Rotary celebrates 100 years of projects and looks to future
Throughout its 100 year history, the Marietta Noon Rotary Club has participated in dozens of projects, both locally and internationally.
¯ Laura Miller, membership chair and chair of the 100-year centennial celebration, said for the first 50 or so years, the main project was fundraising for scholarships.
“They were fundraising for the Boy Scouts and camps for orphans and camps for handicapped children,” she explained. “They did a lot with youth.”
Eventually club members started working on hands-on projects, such as the “little trail that goes along the Muskingum River,” Miller said.
“I don’t know the name of it. There’s the nice wide bike path and there’s a little asphalt trail that goes along the Muskingum River,” she said. “Before there was ever a bike path in Muskingum Park, Rotarians raised money and paved a little trail.”
She said there are two walkways, but the one that’s a little overgrown was one of their first projects.
¯ In 1996, the club had more than 40 historical markers erected around Marietta.
“We keep them updated to this day and add to them when necessary,” Miller said, noting markers were placed at the Castle Museum and at the Muskingum Trail entrance, among others. “If there’s a marker in town, pretty much it’s a Rotary marker.”
¯ An old house was purchased in 2005 and Rotarians put work into rebuilding it. After it was sold for a “reasonable price,” they used the proceeds to fund scholarships.
¯ After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, La., in 2005, the club sent provisions down to help those in need.
“We responded to the disaster with what was called the Cajun Dome Katrina Relief Project,” Miller recalled. “They sent truckloads and truckloads of diapers and provisions.”
¯ The bus stop on Second Street, next to the Washington County Courthouse, was rebuilt in 2014.
¯ Shelter boxes were the project for 2019. Rotarians raised money to purchase the boxes at a cost of $1,000 each, with each box containing tents for a family of four, a potbelly stove, solar lights, water containers and a purification system, tools, cooking utensils, blankets and mosquito nets.
The boxes were purchased for those affected by disasters around the world.
¯ “We did a project called H2O to Go,” Miller said. The 2020 project sent several truckloads of water to Louisiana to help after Hurricane Laura.
Present and future
¯ The club is working with a Rotarian club in Raleigh, N.C., on a solar power project for schools in Uganda, Miller said. This year, they sent $7,000 for the project.
¯ Their local focus is the clean up of a local park.
“We’re actually still working with Mayor Josh Schlicher, as they’re kind of cleaning up that old park area where the Becky Thatcher was years ago,” explained Miller.
She said Schlicher had spoken to the club a couple of times about how they can help.
“We’ve also told them, whether it’s seating, whether it’s lighting, whether it’s picnic tables, whatever it might be,” she recalled. “Let us know. We’re looking to probably raise about $50,000 to help them with that.”
¯ Rotarians continue to raise money for scholarships. Miller said they gave away about $11,000 last year, with $15,000 going to local teens this year.
“Our goal is to make sure that students who are worthy but kind of disadvantaged in the area have an opportunity to pursue a good education,” she added.
During Thursday’s meeting, this year’s scholarships will be given out.