first rotarians
The first four Rotarians (from left): Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, Hiram Shorey and Paul P. Harris, circa 1905-12.

On February 23, 1905, Paul Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele and Hiram Shorey gathered at Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago. This was the first Rotary Club meeting. They decided to call the new club “Rotary” after the practice of rotating meeting locations.

Paul P. Harris was born in Racine, Wisconsin. At age three, when his family fell on hard times, they moved to Vermont to live with Harris’ paternal grandparents. He attended Princeton University, the University of Vermont and the University of Iowa. For the next five years he worked odd jobs as a paul harris 150salesman and reporter for a newspaper, on fruit farms, as an actor, a cowboy, and on cattle ships that traveled to Europe. Harris eventually settled in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago, where he lived until his death in 1947.

He began his law practice in 1896 in Chicago. In 1905 Harris organized the first Rotary club “in fellowship and friendship” with three business associates, Silvester Schele, Gustavus Loehr and Hiram Shorey. His initial goal was to create a club of professional and businessmen for friendship and fellowship. Early on, Harris realized that Rotary needed a greater purpose. While Harris served as president of the Chicago Rotary Club in 1907, the club initiated its first public service project, the construction of public toilets in Chicago. This step transformed Rotary into the world’s first service club.

Harris had great ambitions for the growth of Rotary, and very early in the organization’s history new clubs were started, first on the West Coast in San Francisco, and then all over the US and in Europe.

Paul Harris died on January 27, 1947. More than 300,000 Rotarians mourned. An outpouring of contributions to The Rotary Foundation created the Paul Harris Memorial Fund, which continues to support the Rotary Foundation.

Within a year, the Chicago club had become so large it became necessary to adopt the now-common practice of a regular meeting place.

The next four Rotary Clubs were organized in cities in the western United States, beginning with San Francisco, then Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle. The National Association of Rotary Clubs in America was formed in 1910. In April 1912, Rotary chartered a club in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, marking the first acknowledged establishment of an American-style service club outside the United States. To reflect the addition of a club outside of the United States, the name was changed to the International Association of Rotary Clubs in 1912.

In August 1912, the Rotary Club of London received its charter from the Association, marking the first acknowledged Rotary club established outside of North America. It later became known that the Dublin club in Ireland had been organized before the London club, its first meeting having been held on February 22, 1911, but the Dublin club did not receive its charter until after the London club was chartered.

During World War I, Rotary in Britain increased from 9 to 22 clubs, and other early clubs in other nations included those in Cuba in 1916, Philippines in 1919 and India in 1920. In 1922, the name was changed to Rotary International. By 1925, Rotary had grown to 2,106 clubs worldwide with 110,500 members.

In Germany, no club had been formed before 1927, because of opposition from the continental clubs. For a while after 1933, Rotary clubs “met with approval” by Nazi authorities, and were considered to offer “opportunity for party comrades … to provide enlightenment regarding the nature and policy of the National Socialist movement.” The Nazis, although they saw international organizations as suspect, had authorized NSDAP members to be members of Rotary through the Nazi Party’s court rulings issued in 1933, 1934 and 1936. In 1937, more than half the German Rotarians were Nazi Party members.

Six German clubs were formed after Hitler came to power. They came under pressure almost immediately to expel their Jewish members.

Rotary Clubs do not appear to have had a unified policy towards the Nazi regime: while several German Rotary clubs decided to disband their organizations in 1933, others practiced a policy of appeasement or collaborated. In Munich the club removed from its members’ list a number of Rotarians, Jewish and non-Jewish, who were politically unacceptable for the regime, including Thomas Mann (already in exile in Switzerland). Twelve members resigned in sympathy with the expelled members.

Beginning in 1937, however, hostile articles were published in the Nazi press about Rotary, comparing Rotary with Freemasonry. Soon after that, the incompatibility between Nazism and the international humanitarian organization resulted in two decisions which would jeopardize the existence of Rotary in Germany: in June 1937, the ministry of the interior forbade civil servants to be members of the Rotary; in July, the NSDAP’s party court reversed its previous rulings and declared Party and Rotarian membership incompatible as from January 1938.

Rotary’s cause was advocated before the NSDAP party court by Dr. Grill, Governor for the Rotary 73rd district, arguing that the German Rotary was compliant with the goals of the Nazi government, and had excluded Freemasons in 1933 and non-Aryans in 1936. Other attempts were made, also by foreign Rotarians, but appeasement failed this time, and, in September 1937, the 73rd district dissolved itself. Subsequently, the charter of German clubs was withdrawn by Rotary International, although some clubs continued to meet “privately.”

Rotary Clubs in Spain ceased to operate shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
Clubs were disbanded across Europe as follows:
• Austria (1938) • Italy (1939) • Czechoslovakia (1940)
• Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Luxembourg (1941) • Hungary (1941/2)

In The Netherlands, Rotary was forbidden after the occupation by the German troops in 1940 and could only be reinstalled after its liberation in 1945.

Rotary clubs in Eastern Europe and other communist-regime nations were disbanded by 1945-46, but new Rotary clubs were organized in many other countries. By the time of the national independence movements in Africa and Asia, the new nations already had Rotary clubs. After the relaxation of government control of community groups in Russia and former Soviet satellite nations, Rotarians were welcomed as club organizers, and clubs were formed in those countries, beginning with the Moscow club in 1990.

As of 2013, Rotary had more than 1.2 million members in over 34,555 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas.

From 1905 until the 1980s, women were not allowed membership in Rotary Clubs, although Rotarian spouses, including Paul Harris’ wife, were often members of the similar “Inner Wheel” Club. Women did play some roles, and Paul Harris’ wife made numerous speeches. In 1963, it was noted that the Rotary practice of involving wives in club activities had helped to break down female seclusion in some countries. Clubs such as Rotary had long been pre-dated by women’s voluntary organizations, which started in the United States as early as 1790.

The first Irish Clubs discussed admitting women as members in 1912, but the proposal floundered over issues of social class.

Rotary women in DuarteGender equity in Rotary moved beyond the theoretical question when, in 1976, the Rotary Club of Duarte in Duarte, California admitted three women as members. After this club refused to remove the women from membership, in 1978 Rotary International revoked the Club’s charter. The Duarte Club filed suit in the California courts, claiming that Rotary Clubs are business establishments subject to regulation under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on race, gender, religion or ethnic origin. Rotary International then appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The RI attorney argued that “… [the decision] threatens to force us to take in everyone, “like a motel.” The Duarte Club was not alone in opposing RI leadership; the Seattle-International District Club unanimously voted to admit women in 1986. The United States Supreme Court, on May 4, 1987, confirmed the Californian decision. Rotary International then removed the gender requirements from its requirements for club charters, and most clubs in most countries have opted to include women as members of Rotary Clubs. The first female club president to be elected was Silvia Whitlock of the Rotary Club of Duarte, California, USA in 1987. By 2007, there was a female trustee of Rotary’s charitable wing, The Rotary Foundation, while female district governors and club presidents were common. Women currently account for 15% of international Rotary membership (22% in North America).

The change of the second Rotarian motto in 2004, from “He profits most who serves best” to “They profit most who serve best”, 99 years after its foundation, illustrates the move to general acceptance of women members in Rotary.

The Rotary Club of Eureka in 1987-88 during Pat Folkins presidency admitted the first woman club member, Peggy Betholtz. To date we have gained many women members that have become an integral part of our club.

In many Rotary Clubs throughout the world, wives of male members are affectionately called “Rotary Anns.” This designation was never one of disparagement, but rather grew out of an interesting historical occasion.

In 1914 San Francisco Rotarians boarded a special train to attend the Rotary convention being held in Houston. In those days few wives attended Rotary events, and until the train stopped in Los Angeles, the only woman aboard was the wife of Rotarian Bru Brunnier. As the train picked up additional convention-bound delegates, Mrs. Ann Brunnier was introduced as the Rotarian’s Ann. This title soon became “Rotary Ann.” Since the clubs of the West were inviting the Rotarians to hold their next convention in San Francisco, a number of songs and stunts were organized which would be performed in Houston. One of the Rotarians wrote a “Rotary Ann” chant. On the train’s arrival at the Houston depot, a delegation greeted the West Coast Rotarians. One of the greeters was Guy Gundaker of Philadelphia, whose wife was also named Ann. During the rousing demonstration, someone started the Rotary Ann chant. The two petite ladies, Ann Brunnier and Ann Gundaker, were hoisted to the men’s shoulders and paraded about the hall. The group loved the title given to the two women named Ann. Immediately the same term of endearment was used for all of the wives in attendance, and the name “Rotary Ann” was here to stay.

Guy Gundaker became President of Rotary International in 1923 and Bru Brunnier was elected President in 1952. Thus, each of the two original “Rotary Ann”s became the “First Lady of Rotary International.”

Very few clubs have “Rotary Ann”s now, but many have Partners Organizations; some are stilled called “Inner Wheel.” The words “Rotary Ann” can be heard on rare occasions, and now you know where they came from.

Rotary formally considered the issue of racial restriction in membership and determined that the organization could not allow racial restrictions to the organization’s growth. In Rotary’s legislative deliberations in June 1921, it was formally determined that racial restrictions would not be permitted. Non-racialism was included in the terms of the standard constitution in 1922, required to be adopted by all member Clubs.

Rotary and other service clubs in the last decade became open to homosexual membership. Other minorities, in the face of general changes in demographics are also encouraged to join.

Tolerance is one of the most important virtues in the Rotary spirit. As early as 1911 our founder Paul Harris in his essay “Rational Rotarianism” said, “If by interposition of Providence I someday were to find myself standing on a platform in some great Coliseum looking into the eyes of every living Rotarian, and were to be told that I could have one word to say, without an instant’s hesitation and at the top of my voice, I would shout ‘Toleration!’”

Our founder Paul Harris has repeatedly iterated: “Rotarians respect each other‘s opinions and are tolerant and friendly at all times. Catholics, Protestants, Moslems, Jews, and Buddhists break bread together in Rotary.” And it is this tolerant attitude that prompted the Rotary International to adopt the following statement in 1933: “Rotarians in all countries should recognize these facts (differences), and there should be a thoughtful avoidance of criticism of the laws and customs of one country by the Rotarians of another country.” Tolerance is a key to understanding among different peoples and nations.

The problem seems to have started in Spain in 1928 when a bishop laid charges that Rotary was nothing but a new Satanic organization. The church also criticized and condemned Rotary for showing a concept of life of service without reference to church teaching. Indeed, it seems that the church believed it was a secret society with quasi-religious overtones. For whatever reason, the Vatican took up the reins and in 1929 it issued a decree that “it is not expedient” for Catholic priest to participate in Rotary either as members or guest. This decree and its application was worrisome to many Catholics in Rotary not the least of which was then RI President Tom Sutton who was himself a Catholic.

pope francis

Critical and at times disparaging articles regularly appeared in Catholic newspapers. Sutton’s attempts to convince the Secretary of State at the Vatican were fruitless and the anti-Rotary articles continued to be published.

The factual errors were shown to be false and by 1933 there was a mood swing in the Vatican. Priests were now allowed to use their discretion about attending or even joining Rotary. Nevertheless, one of the results of the church attitude was a slow development of Rotary in predominantly Catholic countries such as Ireland.

The uneasy peace continued until 1951 when yet another Vatican decree warned Priests that they should not join Rotary and that the faithful should be aware of seditious and suspected organizations.

But the world was changing and the decree caused an immediate angry response among others, from the then-Catholic and RI President Arthur Laqueux, and even from the Rotarian, Catholic Bishop of Fort Wayne Indiana who publicly declared the decree “quite incomprehensible.”

Fairly soon, the Vatican begin to react and by the end of the decade, the Catholic Truth Society was able to declare that Rotary is neither secret nor seditious. Gradually there was a thaw in the relationship between the church and Rotary. In 1970 Pope Paul VI addressed Rotarians in Italy and in 1979 Pope John Paul II spoke at the Rotary International convention in Rome praising many of Rotary’s humanitarian programs. Later, Pope John Paul II accepted a Paul Harris Fellowship and a World Understanding and Peace award from Rotary.

Finally, before becoming Pope Francis, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio accepted an honorary membership in the Rotary Club of Buenos Aires.

  • The first Rotary club meeting was in Chicago, Illinois, on February 23, 1905.
  • The first regular luncheon meetings were in Oakland, California, chartered in 1909.
  • The first Rotary convention was in Chicago in 1910.
  • The first Rotary club outside of the U.S. was chartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1910.
  • The first Rotary club outside of North America was chartered in Dublin, Ireland, in 1911.
  • The first Rotary club in South America was chartered in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1918.
  • The first Rotary club in Asia was chartered in Manila, Philippines, in 1919.
  • The first Rotary club in Africa was chartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1921.
  • The first Rotary club in Australia was chartered in Melbourne in 1921.
  • The first Rotary club in Northern California was chartered in Eureka in 1923.
The first Rotary club to be organized outside an English-speaking country was established in Havana, Cuba, April 29, 1916, with 22 charter members. The club was admitted to Rotary on June 1, 1916.

rotary cuba
Rotary Club of Havana, 1916

During 1923, the Rotary Club of Havana celebrated its seventh anniversary, in what became a very busy year. The club sponsored a carnival attended by more than 1,500 children, won a prohibition against bullfighting in Cuba, worked to get the city’s water sanitized and properly purified, and obtained pavement repairs in certain areas.

By October 1957 we saw some 60 charted Rotary clubs there. All clubs in Cuba were terminated by January 31, 1979.

We need to remember that it was RI who shut down the Rotary Clubs in Cuba and not the government there. The grounds used were that all countries that restrict free speech and freedom of assembly could not have clubs. So, either Cuba must change or RI must change before Rotary Clubs will reappear in Cuba. Since Rotary is back in E. Europe, China and Russia, there is reason to hope.

Was Paul Harris the first president of a Rotary Club? No.

paul harris2Was Paul Harris the first president of Rotary International? Yes.

There is an easy explanation to this apparent contradiction. Although Paul Harris was the founder and organizer of the first Rotary club in Chicago in 1905, the man selected to be the first president was one of the other founding members, Silvester Schiele.

By the year 1910 there were 16 Rotary clubs, which linked up as an organization called the National Association of Rotary Clubs. Two years later the name was changed to the International Association of Rotary Clubs, as Rotary was organized in Winnipeg, Canada, and then in England, Ireland and Scotland. In 1922 the name was shortened to Rotary International.

When the first organization of Rotary clubs was created in 1910, Paul Harris was selected as the first president. He served in this position for two years, from 1910 until 1912. Thus, the founder of the Rotary idea, who declined to be president of the first club, became the first president of the worldwide organization, Rotary International.

Rotary was almost bankrupt in 1915. Frank Mulholland, then President, realizing the seriousness and urgency of the situation, conceived the simple idea of asking Rotarians each to contribute a dollar. This commonsense method of raising a sizable amount of money proved quite successful; Rotary has not been financially embarrassed since that time.
The number 711 has a very special significance for Rotary. Room 711 of the old Unity Building, formerly located at 127 North Dearborn Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois, USA, was the birthplace of Rotary International. That historic room, which was the office of engineer Gus Loehr, was the location of that first meeting when Paul Harris met with several friends to discuss his new idea of a club for professionals and businessmen.

rotary office 711

A few Chicago Rotarians set about to preserve the room and restore it to its 1905 authenticity. For years, Room 711 was preserved as a miniature Rotary museum by Rotarians around the world who voluntarily belonged to and contributed annually to the “Paul Harris 711 Club,” which provided funds for leasing, maintenance and preservation. In 1989, the Unity Building was about to be torn down. Members of the 711 Club carefully dismantled the landmark room and placed its contents in storage. There it stayed until 1994, when the recreated Room 711 found a permanent home, and this piece of the Rotary heritage is preserved at the RI World Headquarters in Evanston.

