Twenty-five years ago, on Jan. 29, 1988, nearly two dozen people banded together to form the West End Rotary Club. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, West End Rotary hosted a charter dinner Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the Scorecard in Wind Gap.
Back in 1988, the Rotary Club of the Stroudsburgs sponsored and chartered the West End Rotary. It was one of the first Rotary clubs in the world to be chartered with a female officer. Four of the club's 22 charter members were women, the first such charter members in the district. Those members were Terri Zinn, Leona Wood, Jacquelyn Hallas and Patricia Slutter. They use to meet at the King Arthur Restaurant and later at the Chestnuthill Diner.
The club was founded by Wes Brush, (first WERC president), Bob Wilson and Ron Dietrich. In addition to Wes, Ron, Terri and Leona, officers and directors included Tom Kresge, Parker Lindsay, Michael Scovil, Stan Roberts, Ross Blakeslee and Jeff Cohen.
Today the 2012-2013 officers are: Jill Rehrig, president; Debbie Borger, president-elect; Theresa Yocum, vice president; Diana Cardwell, secretary; Frank Mullane, treasurer; Karin-Susan Breitlauch, past president; Joey Krawitz, club administrator; Dave Pierce, sergeant-at-arms; Jeff Widmer, public relations; Karen Ecke, Rotary Foundation; Elaine Ackroyd-Kelly, New Generations; Kevin Noll, service projects; Joanie Loveless, membership.
During the recent evening's festivities, a power-point program ran, featuring pictures of past and present members, Rotary dignitaries, events and functions, prepared by husband and wife team, Tom Gallagher and Dr. Karin-Susan Breitlauch, who was the event's coordinator. There were silver balloons and the guests were allowed to take home the commemorative champagne glasses used for a toast, that were etched with the Rotary's logo and dates.
Guests of honor were: District Governor Art Peoples and Sandy; Past District Governor (PDG) Paul "Budd" O'Malia; PDG Melanie Tek-Visiglio; PDG Kerry Nix and husband, Bob Chavey; PDG Tom Visiglio; District Governor Elect Irene Carey and Dave Carey; District Governor Nominee Carol Hemphill; Walter Clark - President of the Rotary Club of the Smithfields.
The Rotary Club's history began Feb. 23, 1905 when Paul P. Harris, a Chicago attorney, wanted to form a professional club that captured the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The name "Rotary" came about because the meetings were rotated among members' offices. The popularity of Rotary spread quickly and by 1921, there were clubs on six continents and became known as Rotary International.
Today, 1.2 million Rotarians belong to over 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries.
Its mission expanded from professional and social interests to branch out to serving communities in need, resulting in its motto-Service Above Self. A Code of Ethics, The Four-Way Test was adopted, which asks "Of the things we think, say or do, 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
The Rotary's six Areas of Focus are: Peace and conflict prevention/resolution; Disease prevention and treatment; Water and sanitation; Maternal and child health; Basic education and literacy; Economic and community development.
One of Rotary's worldwide goals of the last 25 years has been to eradicate polio, believing that as long as poliomyelitis/polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, children everywhere remain at risk.
Locally, WERC generously gives of their time and talents to make a difference by donating to the West End community organizations, like the four fire companies, the schools, Western Pocono Community Library, and other charitable organizations like the American Cancer Society.
The club meets every Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Western Pocono Community Library in Brodheadsville and Thursday evenings at Luna Rossa Cafe & Grill, Gilbert, at 5:30 p.m. for those who are unable to attend morning meetings.
If you would like to learn more about West End Rotary, visit its website at www.westendrotary.org or write to, West End Rotary Club, PO Box 982Brodheadsville PA 18322 or call 610-390-0351.