BLACKFOOT– Wednesday night, December 11 was the Christmas party for Blackfoot's Rotary. It was an auspicious occasion because it also was the 100 year anniversary of the club being founded in Blackfoot. The back room of Tommy Vaughans was packed with holiday cheer and laughter as everyone talked during the well prepared dinner.
When the Rotary club was founded, November 23, 1919 there were some major differences in the world, compared to today. The District Governor Rich Kirkham read a list of some of the differences. In the past the club used to be a singing club. Woodrow WIlson was President, WWI ended, Raggedy Anne Dolls were popular, Lincoln Logs were popular as well, Teddy Bear was named after Teddy Rosevelt, electric trains, 9% of the children graduated from high school nationwide, wives were not allowed to join, Blackfoot ladies could vote in state elections not nationally at this time, 10 cents for a loaf of bread, 63 cents for a dozen eggs, zipper was recently invented, average middle class $1500, Model T Ford 1920 standard with electric and hand crank motor, prohibition had begun, and dating became more popular than courting. Even with the numerous changes the Rotarians have always held to the adage of "service before self."
They also gave out the Paul Harris Fellowship awards. The history of this award was established in 1957. It recognizes individuals who contribute, or have others contribute in their name of $1000 to the Rotary Foundation. When it was established it was used as a way to encourage and show appreciation for the substantial contributions to what used to be a founders only program. The early recipients received a certificate of recognition. In 1969, the Rotary created the medallion which was unveiled at a convention in Honolulu, Hawaii. Members of the Rotary are challenged to make one non-rotarian a Paul Harris Fellow. Donations to the Rotary Foundation (which is where the points system comes in) are used to support numerous projects like water wells, helping the poor, communities around the world as well as local charities.
At Wednesday's celebration there were eight people who were honored with the Paul Harris. The first awarded was Shawna Hawker, who is not a part of Rotary but is a big part of the meetings as a support and the fantastic waitress who ensures they are fed and watered. The others who received their own Paul Harris was: Greg Horton, David Cannon, Aaron Burke, Joseph Jonely, Jake Hansen, Paula Marshall (who was given the points by her husband Dennis Marshall,) and David Kearns.
Another aspect of Rotary is being a part of the Foreign Exchange student program. The student who was honored this year was Alisa Rautio from Finland. She shared some of her favorite Christmas carols in native Finnish. Even though the membership of Rotary has fluctuated throughout the years, one cannot help but see the impact their service has had on the community.