The Greenfield Rotary Club is a service organization and for nearly 98 years has stood firmly on the foundation of the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”
Thanks to Rotary, many positive changes have occurred in an around Greenfield since 1922. The very first Rotary club was founded in 1905, when attorney Paul Harris called together the first meeting of a small group of businessmen in Chicago. The club was called Rotary because the site of its meetings rotated as various members hosted the meetings.
These early Rotarians developed a simple platform based on service, high ethical standards in business, and the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations. Rotarians were encouraged to apply the ideal of service in their personal, business and community lives. Within a few years Rotary clubs began springing up all across the country, and eventually in other nations as well, and Rotary International was born.
In early 1922, a Greenfield man, Walter Gray, attended one of the weekly luncheons of the Chicago Rotary Club while he was in that city on business. He was so favorably impressed with the activities and fellowship of the club that upon his return home he proposed that a similar organization be established in Greenfield, and so it was on May 1, 1922.
During the early years of the club, members supported welfare work, public school health work, the Red Cross, and twice sponsored fund campaigns for the benefit of Greenfield Hospital. One of the highlights of the club’s history was the privilege of participating in the silver anniversary of the Columbus club, at which the guest of honor was the beloved founder of Rotary, Harris.
Through the years, the Greenfield club has continued its devoted service to the community.
Since 1986, the Greenfield Rotary Club has sponsored the Greene Countrie Towne Festival, which has become a community staple. During that three-day event, the Rotary auction is held. It is the club’s largest fundraiser of the year, bringing in an average of $20,000.
Other fundraisers throughout the year include spaghetti dinners, one held during basketball season and another during football season. The club also works in conjunction with the Hillsboro Rotary Club to raise money for the Highland County Society for Children and Adults.
With the funds raised every year through the generosity of the community, the Greenfield club supports such community endeavors as maintaining the Ralph Phillips Recreation and Civic Center, organizing the festival, purchasing and distributing dictionaries to every third grader and thesauruses to every fifth grader in the Greenfield Exempted Village School District each year, helping local students and the schools, running the Greenfield portion of the telethon for the Highland County Society for Children and Adults, the Rotary 4-Way Test Speech Contest with the Rotary Club providing an annual scholarship to the winner, and many other avenues of serving the community.
The club meets every Thursday at Catch 22 at noon. For more information on the Greenfield Rotary Club, go to greenfieldrotary.org.
Submitted by Angie Trefz, branch manager, Southern Hills Community Bank.