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Ironton Rotary approaching 90 years

Like fine wine, some things just keep getting better and better with age.

The Ironton Rotary Club fits that bill for sure. Though I’m not sure the same could be said for all its members. (I won’t name any names though.)

The civic club is gearing up to celebrate its 90th birthday on March 1, 2010.

The club’s first meeting was Jan. 24, 1920, just 15 years after Rotary was founded in Chicago.

But even after nine decades of putting its motto, “Service Above Self,” into action here locally, I am often surprised at all those who don’t know what Rotary is or what the organization stands for.

In its own words, “The mission of Rotary International, a worldwide association of Rotary clubs, is to provide service to others, to promote high ethical standards, and to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.”

Another key principle of Rotary that always stood out to me as good rules to apply to our everyday lives is The Four-Way Test.

The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions:

“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?”

Those are good words to live by.

Worldwide, Rotary has more than 1.2 million members in 28,000 clubs in more than 161 countries.

The Ironton club has several dozen wonderful men and women who make a lot of sacrifices to help the club and give back to the community.

Of course, we are always looking for others who are interested in making a difference and I welcome anyone interested in the club to contact me.

Rotary has four areas of service that are used to give the organization’s efforts focus: Club Service, International Service, Vocational Service and Community Service.

“Club Service focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the smooth functioning of Rotary clubs.

“Vocational Service involves club members serving others through their professions and aspiring to high ethical standards. Rotarians, as business leaders, share skills and expertise through their vocations, and they inspire others in the process.

“Community Service is the opportunity Rotary clubs have to implement club projects and activities that improve life in the local community.

“International Service encompasses efforts to expand Rotary’s humanitarian reach around the world and to promote world understanding and peace.”

On a local level, the club is working on many great things to make a difference in the community including providing dictionaries to all third graders in the county, providing nursing scholarships at OUS, contributing to beautification efforts within the city and supporting human service groups like food banks, the city Welfare Mission and others.

Right now, the club is working on giving the Ironton fountain area a facelift. Rotarian and downtown business owner Rich Mountain deserves a lot of the credit for leading the way and doing a lot of the work on this project.

Ninety years is a long time and a lot of lives have been touched over the years. Here’s looking forward to 90 more.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.