The Rotary Club of Lakewood is celebrating a half-century of service to the community and on Friday, April 21, about 150 members, their spouses and widows of deceased members gathered at Tacoma Country & Golf Club to toast the event. Interestingly, the Lakewood Rotary Club’s initial meeting was also held at the club in June 1956.
Past presidents recall events – Norm Tremaine (President 1992-93) reads about past club events as Dave Covey (President 2002-03) listens along with Ted Wier (president 1998-99).
In its 50 years of community activism, members of the club have raised and distributed approximately $2 million locally and another $600,000 to the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
On the local scene, the club started out modestly by sponsoring baseball teams each summer. Later on, fundraising and giving grew dramatically.
In 1961 Lakewood Rotary provided $1,500 for a Boy Scout building. Next came a $10,000 donation for the baseball fields at Ft. Steilacoom Park, named for longtime active member Charley Peterson. In 1978 the club paid $5,000 for a Jaws of Life for the Lakewood Fire Department.
A list of other major contributions:
- 1982 ¬? Lakewood fire Department rescue vehicles for $42,500
- 1983 ¬? Renal Dialysis Center at St Joseph Hospital – $253,000
- 1986 ¬? Lakewood YMCA – $100,000
- 1992 ¬? Mary Bridge Hospital Children¬?s Sexual Abuse Center (and start of Courage Classic bicycle ride) – $100,000
- 1994 ¬? Lakewood Boys & Girls Club – $100,000
- 1999 ¬? Springbrook Park (cash and physical on-site work) – $50,000
- 2001 ¬? St Clare Hospital remodel – $50,000
- 2001 ¬? Lakewood Boys & Girls Club remodel – $50,000
- 2002 ¬? Child Development Center – $25,000
- 2004 ¬? Ft Steilacoom Playground coordination – $50,000
In addition to these major efforts, the club has donated hundreds of dollars for scholarships to high school students and many local organizations. For years, club members have honored a teacher and student each month. When the honorees are presented, club members are able to learn about the quality and efforts of the individuals. Lakewood Rotarians have traveled around the world as volunteers working on a variety of projects including helping build a hospital in Auce, Latvia and schools in Thailand.
A year or so ago, the club formally adopted as a project providing individual counseling and mentoring for a limited number of high school students and helping them get into institutions of higher learning. Several teams of club members spend several hours monthly working with students.
During this 50th year, the club has concentrated on providing financial support ($10,000) for families of soldiers and airmen stationed locally and another $10,000 to equip a new senior center.
Even as the club has raised these funds for local activities, members have contributed generously to Rotary¬?s Paul Harris Foundation. That organization has led the way toward making the world polio free. The Foundation has provided more than $500 million for the polio eradication effort, and that doesn’t count the millions of man hours contributed by Rotarians in physically dispensing the vaccine around the world.
Currently Lakewood Rotary includes more than 125 men and women who meet each Friday at the country club for fellowship and to share experiences from speakers and community leaders. Scott Buser is current club president and Greg Rediske will follow him in the leadership role on July 1, 2006.