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March 30, 2014

Rotary continues legacy of community service

CULLMAN — The Cullman Rotary is a part of a world-wide organization, Rotary International, a service club organization founded in 1905 in Chicago by an attorney, Paul P. Harris. Over 32,000 Rotary clubs exist, in more than 200 countries. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self,” which relates to service in the community, workplace and the world. Rotary clubs are comprised of business and professional leaders who serve the community in which the club is located.

The Cullman Rotary club is comprised of 60 members who meet weekly. Rotary club members benefit from networking, leadership and service opportunities. One of the long-term interests of Rotary International include efforts to eradicate polio. Other concerns of Rotary include the welfare of children, improving illiteracy, protecting the environment and reducing world hunger.

According to Rotarian Billy Jackson, over the course of the past 33 years, the Cullman Rotary Club has raised approximately $1.5 million dollars for use in community projects.

It is a point of honor for the Cullman Rotary that they have been recognized as a 100 percent Paul Harris Club, meaning that everyone in the club has given more than one thousand dollars to the Harris Foundation. The money for some of the projects mentioned below comes from that Foundation. Cullman is the first club in the district to be recognized as such, and have held the position for the past nine years.

Childhaven director, Dr. James Wright, joined Rotary because of the club’s focus and efforts to give back to the community and the world. “We are constantly looking for worthwhile projects and receive numerous requests from various organizations — many of which we are able to participate in,” he said. “Rotary is a global organization and the largest civic organization of its kind. I am honored to be part of such an organization, and particularly to be associated with the men and women of this club.”

All Rotarians agree that club associations help to build deeper friendships with the community leaders. “I have been a member for over nineteen years, and Rotary is so much more than I thought, not only locally, but world wide,” said Wright.  

“Rotary has supported Childhaven for nearly twenty years, not only financially, but also through assisting in the provision of Christmas gifts to our children,” Wright continued. “Over these years, they have provided gifts to over 800 children. They’ve also done service projects from time to time. The club's generosity is amazing.”

Dr. Wright also chairs the scholarship committee, which provides several scholarships each year. Some are Rotary Youth Leadership scholarships, involving youth in the Rotary Leadership Development Program, but most are academic scholarships. Tens of thousands of dollars have been awarded over the years.

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