Rotary grows despite pandemic

·2 min read

May 31—The year 2020 was full of hurdles for the Washington Rotary Club. As Covid-19 spread and restrictions expanded, the club lost its regular meeting place. Zoom meetings were required to take the place of face-to-face events. The club had every opportunity to fold and stop. But it didn't.

"We had to work through the pandemic," said Rotary President Terri Kelso. "We are here for the good of the community and we were determined to continue that mission."

Kelso had decided her mission this past year would be to grow the membership. She was successful, in part due to a new program.

"We added corporate memberships, where a company could join and then appoint primary and associate members," said Kelso. "We were able to add eight corporate members this year. This was my project and I am thrilled that we were so successful. We found a lot more service-minded people that live in our community."

Growing the organization though was just part of the effort for the Washington Rotary. The organization does plenty of projects and despite COVID limitations managed to follow through on them.

The club issued grants through the community foundation to organizations that were helping those in need, gave out four-$500 scholarships, conducted the annual scholarship speech contest.

"We also did bell-ringing for the Salvation Army and worked on literacy programs," said Kelso. "Of course, one of our big events was our annual cherry tree planting. We have now planted over 15,000 trees. Each of these programs allows us to build more community awareness about the club and its value."

As the year went on the club was able to return to holding meetings at Bobe's Pizza.

"We made Bill Bobe and honorary member," said Kelso. "He has taken such good care of us and allowed us to meet face-face. It also gave us a place to hold some great programs with more to come."

The Washington Rotary was founded in 1919. It has had ups and downs, good years and bad years and still it continues to make a difference in the community.

"It is open to men and women and the majority of our membership is under 40," said Kelso. "We are just looking to be people of action that are willing to work together for the good of the community."

People looking to join the Rotary or wanting more information about the new corporate membership can contact a Rotary Club member.

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