Wednesday marked 100 years to the day that Paul Harris sat down with a few friends in Chicago to discuss ways of improving their community.
That meeting became the foundation for Rotary International and gave birth to a service organization with a priceless worldwide reach: More than 1.2 million members in 166 countries.
Rotary’s motto, "Service Above Self," describes the attitude members convey whether they are helping on a local or international stage. Aside from providing scholarships or life-improving deeds, one of the organization’s primary ongoing efforts is to eradicate polio.
Every club across the world, including those in the Valley, celebrated Rotary’s milestone in its own way.
On Wednesday, the Gilbert Rotary club planted an ash tree to replace a fallen mesquite tree at the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert.
For its centennial commemoration, the Scottsdale Sunrise Rotary club donated a piece of medical equipment designed for vision and eye care to Las Fuentes Health Clinic in Guadalupe.
"We wanted to do something that we knew would be long-lasting," said Dee Dee Bark, the club’s secretary, about the donation made Feb. 12.
"This piece of equipment is so necessary for a small clinic that really just gets by on donations," she said.
"It’s pretty amazing the good that Rotary does is still going on after 100 years," Bark said.
To learn more about Rotary International, visit www.rotary.org.