Rotary becomes family affair

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

Katrene McDowell and her son Roman DuVall know a thing or two about family.

The mother and son duo work together at Bryant Health Center. Their families spend lots of time together and they just try to stay involved in each other’s lives.

Now, they can add another shared bond to that list — Rotarian. And they even earned a spot in history as the first mother-son members in the Ironton Rotary Club’s 86-year history.

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“It is really an honor to come in as a mother-son combination,” said Roman, who himself is a 38-year-old father of three. “We want to learn about Rotary, what it stands for and what it means. Hopefully, I can interject a little bit of faith, the religion aspect, and just get involved.”

The Ironton Rotary Club did not allow women members until the late 1980s. Now, the club has several female members. Club president Bret Hensley would like to see more families get involved.

“This is a unique experience to have a mother and son join. And it is great to have the support of the business community,” Hensley said. “Rotary is an international family. Rotary and all that it does doesn’t just end here in Ironton.”

Rotary International is a worldwide organization of community leaders that work together to provide humanitarian service, promote high ethical standards in all walks of life and help build goodwill across the globe.

Without the nudging of Bryant resident Gladys Frecka, Roman and Katrene would likely never have become a part of the organization.

“Gladys was very community minded and she thought that we would be too,” said Katrene, the executive director at Bryant. “We want to be part of the community and to be involved.”

Though they both now reside in Kentucky, the mother and son whose family hails from Ironton have certainly been involved at the nursing home. Katrene has been there nearly 30 years and Roman has been the administrator for almost two.

Katrene, 59, agreed that joining a respected civic organization with her son made the club induction a little sweeter.

“I think it is wonderful. People should try to do more things together,” she said. “As you grow up, it becomes harder because things get hectic. You should never lose touch with your son or daughter. Roman and I have always shared and we will always share.”