  • Rotary established the “Endowment Fund” in 1917, which became the forerunner of The Rotary Foundation.
  • Rotary first adopted the name “Rotary International” in 1922 when the name was changed from the International Association of Rotary Clubs.
  • Rotary first established the Paul Harris Fellows recognition in 1957 for contributors of US $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.
  • The Rotary emblem was printed on a commemorative stamp for the first time in 1931 at the time of the Vienna Convention.
  • The first Rotary club banner (from the Houston Space Center) to orbit the moon was carried by astronaut Frank Borman, a member of that club.
  • The first Rotary International convention held outside the United States was in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1921.
  • The first head of state to address a Rotary convention was U.S. President Warren G. Harding in 1923 at St. Louis.
  • The Rotary Foundation gave its first gift in 1929 of US $500 to the National Society for Crippled Children, later Easter Seals, founded in 1921 by Rotarian Edgar F. Allen, of the Rotary Club of Elyria, Ohio, USA. Paul Harris served as chair of the organization.
1957-58:           RI President Charles G. Tennent announced a theme, “Enlist – Extend – Explore – Serve,” to serve as Rotary’s program of emphasis. Since that time, each president has issued a theme for his Rotary year. The shortest theme was in 1961-62 when Joseph Abey selected “Act.” Other one-word themes were chosen in 1958-59 by Charles Tennent (“Serve”) and 1968-69 by Kiyoshi Togasaki (“Participate!”).
rotary theme2014-15:           Gary C.K. Huang, Rotary Club of Taipei, Taiwan: Light up Rotary
2013-14:           Ron D. Burton, Rotary Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA: Engage Rotary, Change Lives
2012-13:           Sakuji Tanaka, Rotary Club of Yashio, Saitama, Japan: Peace Through Service
2011-12:           Kalyan Banerjee, Rotary Club of Vapi, Gujarat, India: Reach Within to Embrace Humanity
2010-11:           Ray Klinginsmith, Rotary Club of Kirksville, Missouri, USA: Building Communities Bridging Continents
2009-10:          John Kenny, Rotary Club of Grangemouth, Scotland: The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands
2008-09:         Dong Kurn Lee, Rotary Club of Seoul Hangang, Seoul, Korea: Make Dreams Real
2007-08:         Wilfrid J. Wilkinson, Rotary Club of Trenton, Ontario, Canada: Rotary Shares
2006-07:         William B. Boyd, Rotary Club of Pakuranga, Auckland, New Zealand: Lead the Way
2005-06:         Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar, Rotary Club of Göteborg, Sweden: Service Above Self
2004-05:         Glenn E. Estess, Sr., Rotary Club of Shades Valley Birmingham, AL, USA: Celebrate Rotary
2003-04:         Jonathan B. Majiyagbe, Rotary Club of Kano, Nigeria: Lend a Hand
2002-03:         Bhichai Rattakul, Rotary Club of Dhonburi, Bangkok, Thailand: Sow the Seeds of Love
2001-02:         Richard D. King, Rotary Club of Niles (Fremont) California, USA: Mankind is Our Business
2000-01:         Frank J. Devlyn, Rotary Club of Anahuac, Distrito Federal, Mexico: Create Awareness Take Action
1999-2000:    Carlo Ravizza, Rotary Club of Milano, Italy: Act with Consistency, Credibility, Continuity
1998-99:         James L. Lacy, Rotary Club of Cookeville, Tennessee, USA: Follow Your Rotary Dream
1997-98:         Glen W. Kinross, Rotary Club of Brisbane, Australia: Show Rotary Cares
1996-97:         Luis Vicente Giay, Rotary Club of Arrecifes, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Build the Future with Action and Vision
1995-96:         Herbert G. Brown, Rotary Club of Clearwater, Florida, USA: Act with Integrity, Serve with Love, Work for Peace
1994-95:         Bill Huntley, Rotary Club of Alford & Mablethorpe, England: Be a Friend
1993-94:         Robert Barth, Rotary Club of Aarau, Switzerland: Believe in What You Do – Do What You Believe in
1992-93:         Clifford L. Dochterman, Rotary Club of Moraga, California, USA: Real Happiness is Helping Others
1991-92:         Rajendra K. Saboo, Rotary Club of Chandigarh, India: Look Beyond Yourself
1990-91:         Paulo V.C. Costa, Rotary Club of Santos, São Paulo, Brazil: Honor Rotary with Faith and Enthusiasm
1989-90:         Hugh M. Archer, Rotary Club of Dearborn, Michigan USA: Enjoy Rotary!
1988-89:         Royce Abbey, Rotary Club of Essendon, Vic., Australia: Put Life into Rotary – Your Life
1987-88:         Charles C. Keller, Rotary Club of California, Pennsylvania, USA: Rotarians – United in Service – Dedicated to Peace
1986-87:         M.A.T. Caparas, Rotary Club of Manila, Philippines: Rotary Brings Hope
1985-86:         Edward F. Cadman, Rotary Club of Wenatchee, Washington, USA: You are the Key
1984-85:         Carlos Canseco, Rotary Club of Monterrey, Mexico: Discover a New World of Service
1983-84:         William E. Skelton, Rotary Club of Christiansburg-Blacksburg, Virginia, USA: Share Rotary – Serve People
1982-83:         Hiroji Mukasa, Rotary Club of Nakatsu, Oita, Japan: Mankind is One – Build Bridges of Friendship Throughout the World
1981-82:         Stanley E. McCaffrey, Rotary Club of Stockton, California, USA: World Understanding and Peace Through Rotary
1980-81:         Rolf J. Klärich, Rotary Club of Helsinki-Helsingfors, Finland: Take Time to Serve
1979-80:         James L. Bomar, Jr., Rotary Club of Shelbyville, Tennessee, USA: Let Service Light the Way
1978-79:         Clem Renouf, Rotary Club of Nambour, Queensland, Australia: Reach Out
1977-78:         W. Jack Davis, Rotary Club of Hamilton, Bermuda: Serve to Unite Mankind
1976-77:         Robert A. Manchester II, Rotary Club of Youngstown, Ohio, USA: I Believe in Rotary
1975-76:         Ernesto Imbassahy de Mello, Rotary Club of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: To Dignify the Human Being
1974-75:         William R. Robbins, Rotary Club of Miami FL, USA: Renew the Spirit of Rotary
1973-74:         William C. Carter, Rotary Club of Battersea, London: A Time for Action
1972-73:         Roy D. Hickman, Rotary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, USA: Let’s Take a New Look – And Act
1971-72:         Ernst G. Breitholtz, Rotary Club of Kalmar, Sweden: Good Will Begins With You
1970-71:         William E. Walk, Jr., Rotary Club of Ontario, California, USA: Bridge the Gaps
1969-70:         James F. Conway, Rotary Club of Rockville Centre, New York, USA: Review and Renew
1968-69:         Kiyoshi Togasaki, Rotary Club of Tokyo, Japan: Participate!
1967-68:         Luther H. Hodges, Rotary Club of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA: Make Your Rotary Membership Effective
1966-67:         Richard L. Evans, Rotary Club of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: A Better World Through Rotary
1965-66:         C. P. H. Teenstra, Rotary Club Hilversum, The Netherlands: Action, Consolidation and Continuity
1964-65:         Charles W. Pettengill, Rotary Club of Greenwich, Connecticut, USA: Live Rotary
1963-64:         Carl P. Miller, Rotary Club of Los Angeles, California, USA: Meeting Rotary’s Challenge in the Space Age
1962-63:         Nitish C. Laharry, Rotary Club of Calcutta, India: Kindle the Spark Within
1961-62:         Joseph A. Abey, Rotary Club of Reading, Pennsylvania, USA: Act, Aim for Action, Communicate for Understanding, Test for Leadership
1960-61:         J. Edd McLaughlin, Rotary Club of Ralls, Texas, USA: You are Rotary -– Live It! Express It! Expand It!
1959-60:         Harold T. Thomas, Rotary Club of Auckland, New Zealand: Vitalize! Personalize! Build Bridges of Friendship
1958-59:         Clifford A. Randall, Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Help Shape the Future
1957-58:         Charles G. Tennent, Rotary Club of Asheville, North Carolina, USA: Enlist – Extend – Explore – Serve
1955-56:         A. Z. Baker, Rotary Club of Cleveland, Ohio, USA: Develop Our Resources
1953-54:         Joaquin Serratosa Cibils, Rotary Club of Montevideo, Uruguay: Rotary is Hope in Action
How do you describe the organization called “Rotary”?

There are so many characteristics of a Rotary club, as well as the activities of over a million Rotarians — there are the features of service, internationality, fellowship, classifications of each vocation, development of goodwill and world understanding, the emphasis of high ethical standards, concern for other people and many more.

In 1976 the Rotary International Board of Directors was interested in creating a concise definition of the fundamental aspects of Rotary. They turned to the three men who were then serving on Rotary’s Public Relations Committee and requested that a one-sentence definition of Rotary be prepared. After numerous drafts, the committee presented this definition, which has been used ever since in various Rotary publications: “Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”

Those 31 words are worth remembering when someone asks, “What is a Rotary club?”

rotary four way test
Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor, Author of the Four-Way Test.

The Four-Way Test was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of the Chicago based Club Aluminum Company, which was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives. The Four-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers. The survival of the company was credited to this simple philosophy. Herb Taylor became President of Rotary International during 1954-55. The Four-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943.

“Of the things we think, say or do” —

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”
The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

object of rotaryFIRST: The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;

SECOND: High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;

THIRD: The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life;

FOURTH: The advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The Object of Rotary has not always been expressed in this manner. The original Constitution of 1906 had three objects: promotion of business interests, promotion of good fellowship and the advancement of the best interests of the community. By 1910 Rotary had five Objects, as increased emphasis was given to expanding Rotary. By 1915 there were six Objects. In 1918 the Objects were rewritten again and reduced to four. Four years later they had again grown to six and were revised again in 1927. Finally, at the 1935 Mexico City Convention the six Objects were restated and reduced to four. The last major change came in 1951 when the Objects were streamlined and changed to a single Object, which has four parts. The “ideal of service” is the key phrase in the Object of Rotary. This ideal is an attitude of being a thoughtful and helpful person in all of one’s endeavors. That’s what the Object truly means.

“Service Above Self” and “One Profits Most Who Serves Best” both trace back to the early days of the organization.

In 1911 “He Profits Most Who Serves Best” was approved as the Rotary motto. It was adapted from a speech made by Rotarian Arthur Frederick Sheldon at the first Rotary convention. Sheldon declared that, “Only the science of right conduct toward others pays. Business is the science of human services. He profits most who serves his fellows best.”

At the 1950 RI Convention in Detroit, slightly modified versions of the two slogans were formally approved as the official mottoes of Rotary: “He Profits Most Who Serves Best” and “Service Above Self.” The 1989 Council on Legislation established “Service Above Self” as the principal motto of Rotary,

  1. rotary service above self“Club Service” involves focusing on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the smooth functioning of Rotary clubs. Learn about effective club service in Membership and Training.
  2. “Vocational Service” involves club members serving others through their professions and aspiring to high ethical standards. Rotarians, as business leaders, share skills and expertise through their vocations, and they inspire others in the process.
  3. “Community Service” is the opportunity Rotary clubs have to implement club projects and activities that improve life in the local community.
  4. “International Service” encompasses efforts to expand Rotary’s humanitarian reach around the world and to promote world understanding and peace. It includes everything from contributing to PolioPlus to helping Rotary Youth Exchange students adjust to their host countries.
  5. “Youth Committee” is the Avenue that recognizes the positive change implemented by youth and young adults involved in leadership development activities, community and international service projects, and exchange programs that enrich and foster world peace and cultural understanding.
Vocational Service is the Second Avenue of Service. No aspect of Rotary is more closely related to each member than a personal commitment to represent one’s vocation or occupation to fellow Rotarians, and to exemplify the characteristics of high ethical standards and the dignity of work.

rotary vocational servicePrograms of vocational service are those that seek to improve business relations while improving the quality of trades, industry, commerce and the professions. Rotarians understand that each person makes a valuable contribution to a better society through daily activities in a business or profession.

Vocational Service is frequently demonstrated by offering young people career guidance, occupational information and assistance in making vocational choices. Rotary clubs recognize the dignity of employment by honoring exemplary service of individuals working in their communities. The Four-Way Test and other ethical and laudable business philosophies are often promoted among young people entering the world of work. Vocational talks and discussion of business issues are also typical Vocational Service programs at most clubs.

Do Rotarians receive special business benefits from their Rotary membership? Should Rotarians expect a special discount or some preferential service just because they are dealing with a fellow Rotarian? The answer is clearly “No.” The Rotary Manual of Procedure expressly states the Rotary position on this matter. The policy, originally approved by the RI Board of Directors in 1933, is that in business and professional relations “a Rotarian should not expect, and far less should he ask for, more consideration or advantages from a fellow Rotarian than the latter would give to any other business or professional associate with whom he has business relations.” Over 50 years ago the concept was expressed that “True friends demand nothing of one another, and any abuse of the confidence of friendship for profit is foreign to the spirit of Rotary.” On the other hand, if new or increased business comes as the natural result of friendship created in Rotary, it is the same normal development that takes place outside of Rotary as well as inside, so it is not an infringement on the ethics of Rotary membership. It is important to remember that the primary purpose of Rotary membership is to provide each member with a unique opportunity to serve others, and membership is not intended as a means for personal profit or special privileges.

For more than 100 years, Rotarians have joined together from all continents, cultures and industries to take action in our communities and around the world. With a commitment to achieving lasting change, we work together to empower youth, enhance health, promote peace, and most important, advance the community. While Rotarians can serve in countless ways, Rotary has focused its efforts in six areas, which reflect some of the most critical and widespread humanitarian needs:

  • Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water and sanitation
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy
  • Economic and community development

Rotarians planning new service projects are encouraged to consider these areas and the many opportunities for innovative projects. This publication provides an introduction to each area, as well as suggestions on how Rotarians and their service partners can address these needs both locally and international

Virtually all membership in Rotary is based upon a “classification.” Basically a classification describes the distinct and recognized business or professional service that the Rotarian renders to society. The principle of Rotary classification is somewhat more specific and precise. In determining the classification of a Rotarian it is necessary to look at the “principal or recognized business or professional activity of the firm, company or institution” with which an active member is connected or “that which covers his principal and recognized business or professional activity.” It should be clearly understood that classifications are determined by activities or services to society rather than by the position held by a particular individual. In other words, if a person is the president of a bank, he or she is not classified as “bank president” but under the classification “banking.”

The classification principle also permits businesses and industries to be separated into distinct functions such as manufacturing, distributing, retailing and servicing. Classifications may also be specified as distinct and independent divisions of a large corporation or university within the club’s territory, such as a school of business or a school of engineering. The classification principle is a necessary concept in assuring that each Rotary club represents a cross section of the business and professional service of the community. Members are permitted admission if they are retired, and who had never been in Rotary but would have been qualified. These individuals can be admitted as past service members and are the only Rotarians without a current or former classification.

Limitations. This club shall not elect a person to active membership from a classification if it will not result in the classification making up more than 10 percent of the club’s active membership.

The Rotary Club of Eureka Red Badge Program is designed to encourage new members to learn about the functions of Rotary International, Rotary District 5130, and our own Club. This will help you meet other members and help them to get to know you to build stronger friendships, and help all of us to achieve Service Above Self.

You need to complete a minimum of eight of the following tasks within three months:

  1. Greet members prior to meetings for two weeks.
  2. Announce guests and visiting Rotarians.
  3. Give Invocation at one of the regular meetings.
  4. Give a vocational or craft talk.
  5. Review the club’s website
  6. Visit two Rotarians at their place of business.
  7. Attend a Rotary function other than a regular meeting.
  8. Attend a District function.
  9. Make-up at another Rotary Club.
  10. Be a Sgt of Arms at two meetings.
  11. Attend an Aurora Rotary Board meeting.
  12. Participate in a Rotary Club of Eureka committee.
  13. Donate $100 to Rotary International Foundation.
As an international organization, Rotary offers each member unique opportunities and responsibilities, although each Rotarian has first responsibility to uphold the obligations of citizenship of his or her own country. Membership in Rotary enables Rotarians to take a somewhat unique view of international affairs. In the early 1950s a Rotary philosophy was adopted to describe how a Rotarian may think on a global basis. Here is what it said: “A world-minded Rotarian looks beyond national patriotism and considers himself as sharing responsibility for the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace; resists any tendency to act in terms of national or racial superiority; seeks and develops common grounds for agreement with peoples of other lands; defends the rule of law and order to preserve the liberty of the individual so that he may enjoy freedom of thought, speech and assembly, and freedom from persecution, aggression, want and fear; supports action directed toward improving standards of living for all peoples, realizing that poverty anywhere endangers prosperity everywhere; upholds the principles of justice for mankind; strives always to promote peace between nations and prepares to make personal sacrifices for that ideal; urges and practices a spirit of understanding of every other man’s beliefs as a step toward international goodwill, recognizing that there are certain basic moral and spiritual standards which will ensure a richer, fuller life.” That is quite an assignment for any Rotarian to practice in thoughts and actions!
rotary zonesZone Level
Rotary is divided into 34 zones throughout the world. Approximately 15 Rotary districts form a zone. A zone director, who serves as a member of the RI Board of Directors, heads two zones. The zone director is nominated by the clubs in the zone and elected by the convention for the terms of two consecutive years. The Eureka Rotary Club is located in Zone 25.

Rotary District 5130
The 537 Rotary districts are headed up by the district governor. Our District number 5130 has 47 clubs and 2,500 members.
The district is responsible for putting together the district conference and the district assembly. The district is made up of several committees that help the district governor organize and lead the Rotarians who fall in their individual districts. Part of their responsibilities include dealing with Rotary International and any problems that might come up with an individual club. Additionally, the Foundation Committee manages and distributes the district grants. District is also responsible for training; they organize instruction in new membership and in membership retention, and also conduct leadership training. Furthermore, they are the liaison between the Rotary clubs, Rotary members and Rotary International.

Local Rotary Club, 378
Local Rotary Club is where the rubber meets the road, with our weekly meetings filled with interesting speakers, community service projects, vocational items of interest, fellowship, youth services and of course the Rotary foundation. There are currently over 34,500 Rotary clubs in the world in over 200 countries. The Rotary Club of Eureka, just happens to be the best one.

Each May or June, Rotary International holds a worldwide convention “to stimulate, inspire and inform all Rotarians at an international level.” The convention, which may not be held in the same country for more than two consecutive years, is the annual meeting to conduct the business of the rotary inter conventionassociation. The planning process usually begins about four or five years in advance.

The RI board determines a general location and invites cities to make proposals. The conventions are truly international events which 20,000 to 40,000 Rotarians and guests attend. All members should plan to participate in a Rotary International convention to discover the real internationality of Rotary. It is an experience you’ll never forget.

Upcoming International Conventions:
2015: São Paulo, Brazil • June 7-10
2016: Seoul, Korea • May 29-June 1
2017: Atlanta, Georgia, USA • June 10-14
2018: Toronto, Ontario, Canada • June 24-27

Most Rotarians have never attended a Rotary District Conference. They have not experienced one of the most enjoyable and rewarding privileges of Rotary membership. A district conference is for all club members and their spouses, not just for club officers and committee members. The purpose of a district conference is for fellowship, good fun, inspirational speakers and discussion of matters which make one’s Rotary membership more meaningful. Every person who attends a district conference finds that being a Rotarian becomes even more rewarding because of the new experiences, insights and acquaintances developed at the conference. Those who attend a conference enjoy going back, year after year.

