Rotary celebrates 80th year

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Members of The Rotary Club of Farmville celebrated the service organization’s 80th anniversary Thursday, holding a celebration at The Woodland to fellowship and remember the club’s past.

Participants enjoyed food, drinks and camraderie.

Memorabilia, including flags and a book recording letters, news articles and other documentation from the Rotary Club of Farmville between the years of 1938 and 1978 were available for people to peruse.

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According to the Rotary Club of Farmville website, the club was organized on March 8, 1938. The Charter Presentation was held on April 15, 1938 in the Hotel Weyanoke. There were 24 original charter members in the Farmville club.

Town Mayor David Whitus, during the Thursday event, presented the club with a proclamation from The Town of Farmville that March 8, 2018 would be Rotary Club of Farmville Day.

The club currently has approximately 40 members and holds meetings on Thursdays at Charleys Waterfront Cafe.

The Rotary Club of Farmville website notes that the organization consists of business and professional leaders “who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”

The website notes that approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 rotary clubs in more than 160 countries.

Jennifer Fraley, president nominee for the club, said she was excited for the chance to both recognize the club’s past and look forward to the club’s future.

“It’s fantastic,” Fraley said about the celebration.

The club, among other activities, has organized the annual Taste of Farmville celebration, built the playground by Wilck’s Lake, has helped students with career preparation at Longwood University’s College of Business and Economics and donates to FACES food pantry, Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels and other area nonprofits.

“The Rotary Club of Farmville does really good work for our community,” Fraley said. “We’re excited about our growth and moving forward.”

Fraley and Club President Sue Carter said the Farmville Rotary Club is considered a third descendant of the original Rotary Club, which was founded in Chicago in 1906.

The Chicago club chartered a club in Washington D.C. The D.C. location chartered a location in Richmond, and the Richmond location chartered a club in Farmville, Carter and Fraley said.

“We enjoy our point of pride that we’re a third generation from the original,” Fraley said.

Club Historian Dan Dwyer is the longest serving member of the Farmville Rotary, first joining the club in 1984. During the event, he told stories about the club and about encountering a few of the founding members of the Farmville Rotary. He said one member, Armstrong Smith, attended meetings with him within Dwyer’s first year of joining the rotary. Another founding member, J.A. Harper, a barber, cut Dwyer’s hair as a kid.

He said the 80th anniversary was a special milestone.

“It was a wonderful evening,” Dwyer said. “Great music, good food, could not have been better.”