Rotary has a history of honor, service

While on vacation this summer, we noticed a Rotary International sign and fondly recalled my father-in-law's dedication to this service organization. He faithfully attended meetings around the world, even while on vacation.

Earlier this year, another Rotarian, Whit Whitney - a Davidson resident living at The Pines - was honored for his perfect attendance for 50 years.

Rotary International bills itself as the world's first service club organization and has 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries. Members are business, professional and community leaders who volunteer their time and talents to serve under the motto "Service Above Self."

The 1.2 million Rotarians are members of clubs such as Lake Norman-Huntersville, North Mecklenburg and Mooresville. These clubs are part of Rotary District 7680, which includes more than 52 clubs in the west-central region of North Carolina. Rotary International has its headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Ill., with seven offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, India, Japan, Korea and Switzerland.

Clubs in the Charlotte area meet in the morning, lunchtime, after work or in the evening. Rotary policy requires members to attend at least 50 percent of club meetings in each half of the year. If members miss their own club's meeting, they're encouraged to attend makeup meetings at any Rotary club in the world, which guarantees warm welcomes. Check out

On Feb. 23, 1905, Chicago Attorney Paul Harris held the first meeting, which began the Chicago club. The first national meeting was held in 1910. Woman were allowed to join in 1987.

Six areas of focus for the organization are: peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.

Familiar programs include PolioPlus, Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotary Peace Fellowships and Paul Harris Fellows.

Eradicating polio is Rotary's top priority, and the group works with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in this initiative. As a result of their efforts, more than 2 billion children in 122 countries have received the polio vaccine, preventing 5 million instances of paralysis and 250,000 deaths. Since 1985, Rotary has been volunteering hours and contributed $800 million to immunize the world's children against polio.

Residents of Davidson met with Rotary District 7680 Gov. Nominee Chris Jones and Lake Norman-Huntersville, North Mecklenburg and Mooresville's club members at St. Alban's Church last month to discuss forming a local Davidson club.

The Rotary Club of Lake Norman-Huntersville meets Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. at the Northstone Country Club.

The Moorseville club meets on Tuesdays at noon and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Citizens Center.

The North Mecklenburg club meets Wednesdays at The Peninsula Country Club at noon.

For more district clubs information, go to