Every one of Rotary’s more than 530 districts has a conference annually. These meetings are considered so important that the Rotary International President selects a knowledgeable Rotarian as his personal representative to attend and address each conference. The program always includes several outstanding entertainment features, interesting discussions and inspirational programs.

One of the unexpected benefits of attending a district conference is the opportunity to become better acquainted with members of one’s own club in an informal setting. Lasting friendships grow from the fellowship hours at the district conference.

In view of the annual turnover of Rotary leadership each year, special effort is required to provide the 32,000 club leaders with appropriate instruction for the tasks they will assume. The annual District Assembly is the major leadership training event in each Rotary district of the world.

The District Assembly offers motivation, inspiration, Rotary information and new ideas for club officers, directors and key committee chairmen of each club. Some of the most experienced district leaders conduct informative discussions on all phases of Rotary administration and service projects. The assembly gives all participants valuable new ideas to make their club more effective and interesting. Usually eight to ten delegates from each club are invited to attend the training session.

Another important feature of a district assembly is a review by the incoming District Governor of the program theme and emphasis of the new RI president for the coming year. District goals and objects are also described and plans are developed for their implementation.

The success of each Rotary club is frequently determined by the club’s full representation and participation in the annual district assembly.

The Bylaws of Rotary International require a training seminar for the incoming club presidents of the district. This two- or three-day Presidents-Elect rotary petsTraining Seminar, commonly referred to by its acronym, PETS, is a motivational and leadership training session designed to prepare the future club presidents for the office they will assume on July 1.

Among the subjects covered are implementation of the RI theme for the coming year as well as information about the new and continuing programs of RI. Time is also devoted to a review of district operations, planning club and district programs, and organizing other activities for the year ahead. How to prepare a budget, goal-setting, time management and new ideas for club meetings are just some of the useful skills that club presidents-elect learn when they attend their district’s PETS. The training seminar is usually held in March and always at the Doubletree in San Jose. For more information,

rotary secretaryThe day-to-day operations of Rotary International’s Secretariat are under the supervision of the general secretary, the top professional officer of Rotary. Although the general secretary is responsible to the RI Board of Directors and president, he provides the ongoing management for nearly 800 staff members who comprise the Secretariat of Rotary International.

The general secretary serves as secretary to the RI board and is also the chief executive and financial officer of The Rotary Foundation, under the supervision of the trustees of the Foundation. He is the secretary of all Rotary committees as well as the Council on Legislation, regional conferences and the annual Rotary convention.

The current General Secretary is John Hewko who hails from the Rotary Club of Kyiu, Ukraine. He holds a law degree from Harvard University, a master’s in modern history from Oxford University (where he studied as a Marshall Scholar), and a bachelor’s in government and Soviet studies from Hamilton College in New York.

John leads a diverse staff of 800 at Rotary International’s World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and seven international offices. John is a Paul Harris Fellow. He and his wife, Margarita, live in Evanston.

Each year a distinguished Rotarian is selected as the worldwide President of Rotary International. The process begins two years in advance when 17 members from 34 zones comprising a nominating committee is elected from separate regions of the world. To qualify for the nominating committee, a Rotarian must have served on the RI Board of Directors and have extensive Rotary experience and substantial acquaintanceship with the world leaders of Rotary.

The nominating committee may consider all former RI directors for the presidential candidate. Members of the nominating committee and current directors are not eligible. Any Rotary club may suggest the name of a former RI director to the committee for consideration.

Any Rotary club may make an additional nomination before December 1, which must then be endorsed by one percent of all the Rotary clubs of the world, or about 250 of them. If such an event occurs, an election is held by mail ballot. If no additional nomination is presented by the clubs, the person selected by the nominating committee is declared to be the president-nominee. From that point on, that special Rotarian and spouse will spend more than a year in preparation and then a year serving the Rotarians of the world as International President.

Recent RI Presidents:

  • Gary C.K. Huang (2014-2015)
  • Ron D. Burton (2013–2014)
  • Sakuji Tanaka (2012–2013)
  • Kalyan Banerjee (2011–2012)
  • Ray Klinginsmith (2010–2011)
  • John Kenny (2009–2010)
  • Dong Kurn Lee (2008–2009)
  • Wilfrid J. Wilkinson (2007–2008)
  • William Boyd (2006–2007)
  • Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar (2005–2006)
  • Glenn E. Estess, Sr. (2004–2005)
  • Jonathan B. Majiyagbe (2003–2004)
  • Bhichai Rattakul (2002–2003)
  • Richard D. King (2001–2002)
rotary presidentGary C.K. Huang, a member of the Rotary Club of Taipei, Taiwan, is the selection of the Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International in 2014-15. Huang says his vision for Rotary is to increase membership to more than 1.3 million.

“To increase our membership, we must go beyond borders to wherever we see growth potential, such as the countries of China, Mongolia and Vietnam.” He wants us to put an emphasis on increasing female and younger members. Huang says, “I will also encourage former Rotarians to once again be part of our Rotary family.”

  • A Rotarian since 1976, Huang has served as RI Vice President, Director, Rotary Foundation Trustee, District Governor, International Assembly Training Leader, Regional Session Leader, Task Force member and coordinator, and Committee member and chair.
  • Huang created 19 new clubs in 1986-87 as Governor of District 345, which included Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
  • Huang is a recipient of the RI “Service Above Self” award and the Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service.
  • Huang and his wife, Corinna Yao, have three children.
rotary headquartersMany Rotarians consider the Secretariat simply another name for the RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA. Actually, it is much more. While it does include the World Headquarters, the Secretariat encompasses nearly 800 individuals working to make Rotary International run smoothly and effectively. The term describes the entire operations of the general secretary and his staff. The Secretariat also includes eight Rotary Service Centers around the world, all of the staff serving in those centers, as well as all staff assigned to The Rotary Foundation. Its sole purpose is to serve the clubs, districts and administrative officers of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation. RI World Headquarters, in a building called One Rotary Centre in Evanston, is the headquarters of the Secretariat. One Rotary Centre, as it is called, enhances the efficient operations of Rotary International.
What the Council does: Council on Legislation is the legislative or parliamentary body of Rotary. The council is composed of one delegate from each Rotary district as well as several ex-officio members. It meets every three years and its next meeting is in 2016. It has the responsibility of considering and acting upon all “enactments,” which are proposed changes in the Rotary International Bylaws and Constitution and Standard Rotary Club Constitution. Proposals may be submitted by any Rotary club, district or the RI board. The council’s actions are subject to review by all the Rotary clubs of the world before they become final. If 10 percent of the voting strength of the clubs oppose a council action, such legislation is suspended and it is submitted to all the clubs for a final vote. The Council on Legislation provides the membership of Rotary a democratic process for legislative change in the operations of Rotary International.

Selecting Representatives: Each Rotary district sends a representative to the Council. Representatives deliberate and act upon all proposed enactments and resolutions. Enactments seek to change Rotary’s constitutional documents, and resolutions express an opinion or make a recommendation to the RI Board.

Proposing Legislation to the Council on Legislation
Proposed enactments and resolutions may be submitted by clubs and districts, though club items must be endorsed by the club’s district. Proposals may also be made by the General Council or Conference of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, the RI Board, and the Council itself.

A District Governor, who is an officer of Rotary International and represents the RI Board of Directors in the field, leads his/her respective Rotary district. Each Governor is nominated by the clubs of his/her district, and elected by all the clubs meeting in the annual RI Convention held in a different country each year. The district governor appoints assistant governors from among the Rotarians of the district to assist in the management of Rotary activity and multi-club projects in the district.

eka rotary governors

The District Governors, who have been extensively trained at the worldwide International Assembly, provide the “quality control” for the 34,500 plus Rotary clubs of the world. They are responsible for maintaining high performance within the clubs of their district.

The District Governor, who must make an official visit to each club in the district, is never regarded as an “inspector general.” Rather, he or she visits as a helpful and friendly adviser to the club officers, as a useful counselor to further the Object of Rotary among the clubs of the district, and as a catalyst to help strengthen the programs of Rotary.

The district governor is a very experienced Rotarian who generously devotes a year to the volunteer task of leadership. The governor has a wealth of knowledge about current Rotary programs, purposes, policies and goals, and is a person of recognized high standing in his or her profession, community and Rotary club. He or she performs a host of specific duties to assure that the quality of Rotary does not falter in the district, and is responsible to promote and implement all programs and activities of the Rotary International president and the RI Board of Directors.

About our current District Governor:
rotary kevin eisenbergKevin Eisenberg joined Rotary in 2000. After one trip his first year as a Rotarian, to the 5130/4150 Festival of Brotherhood in Mexico, he was hooked on service and the ideals of Rotary. They have since permeated his entire life. As a high school principal he shared the Four-Way Test with students as he dispensed discipline. He has been actively involved in his club serving as President, Membership Chair, Director, Program Chair, Interact Chair, Scholarship Committee, and Fundraiser Chair. At the District level Kevin has served as Assistant Governor, District Assembly Instructor, District Assembly Planning Committee, Foundation Dinner South Chair, District Conference Organizing Committee, District Conference Chair, District Future Vision Transition Team Certification Coordinator, and Rotary Leadership Institute Instructor. Kevin and Mary have also been host parents for exchange students and have attended several Festivals of Brotherhood, and numerous Rotary International Conventions. He was elected as District Governor for 2014-15.

One of the interesting bylaws of Rotary International provides that “no Rotarian shall campaign, canvass or electioneer for elective position in Rotary International.” This provision includes the office of district governor, Rotary International director, RI president and various elected committees. The Rotary policy prohibits the circulation of brochures, literature or letters by a candidate or by anyone on behalf of such a candidate.

After a Rotarian has indicated an intention to be a candidate for one of the elective Rotary offices, he or she must refrain from speaking engagements, appearances or publicity that could reasonably be construed as furthering his or her candidacy. The only information that may be sent to clubs relating to candidates for an elective position is that officially distributed by the general secretary of RI. A Rotarian who becomes a candidate for an elective position, such as district governor or RI director, must avoid any action that would be interpreted as giving him or her an unfair advantage over other candidates. In Rotary it is believed that a Rotarian’s record of service and qualifications for office stand on their own and do not require publicity or special promotion.

Rotary International is perhaps the most territorial organization in the world. It exists in 159 countries and cuts across dozens of languages, political and social structures, customs, religions and traditions. How is it that all of the more than 34,500 Rotary clubs of the world operate in almost identical style? The primary answer is the Standard Rotary Club Constitution. One of the conditions for receiving a charter to become a Rotary club is to accept the Standard Club Constitution, originally adopted in 1922. The Standard Club Constitution outlines administrative techniques for clubs to follow in holding weekly meetings, procedures for membership and classifications, conditions of attendance and payment of dues, and other policies relating to public issues and political positions. This constitutional document provides the framework for all Rotary clubs in the world. The Standard Club Constitution has to be considered one of the great strengths of Rotary to enable the organization to operate in so many thousands of communities. You can read the Rotary Constitution at our club’s website
rotary membership numbersRegular attendance is essential to a strong and active Rotary club. The emphasis on attendance is traced back to 1922, when Rotary International announced a worldwide attendance contest that motivated thousands of Rotarians to achieve 100 percent attendance year after year. Many Rotarians take great pride in maintaining a 100 percent record in their own club or by making-up at other Rotary club meetings. Although the bylaws of Rotary require members to attend only 60 percent of all meetings, the custom has emerged that 100 percent is the desirable level. Rotary stresses regular attendance because each member represents his own business or profession, and thus the absence of any member deprives the club of the values of its diversified membership and the personal fellowship of each member. From time to time, proposals have been made to give attendance credit for various reasons or to lower the minimum requirement. Such attempts generally have been rebuffed by the clubs acting through the Council on Legislation.

Currently we have two members in our club who have perfect attendance, Gregg Gardiner and Steven Lafferty. But all time record for perfect attendance goes to, Glyndon “Sign” Smith. He was a member of the Eureka Rotary Club for 69 years and never missed a weekly meeting! He is the king of perfect attendance.

Absences from regular club meetings may be made up in various ways listed in the Standard Rotary Club Constitution. Members who attend an RI meeting, such as a district conference, can credit the days attended to make up for club meetings missed as a result of attending the RI meeting. There several other ways as well. To achieve Rotary International’s regulation of maintaining a minimum 60 percent attendance record, up to half of this requirement can be achieved by making up missed meetings:

  • At other regularly established Rotary Club meetings including e-clubs or online clubs.
  • At a District Assembly or Conference.
  • At a Rotary International Convention or Conference.
  • At a Eureka Rotary Club Service project, including things like Back Pack for Kids, the Dictionary Project, scholarship meetings, small grants meeting, etc.
  • At any gathering designated as a “makeup meeting” by the club president.
  • Attending a fellowship meeting; e.g., Christmas party, club fundraiser
  • Attending an Interact Club meeting
  • Attending an Rotaract Club meeting
  • Attending a complete Eureka Rotary Club Board Meeting
  • Online for an online club or the club makeup.

Make sure to inform our attendance secretary that you have made up a meeting; it helps your attendance and the club’s overall attendance.

Which Rotarians have to travel farthest for a makeup meeting? You are right if you guessed the 34 members of the Rotary Club of Papeete, Tahiti, which is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and is the club that is most remote from any other. Therefore Kathy and I decided that we must miss my first meeting and go there to meet these fine Rotarians.

rotary makeup

The southernmost Rotary meeting is that of the Rotary Club of Base Marambio-Antartida in Antarctica. To visit the northernmost club you must travel above the Arctic Circle to the Rotary Club of Barrow, Alaska, U.S.A. If you attend the El Aguilar club in Argentina, you are meeting with the highest club in the world at 16,000 feet (4,880 meters) above sea level. The lowest club meets at 40 feet (12.2 meters) below sea level at El Centro, California, USA. It is said that there is a Rotary meeting being held someplace in the world every hour of every day. If you attended one meeting per day, it would take nearly 80 years to visit all of the more than 34,500 Rotary clubs in the world, and by that time, no doubt, there would be thousands more new clubs to attend.

The Standard Rotary Club Constitution specifies three conditions under which a Rotarian’s membership will automatically be terminated for non-attendance. These circumstances are: failure to attend or make up four consecutive club meetings, failure to attend or make up 60 percent of club meetings each six months, and failure to attend at least 30 percent of the meetings of one’s own club in each six-month period. Under any of these three cases, a member will lose Rotary membership unless the club board (directors) has previously consented to excuse such failure for good and sufficient reason. To some individuals, these rules may seem unusually rigid. However, being present at club meetings is one of the basic obligations a member accepts upon joining a Rotary club. The constitutional rules merely emphasize that Rotary is a participatory organization that highly values regular attendance. When a member is absent the entire club loses the personal association with that member. Being present at a club meeting is considered a vital part of the operation and success of every Rotary club. For any Rotarian to miss four consecutive meetings, or disregard the other attendance requirements, should be considered tantamount to the submission of one’s resignation from the club. When a club terminates a member for non-attendance, it is simply an acceptance of a resignation and not a punitive action by the club officers. All Rotarians know the consequences of non-attendance, so it clearly becomes a conscious decision by a Rotarian to withdraw from the club when he or she fails to fulfill the attendance requirements.
Do you remember when someone asked you to become a Rotarian? What do you think most Rotarians fail to perform? Paying their dues? Attending meetings? Contributing to the club’s service fund? Participating in club events and projects? No — none of these! Of all the obligations a person accepts when joining a Rotary club, the one in which most Rotarians fail is “sharing Rotary.”

It is estimated that less than 30 percent of the members of most Rotary clubs have ever made the effort to propose a new member. Thus, in every club, there are many Rotarians who readily accept the pleasures of being a Rotarian without ever sharing that privilege with another qualified individual.

Please reach out and share Rotary with a prospective member. Everyone must know at least one person who should belong to Rotary.

Sponsor a New Member
Contribute to our Club’s membership by bringing in qualified business and professional leaders who are interested in and committed to advancing the mission of Rotary. Together with our fellow Rotarians, you can help your club fully represent our community’s business and professional life.

Proposing new members is essential to achieving Rotary’s goals of providing community and international service. As a Rotarian, one of your primary responsibilities is to help identify and propose new members.
Consider the following approaches for finding future Rotarians:

  • Wear your Rotary pin to initiate conversations about your involvement with Rotary.
  • Share stories of exciting club projects with colleagues, friends, and acquaintances.
  • Distribute Rotary Basics (595-EN), This Is Rotary (001-EN), and What’s Rotary? (419-EN). All three are available from, the RI Catalog, or your international office.
  • Give them copies of this booklet. Copies will be available at every meeting.
  • Invite friends, co-workers, and colleagues to join you at your weekly Rotary meeting.
  • Ask potential members to become involved with a club activity or service project.
  • Encourage prospective members to tour the RI Web site, view membership videos, and complete a Prospective Member Form (
  • Rotary Club of Eureka new member application is available on our website (
  • Rotary becomes stronger with each new member.
If you asked a Rotarian if he or she belonged to Rotary International, the individual probably would look puzzled and answer, “Of course I’m a member of Rotary International!” But in this instance, technically the confident Rotarian would be wrong. No Rotarian can be a member of Rotary International! The explanation of this apparent contradiction is simple: the constitutional documents of RI state that membership in Rotary International is limited to Rotary clubs. Over 34,500 Rotary clubs belong to the organization we call Rotary International. So, if someone asks if you belong to Rotary International, your most accurate answer would be, “No, I belong to a Rotary club.” But it is doubtful anyone would understand the difference, or, in fact, would really care.
“Honorary” is one of the two types of membership a person may have in a Rotary Club. This type of membership is the highest distinction a Rotary Club can confer and is exercised only in exceptional cases to recognize an individual for unusual service and contributions to Rotary and society. Honorary members cannot propose new members to the club, do not hold office and are exempt from attendance requirements and club dues. Many distinguished heads of state, explorers, authors, musicians, astronauts and other public personalities have been honorary members of Rotary Clubs, including King Gustaf of Sweden, King George VI of England, King Badouin of Belgium, King Hassan III of Morocco, Sir Winston Churchill, humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, Charles Lindbergh, composer Jean Sibelius, explorer Sir Edmund Hillary, Thor Heyerdahl, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Bob Hope, Dr. Albert Sabin, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and many of the presidents of the United States. Truly, those selected for honorary membership are those who have done much to further the ideals of Rotary.
A past service member is a retired person who is not yet qualified for senior active membership. One way a person can become a past service member is by being an active member and retiring from his or her business or profession. The Rotary club may also elect to past service membership a retired executive or professional who would have qualified for active membership when employed. In the latter case, there is no former classification associated with the individual. Despite a common misperception, a senior active member can never become a past service member.
The so-called “Rule of 85” is alive and well, although modified by the 2010 Council on Legislation. It is hard to find because it is not officially called the “Rule of 85”, nor a type of Rotary membership (“Active” or “Honorary” are the only two) – it is merely a provision listed under “excused absences” in the Standard Rotary Club Constitution. It provides that if a members combined age and years of service equal 85 years or greater, they are at least age 65, and they ask to be excused, then they are excused. Additionally, they don’t count against the club’s attendance figures.

