Local Rotary Club marks 100 years


Founded in February of 1920, the Crawfordsville Rotary Club is set to celebrate its centennial with a series of concerts, festivals and interactive activities for students.

“We’re going to have something the second Friday of each month (during the summer),” Crawfordsville Rotarian Ron Hess said. “It starts (this) week with lunch at Southmont High School with the Southmont Interact Club on Wednesday.”

The summer months of July, August and September promise to be ripe with activities designed for the community.

“This summer we will hold at least three food concerts and festivals at Pike Place,” Hess continued. “We’ll have big-time bands and music ... and we also sponsor local talent.”

The local talent of which Hess spoke will take form in the Montgomery County High School Band, a conglomerate of the county’s three high school bands, which will open festivities at the first concert slated Friday, July 10.

“They’ll have probably 70 kids in it,” Hess said. “There will be dance and chorus aspects, as well.”

Rotarian Chuck Harple said the move is partly based on concerts sponsored by Crawfordsville Rotary during the summer of 2019.

“We had our first three concerts last summer and they were well-attended,” he said.

The series will wrap up in September with Rotary’s biannual Wine to Water Gala. It will feature live and silent auctions, food, music and wine tasting. Proceeds for the event have historically gone to well-drilling efforts in Haiti, hence the name.

Harple said about 500 people typically attend the gala.

“As a result of the Wine to Water, we’ve drilled seven wells and provided water to the areas we were supporting,” added Hess.

Rotary International is renowned for its efforts across the globe in the 20th century and into the 21st. From its beginnings installing public restrooms in Chicago to nearly eradicating polio worldwide, the club is well known for its contributions.

Aiming to duplicate those efforts on a local level, Crawfordsville Rotarians put the children of Montgomery County first, Hess said.

The club meets every Wednesday at the Crawfordsville District Public Library. Once each month, two students from North Montgomery, two from Crawfordsville and two from Southmont sit in as student Rotarians.

“We have the Leadership Academy for adults, but there is also a Student Leadership Academy out at Camp Rotary every summer for eighth graders in our county ... to learn team building,” Rotary International District 6560 Assistant Governor Jennifer Stanfield said. “We also send students to RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Academy) in Lafayette and to HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership) in Indianapolis.”

For more details on the upcoming events in honor of Rotary’s 100th anniversary, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/crawfordsville.rotary or call the Crawfordsville Chamber of Commerce at 765-364-7870 for additional contact information.