GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis Rotary Club celebrated 90 years of serving the community Thursday in Bossard Memorial Library’s Riverside Room during its annual Christmas Dinner.
Members and visitors both took part in food and fellowship before words were spoken by current Rotarian President AJ Stack and longtime Rotarian Jim Morrison.
“When we started planning for the 90th anniversary of our club’s founding,” said Stack, “we wanted to remember the impact we’ve had on the community and cast our eyes forward to what impact we will continue to have and what opportunities are on the horizon to impact our community. We decided to ask Mr. Jim Morrison as a longtime Rotarian who has a long and storied history with Gallipolis Rotary Club to lift up some of the ways the club has made a difference in the life of the community as a way of celebrating the last 90 years have been.”
“While I wasn’t a charter member, I do recall those folks who started it,” said Morrison. “Now the club is 90-years old. It was sponsored by the Wellston club. The first meeting was in November and we were chartered in the following January… Rotary, itself, a lot of you know goes back even further and was started in Chicago by a gentleman named Paul Harris. Of course, a lot of you Rotarians know that. It got the name of Rotary because it drew business people and it was a good chance to get together and try and get some synergy and see what could be done in the community. They called it Rotary because they rotated where the meetings were.”
“There is a connection there from Gallipolis,” said Morrison. “It’s kind of a bittersweet one for me…We had a young man, years ago, when we were in the clothing business…we used to pick off kids from the schools we felt were some of the leaders. There was a young man named David Durham, in fact, his mother was our first seamstress. David was the 106th president of the Chicago Rotary Club and that is the original Rotary Club, and this was back in 2010. When David was president-elect, he was diagnosed with cancer but he served his term…He was a great young man.”
“The whole idea, when Paul Harris started and when this club was founded was (about asking oneself) ‘What can you do in the community?’” said Morrison. “I’ve always said the idea behind Rotary was how could we serve the community? That’s both the local community and the world. Locally, going back and looking in our history, we’ve supported a number of things. The constant theme through that though has been youth…It’s gone through a number of different venues. We’ve carried scholarships to any graduate of schools in Gallia County (among other various donations and projects).”
Internationally, Rotary has been well-known to fund efforts in eradicating the polio disease.
“I’m proud that there are people in this club who have done wonderful things, things like establishing the Field of Hope,” said Morrison. “That’s the kind of thing that Rotary can do. They can really make a difference.”
Morrison lauded community partnerships Gallipolis Rotary had made with area agencies and invited other community members to join if they wished.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.