Example: Member John Doe will be 65 in June 2015 and he will have 20 years of service in October 2015. This qualifies him for exclusion from attendance starting in October 2015. This will not affect his or her membership status in any way, but will simply allow the Club Attendance Secretary to exclude him from the attendance percent if he does not make a meeting. However, if he attends a meeting he should be counted toward your overall percentage.

rotary membership eurekaRotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders who dedicate their time and talent to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

Rotary Community Corps (RCCs): groups of non-Rotary members who work to improve their communities. There are more than 7,500 RCCs in 80 countries, all organized and sponsored by Rotary Clubs.

Almost every day a new Rotary club is chartered in one of the more than 200 countries in which Rotary exists. This steady growth in new clubs is extremely important in extending the worldwide programs and influence of Rotary International.

New Rotary clubs may be established anywhere in the world where the fundamental principles of Rotary may be freely observed.

A club must be organized to serve a specific “locality” or clearly identified territory in which there are enough business or professional persons of good character engaged in proprietary or management positions. A minimum of 35 potential classifications is necessary for a proposed new club, and from that list a permanent membership of at least 20 members must be enrolled.

The Rotary Club of Eureka has a history of starting new clubs and were instrumental in obtaining the Arcata charter on February 8, 1926, the Fortuna charter on January 5, 1927 and the Crescent City charter on November 24, 1953. In addition our club worked with Fortuna in organizing the Garberville charter on January 11, 1938. More recently we chartered the Southwest Eureka Rotary club on March 13, 1969.

The Eureka High School Interact club was chartered by the Rotary Club of Eureka in 1962.

The Lost Coast Rotaract by the Rotary Club of Eureka in February 2010.

rotary foundationThe Rotary Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs. It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

The Rotary Foundation’s Beginning
Some magnificent projects grow from very small seeds. The Rotary Foundation had that sort of modest beginning. The Foundation was created in 1917 by Rotary International’s sixth president, Arch C. Klumph, as an endowment fund for Rotary “to do good in the world.” He proposed it as outgoing president at the 1917 convention. In 1928 it was renamed The Rotary Foundation, and it became a distinct entity within Rotary International. Beginning with an initial contribution of US$26.50, in has grown to a record-breaking year in 2013 with more than US$115.1 million for Annual Fund(Share), $20.4 million to the Endowment Fund and finally PolioPlus received $20.4 million from Rotarians and $69.6 from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundations.

In 2013, The Rotary Foundation earned a grade of A+ from the American Institute of Philanthropy, a top rating of four stars from Charity Navigator, and full accreditation from the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau, based on the previous year’s results. In fiscal year 2012-13, only 2 percent of Foundation expenditures went to administrative expenses and 9 percent to fundraising. The Foundation directed 89 percent of its spending to programs, far exceeding the benchmarks that independent charity-rating services view as a measure of high efficiency.
rotary paul harris awardUndoubtedly the most important step to promote voluntary giving to The Rotary Foundation occurred in 1957, when the idea of Paul Harris Fellow recognition was first proposed. Although the concept of making US$1,000 gifts to the Foundation was slow in developing, by the early 1970s it began to gain popularity. The distinctive Paul Harris Fellow lapel pin and attractive certificate have become highly respected symbols of a substantial financial commitment to The Rotary Foundation by Rotarians and friends around the world.

The Eureka Rotary Club first Paul Harris Fellows were Charli Strope and George Baker in 1972.

It was Arch Klumph, father of The Rotary Foundation, who said, “We should look at the Foundation as being not something of today or tomorrow, but think of it in terms of the years and generations to come.” That’s why the Foundation’s Permanent Fund is considered the most important way to assure the future of Rotary’s educational and humanitarian programs.

rotary permanent fundOnly earnings from their investment are used to support Foundation programs. Ultimately, it is intended that the Permanent Fund will provide a steady and secure supplement to Foundation support, always guaranteeing a minimum level of program activity and allowing for the possibility of new and expanded programs in the future.

The Permanent Fund is the Foundation’s endowed fund, with gifts held in perpetuity. Spendable earnings from the fund supplement the Annual Fund and support Rotary’s highest priorities, including global grants and the Rotary Peace Centers. The Foundation has set a goal of $1 billion in Permanent Fund assets by 2025, ensuring its capacity to meet future needs.

The Foundation gives special recognition to anyone who includes a substantial gift to the Permanent Fund in his or her estate plan or gives outright a minimum cash gift of US$1, 000 to the fund. Such a donor is designated as a Rotary Foundation Benefactor. As of this June 2014 there were more than 92,000 Benefactors worldwide

Donors typically support the Permanent Fund through outright and planned gifts. The opportunities in many countries include:

  • Bequest commitments
  • Life insurance
  • Marketable securities
  • Real estate
  • Charitable trusts or annuities

Permanent Fund recognition opportunities include:

  • Benefactor
  • Bequest Society
  • Major Donor
  • Arch C. Klumph Society
rotary polio plusIn the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, virtually every person knew someone in their family or circle of friends who had polio. In the early 1950s, there were annually over 55,000 cases of polio in the United States. Worldwide there were perhaps 500,000 cases of polio. Of that number 50,000 children a year would die from polio, and millions more would be crippled, paralyzed or suffer lifelong disabilities.

That was the backdrop of the PolioPlus story. In 1978, Rotary had a committee, appointed by R.I. President Clem Renouf, to design a new direction for Rotary. It was called the Health, Hunger and Humanity Committee. This was a small committee to design a program for Rotary International to undertake projects far greater than any club or district could do. Rotary had never undertaken a corporate or worldwide project – just club programs. Rotary received 16 project proposals from around the world. One proposal was from the Philippines. Dr. Benny Santos wrote that if Rotary could provide the vaccine, they would mobilize all the Rotarians in the entire Philippines and immunize all the children. So, that was it. Rotary approved the project, and some 6 million children were immunized against polio. It was a huge success.

A couple years passed, and another Rotary committee was created in 1982 by R.I. President Stan McCaffrey called the New Horizons Committee. This group had the job of “looking into the future of Rotary to see what tasks or new directions Rotary could take” in the future. A letter from Rotarian John Sever suggested that we might provide polio vaccine for all the children in the world. The committee thought that was a good idea, so it was one of the 35 suggestions to the R.I. Board of Directors. So, in 1982 the Board of Rotary International approved the idea of giving polio vaccine to all the children in the world.

rotary polio map

At that time, you could find polio in 125 nations of the world and it was estimated that there were 350,000 cases of polio in the world every year. But we took on the project, one country at a time. Our first big immunization day was in Mexico, where we immunized 13 million children. Then we went to Central America and South America. One nation after another became “polio-free.”

Rotary, along with its partners, has reduced polio cases by 99 percent worldwide since its first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. We are close to eradicating polio, but we need your help. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, here are some ways to make a global impact and protect children against polio forever.

Today there are 3 endemic counties left and 2.5 billion children have been immunized against polio. “The Gates Foundation will match two-to-one, up to US$35 million per year, every dollar Rotary commits to reduce the funding shortfall for polio eradication through 2018,” said Jeff Raikes, the foundation’s chief executive officer, in a prerecorded video address shown during the convention’s plenary session on June 25. “If fully realized, the value of this new partnership with Rotary is more than $500 million. In this way, your contributions to polio will work twice as hard.”

Going forward, the Gates Foundation will match two-to-one, up to US$35 million per year, every dollar Rotary commits to reduce the funding shortfall for polio eradication through 2018. If fully realized, the value of this new partnership with Rotary is more than $500 million. In this way, your contributions to polio will work twice as hard.

Rotary and the Gates Foundation are determined not to let polio make a comeback.

We will combine the strength of Rotary’s network with our resources, and together with the other partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), we will not just end a disease but change the face of public health forever.

In 2007, the Gates Foundation gave The Rotary Foundation a $100 million challenge grant for polio eradication, and in 2009, increased it to $355 million. Rotary agreed to raise $200 million in matching funds by 30 June 2012, but Rotarians in fact raised $228.7 million toward the challenge.

That’s the story of Rotary’s involvement in one of the greatest humanitarian program ever – PolioPlus. And I thank every one of you who have been a part of this program for so many years.

rotary siberiaWithin the Object of Rotary there is the fourth point which states; “The advancement of international understanding, good will and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional men and women united in the ideal of service.” Global grants offer clubs and districts opportunities to participate in strategically focused, high-impact activities. These grants fund large scale international humanitarian projects, vocational training teams, and scholarships that have sustainable, measurable outcomes in one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus. Activities may be carried out individually or in combination; for example, one grant may support a vocational training team and a related humanitarian project.

Global grant projects must have a minimum total budget of $30,000. This includes the World Fund Award, which is based on a 100 percent match of District Designated Fund allocations, or a 50 percent match of cash contributions from the sponsors. That means that Rotary clubs must put in a minimum of $10,000. All global grants must be sponsored by two clubs or districts: a host partner in the country where the activity takes place, and an international partner outside that country.

Here is what our Rotary is doing…
The Rotary Club of Eureka has tried to meet this commitment during its existence. Prior to around 2000 the biggest problem in doing international service rotary nigeriawas communication. It was difficult with regular mail to develop or maintain relationships internationally. As a result our club did international work only occasionally. Periodically Rotary International would ask for disaster relief money and we would send some. Once a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Argentina asked for shoes for an orphanage in Argentina, and we sent some. Former member Ted Rose asked for supplies for an orphanage in Central America; we supplied his needs and later, as the project expanded, this became recognized by Rotary as Project Amigo. Former members Larry and Sara Kavich had a relationship with China and asked our help with sending school supplies there, which we did. Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka asked for our help in sending an ambulance to Guadalajara, Mexico. This came about because one of their members met a local Mexican Rotarian in a bar. Subsequently this project advanced into what is now the Festival of Brotherhood. None of these projects involved Rotary Foundation money.

After 2000, email and internet communication became easier and more common. This allowed for better, rapid communication throughout the world and made it easier for projects to be developed and implemented.

In the 2000-2001 Rotary year, PDG Harry Johnson, DDS and his district team selected then-President J. Kim Bauriedel of our club to be the district GSE Team Leader to Siberia, Russia, which at that time was part of D5010 consisting of Alaska, Yukon and Siberia. During that trip Dr. Bauriedel learned that a hospital needed certain urological surgical equipment. Knowing that there was a surplus of these particular items in Eureka that resulted from the recent purchase of General Hospital by St. Joseph Hospital, it was easily arranged for the Russian team to hand-carry back about $30,000 of medical equipment to the hospital in Siberia.

rotary swaziland

That first project set the Rotary Club of Eureka on a course of doing frequent projects with the Siberian Rotary Clubs. Most projects have been done through the Foundation grant process, but some have been direct donations. RCE Eureka has collaborated with other clubs including Del Norte Sunrise, Crescent City, Arcata, Arcata Sunrise, Fortuna, Fortuna Sunrise, Ferndale, Southwest Eureka, Old Town Eureka, Sebastopol Sunrise, Valley of the Moon, Vail Colorado, Santa Rosa West, Santa Rosa, Auburn CA, Liverpool England, Roseville CA, Sidney Australia, Anchorage East, AK, and others. The collaboration has included donations from St. Joseph Hospital, Redwood Memorial Hospital, Mad River Community Hospital, Mt. Diablo Hospital, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Keckler Industries, Whitmore Enterprises and donations from many non-Rotarian physicians, teachers, musicians and community members. The projects have been at hospitals, schools, orphanages and various city parks. Between 2001 and 2014, there were close to 50 projects completed. They have a worth approaching 3 million dollars. They have included multiple Rotary Friendship Teams going in both directions. In 2013-14 our district had its first exchange student from Siberia/Russia. Our club was instrumental in hosting our district’s first VTT, which was also from Vladivostok, Russia. To accomplish all this, the Rotary Foundation has contributed over $350,000 through our club for these Siberian projects.

Beyond these club initiated and coordinated projects, our club has contributed consistently to the Rotary Polio Eradication project, which started in 1987. Although our focus has been on Siberia, we have also contributed to projects in Belize, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Ecuador, Cambodia, Laos, Honduras, Tanzania, Swaziland, Uganda, Nigeria, England, India, Argentina and China (Tibet and Hong Kong) since 1992.

Packaged Grants
Packaged grants support predesigned projects developed by the Foundation and its strategic partners, which are organizations that work in one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus and can offer financial support, technical expertise, or advocacy. The Foundation and the strategic partner provide 100 percent of the funding; Rotarians implement the grant project. Details about packaged grant options and current strategic partners are available at

District grants are grants that enable clubs and districts to address immediate needs in their communities and abroad.

Districts may request up to 50 percent of their District Designated Fund for grants annually.

Districts manage and disburse these funds to support district- and club-sponsored activities, including vocational training teams, scholarships, humanitarian service projects, and cultural exchanges, provided they are aligned with the Foundation’s mission.

Matching Grants:
Provide matching funds for the international service projects of Rotary clubs and districts. Since 1965, more than 20,000 Matching Grants projects in 166 countries have been funded at a cost of more than US $198 million.

rotary awards

What do those pins mean?

  1. Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) pin, when you give $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus, or an approved Foundation grant.
  2. You are recognized as a Multiple PHF with each additional gift of $1,000, starting with the upper left PHF-1 to the lower right PHF-8.
  3. Paul Harris Society member, when you give $1,000 or more annually to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus, or an approved Foundation grant.
  4. Benefactor, when you include the Endowment Fund as a beneficiary in your estate plans or when you donate $1,000 or more to the fund outright. Benefactors receive a certificate and insignia to wear with a Rotary or Paul Harris Fellow pin.
  5. Foundation logo
  6. Bequest Society member*, when you give $10,000 or more via your estate plans. All society members receive recognition from the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation, and donors can choose to receive an engraved crystal recognition piece and a Bequest Society pin.
  7. Major donor*, when your cumulative donations reach $10,000.
  8. Rotary crystals* are also given for each level of donation for major donors and Bequest Society members.

*Recognition items commemorate giving at these levels:

  • Level 1: $10,000 to $24,999
  • Level 2: $25,000 to $49,999
  • Level 3: $50,000 to $99,999
  • Level 4: $100,000 to $249,999
  • Level 5: $250,000 to $499,000
  • Level 6: $500,000 to $1,000,000
rotary wheel

A wheel has been the symbol of Rotary since our earliest days. The first design was made by Chicago Rotarian Montague Bear, an engraver who drew a simple wagon wheel with a few lines to show dust and motion. The wheel was said to illustrate “Civilization and Movement.” Most of the early clubs had some form of wagon wheel on their publications and letterheads. Finally, in 1922, it was decided that all Rotary Clubs should adopt a single design as the exclusive emblem of Rotarians. Thus, in 1923, the present gear wheel, with 24 cogs and six spokes was adopted by the “Rotary International Association.” A group of engineers advised that the geared wheel was mechanically unsound and would not work without a “keyway” in the center of the gear to attach it to a power shaft. So, in 1923 the keyway was added and the design which we now know was formally adopted as the official Rotary International emblem.

The first official Rotary flag reportedly was flown in Kansas City, Missouri in January 1915. In 1922 a small Rotary flag was carried over the South Pole by Admiral Richard Byrd, a member of the Winchester, Virginia Rotary Club. Four years later, the admiral carried a Rotary flag in his expedition to the North Pole. An official flag was formally adopted by Rotary International at the 1929 Convention in Dallas, Texas.
rotary bannersOne of the colorful traditions of Rotary clubs is the exchange of small banners, flags or pennants. Rotarians traveling to distant locations often take banners to exchange at “make up” meetings as a token of friendship. Many clubs, including ours, use the decorative banners they have received for attractive displays at club meetings and district events. Exchanging club banners is a very pleasant custom. Banners tell an interesting story of community pride. The exchange of banners is a significant tradition of Rotary, and serves as a tangible symbol of our international fellowship.
In most Rotary clubs, such as ours, it is customary to open weekly meetings with an appropriate invocation or blessing. Usually such invocations are offered without reference to specific religious denominations or faiths. Rotary policy recognizes that throughout the world Rotarians represent many religious beliefs, ideas and creeds (see Tolerance, page 8). The religious beliefs of each member are fully respected, and nothing in Rotary is intended to prevent any individual from being faithful to such convictions.

