Get to know the Rotary club.
The McPherson Rotary Club was started on May 16, 1919. It was chartered as the 499th Rotary Club in the world. Among the 15 charter members were W. J.. Krehbiel, E. L. Hodge, L. E. Lawson, Simon Kern, Milt Hawkinson, J.H. Scott, Thomas Sawyer, Ed Sundahl, Stewart Simpson and Simon Strouse. The average age of the members of the club was about 45 and the club was sponsored by the Salina and Hutchinson Rotary clubs. Their motto, service above self, is carried out by its over 1.2 million members nation wide.
All Rotary clubs are responsible for increasing their membership base, participating in service projects that benefit the community, supporting the Rotary Foundation through program participation and developing leaders capable of serving in Rotary beyond the club level.
In the early years, members of the club were fined 10 cents for calling a fellow Rotarian by a name other than their first name, or for using their title in addressing them. Fines were also assessed for failing to sing, singing too loudly, failure to wear one’s badge, arriving late or leaving early.
The club wasn’t all about fines though and some of their early stunts included blindfolding two inducted college professors, giving them boxing gloves and seeing what happened. Another stunt included having two doctors mounted on tricycles or kitty cars for a race down the length of the meeting room.
The club also sponsors events like All Schools Day, which has developed into a separate community organization and has become the unofficial legal holiday of the city of McPherson on the second Friday in May each year. The club also broke down the barriers and misunderstandings which existed for a number of years between the McPherson Businessmen and the faculty and staff at McPherson College. They also sponsored four students to pursue graduate students outside the U.S. Who are: Clair Swick, 1966-67; Gail Hayes, 1973-4; Anita Carol Koehn, 1967-77; and Linda Collier, 1983-4. They also continue to sponsor youth to Boys State, Girls State, and the Rotary Youth Leadership Award and continue to sponsor a Babe Ruth baseball team. The club has also sponsored a primary school Trick or Treat for UNICELF for Polio Plus, a “Kids Helping Kids” learning experience.
The club is also involved in helping the Rotary match the $100 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate polio. The $200 million will directly support immunization campaigns in developing countries where polio continues to infect and paralyze children.
The McPherson Rotary Club fellowship meetings were held on the first and third Tuesday of each month and until 1998, they were held in the evenings. That time was changed to noon to acommidate the busy schedules of a majority of the members and to allow the children at home more time with their parents.
Board meetings are regularly held on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at noon. They are also experimenting with having another club within the club that meets in the evenings for those who are unable to meet at noon.
The First club meeting was held in the Union Hotel at One Main Palace Plaza, but was later moved to Lloyd’s Cafeteria in the Elks Lodge with the Congregational Church until 1929. After that, the meetings were held in the Blue Room of the Hawley Hotel until it closed in 1975. Then meetings were held at the Starlite Restaurant, the Red Coach Restaurant and Serloin Stockade
Restaurant for evening meals on the first and third Tuesday of each month. In 1998, the meetings were moved once again to noon meetings a the Pear Tree and beginning in 2006, meeting were moved to Amics, where they meet today.