Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs.
Rotary club membership represents a cross-section of the community's business and professional men and women. The world's Rotary clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.
The main objective of Rotary is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today's most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development. The Rotary motto is Service Above Self.
Although Rotary clubs develop autonomous service programs, all Rotarians worldwide are united in a campaign for the global eradication of polio. In the 1980s, Rotarians raised US$240 million to immunize the children of the world; by 2005, Rotary's centenary year and the target date for the certification of a polio-free world, the PolioPlus program will have contributed US$500 million to this cause. In addition, Rotary has provided an army of volunteers to promote and assist at national immunization days in polio-endemic countries around the world.
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is a not-for-profit corporation that promotes world understanding through international humanitarian service programs and educational and cultural exchanges. It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and others who share its vision of a better world. Since 1947, the Foundation has awarded more than US$1.1 billion in humanitarian and educational grants, which are initiated and administered by local Rotary clubs and districts.
Bangor Area Breakfast Rotary - a brief and incomplete history
On August 28, 2008, our weekly meeting was turned over to a series of speakers. Herewith the account as published in the Roundtable, our official newsletter:
"No one speaker was listed for this morning’s meeting so the group was held in suspense until Ann Dyer strode to the podium. Ann said that it would be nice to have some history about our club and how some of us came to be part of it. Ann began by saying that she worked for Nat Bond at Eastern Maine. She described him as a “grump” every day except Thursday when Nat came in and spoke about Rotary. She eventually asked him to sponsor her in the club, which he did.
At this point, Ann noted that we had several charter members still with the club. She introduced Larry Hersom to continue with the retrospective. Larry reminded us that 51 members founded the club on June 1, 1989. He was not a founding member, joining the club about 6 months later. Larry said the club has been very active and has included some very interesting characters.
One of the earliest Club projects was the Challenge event, a Transatlantic balloon flight competition. Our club supplied the launch crew for the German balloon team. Reportedly the team landed first in Brewer, then Holden, then went a tad off course from the intended destination of Europe and landed in Africa. Larry mentioned that another early endeavor was a steer-raising project. As children were present, no further details were presented. The interested reader might follow-up with Larry individually.
As six of the remaining eight charter members were in attendance this morning, Larry called upon each to share a few memories.
Dr. Lew Phillips observed that you don’t see many physicians at Rotary meetings because they have a tendency to become very involved in their work. Dr. Lew was asked to join and thought it’d be great to get out in the community. It has been a blessing to be involved over the years, he said.
Bob Leavitt had no prior experience with Rotary. Ed Mace and Will Farnum asked him to join at the time he was managing Webber. He agreed and said that over the years the club has been very tolerant of his many absences. However, he has given and gotten Rotary flags at clubs around the world.
Leo Loiselle was surprised when he was asked to join the Breakfast Rotary. He had been in the noontime club but could not abide the interminable length of the meetings and was fired from noontime as a result. He said he was asked to join Breakfast because the club needed someone to keep the meeting short and on-time.
Ned Jennings stated that Brent Cross asked him to join the club. He had just started his business and knew it was important to be involved in the community. When the club took over maintenance of a local camp cabin, Ned said, the project kept the club together. The club has been very enjoyable and a real cross-section of the community.
George Eaton referred to some extensive notes for the occasion. He told us that initially noontime Rotarian Charlie Bragg dictated the rules the club needed to live by. The rules were promptly thrown out the window. George said things in the club were “unusual.” As an example, once Al Rand was told someone liked his suit. He replied, yeah, it’s a rental. George touched briefly on his time as president, following Tom Drummond. It was mostly a period of damage mitigation and crowd control, he reflected. George told us that the French-speaking District Governor came on the annual visit and told the club how out of line we were. He read us the riot act in French and promptly got out of town.
Ivan McPike had dabbled with Rotary prior to the formation of our group. But he wondered why it was that so many drooled for so long at the noontime club and sat around for 2 hours. He wound up in the Breakfast Club instead. After several years he got to be the Sergeant-at-Arms. One day someone approached him about having an auction in the morning to raise money for a scholarship. “You can do it, Ivan.” They did and raised $1500 in an hour-long morning auction at the Harborside Restaurant in Brewer, where the Muddy Rudder is located today. Ivan said that he wanted to go to the Camp Rainbow project but couldn’t initially due to work; now he can and he enjoys it immensely. He remembered that Al Rand rang the bell so hard someone beat him up. He thereafter rang the bell in a hard hat. Ivan said he was particularly pleased he was able to sing Happy Birthday to Al with Al sitting in his lap. Al had a history of heart attacks and three weeks later he died. Ivan said in closing that he’s been impressed that there’s always a group of people who jump up and get things done and that it’s not always the same people.
Larry brought the program to a close by saying that this club was a great change from the noon meetings he attended while in other clubs. (He’s now in his 42nd year as a Rotarian.) He said that many years ago Bob Guerrette and some others started getting food baskets together and started doing the spaghetti feed at Camp Rainbow. Bob has done so much for the club, quietly, behind the scenes; he’s an unsung hero. Larry said this is the best of the clubs he’s been in."
There is always more history as time passes and no doubt additional history will be added here from time to time. We have written a history thus far that does Rotary International's motto Service Above Self proud. We've also made Thursday mornings something to look forward to, not just for the speakers but for the fellowship and caring shown by each member for every other member.