At international assemblies and conventions, it is traditional for a silent invocation to be given. In respect for all religious beliefs and in the spirit of tolerance for a wide variety of personal faiths, all persons are invited to seek divine guidance and peace “each in his own way.” It is an inspiring experience to join with thousands of Rotarians in an international “silent prayer” or act of personal devotion.

From the earliest days of Rotary, members have referred to each other on a first-name basis. Since personal acquaintanceship and friendship are the cornerstones of Rotary, it was natural that clubs adopted the practice of setting aside formal titles in conversations among members.

Individuals who normally would be addressed as Doctor, Professor, Mister, the Honorable or Sir are regularly called Joe, Bill, Mary, Karen or Charley by other Rotarians. The characteristic Rotary club name badge fosters the first-name custom.

In a few areas, such as Europe, club members use a more formal style in addressing fellow members. In other parts of the world, mainly in Asian countries, the practice is to assign each new Rotarian a humorous nickname which relates to some personal characteristic or which is descriptive of the member’s business or profession. A member nicknamed “Oxygen” is the manufacturer of chemical gas products. “Trees” is the nickname for the Rotarian in the lumber business, “Building” is the contractor, “Paper” is the stationery or office supply retailer. Other members might carry nicknames like “Muscles,” “Foghorn” or “Smiles” as commentaries on their physical features. The nicknames are frequently a source of good-natured fun and fellowship. But whether a Rotarian is addressed by a given first name or a nickname, the spirit of personal friendship is the initial step that opens doors to all other opportunities for service.

Most Rotary clubs ring a bell to call a meeting to order or to adjourn a meeting. Both bells and gavels have a long association with Robert’s Rules of Order, the definitive manual of parliamentary procedure in North America. Early Rotary leaders adopted Robert’s Rules as a way to govern meetings.

The use of the Rotary bell has never been mandated The Rotarian of clubs using bells and this practice became more popular as the custom was promoted.

One of the earliest published stories about using a bell at a Rotary meeting is from a 1915 Ladies’ Night meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. A sign commanded attendants “sit down when the bell rings.” By 1919, the Kansas City club had acquired a large bell which they referred to as “the Gavel,” which was fashioned out of a horse-drawn streetcar gong and run with a large wooden mallet (made from the wood of a German bayonet).

In 1922, the Rotary Club of London presented a bell to the Rotary Club of New York City; the bell was a prize over a long-running attendance contest between the two clubs. In December 1923, a decorative bell was advertised in The Rotarian for use by clubs. Called the Rotary Bell No. 29, this bell was marketed for use at Rotary meetings, as “A unique table ornament, a sight prettier and infinitely more agreeable than the harsh gavel.”

Much of Rotary’s rich history informs today’s practices. Many traditions, while never officially mandated or sanctioned, are such a part of current Rotary culture that most Rotarians could not imagine their Rotary experience without these long-standing practices.

With this tradition in mind, Rotary International marked its centennial with five bells that traveled the world in 2003-2005. One bell traveled to the first 100 clubs to join Rotary International, while the others went to the first Rotary club formed in each country of four regions: Asia and the Pacific; Latin American and the Caribbean; Africa; and Europe and the Middle East. All five bells returned to Chicago to call the 2005 convention to order

Harry Ruggles was the fifth man to join Paul Harris in the conversations that led to the formation of the first Rotary club in Chicago in 1905. Harry was a fellow who enjoyed singing, and this was a popular activity at the turn of the century. At an early meeting of the fledgling group, Harry jumped on a chair and urged everyone to join him in a song. Group singing soon became a traditional part of their Rotary meeting. The custom spread to many of the clubs in the United States, and is still a popular fellowship activity in the Rotary meetings of such diverse countries as Australia, Japan, Nigeria, New Zealand and Canada. Some clubs sing a national song as the formal opening of the meeting. Social singing, however, is seldom found in the Rotary clubs in Europe, South America and Asia. The Rotary Club of Eureka has tried on at least two occasions to become a singing club – first under Past Pres. Harold Adams (1947/1948) and later under Edie Young (1997/1998). There are some members who have not given up and are promising to try once again.
rotary banner recognitions

From left to right:

  • 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club, for clubs in which all dues-paying members are Paul Harris Fellows. This is a one-time recognition. Please contact your district governor to receive this banner.
  • 100% Rotary Foundation Sustaining Member Club, in which every dues-paying member personally gives $100 or more to the Annual Fund. Awarded annually at the end of the Rotary year.
  • Every Rotarian, Every Year Club, for clubs that achieve a minimum $100 per capita with all dues-paying members contributing some amount to the Annual Fund. Awarded annually at the end of the Rotary year.
  • Number 1 Club in the district in per capita giving.
Rotary Youth Exchange is one of Rotary’s most popular programs to promote international understanding and develop lifelong friendships. It began in 1927 with the Rotary Club of Nice, France. In 1939 an extensive Youth Exchange was created between California and Latin America. Since then the program has expanded around the world. In recent years more than 8,000 young people have participated annually in Rotary-sponsored exchange programs.

rotary youth exchangeThe values of Youth Exchange are experienced not only by the high school-age students involved, but also by the host families, sponsoring clubs, receiving high schools and the entire community. Youth Exchange participants usually provide their fellow students in their host schools with excellent opportunities to learn about customs, languages, traditions and family life in another country. Youth Exchange offers young people interesting opportunities and rich experiences to see another part of the world. Students usually spend a full academic year abroad, although some clubs and districts sponsor short term exchanges of several weeks or months.

Approximately 36 percent of Rotary Youth Exchange students are hosted or sent by the clubs in the United States and Canada. European countries account for about 40 percent, and 12 percent come from Australia and New Zealand. Asian clubs sponsor 5 percent, and 7 percent come from Latin American countries. Over 70 percent of all Rotary districts participate in Youth Exchange activities.

In much of the official literature of Rotary International relating to service to young people, a special slogan will be found – “Every Rotarian an Example to Youth.” These words were adopted in 1949 by the Rotary International Board of Directors as an expression of commitment to children and youth in each community in which Rotary clubs exist. Serving young people has long been an important part of the Rotary program. Youth service projects take many forms around the world. Rotarians sponsor Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, athletic teams, centers for disabled children, school safety patrols, summer camps, recreation areas, safe driving clinics, county fairs, child care centers and children’s hospitals. Many clubs provide vocational counseling, establish youth employment programs and promote use of the Four-Way Test. Increasingly, drug and alcohol abuse prevention and AIDS awareness projects are being supported by Rotarians. In every instance, Rotarians have an opportunity to be role models for the young men and women of their community. One learns to serve by observing others. As our youth grow to become adult leaders, it is hoped each will achieve that same desire and spirit to serve future generations of children and youth. The slogan accepted over 60 years ago is just as vital today. It is a very thoughtful challenge: “Every Rotarian an Example to Youth.”
rotary interactInteract, the Rotary youth program, was launched by the RI Board of Directors in 1962 and started in Eureka at the Eureka High School in 1969 when Dr Ted Loring was our club’s president. The first Interact Club was established by the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Florida. Interact clubs provide opportunities for boys and girls of secondary school age to work together in a world fellowship of service and international understanding. The term “Interact” is derived from “inter” for international, and “act” for action. Every Interact club must be sponsored and supervised by a Rotary club and must plan annual projects of service to its school, community and in the world.

Today there are over 15,875 Interact clubs with more than 151,000 members in 88 countries. “Interactors” develop skills in leadership and attain practical experience in conducting service projects, thereby learning the satisfaction that comes from serving others. A major goal of Interact is to provide opportunities for young people to create greater understanding and goodwill with youth throughout the world.

rotary rotaractRotaract originally began as a Rotary International youth program in 1968 at Charlotte North Rotary Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, and has grown into a major Rotary-sponsored organization of over 5820 clubs spread around the world and 133,000 members. It is a service, leadership and community service organization for young men and women between the ages 18–30. Rotaract focuses on the development of young adults as leaders in their communities and workplaces. Clubs around the world also take part in international service projects, in a global effort to bring peace and international understanding to the world. Rotaract provides an opportunity for young men and women to enhance the knowledge and skills that will assist them in personal development, to address the physical and social needs of their communities, and to promote better relations between all people worldwide through a framework of friendship and service.

“Rotaract” stands for “Rotary in Action.” Most Rotaract activities take place at the club level. Rotaract clubs hold formal meetings, usually every two weeks, which feature speakers, special project work, social events, or professional/leadership development workshops.

The Eureka Club chartered the Lost Coast Rotaract Club on February 3, 2010, during Carlton Nielson’s presidency, and the first president was Klark K. Swan.

RYLA aims to:

  • Demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth
  • Provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders
  • Encourage leadership of youth by youth
  • Publicly recognize young people who are rendering service to their communities

Every RYLA program covers the following core topics:

  • Fundamentals of leadership
  • Ethics of positive leadership
  • Importance of communication skills in effective leadership
  • Problem-solving and conflict management
  • Rotary’s purpose and service to the community
  • Building self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Elements of community and global citizenship
rotary rylaRotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a leadership program coordinated by Rotary clubs across the globe. Each year thousands of young people participate in this program. Young people ages 14–30 are sponsored by Rotary clubs to attend the event run by the club’s district committee. Participants are chosen for their leadership potential. Rotary clubs and the Rotary district cover all expenses for the participants. The format of the event varies from district to district, but commonly takes the form of a seminar, camp, or workshop to discuss leadership skills and to learn those skills through practice. Rotary clubs and districts select participants and facilitate the event’s curriculum.
Advanced Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (ARYLA) is a leadership conference for youth, ages 19 to 29 from across the globe, that focuses on business and leadership skills. ARYLA aims to build upon the skills of recognized youth leaders to motivate and enable them to begin service projects. The ARYLA New England conference is held every year in late July out of Norwalk, CT.
Scholarships can be funded by district grants, global grants, and in some cases, packaged grants. District grants have no restrictions on the educational level of the scholarship (e.g., undergraduate or graduate), duration of the program, or field of study. Districts may develop their own criteria for selecting scholars, determine the monetary amount of the awards, and support students attending local universities, as there is no international requirement. Global grants, as well as some packaged grants, support international graduate-level study related to an area of focus for one to four years. Today’s scholars are tomorrow’s leaders within the areas of focus.

Rotary Club of Eureka Scholarships
The Rotary Club of Eureka has a long history of providing scholarships to needy students starting all the way back in 1946. Today, Rotary has several opportunities for scholarships that can be funded in many different ways.

Wendell Adams Memorial Fund
To honor Wendell Adams, his wife, Olive M. Adams, established this fund in 1986.  He will be remembered for his love of music and his desire to serve others. Mr. Adams had served as President of the Eureka Rotary Club. The income from this fund is to be used for Exchange Students sponsored by the Rotary Club of Eureka. $13,149.35

Donald Morris Hegy Memorial Fund
Bill Hegy was a member of the Rotary Club of Eureka and served as President in 1983/1984. Mr. and Mrs. William Z. Hegy established this fund in memory of their son, Donald Morris Hegy, who passed away at the young age of 4 years. Bill and Elizabeth Hegy set up this fund to help in the following disciplines (in order):
Environmental science with emphasis in engineering,
Business administration with emphasis in computer science,
Social science with emphasis in history and political science.

Funds are kept at the Humboldt Area Foundation and the selection process is managed by the Rotary Club of Eureka. Currently, the fund is sustaining one $1,500 scholarship per year. $45,881.54

Joseph Sidney Woolford Fund
Dr. John S. Woolford was a graduate of Louisville Medical School, with advanced training at the University of Chicago. He was a member of Rotary Club of Eureka from 1934 until his passing in 1957. It was his desire to reward measurable scholastic achievement, quality and excellence of individual performance, career goal direction and an ability to inspire others. Scholarships are awarded to HSU graduate students. Recipients are selected by members of Rotary Club of Eureka. $240,983.28

Harvey G. Harper Rotary Scholarship
Harvey Harper was a dedicated and long-time Rotarian. Beloved by his family and community, Harvey’s love of cars was unparalleled. He left this lasting gift to the Rotary of Eureka. Each spring a scholarship will be awarded in Harvey’s memory to support a student who is planning to attend a school accredited by the National Automotive Technician’s Education Foundation. Funds are kept at the Humboldt Area Foundation and selection process is managed by the Rotary Club of Eureka. $25,055.91

rotary peace programA special program of The Rotary Foundation was originally labelled the “Rotary Peace Forum.” The concept of a center or educational program to promote greater understanding and peace in the world was originally discussed in 1982 by the New Horizons Committee and the World Understanding and Peace Committee. In 1984 it was further explored by a New Programs Committee of The Rotary Foundation. The essence of the Rotary Peace Program is to utilize the nongovernmental but worldwide resources of Rotary to develop educational programs around the issues that cause conflict among nations in the world as well as those influences and activities that promote peace, development and goodwill. The program includes seminars, publications or conferences as a means to initiate a global dialogue to find new approaches to peace and world understanding. Specific Rotary Peace Programs are selected twice a year by the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation. Many peace programs are held each year in conjunction with presidential conferences.
Do you know someone who is looking to make a significant impact on the world by promoting tolerance and cooperation? Each year Rotary funds some of the world’s most dedicated and brightest professionals to study at our Rotary Peace Centers. These fellows are committed to the advancement of peace, and often go on to serve as leaders in national governments, NGOs, the military, law enforcement, and international organizations such as the United Nations and World Bank. Each year, Rotary selects individuals from around the world to receive fully funded academic fellowships at one of our peace centers:

  • Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US
  • International Christian University, Japan
  • University of Bradford, UK
  • University of Queensland, Australia
  • Uppsala University, Sweden

Rotary offers master’s degree fellowships at premier universities in fields related to peace and conflict resolution and prevention. Programs last 15–24 months and require a practical internship of 2–3 months during the academic break. Each year Rotary awards up to 50 master’s fellowships from these institutions.

As of June 2014, the Rotary Foundation had spent $18 million on its Peace Centers. The average grant was about $75,000 per fellow for the two-year program and $12,000 per fellow for the three-month certificate program.

Rotary Clubs worldwide place a focus on increasing literacy. Such importance has been placed on literacy that Rotary International has created a “Rotary Literacy Month” that takes place during the month of March. Rotary Clubs also aim to conduct many literacy events during the week of September 8, which is International Literacy Day. The Rotary Club of Eureka takes part in a reading program called “Rotary Readers,” in which a Rotary member spends time in a classroom with a designated student, and reads one-on-one with them. Some Rotary Clubs participate in book donations, both locally and internationally. The Rotary Club of Eureka also participates in giving every third-grader in Humboldt County a dictionary with his or her name label on the nameplate inside the dictionary.

It has been estimated that a billion people – one-sixth of the world’s population – are unable to read. Illiteracy among adults and children is a global concern in highly industrialized nations and in developing countries. The number of adult illiterates in the world is increasing by 25 million each year! In the United States, one quarter of the entire population is considered functionally illiterate. The tragedy of illiteracy is that those who cannot read are denied personal independence and become victims of unscrupulous manipulation, poverty and the loss of human dignity that give meaning to life. Illiteracy is demeaning. It is a major obstacle for economic, political, social and personal development. Illiteracy is a barrier to international understanding, cooperation and peace in the world.

Historically Rotarians perpetuated a myth that Rotary should not seek publicity, but rather let our good works speak for themselves. However, an early stated policy observed that “as a means of extending Rotary’s influence, proper publicity should be given to a worthwhile project well carried out.” A more modern public relations philosophy was adopted in the mid-1970s that affirms that “good publicity, favorable public relations and a positive image are desirable and essential goals for Rotary,” if it is to foster understanding, appreciation and support for its Object and programs and to broaden Rotary’s service to humanity.

The role of the club public relations committee is to develop and execute a plan to tell the public about Rotary and promote the club’s service projects and activities. Having strong public relations ensures that communities around the world know that Rotary is a credible organization that meets real needs. When a Rotary club has a positive public image, current members are motivated to be active and prospective members are eager to join.

Public image and membership growth are interconnected. A high quality, consistent public image campaign will prompt individuals to seek out local clubs and be more inclined to accept invitations to join.

rotary rotarianOfficial and regional Rotary magazines, Rotary International’s unique communications media are the official monthly magazine named The Rotarian, published in English language by the headquarters, and 30 other regional Rotary World Magazine Press periodicals that are independently produced in more than 20 different major languages and distributed in 130 countries.

The first official magazine, The National Rotarian, predecessor to The Rotarian, was started in January 1911. The first regional magazine was issued in 1915 in Great Britain and Ireland. It was and still is called Rotary Today. It is a bi-monthly publication distributed to each of the 60,000 Rotarians in Great Britain and Ireland at the members’ meetings. The official and regional magazines are circulated to Rotarian and non-Rotarian subscribers. The combined circulation is more than 700,000 copies.

The Rotary International float in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade is undoubtedly the largest public relations project of the Rotary clubs of the United States and Canada. Since 1927 a Rotary float has been entered 39 times, including every year since 1980.

rotary float

Funds for the construction of the Rotary parade entry are voluntarily given by Rotarians and clubs in the U.S. and Canada. The cost of designing, constructing and flower covering a Rose Parade float begins at about $120,000. The Rotary float must portray the annual parade theme, usually depicting one of the worldwide service programs of Rotary International. Each New Year’s Day, Rotarians take pride in seeing their attractive float, and realize they have shared in its construction by contributing a dollar or two to this beautiful public relations project.

Our Rotary club issues a weekly bulletin called the Rotary Burl, full of Rotary news from recent meetings. Aside from meeting information and the name list of club directors and officers, the club bulletin contains the club president’s messages, a summary of guest speaker’s presentations, club projects and service activities, upcoming events, announcements and reminders for the members. It is circulated to the club electronically.

