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For Priceless Service to the Community


September 24, 2004 the first Schmuck Fest was held at Shalimar Country Club in Tempe, Arizona.   Eight Public Officials (four Democrats and four Republicans) were roasted, not as a political fundrasier, but as a chairity event to raise money for the community service organzation of Kiwanis.  

Jim Galbraith then Governor of the Southwest District of Kiwanis International offered the following insight into the organization.  Kiwanians have always been committed to building better communities and ultimately, a better world.  Founded in Detroit in 1915 by a group of business leaders, Kiwanis International today is present in 92 nations and has a worldwide membership of over 600,000.  Kiwanis is the premier service organization committed to assisting those in need, especially our children and youth.  Sponsored youth leadership programs are found in virtually all levels of education with the K-Kids, Builders Clubs, Key Clubs, and Circle K International programs. 

World-wide service projects include reaching out to underdeveloped nations with humanitarian assistance.  Kiwanians have a special focus to eliminate the Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) which impedes normal growth and development in children in underdeveloped nations. For the past ten years, Kiwanians in partnership with UNICEF have raised over $75 million to create iodine distribution sites that impact nearly 90% of the world suffering from this curable health challenge.

The Southwest District of Kiwanis includes some 140 clubs and 4200 members in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.  Kiwanians are proud of their service to children and youth and we encourage men and women of the community who want to make a difference in our children’s future to become a member of this fine service organization.”  

The Kiwanis Clubs of Tempe and Nuevo share the common mission statement:  “Serving the Children of the World.”  Both clubs meet weekly at Shalimar Country Club for their regular luncheons, and in 2003 the Kiwanis Club of Nuevo embarked on a new community service project: to update the exisiting Shalimar Country Club sign found on the corner of Southern Avenue and South Fairfield Drive in Tempe.

After an extensive legal study by attorneys, and a review by Tempe Council Member Mark Mitchell (a member of the Kiwanis Club of Tempe), McClinctock High School students through the Assistant Principal Brent Rincon and Wood Shop Instructor Steve Baily were involved in the rebuild of the existing sign to help beautify the city.   McClintock High School was unable to accept payment for their work on the sign, so Kiwanis agreed to construct an unveiling ceremony.  Shalimar Country Club then offerred to host a fundraiser for children benefiting both Kiwanis Clubs.   

Initially John Gunby, the General Manager of Shalimar, proposed sponsoring a Golf Tournament. The first response was “Great, another charity Golf Tournament in Arizona.”  John then kindly suggested that he is friends with Tony Vicich, who runs a comedy college, and that Tony would be willing to do a comedy roast.  The idea sounded refreshing so John and I worked to find a name for the event. After several examples were presented I suggested that the name should be short -- two maybe three words,  so it is easily remembered.  John looked at me and said, “How about a Schmuck Fest?”  I replied jokingly  “Well if it’s for charity, I‘ll let you use our name.”  John Gunby laughed and ever since the name has remained.

United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.”  Although the name Schmuck has become popular in our society, few are fortunate to have the name on their birth certificateJ  Of German origin, Schmuck means jewel or jewelry.  The name is commonly seen on signs and bill boards in Germany and Austria related to the merchandising of precious jewelry.

Johan Sebastian Schmuck was the first generation to receive high recognition from the Hapsbergs.  On June 13, 1624 an Armorial Patent was granted at Rattenberg by Archdduke Leopold V of Austria, and arms were quartered to present form:

“Made of Gold and Silver. In quadrants one (1) and four (4) there is a rearing black lion. In quadrants two (2) and three (3) a red hat with gold band and three red feathers. The Schmuck helmet is a hint at the name. Open wings separated into gold, black, silver, and red. In between is a black lion holding a silver ore. Mantling: Right is black and gold and left is red and silver."

Gold implies generosity and elevation of the mind;  silver stands for peace and sincerity, while black is for consistency or grief; red is a warrior, brave and strong, but generous and just -- a martyr's color. The lion represents dauntless courage and the wings are for swiftness and protection. The feathers are a sign of obedience and serenity while the gem represents supremacy. On October 4, 1635 Emperor Ferdinand II of Inssbruck, Austria granted a patent of noble rank and a feudal fief in the Holy Roman Empire.[1]

The Schmuck name has been traced to the birth of Christian von Schmuck in 1370.  Over the years, all kinds of professions from educators and business leaders to war heroes and professional athletes have carried the name Schmuck from their birthright.  As of 2004 more than 500 people bearing the Schmuck family name reside in United States and Canada.   No matter what the trade or profession Schmuck’s share one thing -- a remarkable spirit – a spirit of service. It is this spirit of service that is sometimes coined “priceless,” and the diamond is representative of a priceless jewel.  For this reason our family created the Schmuck Jewel Award and we present it to those who provide “priceless” service to the community.  

Schmuck Fest is a now service-minded comedy roast where comedians roast celebrities as a charity event.  As we share some of the best medicine, laughter, let us reflect on the service each of us can and do give to our fellow citizen.


Frank C. Schmuck

[1] Research conducted by Brigadier General (ret) Donald M. Schmuck while a Cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy and on summer leave in Germany.