About Our Club
 
A brief history of club beginnings and recent activities.
Part 1.   Since its founding on January 11, 1921, the history of the Wenatchee Rotary Club is an unfolding story of initiative, courage, hard work, camaraderie, cooperation, and many successes.  Looking back over the past, the club can feel very proud of its accomplishments.  From an original group of 25 business and professional men who received the charter, we have constantly grown in numbers and in professions represented.  Seven of the original charter members served a term as club president.  The club was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Spokane.
 
The first club president was Dr. Herbert Morse, and is considered father of the club.  Mr. George Coburn was the first VP (and second president), and Mr. Cliff Godfrey, secretary.  The membership by year's end was 55.  The club newsletter, "The Appleseed" began in the first year.  The original board of directors included Dr. Morse, Msrs. George W. Coburn, Alex N. Corbin, Ira D. Edwards, and O.B. Shay, Frank D. Case, and Will H. Little.  The first meetings were held in the Chamber of Commerce building located on the west side of Mission Street between Palouse and Orondo Streets.  The first service projects included support of local Boy Scouts, under-privileged children, and flood relief.
 
The first visit to the club by a district governor, Mr. Nelson G. Pike, was on Feb. 24, 1921, when the Spokane Rotary Club sent 25 delegates to Wenatchee.  In his heartfelt presentation of the club charter, he included these remarks:  "If I had never the word of God upon my lips, the friendship of men in an organization like  this would have kept me more in accord with His laws, than anything else."
 
Charter Members: 
In addition to those mentioned, charter members of the club were:  Arthur Amundson, Rev. Frank Beatty, Ernest Burdick, E.O. Harrison, Louis Kastner, John Mooney, Harvey Mills, Fred Nancekivell, N.B. Neubaner, Dr. Joseph Patrick, Oriando Shay, Frank Smallidge, Garnet Severeign, Howard Thomas, Evan Thomas, Dr. E.J. Widbey, Martin Warren, George Whiteman.     
Source :  75th anniversary publication, "A History of Wenatchee Rotary", 1996.   
 
Part 2 (lifted from original club web site).

Wenatchee Rotary was organized on January 11, 1921. Prior to that, the idea of having a Rotary Club in Wenatchee came to Dr. H.F. (Bert) Morse who was a natural born Rotarian and deserves recognition as being the Father of our Wenatchee Rotary Club. On his way to Chicago to attend a 1920 convention of Osteopathic Physicians, Bert had as a companion a Wenatchee attorney. Together they decided to call on the International Association of Rotary Clubs to make inquiry as to how to form a Rotary Club in Wenatchee.

Bert was advised to get in touch with Nelson Pike of the Spokane Club, who was governor of District 101. A District Assembly for club presidents and secretaries was being held in Walla Walla and Bert, along with several others, made the long trip in the heat of July to contact the District Governor. They were told that Rotary frowned on organizing clubs in cities under 10,000 population. Wenatchee barely qualified.

The District Governor commissioned the Rotary Club of Spokane to sponsor a club in Wenatchee if a survey showed the city had qualified business and professional men to form a club. A committee of Dr. Morse, Alex Corbin, Ira Edwards and O.B. Shay signed up 25 charter members. At the time the club first met there were only Rotary Clubs in Yakima and Walla Walla between Seattle and Spokane.

Growth of the club was fantastic. At the end of the second year, there were 58 members with an average attendance of 92.49%. "Service" was emphasized from the beginning when, in 1922, a carload of apples was sent to both the Industrial School for Boys and the Industrial School for Girls. Later projects included paying for Scout-A-Vista, building of Mission Vista Group Home, sponsoring cabins at Camp Zanika-Lache, YMCA projects and helping to establish the North Central Washington Museum, the Wenatchee Valley College and the Wenatchee Valley Senior Center.

From the beginning, we have had outstanding members from our community who have served as members of the school board, the Chamber of Commerce, on the city council and as mayor, as state representatives and senators, as well as leaders in the business and professional community. Eight of our members have served as Rotary District Governors. Ed Cadman, one of our members, served as President of Rotary International from 1985 to 1986 and, following that, as Chairman of the Trustees of the Rotary Foundation.

At the present time, the Greater Wenatchee community numbers about 50,000 and there are 4 Rotary Clubs here. Along with Rotary International, our club has participated in the effort to eradicate poliomyelitis in the 21st century.   Worldwide, known cases are down by about 99% since 1988.

Over the years we have conducted fund-raisers to support many projects in our community and around the world. We helped build a feeding station and day care center in Danli, Honduras, provided 100 wheelchairs to the disabled in Troitsk, Russia, provided a van to an orphanage in Russia, participated in Cleft palate surgeries in Viet Nam, Peru and Venezuela, built water wells in Africa and provided clean water in Haiti. We have provided shelter boxes for national and international disasters.

In Wenatchee we have :

  • provided lighting for recreation fields,
  • provided art sculpture in the parks,
  • helped build Habitat for Humanity Houses,
  • financed work on the Guild House,
  • financed DARE projects,
  • built maintenance facilities for the Saunders Miniature Railroad in the Park,
  • built Rotary Park on Western Avenue and a playground at Lincoln Park, and
  • provided scholarships to many youth.

In addition, to these many projects, we have taken on a five year project of helping WestSide High School in their transition to a new facility. All of this has been done while participating in International Youth Exchange and Group Study Exchange programs.

 
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