The Rotary Burl was first published under the name (Rotary bulletin) from 1944 to 1946, and the first Burl was published on April 5, 1946.

Most Rotarians are successful professional and business executives because they hear opportunities knock and take advantage of them. Once a week the opportunity for Rotary fellowship occurs at each club meeting, but not all members hear it knocking. The weekly club meeting is a special privilege of Rotary membership. It provides the occasion to visit with fellow members, to meet visitors you have not known before, and to share your personal friendship with other members. Rotary clubs that have a reputation for being “friendly clubs” usually follow a few simple steps:

  • First, members are encouraged to sit in a different seat or at a different table each week.
  • Second, Rotarians are urged to sit with a member they may not know as well as their long-time personal friends.
  • Third, members invite new members or visitors to join their table just by saying: “Come join us, we have an empty chair at this table.”
  • Fourth, members share the conversation around the table rather than merely eating in silence or talking privately to the person next to them.
  • Fifth, Rotarians make a special point of trying to get acquainted with all members of the club by seeking out those they may not know.

rotary fellowship

When Rotarians follow these five easy steps, an entirely new opportunity for fellowship knocks each week. Soon Rotarians realize that warm and personal friendship is the cornerstone of every great Rotary club.

In the annual Rotary calendar many months are designated to emphasize major programs of Rotary International.

  • January is Rotary Awareness Month. This is a time to expand knowledge of Rotary and its activities among our membership and throughout the community
  • February is designated as World Understanding Month. This month was chosen because it includes the birthday of Rotary International, 23 February. During the month, Rotary clubs are urged to present programs that promote international understanding and goodwill, as well as launch World Community Service projects in other parts of the world.
  • March World Rotaract Week is the week in which 13 March falls. It’s a time when Rotary clubs and districts highlight Rotaract by joining in projects with their Rotaract clubs.
  • April is set aside as Rotary’s Magazine Month. Throughout the month, clubs arrange programs and activities that promote the reading and use of THE ROTARlAN magazine and the official regional magazines of Rotary
  • July is Literacy Month, a time for clubs to develop their own literacy projects, as well as raise awareness of Rotarians’ efforts worldwide to eradicate illiteracy.
  • August is Membership and Extension Month, a time to focus on Rotary’s continuing need for growth, to seek new members and form new clubs.
  • September is New Generations Month. Rotary clubs of the world give special emphasis to the many Rotary sponsored programs that serve children and young people. During this month many clubs give increased attention to Youth Exchange activities.
  • October is Vocational Service Month. During this period, clubs highlight the importance of the business and professional life of each Rotarian. Special activities promote the vocational avenue of service.
  • November is selected to be Rotary Foundation Month. Clubs and districts call attention to the programs of The Rotary Foundation and frequently cultivate additional financial support for the Foundation by promoting contributions for Paul Harris Fellows and Sustaining Members. Each of these special months serves to elevate the awareness among and understanding in the world.
Rotary Fellowships are independent groups of Rotarians, their spouses, and Rotaractors who share a common passion. Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends from around the world.

Fellowship activities vary widely. Members come together around hobbies or interests such as cricket or jazz, or vocations such as writing or medicine. Some groups are purely social while others use their fellowship for service projects. For a complete list or to join please see:

Currently available fellowships:
Amateur Radio, Antique Automobiles, Authors and Writers, Beer, Bird Watching, Bowling, Canoeing, Caravanning, Carnival and Festivals, Chess, Computer Users, Cooking, Convention Goers, Cricket, Curling, Cycling, Diplomacy, Doctors, Doll Lovers, E-Clubs, Editors and Publishers, Environment, Esperanto, Fishing, Flying, Geocaching, Go, Golf, Home Exchange, Horseback Riding, Internet, Italian Culture, Jazz, Latin Culture, Lawyers, Magicians, Magna Graecia, Marathon Running, Motorcycling, Music, Old and Rare Books, Past District Governors, Photographers, Police and Law Enforcement, Pre-Columbian Civilizations, Quilters and Fiber Artists, Railroads, Recreational Vehicles, Rotary Global History, Rotary Heritage and History, Rotary Means Business, Rotary on Stamps, Scouting, Scuba Diving, Shooting Sports, Singles, Skiing, Social Networks, Tennis, Total Quality Management, Travel and Hosting, Wellness and Fitness, Wine, Yachting.

rotary friendship exchangeThe Rotary Friendship Exchange program gives Rotarians and their families the opportunity to host and visit Rotarians around the world. In addition to experiencing other cultures and making lasting friendships, an exchange provides a strong foundation for carrying out other international activities and service projects.

Types of Exchanges: There are two main types of friendship exchanges, the visitor exchange and the team exchange. In both types the participating districts agree upon the number of people or couples participating, length of stay, and other details. Rotary Friendship Exchanges are expected to be reciprocal.

Visitor exchange
The visitor exchange gives individual Rotarians, who may be accompanied by family members, the opportunity to spend a few days in the home of a Rotarian in another country. The typical visitor exchange lasts from three to seven days.

Team exchange
The team exchange allows several Rotarians or Rotary couples to travel to different communities in a host district for a period of up to one month. Univocational exchange a unique aspect to incorporate into either the team or the visitor exchange is the univocational exchange, where both the guest and host Rotarians are members of the same profession. A univocational exchange gives participants the opportunity to explore a common interest.

Volunteer/service exchange
Volunteer or service exchanges include opportunities for visiting Rotarians to participate in the service activities of a host club during an exchange

rotary vocationalA Vocational Training Team (VTT) is a group of professionals who travel to another country either to learn and observe more about their profession or to teach local professionals about a particular field. Under Future Vision, Rotary Foundation district, global, and packaged grants all support VTTs, but each grant type has different requirements.

VTTs build on the Foundation’s long-standing commitment to vocational training, first formalized with the establishment of the Group Study Exchange program in 1965. VTTs take the concept of enabling young professionals to observe their profession in another country a step further by offering participants the opportunity to use their skills to help others. Hands-on activities vary from one team to the next but may include training medical professionals on cardiac surgery and care, sharing best practices on early childhood education, or explaining new irrigation techniques to farmers.

A successful VTT increases the capacity of the host community to solve problems and improve the quality of life. Funding can be handled by using District, Global or Package Grants.

rotary community corpsA Rotary Community Corps (RCC) is a team of non- Rotarian men and women who are committed to their community’s long-term development and self-sufficiency. An RCC is sponsored by a Rotary Club and, like Rotaract and Interact clubs, is one of Rotary’s partners in service. The main principle of the program is to enable RCC members to personally address and solve problems in the area where they work or live.

The Rotary Community Corps (RCC) is a volunteer organization with an estimated 157,000 non-Rotarian men and women in over 7,500 communities in over 80 countries.

Some examples are:
The RCC of San Miguel in Guadalajara, Mexico gives scholarships to high school students from poor families.

Disabled volunteer members of the RCC of Keon in Cortlandt Manor, New York, USA plan service activities at a food pantry and dog rescue facility.

The RCC of Cura Village in Nairobi, Kenya, provides education funding and equipment for a local orphanage, providing a home for AIDS orphans. The RCC of Cura, near Nairobi, established a home for children, some of them HIV positive, whose parents have died from AIDS. The home has been able to take in more than twice the number of children it could originally support, thanks to donations from International Rotary clubs, the Arya Vedic Interact Club, and local organizations. Donations included food, educational materials, a water tank, and kitchen appliances.

One current area of interest for Rotary clubs focuses on providing “new opportunities for the aging.” With the substantial upswing in the worldwide population of older persons, their needs for special attention have greatly multiplied. As citizens grow older, it becomes increasingly important for them to retain their personal independence and to remain in control of their own lives to the extent that is possible. Rotary clubs are seeking ways to serve the older persons of their community who face problems of deteriorating health, loneliness, poor nutrition, transportation difficulties, and inability to do customary chores, loss of family associations, reduced recreational opportunities, inadequate housing, and limited information about available social agencies for emergency assistance.

rotary concern for the aging

The Rotary Club of Eureka was instrumental in providing funding for the local Alzheimer unit in Eureka. It is one area of Community Service in which there is a growing possibility that each of us may someday be on the receiving end.

rotary stampsRotary International has been honored by more than 130 countries through more than 2,000 commemorative stamps, souvenir sheets and special cancellation marks throughout the years. You can find out more by going to

  • Were you aware that the Rotary Club of Reno, Nevada, is farther west than the Rotary Club of Los Angeles, California?
  • Would you guess that the meetings of the Rotary Club of Portland, Maine, are farther south than those of the clubs in London, England?
  • Can you imagine that the Pensacola, Florida, Rotary Club is west of the Detroit, Michigan, club?
  • Crescent City, California is about 15 miles south of the Oregon border, but it’s about 10 miles farther north than Newport, Rhode Island. You can still be in California and be farther north than coastal Rhode Island.
  • It’s a fact that the Cairo, Illinois, Rotary Club is south of Richmond, Virginia.
  • There are 69 Rotary clubs with the word “Tokyo” in their club names.
  • The Rotary Club of Nome, Alaska, lies west of the club in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Santiago, Chile, club is located east of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Rotary geographers will know that virtually every Rotary club meeting in Australia is east of the Hong Kong Rotary Club.
  • What do the Rotary clubs of Quito, Ecuador, Libreville, Gabon, Singapore, and Kampala, Uganda, have in common? You guessed right if you said they all meet approximately on the equator.
  • What do the Rotary clubs of Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Cape Town, and Sydney are each thousands of miles apart and are known for having unusually pleasant year-round climates, and they are all almost identical distances from the Equator
  • When traveling near the South Pole consider dropping in on one of the two Rotary clubs in Antarctica. The 20 member Rotary Club of Base Antarctica Esperanza was chartered in November 2005, and the 9-member Rotary Club of Base Marambio – Antarctica was chartered in May 1997. (Both are Spanish speaking clubs that meet Wednesday evenings.)
  • If you happen to traveling north, stop in at our most northern location, the Rotary Club of Barrow, Alaska. Your President has made it up to that club and was invited to join the Polar Bear Club by swimming in the Arctic Ocean.
  • There are many interesting relationships and things to learn as you become acquainted with the approximately 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 34,500 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.
rotary grove prarrie creek

There is a majestic 80-acre Redwood Grove at Prairie Creek dedicated by Rotarians from California and Nevada. The idea came about when Harvey Lyons’ son, who loved trees, was killed flying a B-24 in Germany near the end of World War II. Harvey Lyons was a member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Oakland and a Past District Governor. He formed a team to buy the grove and raise the money. One of those team members was Kelton Steele, at the time president of our club (1949/1950).

The idea to save and fund this beautiful Grove was to collect one dollar from 10,000 Rotarians in California and Nevada. Collect they did, and on September 1, 1952 this beautiful Grove was dedicated.

Our member Kim Bauriedel was camping at Prairie Creek the weekend of the original dedication with his dad along with other Rotarians from our club. He knew of the marker at Prairie Creek since the earlier ‘80s when he sort of rediscovered it, and as we got close to the 50 year anniversary of the original dedication Kim felt that the time had come commemorate the events. A special rededication was held on September 16, 2002. Harvey B. Lyon’s son Richard, a famous urologist, was at both the dedication and commemoration. Rick King, PRI President was the speaker at both the commemoration and our meeting that day.

The Rotary Grove is located 5 miles north of Orick. To find the grove turn on the exit Highway 101 at exit 573, Newton B Drury Parkway, heading north. Turn east on Cal Barrow Road and Rotary Grove is marked by a granite shaft on which is carved the Rotarian wheel and an inscription “Dedicated by the Rotarians of California and the California State Parks commission.”

  • rotary factsThere are more than 1.2 Million Rotarians all over the world in more than 33,000 Rotary Clubs in more than 200 countries in all geographic areas.
  • The Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships is the world’s largest, privately funded scholarship program.
  • Providing vitamin A supplements during polio National Immunization Days has averted an estimated 1.5 million childhood deaths since 1998 – testimony to the “plus” in PolioPlus.
  • The first service project of the first Rotary club of Chicago was installation of public toilets in the city.
  • The first Rotaract Club was formed in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
  • The first women joined Rotary in 1987. Today, more than 196,000 woman are members of Rotary International.
  • Rotarians in the United States make up 28% of all Rotarians worldwide
  • Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbor is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 182 miles to the east. It has the least amount of any Rotarians in the world, numbering only 11.
Please Note; names are in alphabetical order, and this list is not exhaustive. Unfortunately we were unable to find the early history from 1923 to 1930.

  • King Albert I of Belgium – Honorary (RC Brussels; RC San Francisco)
  • Dr. Forrest C. “Phog” Allen, college basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member
  • Clinton P. Anderson, US Congressman; US secretary of agriculture; US Senator
  • Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, astronaut and second man to walk on the moon, USA
  • Neil Armstrong, astronaut and first man to walk on the moon, USA
  • Ásgeir Ásgeirson, president, Iceland, RC Reykjavik; past RI district governor
  • Eusebio Ayala, president, Paraguay
  • King Baudouin I of Belgium
  • Eduard Benes, president, Czechoslovakia
  • Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands
  • Clarence Birdseye, developer of a process for quick freezing food, USA
  • Harry A. Blackmun, associate justice of the Supreme Court, USA
  • Frank Borman, astronaut, USA
  • Sir Donald Bradman, cricketer, Australia
  • Sir Norman Brearley, aviation pioneer, Australia
  • Frank Brennan past president Eureka Rotary and past district governor 1942 – 1943
  • William Jennings Bryan, statesman and orator
  • George W. Bush, president, USA
  • Jose Luis Bustamante y Rivero, president, Peru
  • Richard E. Byrd, admiral and arctic explorer, USA
  • Josep Ma. Vayreda Canadell, painter, Spain
  • Alcino Cardoso, secretary of state, Portugal
  • Jimmy Carter, president, USA
  • Sir Winston Churchill, prime minister, England
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Senator (2000-2009); US Secretary of State (2009–), USA
  • William C. Coleman, founder Coleman Co. (camping equipment, e.g., lanterns, stoves, and coolers)
  • Arthur “Holly” Compton, Nobel Prize laureate in physics, USA
  • Calvin Coolidge, president; Nobel Prize laureate in peace, USA
  • L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., astronaut, USA (RC Space Center (Houston, Texas)
  • William H. Davidson, former CEO of Harley-Davidson and son of founder
  • Sir William Deane, governor general, Australia
  • Dave Dillon past president Eureka Rotary and past district governor 1991 to 1992
  • Walt Disney, animation filmmaker, USA
  • Major General James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, leader of the United States Army “Doolittle Raid” in WWII
  • William O. Douglas, associate justice of the Supreme Court, USA
  • Thomas A. Edison, inventor, USA
  • Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, England
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, president, USA
  • King Farouk of Egypt
  • Marcelo B. Fernan, chief justice of the Supreme Court, Philippines
  • John F. Fitzgerald, mayor of Boston, USA
  • Pope Francis, when he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio
  • Greve Af Rosenborg Flemming, Danish Count
  • Gerald R. Ford, president, USA
  • Prince Frederik of Denmark (became Frederik IX King of Denmark in 1947)
  • J. William Fulbright, senator, USA
  • Sir Kenneth Fung Ping-Fan, director of the Bank of East Asia, Ltd., Hong Kong
  • Donald M Hegy member Eureka Rotary club and scholarship founder
  • James Howard, member of Eureka Rotary Club, Chair of the Spengler Howard Raffle
  • Sir W. Hudson Fysh, founder of Qantas Airlines, Australia
  • William H. Gates, Sr., Chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USA
  • Edgar A. Guest, poet and journalist, USA
  • Karl Gullers, photographer, USA
  • RC Stockholm West; RC Phoenix, Arizona
  • King Gustaf VI Adolph of Sweden
  • King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
  • Lorenzo Guerrero Gutierrez, president, Nicaragua
  • Warren G. Harding, president, USA
  • Harvey Harper – Eureka business men, RC of Eureka member and scholarship founder
  • Joel Chandler Harris, author, USA
  • King Hassan II of Morocco
  • Mark O. Hatfield, senator and governor, US
  • Reijiro “Rei” Hattori, chairman of Seiko, Japan
  • Steingrimur Hermannsson, prime minister, Iceland
  • Sir Edmund Hillary, explorer and mountaineer, New Zealand
  • Ko Hirasawa, anatomist and president of Kyoto University, Japan
  • Luther H. Hodges, state governor, secretary of commerce, USA
  • Herbert Hoover, president, USA
  • Cordell Hull, Secretary of State and Nobel Prize laureate in peace, USA
  • John Jakes, historical fiction author, USA
  • Duke Kahanamoko, Olympic swimmer, USA
  • John F. Kennedy, president, USA
  • Abdulla Khalil, prime minister, Sudan
  • Chung Yul Kim, prime minister, South Korea
  • Karl Kobelt, president, Swiss Confederation
  • Chucri Kouatly, president, Syria
  • Hans Küng, theologian, Germany
  • RC Reutlingen-Tübingen
  • Sir Harry Lauder, entertainer, Scotland
  • Jean Leclant, Egyptologist, France
  • Franz Lehar, composer, Austria
  • Charles A. Lindbergh, aviator, USA
  • Douglas MacArthur, army general, USA
  • Cornelius “Connie Mack” McGillicuddie, baseball manager and team owner, USA
  • Thomas Mann, novelist; Nobel Prize laureate in literature, Germany
  • Guglielmo Marconi, inventor, Nobel Prize laureate in physics, Italy
  • Jan Masaryk, foreign minister, Czechoslovakia (RC Prague)
  • George C. Marshall, army general and Nobel Prize laureate in peace, USA
  • Konosuke Matsushita, president of Matsushita Electric Co., Japan
  • Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic, USA
  • Col. Robert R. McCormick, Chicago Tribune publisher
  • Dr. Karl Menninger, psychiatrist and co-founder of the Menninger Clinic, USA
  • Cesare Merzagora, president of the senate, Italy
  • Toyohiko Mikimoto, president of Mikimoto Pearl Co., Japan
  • A.Q. Miller, Sr., writer and newspaper publisher, father of R.I. Pres. Carl P. Miller
  • Wayne L. Morse, US Senator, USA
  • Dr. William P. Murphy, Nobel Prize laureate in medicine (1934), USA
  • Duck Woo Nam, prime minister, Korea
  • Lennart Nilsson, photographer, Sweden
  • Chester W. Nimitz, admiral, USA
  • Richard Nixon, president, USA
  • Georges Octors, orchestra conductor, Belgium
  • Choong Hoon Park, prime minister, Korea
  • Raul Sapena Pastor, prime minister, Paraguay
  • Konstantin Päts, president, Estonia
  • Prince Paul, regent, Yugoslavia
  • Norman Vincent Peale, clergyman and author, USA
  • Lester Pearson, prime minister, Canada; president of UN General Assembly; Nobel Prize laureate
  • James Cash Penney, founder of JC Penney Co., USA
  • John J. Pershing, army general, USA
  • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
  • Antoine Pinay, prime minister, France
  • Piero Pirelli, rubber products manufacturing, Italy
  • Leopoldo Pirelli, president of Pirelli Tire Co., Italy
  • Joan Abello Prat, painter, Spain
  • Emilio Pucci, couturier-designer, Italy
  • Prince Rainier III of Monaco
  • Bhichai Rattakul, foreign Minister, Thailand
  • Branch Rickey, president of Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team, USA
  • James Whitcomb Riley, poet, USA
  • Ronald Reagan, president, USA
  • Sigmund Romberg, composer, USA
  • Carlos Romulo, president of UN general assembly, Philippines
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, president, USA
  • Dr. Albert Sabin, scientist who developed oral polio vaccine, USA
  • Edwardo Santos, president, Columbia
  • Wolfgang Schallenberg, secretary general of the Austrian ministry of foreign affairs
  • Walter Scheel, president, Germany
  • Albert Schweitzer, physician, philosopher, and Nobel Prize laureate in peace
  • Kiyoshi Seike, architect, Japan
  • Donna Shalala, secretary of health and human service, USA
  • Alan B. Shephard, Jr., astronaut, USA
  • Kenjiro Shoda, president of Osaka University, Japan
  • Jean Sibelius, composer, Finland
  • Kim Sigler, Governor of Michigan, USA
  • Paul Simon, US Senator (Illinois), USA
  • Glyndon “Sign” Smith, philanthropists, 69 years Rotary perfect attendance
  • William Spengler, Eureka Rotary Club, founder of the Spangler Howard Raffle
  • Tris Speaker, baseball player, USA
  • Sir Sigmund Sternberg, businessman and philanthropist, England
  • Siaka Stevens, President of Sierra Leone
  • Adlai E. Stevenson, governor of Illinois, USA; ambassador to the United Nations
  • Charles Strope past president Eureka Rotary and past district governor 1971 to 1972
  • Billy Sunday, evangelist, USA
  • Dr. Albert von Szent-Györgyi, Nobel Prize laureate in Medicine (1937)
  • Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda of Japan
  • J. Millard Tawes, Governor of Maryland, USA
  • Margaret Thatcher, prime minister, England
  • Kiyoshi Togasaki, president and chairman of the Japan Times
  • Harry S. Truman, president, USA
  • Ted Turner, founder of cable television station CNN
  • Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, military general and chief executive, Chile
  • Arthur H. Vandenberg, US Senator
  • Charles R. Walgreen, Jr., chairman of the Walgreen Drug Co., USA
  • Earl Warren, chief justice of Supreme Court, USA
  • William Allen White, newspaper editor, USA
  • Jack Williamson, science fiction writer, USA
  • Woodrow Wilson, president, USA; Nobel Prize laureate in peace, USA
  • Ritchie Woods, Founding president Rotary Club of Eureka
  • Joseph Sidney Woolford, member Rotary club of Eureka and scholarship founder
  • Garfield Arthur “Gar” Wood, speedboat racer, inventor, USA
  • Orville Wright, aviation pioneer, USA
  • Philip Wylie, author and social commentator, USA
  • Chia-kan “C. K.” Yen, president, Republic of China-Taiwan
  • Chang Soon Yoo, prime minister, Korea
  • Willy Zumblick, painter and sculptor, Brazil
Our first President was Ritchie Woods. Ritchie owned Woods Pharmacy on the corner of Sixth and G St. in Eureka. Ritchie was very much a community service individual and a native of Fields Landing.

