On the Island, across the river and around the world, the success of the Rotary Club is due to cooperative action among local members and between clubs in the region and abroad.
The Grand Island Rotary - chartered in 1959 and celebrating more than 55 years of work in demonstration of its motto, Service Above Self - is seeking new members to join the volunteer service organization. Rotary boasts 35,000 clubs, 70 clubs in the district (which includes Canada), and a million members worldwide from all walks of life. The organization offers men and women, business and professional leaders, the opportunity to serve and improve the local community as well as the world, while enjoying the fellowship of like-minded folks.
The district club in which the GI Rotary is a member extends from Westfield/Mayville in the south to Holley (the furthest easterly club), and one north of Hamilton and Brantford, said Island Rotarian Dick Earne. In every major metropolitan area, one will find a Rotary Club. Earne also noted the club has adapted to changing times. It now even has e-clubs that meet online.
Since its beginning on Grand Island, the Rotary has been responsible for:
•Construction of the gazebo in the Town Commons.
•Addition of the sheltered entry canopy at the Golden Age Center.
•Establishment of the Neighbors Foundation.
•Donation of more than 150 scholarships for graduating high school students in 45 years.
•Founded Interact Club, a service club for high school students.
Regionally, Rotarians are currently helping with:
•Funding of library books at the Niagara Falls Public Library and elementary schools.
•Supporting the Miracle League Field for special-needs ballplayers from all over Western New York.
Globally, Island Rotarians are:
•Working with Early Act clubs in elementary schools, where students collected supplies for Guatemala.
•Assisting in digging wells in Ethiopia.
•Erecting greenhouses in Bolivia.
•Establishing Himalayan Health Care, a medical clinic in Nepal, an endeavor that was the inspiration of then Island Rotarian Dr. Dave Johnson.
•Building a health clinic in Haiti, an endeavor led by the Island Rotarian John Harbison.
And Rotary has been at the forefront of the worldwide drive to eradicate polio.
GI Rotary has raised money for these projects with hot dog and chili sales; its Lobsterfest, which was a summer highlight for more than 10 years; and a new fundraiser and art auction planned for October.
Rotary also emphasizes ethical practices by adherence to the Rotary Four Way Test.
Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all mankind?
GI Rotary, and all Rotary Clubs, have changed over time. The GI club now alternates between breakfast and dinner meetings to accommodate schedules of busy members. Women have enjoyed membership for more than 25 years. The current president of the Grand Island Rotary Club is Amber Storr.