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Manteca Kiwanis celebrate 60 years of service to community
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Manteca Kiwanis member Dave Soeth helps keep the crowd in check until it was time to start the clubs annual egg hunt on Saturday at Northgate Park - photo by HIME ROMERO

Service isn’t just a buzz word for Manteca’s Noon Kiwanis Club.

The organization that just hosted the annual community Easter egg hunt that lured almost 2,000 people to Northgate Park on Saturday, recently marked their 60th anniversary.

“We’re always looking for people who are interested in community service and fellowship,” noted Ben Cantu who is the current president of the Manteca Kiwanis.

The Kiwanis are a big supporter of youth and education.

Their biggest mark on the community by far has been the establishment and continued support of the organization that is known today as Valley Community Action Programs serving hundreds of developmentally disabled adults.

The service club members initially started - and used club volunteers to staff - a twice a week program for the handicapped at the old fire station that was part of the old City Hall complex on Sycamore Avenue. Eventually it lead to the founding of Manteca CAPS, the forerunner of Valley CAPS.

To this day, the service group assists the program through donations, recognition of outstanding CAPS consumers, and even has members serve on the CAPS board.

CAPS has two Manteca locations. One is behind Calla High on Austin Road and the other is at North and Main streets in the Dick C. Prada Building named in honor of the Kiwanis member who played the biggest role in forming CAPS and dedicated his life until he died to both CAPS and Kiwanis.

The Kiwanis are known for their annual Fourth of July pancake breakfast that typically draws between 700 and 1,000 people a year.

They support youth service clubs at local high schools, recognize outstanding high school students monthly, and award scholarships. They also donate to various youth orientated groups including the Boys & Girls Club.

The current club officers are Ben Cantu, president; George Montross, vice-president; David Soeth, immediate past president; Jack Cushman, treasurer; James Stone, secretary; Darryl Shaw, interclub chair; and Herb Danielsen, East Union Kiwins advisor.

The club was charted on Feb. 29. 1952.

The charter members were Paul K. Anderson, Boyd O. Allen, W. N. Andro, Charles R. Bergthold, Ernest Bobson, R. W. Breitenbucher, Angelo Bressani, Howard P. Brock, Leland F. Brown, B. E. Claypool, Fred H. Creswell, Charles C. Cunningham, E. E. Douglass, Ed J. Dumoulin, Bert Elliott, A. L. Escobar, Donald R. Greeley, William T. Harkins, L. E. Hartmeyer, Breen C. Hildebrand, Clarence L. Hughes, Wan Jee, J. F. Jessee, Frank Jury, George Kapka, Lynn F. Keltner, Ben Landro, Homer C. Lee, John Mendosa, George Murphy, Sr., William Peters, Fred A. Plagg, Antone E. Raymus, Richard Rusevich, Leon C. Schwartz Manuel F. Simas, Floyd E. Stetler, T. B. Strevers, Orbie Summers, M. M. Trout, Harold Van Klompenburg, A. J. Whitaker, Sonny Wells, and Lester H. Wilson.