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Rotary Club turns 100
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The Rotary Club of McMinnville celebrated 100 years of promoting the ideal of “service over self” at its Centennial Celebration Gala on Thursday night.

The milestone event held at First National Bank allowed Rotarians and their guests a chance to look back at the history of Rotary in McMinnville.

Rotary has enjoyed much success over the past century including the global polio eradication campaign, Polio Plus. Rotary’s 1.2 million members organized into 3,000 local clubs in roughly 170 countries and have contributed millions of dollars and countless hours of volunteer labor.

Rotary Club director of club administration and public relations Bill Zechman gave a presentation on the history of Rotary in McMinnville and spoke on the importance of the

club. He spoke about how in the beginning the club did not have a permanent meeting place.

They went from hotel to hotel before finding a fit at First Presbyterian Church when the ladies guild at the time offered to provide Southern dishes.

“The Rotary Club McMinnville, except for a two-year hiatus because of the COVID pandemic, has been meeting at the same place longer than any other Rotary Club in the universe,” said Zechman. “So I would say the Presbyterian Church ladies are doing a good job and that is what we call our ancestral home and it has so much history.”

Zechman spoke about the achievements of the club over the last century and said none of it would be possible without the ones who came before them.

“We as Rotarians are not afraid to dream big and set bold goals,” said Zechman. “We are going to be looking forward to another 100 years.”

President of Rotary International Shekhar Mehta sent a video to the club congratulating members for the milestone. He apologize for not being able to attend in person, but encouraged them to continue to recruit new members to continue serving the community.

During the Centennial Celebration Gala, 100th club president David Mason Simpson passed the gavel to new president Ben Myers. Myers recalled a time when he was at an event where they were asking what Rotary does for your town. He said one person said they were the only civic club in their area and he was surprised because there are many civic clubs in McMinnville.

“When the question came around to me in terms of McMinnville my answer was it connects those civic clubs. We have an untold number of civic clubs within McMinnville and when you start to think about all the civic clubs, there are a lot. What Rotary does is it connects those clubs together,” said Myers. “What Rotary initially tried to do was connect and network and help me to help everyone else connect these folks together so we can continue to grow and continue great projects.”

New officers and directors were announced at the gala. For year 2022-2023 the officers and directors are: president Ben Myers, past president David Mason Simpson, president elect Michael Barnes, vice president Rick Webb, secretary Haile Adams, treasurer Andy Knowles, sergeant-at-arms Matt Hash, director of club administration and public relations Bill Zechman, director of service projects Richard Manning, director of membership Rick Stacy, director of Rotary Foundation Mike Roberts, director of technology Kelly Basham, and director of community fund Lynne Cole.