Indiana Rotary is officially an Indiana County Centennial Service Club.
Founded in 1921, the club still remains a vibrant organization dedicated to providing service to others, promoting integrity, and advancing global understanding, goodwill, and peace through its community of business leaders, professionals, and communities, according to a press release.
Together, Rotary sees a world where people come together and take action to create lasting change – across the world, in our communities, and within ourselves.
Indiana’s Rotary has failed to consistently meet with its members face-to-face over the past two years of the pandemic.
“While we have each lost friends or family to COVID, as a club we are grateful that our members have come through this time in reasonably good health. Our board members say it has made us a better club because we have LIVED the service above ourselves for the past two years.
“How? To begin with, we took the initiative to adjust meetings and devote our energy and resources to the community during a critical time of need. We volunteered more and dedicated substantial hours to help fight against the pandemic by helping with vaccines.
“We have supported United Way and The Salvation Army by volunteering and donating time and money as they too have helped meet the needs of our community. We supported local food insecurity guidelines by helping buy a freezer for the Indiana County Community Action Program (ICCAP) and grocery shopping for the Chevy Chase Community Center. We have new initiatives like the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Adopt-A-Highway program and the Trex Plastics recycling program to donate a bench to the community.
Officials reported that the club has been particularly challenged since its support for community programs was limited by the inability to conduct its biggest fundraiser, the Luxury Raffle.
In addition to the various projects approved each year for funding this event, several ongoing commitments are also funded by it, including the Woodard Scholarships (a four-year, $1,000/year scholarship awarded annually to a high school student from the Indiana area who will attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania) and the Dictionary Project, which distributed 597 Merriam-Webster dictionaries to 12 third-grade students in the Indiana County School District.
“Our Luxury Raffle account is slowly depleting as we continue to meet these ongoing commitments, but we have been unable to generate new funds,” officials said in the statement.
Currently, Indiana Rotary champions a NexTrex plastic bag and film recycling program. Plastic bags and film packaging are important durable and lightweight protection for food and goods in transit. But these materials should not be recycled in most curbside carts or single-stream programs.
Fortunately, many grocers and retailers and some organizations, like Indiana Rotary, provide specific collection bins for bags and film to be recycled separately from other recyclables.
Collection boxes are currently located at: Diamond Medical Supply, Jimmy Stewart Airport, Indiana Free Library, 700 Shop, Reschini Insurance Group, the IUP Hilton Garden Inn and Luxenberg’s Jewelers.
Upon successful completion of the program, NexTrex will provide a recycled bench to Indiana Rotary to donate to a local community organization. Recently, Calvary Presbyterian Church and Evergreen Conservancy carried out plastic recycling projects.
Indiana Rotary meets every Monday at 5:30 p.m. Each meeting features a speaker from the community program. On Monday, March 21, it will be Dr. Charles D. Cashdollar, author of “The IUP Story”, a book chronicling the history of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Invitations were also distributed to Indiana Midday and Ebensburg Rotary to attend and participate.
On Saturday, June 25, Indiana Rotary will sponsor its annual AMBA Blood Test Wellness Program. Indiana Rotary has sponsored the annual blood test program for many years. In previous years, Indiana Rotary has partnered with Quest Diagnostics to offer the comprehensive blood test screening program. Quest offers physicians a menu of tests that leads the industry in breadth and innovation. Quest’s testing menu ranges from routine biological testing to complex and specialized molecular and genetic testing as well as anatomical pathology. Once arrangements are finalized, the location and times of the program will be announced.
On June 27, Indiana Rotary will host a Centennial Celebration Dinner as well as its annual Paul Harris Fellow recognition which recognizes those who contribute, or who have made contributions on their behalf, to The Rotary Foundation.
On February 23, 1905, Paul Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey gathered at Loehr’s office in downtown Chicago for what would become the Rotary club’s first meeting. These men were a lawyer, mining engineer, tailor and coal merchant. Rotary created the recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, The Rotary Foundation Scholarships for Advanced Study, the precursor to the Ambassador Scholarships.
Many other notable people have been named Paul Harris Fellows, including US President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, US astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and coronavirus vaccine developer poliomyelitis Jonas Salk.
Ashlee Mondi Kennedy is president of Rotary Indiana, the vice president is Jeff Widdowson, the Reverend William Geiger is the club secretary, and Sherry Skidmore is the club treasurer. Board members are Dan Fleming and Dana P. Henry. Tae Ayers is the former president. Past presidents include John Keith, John Sutton, Harry White and Ralph McCreary; names well known to those with roots in Indiana.