BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon Rotary Club lost their charter effective August 1, but that has not stopped the faithful and committed members of the club from assembling and reorganizing a new charter. The currently informal group met at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Engle Hall on Tuesday for a meeting to discuss the future of the community’s Rotary.
A new charter will require 20 members, and there were exactly 20 members in attendance of the meeting at Chapel Hill. The first order of business is to propose a name for the club. Rotarian Rich Clemens stated, “We cannot do anything without a name.” Club members did not want to deviate too far from using Buckhannon in the name due to the historical significance. The Buckhannon Rotary Club had been active for over 100 years and did many great things for the community. The former Buckhannon Rotary Club was one of the oldest Rotary clubs in the nation. Members had a majority vote to potentially call the new club, The Rotary Club of Buckhannon-Upshur. Bill Thurman was the first to propose the idea of not deviating from including Buckhannon in their title. Thurman stated, “There is 100 years of history, despite what has happened recently. I really like the connection, but that is just one man’s opinion.” JC Rafferty added, “100 years, over 100 years, and remarkable things that club did for this community.”
Clemens addressed the group at the meeting and reported that Rotary International has indicated that they would fast-track the club’s request for a new charter. Some in attendance have been a member of Rotary for 50 years and there were more former club presidents in attendance than non-presidential members. During introductions, almost every person stated that their reason for joining the Rotary was the blood screening and the world-wide effect Rotary has in its humanitarian efforts.
The blood screening will still be held in October in collaboration with St. Joseph’s Hospital. The venues will be Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School and Rock Cave Elementary School on October 5 and 12. The new group is hopeful to have their charter in place by this time.
In the Rotary Foundation, there is what is known as a Paul Harris Fellow, a donorship which starts with a $1,000 donation. Many of the members of the previous club are multiple Paul Harris donors, meaning they have made multiple thousand-dollar donations over the years. Members can also make family members Paul Harris Fellows. A major donor is someone who has donated in the amount of $10,000. Every three years, the donors get some of that money back in their home club.
Most of the prospective members are pleased with the new meeting location, the convenience of parking, and first floor meeting room. Members of the new club will reimburse the church for food prepared for the meetings. The new group has requested that any items that did not have the former club’s number on it to be turned over to the new club for use. If the former board would not agree to this request, it was asked that they turn over the items to the historical society to be placed on display. Thurman has agreed to take on the task of working out this issue with the former board members.
Every Tuesday at noon the group will meet to iron out the new bylaws and conduct all necessary business to get the charter up and going as quickly as possible.
Several members that intend to be a part of the new charter were unable to attend the meeting on Tuesday, but have been in touch with Rotary members to let them know their commitment to the new club. Rotarians who have not been active in recent months were given an application to submit their information as new members.
The motto of Rotary International is “Service Above Self.” Many of the former group’s members are committed to continuing this legacy and their service to the community through Rotary and look forward to establishing a new club. For more information on joining the new Rotary club or to be placed for consideration in an officer position, please call 304-439-8421 or 304-472-4541. A new Facebook page is being developed as well, so that community members will be able to follow. Stay tuned to The Record Delta for developments of the new Rotary club.