Doug Butler marks 75 years with Kiwanis 

Doug Butler marks 75 years with Kiwanis 

In the year of his 100th birthday, U.S. club member Butler reflects on his journey of service.

By Tony Knoderer

In the Kiwanis family, anniversaries are a big deal. It’s not uncommon for clubs to celebrate 50, 75 or even 100 years. But how often do you hear about a member reaching those milestones?

Meet Doug Butler. A member of the Kiwanis Club of Winchester, Virginia, U.S., Butler has been a Kiwanian for 75 years — and he will turn 100 in December. (In fact, his club is only two years older than he is.)

“In Winchester,” he says, “I’m known as Mr. Kiwanian.”

Like many men of his generation, Butler served in the military during World War II. When he came back, he started working in his family’s business. For professional men, it was common to join a club like Kiwanis. And back then, like today, it started simply enough — with a club member inviting someone to attend a meeting.

“The guy who worked across the street, he said, ‘Why don’t you go to lunch with me?’” Butler recalls. “He was talking about going to his Kiwanis club. I went to the meeting and thought, ‘This is pretty good for me.’”

Butler joined the club on January 1, 1949. “I got hooked on it,” he says. “I said, ‘I’ll be here every Wednesday.'”

Throwing his hat in the ring
Butler was eventually elected club president in 1955. That first step into Kiwanis leadership wouldn’t be his last, but a lot of members would recognize his path into a new role: Fellow members encouraged him to give it a shot. 

“Some of them were wanting to make sure that the club leadership was varied, and they were encouraging other people to seek out officer roles,” Butler says. “They came to me and said, ‘We’d like you to be president.’” 

Butler chuckles at the memory. “I told them, ‘Okay, I’ll throw my hat in the ring,’” he says. “And darned if I didn’t win.” 

The start of his leadership journey may have been unexpected at the time, but his increasing commitment to Kiwanis was no accident. Even at a relatively young age, Butler was contemplating life after his career.  

“I always said I wanted to retire at 50,” he remembers. “And I did. I walked out the door at 50. I started spending more time on Kiwanis projects.”  

That included projects beyond his own club. One of Butler’s favorite memories, he says, is being governor of the Capital District.

“I made it a goal to visit each club in the district. That’s a great memory. I always ended up with something new. Every time I talked to a new club, they had a project they were working on — and they gave me details.”

Kiwanis International conventions are another source of fondness: “That’s given me a lot of happy memories. I especially enjoyed going to locations all over the country over the years.”  

Always looking
But there was always plenty going on in Winchester, and it’s going on still. Today, Butler belongs to two clubs in town — one of which, the Kiwanis Club of Old Town, he started in 1992. (His wife, Linda, is also a member of the club.) 

“I was trying to get merchants and businesspeople,” he says. “The club was convenient for people, and there are a lot of restaurants there. It worked out great.”  

Opening clubs and growing membership have always been a central part of Butler’s work as a Kiwanian. 

“They came to me one year and told me they’d like me to be the membership chair,” he says. “I told them I’d try — and we ended up getting 32 members in one year. I got the president that year excited about (recruiting). I brought him with me when I talked to people, and he started looking forward to it himself.” 

Even now, Butler says it’s one of his favorite things about belonging to a Kiwanis club.

“I’m always looking for someone to hand an application to,” he adds. “I say to people, ‘It’s important to be a part of the community.’ I tell each person that the club has a roster, and you can see all kinds of people and professions on it, and most of them keep coming back.” 

Still getting better
Needless to say, Butler has seen a lot of change in his lifetime — both in his own clubs and throughout Kiwanis. And he’s proud of that change.  

“Our club has gotten better,” he says. “Especially with women coming on as members. In many cases they ended up being leaders, moving into committee chairs. And (our club) ended up with a lieutenant governor.” 

For his fellow club members, Butler has long been a Kiwanian to emulate, both for his leadership and his fellowship. And, of course, for his 75 years of changing children’s lives. 

Scott Straub, a member of the Winchester club, speaks for all his fellow members when he talks about Butler.

“Whether it’s Kiwanis Club Pancake Day, packing kids’ lunches for Bright Futures, ringing the bell for Salvation Army, picking up trash on the highway or doing maintenance work on the Kiwanis pavilion at the park, Doug Butler always shows up and sets the example for others to follow. 

“Thanks for being such a good role model for all of these decades since 1949, Doug!

Tips for taking powerful photos 

Tips for taking powerful photos 

To improve your images from ho-hum to high impact, use these five suggestions for your club’s next project or event. 

By Julie Saetre

Whether you want to boost the power of your club’s social media posts or spotlight its achievements through a showcase exhibit, well-composed photos make all the difference. Vibrant images show what Kiwanis club members do and who they serve. To take your photos from ho-hum to high impact, incorporate these five tips into your next snapshot session: 

  • Plan ahead. What story do you want your photo to tell? How do you want viewers to react? 
  • Be polite. Don’t just start snapping photos of someone. Talk to your subject in a conversational tone and ask if you can take the photo. 
  • Think active, not passive. If your club is hosting an event to shop with kids or distribute school supplies, photograph a child trying on a new coat or exploring the contents of a backpack. A photo of club members lined up before the event won’t be meaningful to your audience. 
  • Experiment with angles. Take a wide view of the room or event space, then try a few closeups of faces. Get down to eye view by kneeling. Move closer to your subject and avoid shooting down at them — you’re more likely to get a genuine expression. Play with perspectives and see which images you like best. 
  • Keep it simple. If you’re shooting a portrait, choose an uncluttered background. Avoid trees or items that appear to “grow” from behind a subject’s head. Don’t use the flash function if possible. Seek natural light and avoid shadows. Ask your subject to move forward from a backdrop, banner or poster. Don’t have a person stand straight against a wall. You want a memorable image, not a mug shot.
Kiwanis mourns Past President Ian Perdriau

Kiwanis mourns Past President Ian Perdriau

The 1994-95 Kiwanis International president passed away on May 28.

By Tony Knoderer

Ian Perdriau, president of Kiwanis International in 1994-95, passed away on May 28. He was 90. Perdriau was the first member from outside North America to be elected as the organization’s president.  

He became a Kiwanian in 1973, when he joined the Melbourne, Australia, Kiwanis Club. Perdriau eventually served as the club’s president, earning distinguished president status. He also served the Australia District as the lieutenant governor and governor — earning distinguished status in those roles as well. 

“Ian was the embodiment of the gentleman’s gentleman,” says 2001-02 Kiwanis International President Brian Cunat. “He was a dedicated Kiwanian, an inspiring mentor and a great friend.” 

Perdriau forged a career in the insurance industry, eventually founding Ian Perdriau and Associates. In 1988, he received the C.J. Farfor Award as that year’s outstanding representative for the Australian state of Victoria. 

In 1995, a Hoop Pine Tree was dedicated to Perdriau in Melbourne, commemorating his service as the first Australian to become Kiwanis International president.   

“His passion for the organization was infectious,” Cunat says. “He paved the way and inspired others from outside of North America to run for the highest office. He will be missed.”