Ritchie also served as the President of Eureka Chamber of Commerce in 1924. He served for ten years on the Eureka Board of Education and was a charter member of the Ingomar Club. It was Ritchie’s suggestion that the name “Ingomar” was selected for the club. Ritchie was also a member of The Masonic Lodge 79 F&A, The Elks Lodge, and Chairman of the Eureka Cancer Society. Unquestionably he was a man concerned about our community.

After 50 years in business he retired on July 1954. Unfortunately, on September 6, 1954 he and another of our club members, Dr. Vernon Hunt, along with their friend Dr. Frank Smith, died while fishing on the Klamath River. In those days there was no way to let people downstream know that water was going to be released from the dam. Tragically, when the water was released it capsized their boat, and all three were drowned.

Before the year 1923 there were no Rotary Clubs in Northwestern California. With the assistance of members of the San Francisco club, the Eureka club was organized by 21 men on October 10, 1923 and its formal charter was issued November 9 of that same year.

rotary founders
Founders of the Eureka Rotary Club: our first officers were Club President was Ritchie Woods, J. A. Wagner, Vice President: Warren Innes, Secretary; Hugh Graham Treasurer; Directors were: L Perske, H Daily; S.V. Morrison.

Constitution and By-laws committee: Hugh Graham, Warren Innes and William Vietor.

Charter members of the Eureka Rotary Club were: John H. Crothers, newspaper, The Humboldt Times; Harry B Daly, dry goods, J. F. Hink & Son Co.; Peter Delaney, wholesale candy, Delaney & Young; Charles D. Deuchar, investment securities, Cyrus Pierce & Co.; Thomas Dillon, retail groceries, Hinch, Salmon and Walsh Co. L. Bertram Campton, wholesale groceries, Campton & Dalton; Hugh A. Graham, general contracting, Mercer Fraser Co.; Thomas W. Hine, lumber manufacturing, Holmes Eureka Lumber Co.; James M. Hutcheson, men’s furnishings; Warren E. Innes, broker, Split Redwood Products, Emile Iverson, hotels, Eureka Inn; Silas V. Morrison, creamery, Golden State Milk Products; Burr P. McConnaha, auto stages, McConnaha Bros.; Frank E. McGee, woolen manufacturing, Eureka Woolen Mills; Hans C. Nelson, attorney, Nelson & Ricks; Christie H. Palmtag, commercial banking, Bank of Eureka. Lois E. Perske, garages, Eureka Garage; William A. Vietor, foundry, Acme Foundry; John Albert Wagner, fire insurance; Ritchie Woods, drugs, Atkinson & Woods and Authur E. Wrigley, dentist.

At that time, Paul Rieger was District Governor, and the District was then known as District No. 2. There were 92,800 Rotarians in 1,493 clubs of the Rotary world and Guy Gundaker of Philadelphia was President of Rotary International.

Paul Rieger was particularly interested in youth work, and in many ways this affected the emphasis of the Eureka Club in its charitable youth guidance activities over the years.

rotary eureka innAn interesting sidenote: a few months prior to the Eureka Rotary Club’s founding, the new Eureka Inn opened. The club proceeded to meet there for the next 80 years.

Significantly to us, the official Rotary emblem was adopted in the year of our founding, 1923.

Since the Eureka Club was alone in this part of the state, it was natural that it was the guiding force in the formation of other Rotary Clubs in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. We were instrumental in obtaining Arcata’s charter on February 8, 1926. Fortuna’s charter on January 5, 1927, and Crescent City’s charter on November 24, 1953. In addition, we worked with Fortuna in organizing the Garberville Club, which was chartered on January 11, 1938. Thus, we have been active in the affairs of District 513 from the very beginning. In later years, Eureka chartered the Southwest Eureka Club on March 13, 1969.

Rotary Club of Eureka Community Service

Our records contain a list of early programs. The programs were then concerned with essentially the same types of issues as we find of interest today. On December 8, 1924, George Albee addressed the Club on the necessity of expending $450,000 to build a Junior High, and on September 21, 1925, Roy L. Riley spoke to the Club on “Why We Haven’t Good Roads in Northern California.” Nearly every one of the programs would still be of current interest, although there are a few, such as the one on April 14, 1926, entitled “ Hoof and Mouth Disease,” that probably won’t be repeated.

rotary honor flight logoThrough the Rotary Club of Eureka 501(c)(3), the North Coast Honor Flight is an organization that is devoted to paying a small tribute to those who gave so much: a memorable, safe and rewarding TOUR OF HONOR, taking our veterans back to Washington DC to see the memorials that were created in their honor. Today, we have taken back 315 veterans.

Our goal: helping every single World War II and Korean war veteran, willing and able, to get on a plane to Washington DC to visit THEIR Memorial.

Of all the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation and as a culturally diverse, free society. Now with some 1,000 World War II veterans dying each day, our time to express our heartfelt thanks to these brave men and women is running out. It is also beginning to run out for those who served in the Korean War. North Coast Honor Flight is doing whatever it takes to fulfill the dreams of our veterans. Most importantly, our heroes travel absolutely free.

Our first flight was in 2011 when we took 37 veterans back to Washington. To date we have had seven flights, and taken more than 315 veterans to Washington DC.

It costs over $1,000 to transport, house and feed each veteran. To date we have raised a little over $300,000 for this effort.

rotary honor flight trip

Our mission statement is quite simple: transport America’s World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.

Philosophy: Since America felt it was important to build a memorial to the service and ultimate sacrifice of her veterans, North Coast Honor Flight believes it equally important that they actually get to visit and experience THEIR Memorial.

How can you help? Help us find a World War II or Korean War veteran, so we can get an application to them. Support our mission with your donation. North Coast Honor Flight works under the umbrella of the Eureka Rotary Club’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and receives NO government funding. It relies entirely on individual, corporate and organizational donations. You can sign up to be a guardian and help a veteran on his or her trip. All guardians pay their own way and their expenses are tax deductible.

For more information, please call 707–443-1234 x309.
Tax-deductible donations may be sent to:
North Coast Honor Flight
710 E. St., Suite 100, Eureka, CA 95501

World War II Veterans comments on our last Honor Flight movement:
Marine Jack Foster, 84, of Willow Creek  –  “For the rest of our lives, it’s something we’ll never forget; I think every one of us had tears in our eyes. One of the most moving parts of this trip east was seeing the part of the monument engraved with the names of the fallen.” The veteran said he also was moved by the Wall of Stars, where 4,048 gold stars stand etched into a wall, each representing 100 Americans killed in the war. “Our freedoms are not free,” he said. “They cost a lot of lives.”

Don Sundquist – “This was the trip of a lifetime to visit and reflect on the memorials. Of all of the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation. A special thank you to Kathrin Burleson and her helpers, because if it weren’t for her I wouldn’t have had such an opportunity. I would also like to thank the Cher-Ae Heights Casino for their bus and driver as well as Renner Petroleum for the fuel. I also want to recognize and thank my two schoolmates Art Chase and Jack Foster. We joined together at the age of 17. This was an exciting trip to share with you both. Last, but not least, I want to thank the local law enforcement for the escort down to the Adorni Center and the wonderful reception from the Eureka High School band.”

Winship Middle School Overhaul
winship overhaulEureka City Schools Board of Education, along with Fred Van Vleck, made the decision to reopen the Winship site as a middle school. After the decision was made, things moved quickly. Our own Rotarian, Kathleen Cloney-Gardiner, was named principal. From there, a Winship leadership team was put in place. The district had enough funds to ensure a solid 21st century education, but not enough to address the aesthetics. The condition of the athletic fields was less than optimal as well; upgrades to them would also have to wait.

Realizing that a first impression is critical, the principal came to her Rotarian family and requested our help. This soon became The Rotary Club of Eureka’s community service project in the 2013/14 years, and was the biggest project our club had ever undertaken. Our Eureka Rotary Club, working with our community, Teen Challenge, and SWAP programs, transformed this school by aesthetically and functionally re-doing the Winship grounds. Another exceptional Rotarian, Jack Rieke from Shafer’s Ace Hardware, stepped up and provided all the paint for the entire school. (He even let Kathy and her team chose the colors!)

This was a wonderfully worthwhile project because so many members of our community got involved in the name of children. The list of our accomplishments on the Winship campus is remarkable and can be found on the website. This project was accomplished in only a few short weeks during summer break, with members working daily to meet the opening of the school deadline. The district is appreciative and very thankful for the hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed that now can go to further educate the youth in our community.

If a picture speaks a thousand words, please take a moment to review the before and after aerial photographs of Winship Middle School.

Bud Cloney Baseball Field Project – Eureka High School
Over two decades ago, Eureka High School worked with the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard to create a baseball field by filling in the gully across the street from the football field. In order to do this the high school needed more land.

Rotarian Hank Pierson’s father and Rotarian Greg Pierson’s grandfather Ernest Pierson owned that land. Rather than ask them for the land, the school district took it by eminent domain. It was a very sore subject with Mr. Pierson. That alone could have killed this project, but both Hank and Greg were very supportive, and in the end Greg’s contribution was huge.

baseball field projectThe baseball field was also named after the father of one of our Rotarians – Kathleen Cloney-Gardiner. Kathleen is a fifth generation Humboldt County descendant. Her father, Bud Cloney, for whom the field was named, was on the school board for 12 years and president for eight (though not during the eminent domain process).

Unfortunately, when the field was built, it had not been properly engineered — there wasn’t enough drainage to make the field usable. For several years the high school attempted to play on it, but they eventually were forced to concede that it was just too wet, and the field was left to lie dormant.

In 2008, when Kathleen became the Assistant Principal at the high school, she started looking into why the field was not being used. She talked to the athletic department and found that there was indeed a need for this field to be fixed — the high school baseball team had to practice and play its games on other fields, which created a significant liability for the school and did nothing to foster school spirit. In addition, if the field were fixed, it could also be used as an intramural field for physical education, a secondary soccer field, and a drill field for the Navy National Defense Cadet Corps.

To fix it right we called in the experts. We turned to our Rotarian Greg Williston, a geologist and regional manager with SHN Engineering. Throughout the year Greg dug some 25 surface wells to monitor what parts of the field were wet and during what periods. He had a topographic survey done of the entire baseball field.

Greg and Rotarian Eric Bergel laid out the work plan for the ball field. Eric went back and installed some solid drainage lines to collect the runoff from the buildings, and he also fixed the electrical lines going to the scoreboard. Rotarian Greg Pierson and his company, Pierson Construction, did a lot of the heavy lifting with their big equipment. As it turned out, part of the fill for the ball field was old construction debris, which had to be broken up to dig the trench, and added additional days to the project.

This project simply could not have been done without the huge volunteer labor of the Rotary Club of Eureka. The field was finished off with a new score board courtesy of the Sign Smith Fund.

Today Eureka High School has a wonderful ball field to practice and play their home games on.

rotary humboldt libraryStarting as just an idea back in 1989, the Rotary Club of Eureka embarked upon a very big project: participation in the construction of the brand-new Main Branch of the Humboldt County Library, overlooking Humboldt Bay. Past President Gary Barker served as chairman of the committee during the three years it took to complete the project.

The Rotary effort was directed towards a special part of the library, called the Humboldt Room, which became the centerpiece for the beautiful new library. Today the room offers a spacious, tranquil place for study and contains comprehensive reference materials about the history of Humboldt County. Among other materials it contains the extensive Suzy Baker Fountain papers and an index, along with the California Indian library collection.

This project is one of many that creates a legacy left to the people of our community, their children and their grandchildren to come.

