     Ann D. Teeter (wife of Carroll Teeter)
1961     Carroll Teeter
1956     Norman P. Judd
1933     Dewey Griffin*
1931     Hart McKillop*

*Charter Member of Winter Haven Kiwanis


Polk Emerging Leaders Awards Recipients
The Polk Emerging Leaders Awards were established to annually recognize five young professionals between 21- 42 who have made significant contributions and commitment to the Polk County community. Created by the Winter Haven Young Professionals Group in 2011, the awards are now a collaboration between Emerge Lakeland, Endeavor Winter Haven, and Engage Bartow.
Click on recipients name to read more.

2016     Tiffani Gozdur
2015     Allison Beeman (wife of Matt Beeman)
2014     Craig S. Clevenger
2011     Deric Feacher


Past Club Presidents
2016-2017  Tiffani Gozdur
2015-2016  Craig S. Clevenger,
 Florida Kiwanis Robert L. "Bob" Moore Outstanding Club President‚Äč
2014-2015  Georgia Fisher
(daugher of John Fisher, 1954-1955)
2013-2014  Rodney Chauncey
2012-2013  Scott Edds
2011-2012  David Rounds
2010-2011  AmandaJo Nicholson
2009-2010  Michelle Forsythe
2008-2009  Larry Forsythe, 
 Florida Club of the Year
2007-2008  Les Adams,
 Florida Club of the Year
2006-2007  Suzie Moraco
2005-2006  Mark Thompson
2004-2005  Tracy Mercer
2003-2004  John Risher
2002-2003  Lisa Baker
2001-2002  Betty Putney
2000-2001  Jim Webb Jr
1999-2000  Rev. Alan Ford
1998-1999  Bill Doty
1997-1998  Fred Putney
1996-1997  Michael Simpson
1995-1996  Ronald G. Nixon,
 Florida Club of the Year
1994-1995  Robert C. Branson
1993-1994  Michael Gardyasz
1992-1993  Rebecca J. Haines
1991-1992  J. Kelly Casey
1990-1991  Robert W. Smith
1989-1990  Barry Porter
1988-1989  Albert B. Cassidy
1987-1988  Dennis H. Hewitt
1986-1987  Bill Grimsley
1985-1986  David Buckley
1984-1985  Ron Morrow
1983-1984  Ray Moore
1982-1983  Sam Shinall
1981-1982  Paul Wesche
1980-1981  Dennis Davis
1979-1980  Marion Rogers
1978-1979  Norman Sowards
1977-1978  Walter Coleman
1976-1977  Wesley Lawson
1975-1976  Donald Rushing
1974-1975  A.L. ‘Pat’ Driggers
1973-1974  George L. Harwick
1972-1973  Owen M. Lee
1971-1972  David P. Lyons
1970-1971  Bobby F. McKown
1969-1970  Carl J. Strang Jr
1968-1969  Darwin F. Carroll
1967-1968  John G. Katros
1966-1967  J. Glen Hicks
1965-1966  Glaude J. Ridley
1964-1965  James W. Gray Jr
1963-1964  Charles F. Deming
1962-1963  Dexter Daniels Jr
1961-1962  George W Partin Jr
1960-1961  Rev. E. E. Miller
1959-1960  Carroll E. Teeter 
1958-1959  David L. Ellsworth
1957-1958  Giles O Van Duyne
1956-1957  Leslie M. Oldt
1955-1956  Norman P. Judd
1954-1955  John C. Fisher
(father of Georgia Fisher, 2014-2015)
1953-1954  Chester A. Mann
1952-1953  James W. Kesterson
1951-1952  John C. Odom
1950-1951  John W. Sites
1949-1950  William W. Lawless
1948-1949  N.L. Van Duyne
1947-1948  Tom B. Agerton
1946-1947  Duey P. Ellsworth
1945-1946  Harry King
1944-1945  George E. Copeland
1943-1944  John W. Calvin
1942-1943  John Q. Stanford Jr
1941-1942  William C. Mahrt
1940-1941  John W. McKay
1939-1940  Victor H. Laughlin
1938-1939  E.E. Raasch
1937-1938  Dr. John G. Bacon
1936-1937  Frank Holland
1935-1936  Norman A. Street

Kiwanian of the Year
2016-2017  Shelly & David Braswell
2015-2016  Jo Ann Dryden
2014-2015  Bob Conley
2013-2014  Craig S. Clevenger


Past Division LT Governors
The following individuals served as Lieutenant Governor for our home Division as a member of Winter Haven Kiwanis.

2017-2018  Craig S. Clevenger
2003-2004  Ronald G. Nixon
2001-2002  Edward Ethington
2000-2001  Fred Putney
1995-1996  Rebecca J. Haines
1980s         Dennis Davis
1970s         George L. Harwick
1965-1966  John C. Fisher
1958-1959  John W. Calvin
1953-1954  N.L. Van Duyne
1948-1949  Duey P. Ellsworth