Rotary brings city together with pancakes

Published 11:02 pm Saturday, February 7, 2009

IRONTON — As Arthur Shaffer was waiting for his pancakes, he took a minute to reflect on why the annual Rotary Club breakfast was such successful event year after year.

One Saturday morning in February each year the AEP building on Third Street is packed as pancakes, sausage and coffee are dished up for the hungry. The reason so many come out, no matter the weather, can be summed up in two words, Shaffer says.

“Friendship and fellowship,” the Ironton resident said. “I’ve been coming here for years.”

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Likewise Mary Wilcoxon, also of Ironton, has made the annual breakfast part of her routine each year.

“It helps the Rotary Club and I enjoy socializing with the people,” Wilcoxon said. “And the food is always good.”

The annual pancake breakfast is one of the major fund-raisers for the Ironton Rotary Club that takes the proceeds from the event and funnels it into area charities and non-profit organizations, such as the City Mission and Ironton in Bloom. It also goes toward scholarships at Ohio University Southern and providing free dictionaries to every third grader in Lawrence County. On the club’s international level, part of the money raised Saturday will go toward the fight to end polio worldwide.

Halfway into the morning feast, volunteers had to restock the larder as they had already cooked up 60 pounds of sausage by 10 a.m. and gone through cases and cases of pancake batter. Pulling kitchen duty were Dick Thompson on batter, Rich Mountain on sausage and Don Edwards, also on batter, doing some extra tricks like coming up with green pancakes thanks to a few drops of food coloring.

This was the first year for Marsha Wikle to volunteer at the breakfast and for the first few hours it was nonstop for her as she made pots of coffee on five burners simultaneously

“This is a very close-knit community and this gives people a chance to come out and visit,” Wikle said.

Bussing tables again this year were members of Boy Scout Troop 103 from Deering as part of their work toward their service project badge.

“This is so they can help others,” Mary Ellen Bryant, committee chair for the troop, said.

Another regular to the annual breakfast is Woody Holbrook of Ironton, who comes every year.

“I live alone and come down to eat and to see a lot of people, to see my friends,” he said.