Unfortunately we were unable to find more of the early history from 1923 to 1930 and a few presidents after that. Here are some notes from records of presidents or as reported in the club bulletins:
1931-32: Harry Quill notes that attendance was the best ever at 95 percent – “No one had enough money to leave town.”
1932-33: Walter Thoresen in 1932-33 also refers to the great depression and observes that in spite of this problem the club was able to maintain its membership of 75 and make substantial contributions to charity. This included shoes for underprivileged children, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Crippled Children and milk for underprivileged children.
past presidents thumb1936-37: Leonard Carlson remembered that his club of 90 members experienced a two month strike of the Cooks and Waiters which created a problem at meeting places. Many members were reluctant to cross the picket lines and made up attendance at other clubs.
1937-38: Dr. William Quinn saw his club grow larger. His efforts included sponsoring the new Rotary Club of Garberville.
1941-42: Chet Connick recalled 1941 as the year of Pearl Harbor. The club was at 135 members and in spite of war-time travel restrictions, maintained a high level of program quality and excellent attendance. Frank Brennan of the Eureka club was elected District Governor .
1942-43: President Harold Charters was proud of initiating what was then a record number of new members into the club in 1942-43. Chal Crichton became Secretary of the club – an office he would hold for 32 years – and a District Conference was held in Eureka.
1943-44: On December 31, 1943, President Walter Malloy died while in office and Jim Nealis was appointed to fill his term. Jim also served the following year and so he and Ritchie Woods were the only presidents to serve for more than one year. Jim dismayed many Rotarians by raising the fines from 25c to $1.
1945-46: In Howard Fisher’s year the weekly newsletter “The Club Bulletin” was named the “Rotary Burl” (First edition April 5, 1946) and Ladies Day on Valentine’s Day was inaugurated.
1946-47: Mel Pinkham presided at each and every meeting of the year 1946-47 which was an unusual occurrence. He was the youngest president of the Eureka club and acknowledges that he was known for his bad jokes.
1947-48: During Harold Adams’ year singing became a regular part of the program. A quartet made up of Walt Thoresen, Walt Dolfini, Herb Kramer and Ray Watkins sang such favorites as “When the Bell in the Lighthouse rings Ding-Dong”
1948-49: Ernie Pierson started the custom of charging for early leavers – $1 – an effective penalty at the time. The Burl included a list of absentees and makeups. The club celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Spengler Youth Fund was begun – Raffle tickets for 25c.
1949-50: Kelton Steele remembered that the first steps were taken toward creation of the Rotary Grove at Prairie Creek. The Rotary wives (Known as RotaryAnns at that time) presented a surprise Valentine Day program. Even the president didn’t know.
1950-51: saw Harvey Harper as president and he insisted that the District Governor was not impressed with the club that year..
1953-54: Cliff Dumm was president when the Crescent City club was organized in 1953. The “New Member Assimilation Committee” was formed and the invocation was introduced to regular meetings.
1955-56: Pix Hilfiker recalls that 1955 was the year of Rotary’s 50th anniversary; a tremendous flood in this area prompted the raising of $1,500 from our members for aid to victims of the disaster; and the first of our foreign students, Arnoldo Castelanos arrived from Guatemala.
1956-57: John Bauriedel was the first to have photos in the club roster. The club presented a special program at the District Conference. Selected high school students were invited to club meetings
1957-58: Ole Olsen promoted a vocational service program as Rotarians invited competitors to attend a meeting.
1958-59: Jack Daly had a 100% meeting in September. He encouraged the idea of sending a golf team to the District Conference. 45 youngsters were sent to summer camp.
1959-60: Fellowship was stressed during Chal Crichton’s (He took off a year as Secretary ) year and members were often called upon to speak about themselves and their business. HSC student Sam Kunkle was our international student to Germany. Forty three Eureka Rotarians went to the District Conference in San Francisco and inter-club meetings were held in Arcata, Crescent City, and Garberville.
1961-62: Dick Nash promoted inter-club relations with visits to Garberville, Crescent City and Weaverville. Past President of R.I. Bru Brunnier was the speaker of a joint meeting with Arcata and Fortuna. Our foreign student at HSC was Pedro Lara of Puebla, Mexico.
1962-63: Fred Goodwin’s year saw a large shipment of books sent to schools in Tanganyika. Digital dialing was introduced to the area by Jim Nealis. Recognition was given for special support of the Rotary Foundation.
1963-64: Jim Henderson recalled a year of international committee effort. The foreign student program was kept active and young people were exchanged for visits to homes in Puebla, Mexico.
1964-65: Haven Howatt had a busy year. An inter-club meeting with San Francisco was well attended as was the Golden Anniversary Conference in San Francisco. The December 1964 flood created a great need for assistance in the disaster and a great deal of money was raised. All-Star football and the foreign students program were other club activities. 28 members participated in the District Conference in San Francisco.
1965-66: Newt Steward provided a colored TV on which was shown the World Series during program time. The club supported the proposed Public Television Channel 13.
1966-67: Les Westfall promoted interclub meetings with Crescent City, Garberville and Willits. Les had a number of visiting ship captains at meetings.
1967-68: Fred Landenberger pursued the theme of “Fellowship Through Service” . as a record 21 new members were introduced during a busy year which included a meeting at the Rotary Grove in Prairie Creek State Park.
1968-69: Charlie Strope chartered the Rotary club of Southwest Eureka. With 53 Mondays and only one holiday, he had 52 meetings. A lumber seminar brought visitors from as far away as Germany. It was mentioned in the Rotarian Magazine. There was an old-timers day, a children’s day and a well remembered Stag Night.
1969-70: Ted Loring chartered the Eureka High Interact club . Attendance was maintained at more than 90%. Rotary Grove was started at College of the Redwoods – growing higher each year since. A Blood Bank program was established.
1970-71: Wendell Adams was president. A meeting was hosted by Les Pierce at Murray Field. 22 club members attended the District Conference in Burlingame. Attendance for the year was 92%.
1971-72: Tom Knowlton’s club supported Charlie Strope as District Governor and a highly successful District conference was held in Eureka under the guidance of Chairman Jack Daly. Charlie Strope was made the club’s first Paul Harris Fellow.
1972-73: Vic Novarino was elected President for the year but served only a few meetings before ill health forced him to resign. Andy Genzoli assumed the office for the balance of the year. A Junior Achievement program was established during that year. Well remembered by those who knew him, Andy used items from the newspaper column which he wrote. His confused story telling was so funny that it was difficult to believe that it was not intentional.
1973-74: Jack Morton (present in his regular bow tie) presided over the celebration of the club’s 50th anniversary. Charlie Strope was chairman of the three meeting celebration and the featured speaker was R.I. Director John Dalton. Secretary Chal Crichton retired after 32 years in office and was duly recognized. The office was assumed by his son Bob who would serve for 14 years. The club was recognized for its support of the Rotary Foundation.
1974-75: President Jack Singer saw the club receive the Significant Achievement Award for its efforts in 1974-75. There was an exchange of meetings with the Redding club. A Group Study Exchange team was hosted.
1975-76: Walt Dolfini featured the celebration of the nation’s Bicentennial. Walt would die later in the year and the remaining meetings were conducted by past presidents and board members. Walt will be remembered for the major part he played in establishing the College of the Redwoods.
1976-77: Dave Dillon not only helped stabilize the previous year but then took over for his own term. He supervised the establishment of the Woolford Scholarship Fund (Dr Joe Woolford was a club member who left a sum of money, the income from which was to be administered by the club in providing scholarships to graduate students at Humboldt State.) The club worked closely with the Euroa club in Australia.
1977-78: Jim Callison was president and was able to announce that the R.I. Council on Legislation voted down a proposal to take women into Rotary. The Blood Bank was supported.
1978-79: Tim Gallagher featured an old “Burma Shave” commercial at the end of each meeting. Students (Andrew Kotzur and Sandra Seversen) from Australia were hosted by the club. This was the first of a highly successful exchange student program chaired by Dave Dillon. Scooter tickets were required for early leavers.
1979-80: Don Lorensen established the club’s Annual Raffle which continues to be a highly successful fund raising project The club celebrated Rotary International’s 75th anniversary with Stan McCaffrey (shortly to become President of R.I.) as a speaker.
1980-81: While seriously caring for the club business, Charlie Harris provided his own unique brand of humor. He encouraged fellowship among the widely diverse membership.
1981-82: Jack Feigal had California Governor Jerry Brown as a program speaker.
1982-83: Walt Shimasaki introduced the Clam Beach Run during his 1982-83 year. The All-star Sports Committee arranged a basketball game with Santa Rosa. He greeted seventeen members into the “Century Club”
1983-84: Bill Hegy would establish a scholarship in the name of a deceased son – to be granted along with the Woolford awards. A number of Paul Harris Awards were made.
1984-85: Hap Gaylord replaced President-elect Don Quinn after Don’s death. The Club hosted a Group Study Exchange from Paris, France. The Eureka club basketball team defeated Santa Rosa for the second year in a row.
1985-86: During Laurie Lazio’s year Jim Hoff lead a Group Study Exchange to France. The club hosted a GSE team from Japan. RI Past-President Ed Cadman visited Eureka. The club took part in construction of a youth soccer field.
1986-87: Harve Ingham hosted California Governor George Deukmejian as a program speaker. The club was among the leaders in response to a request for support of the new PolioPlus program – set to eliminate polio in all corners of the world. The Rotary gender matter was discussed at length here and around the world until the Supreme Court found that women could not be denied access to membership in Rotary. The first Northern District 513 Foundation Dinner was held at the Eureka Inn – becoming an annual event.
1987-88: Pat Folkins presided over the introduction of the first woman club member, Peggy Betholtz. Subsequent years saw several more female members. The club earned a Presidential Citation for its year of service.
1988-89: Will Kay’s year saw District 513 divided into north District 5130 and south District 5150, the division at the Marin/Sonoma County lines. Jack Vallerga who was born in Samoa across the bay, was the District Governor. A program featured the Counsel General of Nigeria.
1989-90: Gary Barker initiated and served as chairman of a three year project that raised $100,000 for the Humboldt Room, a centerpiece of the new Humboldt County Library. A GSE team from India was hosted.
1990-91: Ted Mason found time during the year to get married. He promoted a joint family picnic at Camp Bauer with the Southwest club. There was a good turnout for the District wide tree planting program.
1991-92: Lane Strope, with 53 Mondays in the year, presided with good humor at every one of the meetings. A special blood platelet machine was provided for the Northern California Blood Bank.
1992-93: Jim Davis introduced 18 new members and 8 Paul Harris Fellows. He was proud of many contributions to community and international service. Such efforts included exchanges with Brazil, hosting a Group Study Exchange from Germany, contributions to the Cancer Society, Easter Seals, Hospice, Vector Health, Blood Bank and Jazz Festival.
1993-94: John Burke noted that the club purchased a computer and began using it for club business. Plans were completed for scholarships to College of the Redwoods students. A contribution was made toward Eureka High Band uniforms.
1994-95: Dennis Hunter’s year saw the beginning of a three year project that supported the construction and equipping of the Heart Institute at St. Joseph Hospital. The year featured regular reference to the San Francisco 49ers and $49 fines.
1995-96: Hugo Papstein saw his club identified as the “Club of the Year” at the District Conference. The Glyndon and Ruth Smith Fund was established at the Humboldt Area Foundation.
1996-97: Tom Schallert. In April of 1997 Glyndon “Sign” Smith died. The proceeds from the Christmas Ornament fund raiser were used to help fund the Redwood Youth Sports Complex. Computer hardware was presented to the Eureka High School physics department. Books were donated for the Lafayette School literary project and the Science Fair.
1997-98: Edie Young became the first woman president of the club. She valiantly attempted to make the club a singing club with songs at each meeting. The club contributed to the restoration of the Carnegie Library building for the Humboldt Arts Council. A committee, co-chaired by Dave Dillon and Charlie Strope, prepared for the upcoming 75th anniversary celebration.
1998-1999: Hank Ingham was President from 1998-1999. He took pride in not planning his meetings, using his sense of humor to get himself out of almost any situation. His major project was the Washington School Sign and Ruth Smith Girls softball fields. As a recognition token he gave away little plastic televisions.
1999-2000: John Gierek – It was with great wailing and gnashing of teeth that the Rotary Club of Eureka met that first meeting of July 12, 1999. The remainder of the year went considerably worse. There was funding for a Jaws for Life, which the club president endorsed thinking it had something to do with a large white shark that saved people instead of eating them. There was also funding for the Clarke Museum.
2000-2001: With reforms and innovations, Kim Bauriedel turned a deficit into a reserve in the Operational Fund account. In April and May Kim led a medical Group Study Exchange for District 5130 to Siberia. Our club then helped host the visiting Russian physicians when they came here.
2001-2002: Bill McAuley – The club funded a memorial garden at the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in honor of Richard Guagdagno, the Wildlife Sanctuary’s manager, who died aboard United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania on 9/11. The Sign and Ruth Smith Endowment funded improvements to the softball/soccer complex at Washington School, and the club funded and completed water projects in India.
2002-2003: Hank Pierson. Redwood burl clocks were the speaker’s gifts, and The Burl was sent by email for the first time, saving $5,500. Partnering with the Sign Smith Fund, the Humboldt Area Foundation and KINS Radio, the club provided a total of $30,000 for three years for the Senior Resource Center’s “Meals on Wheels.” Each year was matched by HAF.
2003-2004: Unique major events during Brian Papstein’s term included a water project in India sponsored by the club and a $25,000 donation from the Sign Smith Fund for the Humboldt Botanical Society. In one of the first “Eureka Clubs of Rotary” joint outreach projects, the Senior Nutrition Program was given $20,000. The year’s Project was the building of a public bathroom at the Clarke Museum.
2004-2005: Bruce Rupp, Rotary’s Centennial Year. Our Centennial Project was a Concession Stand and Equipment Storage Facility at Washington School. Our exchange student was Eric from Sweden. We supported the Library Literacy project, and began what became a long-term World Community Service project by shipping medical equipment to Tomsk, Siberia. We hosted a doctor from Russia, and presented him with a new laptop.
2005-2006: Harley Smith. The club started a new fundraiser for small nonprofits, a dance-a-thon called Dancing for Dollars. Almost two dozen nonprofits participated, and the event was a good success. Two successful blood drives were held in which several club members participated. The club also sponsored a dental sealant clinic in conjunction with CR, and sponsored the North/South All Star basketball game.
2006-2007: Don Leonard’s term was marked by fiscal innovations, including a mandatory fixed “recognition fine” dollar amount being added to all annual dues. He separated Service Fund revenue and expenses from those of the Operating Fund, resulting in a year-end total surplus of $7,086. He tremendously enjoyed his year as president, and considers it a highlight of his professional and business life.
2007-2008: During Bert Campton’s year the club worked to improve community literacy. It initiated a reading program for young students at Alice Birney Elementary School, with members reading to them and working with them. The club also sponsored a summer reading program at the main public library, and expanded its third grade dictionary project to Southern Trinity Elementary and the northeastern reaches of the Hoopa Valley.
2008-2009: Steve Justus’ saw the start of Backpacks for Kids program, the first steps toward our 501(c)(3), and the kick-off of the Cloney Field project and Safe Blood Africa project. Sponsored the visit of Sarah Lima’s family from Texas; Sarah’s last wish before passing from cancer was to see the Redwoods with her parents and siblings. Our Sign Smith Fund committed $70,000 in grants, and Jamie Carroll was our exchange student to Brazil.
2009-2010: Mike Moreland. Continued to sponsor the Cub Scout troop at Alice Birney Elementary and KEET’s Homework Hotline, donated $10,000 towards St. Joe’s new hospital tower, sponsored a Junior Sailing Scholarship, purchased a sound system for the EHS History Department, distributed 340 dictionaries to 3rd graders, re-chartered the Interact Club at EHS, hosted a Siberian friendship exchange, Lost Coast Rotaract was chartered, and we completed the Cloney Field project.
2010-2011: Carlton Nielsen introduced 22 new members and handed out 16 blue badges. We hosted an exchange student from Milan, Italy, Gabrielle Umidon. Program highlight was the Israeli Ambassador to the US. Installed a new computer lab at the Eureka High Family Resources Center, hosted an inbound GSE team from Japan, gave dictionaries to 384 3rd graders, and continued sponsoring the Logger Classic at EHS and the county science fair.
2011-2012: Greg Pierson. The club donated $10,000 to the City of Eureka for 4th of July Fireworks, $8,000 for the Humboldt Arts Council rotunda, $8,000 to refurbish sailboats for Sea Scouts, as well as a number of international projects, small grants and scholarships. Sent 168 World War II veterans to Washington DC through our local chapter of the Honor Flight program.
2012-2013: Nancy Dean. EHS Interact was revitalized and two Interact students were sent to the week-long Rotary Youth Leadership Awards training. The club sponsored two inbound exchange students, Larrisa from Germany and Franco from Chile. Thirty members, including Eureka High Interact students, cleaned up a City of Eureka pocket park, helping beautify the community.
2013-2014: Ziggy Ziegenfuss. Winship Middle School was to open in August and it was in terrible shape. We organized work parties, obtained donations, and had the school ready by opening day. That accomplishment overshadowed the whole year. Moved to a new venue at the Elks Lodge.
sign ang ruth smith“Sign” Smith began his long and varied career in magic at age 10; at 16 he was known as the Boy Wonder; at 18 a professional whose magic included fire-eating, wire-walking, hypnotism, card tricks and magic. He settled in Eureka in the early 1920s and opened a sign-making shop. In 1928, Glyndon “Sign” Smith joined the Rotary Club of Eureka. For the next 69 years, until the time of his death at the age of 98, he never missed a weekly meeting. Sign and his wife Ruth lived an exciting, rich life, enjoying their love for each other until Ruth’s death in 1991. In 1995, this legendary Rotarian significantly contributed to the Rotary Foundation and became our club’s first Rotary Foundation Major Donor. Sign was a charming and loving man who gave much of himself to people of the North Coast. He died in April, 1997.

Sign had perfect attendance. Although he and his wife Ruth traveled extensively, he made a point of being where he could make up meetings at various Rotary Clubs around the world. Sign, supported by Ruth, was a dedicated Rotarian. At the time of his death, through his donations and from his estate, he had established a fund now worth $712,645.77 for the use of Eureka Rotary, to benefit the community.

The basic provisions of this Agreement are: That the first community service project was to build softball and soccer fields at Washington School (approximately $50,000) and a donation of $10,000 towards the purchase of a new Bloodmobile for the Blood Bank.

In 2000 the Board of Directors established a Committee of Past Presidents who developed policy and procedures for the expressed purpose of providing “guidance for the management and use of the Funds.” The Board of Directors approved this “Policy Statement of the Sign Smith Endowment Fund” on May 22, 2001. The policy states that: The Fund will be managed by a Committee of all Past Presidents that serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors.

Annually the Committee solicits and evaluates grants for projects. Solicitation is coordinated with the Club’s Service Fund Committee and the Board of Directors. Prior to Committee approval of grant(s), grant recommendation(s) are presented to the Board of Directors for Board comment.

Income from this fund is “used for Rotary service projects as recommended by Rotary Club of Eureka.” The Fund currently provides approximately $35,000 per year to help community projects.