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Rotary puts “Service Above Self”

September 21, 2012
Ashley Hudson - Special to the Chronicle , Shepherdstown Chronicle

The Rotary Club of Shepherdstown, chartered on April 24, 1987, supports and is involved in many local community service projects, such as Good Shepherd Caregivers and the Day of Caring.

The Rotary club meets at the Bavarian Inn every Tuesday from 7:30 8:30 a.m. The club hosts guest speakers at their meetings each week for a variety of business and service disciplines while reserving one meeting per month for Club Assembly activities.

Monica Lockett, president of the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown, said, "Our club of 60+ members espouses the objectives of Rotary, 'Service above Self,' and promotes fellowship while pro-actively contributing to community projects though multiple venues of club service participation."

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Club members represent multiple professions and very often share the both their financial and intellectual expertise to benefit community projects, according to Lockett.

Rotary is also an international service organization with the main objective of promoting service in the community, the workplace and around the globe. There are approximately 1.2 million members of Rotary and more than 34,000 Rotary clubs around the world.

To join the Shepherdstown Rotary Club, a professional businessperson in the community must first be recognized by a club member and introduced to the club by attending a club meeting as a guest.

Lockett, who has been a member the Shepherdstown Rotary Club for three and a half years, considered seeking membership after attending a meeting on the suggestion of a co-worker's husband.

Lockett said, "After a few visits, I was very engaged by the club members who represent such a diverse field of expertise and such a commitment to service in Shepherdstown and indeed the world. I have learned so much from the experiences that Rotarians have shared and from the many great speakers who have been guest presenters at our weekly club meeting."

The club service committee works on club fellowship opportunities throughout the year, as well as, maintaining their good relationships with the Shepherd University and Shepherdstown, explained Lockett. The club service committee also annually decorates McMurran Hall for the holidays.

The club has a vocational services committee that participates in projects such as giving a dictionary or thesaurus to third and fifth graders in Jefferson County Schools, as well.

Rotary's community services committee focuses on community service projects. The Shepherdstown Rotary club is making a $1,000 donation the Shelter Box project, which provides immediate support during major disaster. The "Shelter Box" provides things such as tents, food and water for families when disaster strikes, according to Lockett.

The club most recently participated in the United Way's Day of Caring and the Mega Food Drive.

Lockett said, "Members helped a family with some home repairs and improvement projects. Other members brought food to share with the local food bank."

The club supports a program known as the "Potato/Produce Drop." The program helps make sure food that is not quite good enough to go to market but still usable will be distributed to families who are in need. The club also presents an annual Fourth of July Parade and picnic for residents and visitors to enjoy, and they are hosting an exchange student from Peru at Jefferson High School who is visiting the country for a period of one year.

The Shepherdstown Rotary played an instrumental role in the development of the Good Shepherd Caregivers, support of the local library and also an annual charity ball planned for Dec. 7, 2012 that will support multiple charitable projects and programs. The club supports several other efforts within the Shepherdstown community, as well.

The committee plans and hosts the annual Charity Ball, as well. This year's theme is again, "Our Ball, Your Charity," where Rotary hosts tables and guests donate money to charity to attend, explained Lockett.

Bill Howard, the editor of the club's weekly news letter, said, "Rotary was responsible, in large part, for helping take the idea of support for older and disabled members of our community and making it into the Good Shepherd Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers. The first Rotary Charity Ball in December 1991 was the inaugural fundraiser for Caregivers, which continues to thrive."

Howard is a charter member of the Shepherdstown Rotary Club since the club's creation 25 years ago. He was also the fourth president of the club.

Howard said, "As a charter member, I was inspired by our organizing sponsors members of clubs from other nearby communities like Williamsport, Martinsburg and Winchester who encouraged our community to start a Rotary Club."

The Shepherdstown Rotary Club also aided in the international Rotary efforts to eradicate polio in the world as part of the the "This Close" campaign.

Lockett said, "We have a very active Rotaract Club at Shepherd University and they do projects like collecting winter coats for kids and providing a lot of service support to the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown."

Rotaract clubs are the university and college branches of Rotary clubs and are "partners in service" to their local clubs. Shepherd University's Rotaract Club meets in the Student Center every Wednesday at 4:10 p.m.

The Shepherd Rotaract Club is advised by Holly Frye. Frye began advising Rotaract in 2005 and joined Rotary in 2006. She is also the chair of Rotary's New Generations Committee and on the Board of Directors. Frye felt that it was a great honor to be asked to create the Rotaract organization at Shepherd University.

Frye said, "The opportunity to work with so many wonderful community leaders was, and is, both a humbling and rewarding experience; and to advise Shepherd students to be leaders and provide service to others was an opportunity I could not turn down."

The Rotaract Club aids in the decorating of McMurran Hall and the Potato Drop. They support Big Brothers and Big Sisters along with Relay for Life. The club also holds a coat and blanket drive for children in the winter. Rotaract supports the international Water for Haiti project.

Frye said, "My father was one of the charter members of the Shepherdstown Rotary Club and served as the first president in 1987. My father taught me that service to others was one of the most important things we can do with our lives."

 
 

 

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