Rotary Club of Jamestown Celebrates 100 Years


Contributing Writer
Sue Jones

The Rotary Club of Jamestown, NY was chartered as the 70th club in the world on June 17, 2019. Today there are more than 32,000 clubs in the world with over 1.2 million members. Founded by Paul Harris and a small group of businessmen in Chicago in 1904, who rotated their early meetings to each of their respective offices, thus…the name of the club became ROTARY.

The local Club will celebrate this significant anniversary on May 4 with a gala dinner dance at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron, NY. The Club welcomes all those interested to join them for this special black-tie event featuring cocktails at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. and program followed by dancing to the Uptown Seven at 7 p.m. Cost per person is $100, which includes entry into the grand drawing for a beautiful jewelry set donated by Gaylene’s Jewelers.

Tickets are available by calling Lisa Goodell (665-0786) or Katie Geise (673-5214).

Service Above Self
The International Rotary motto is “Service Above Self” and subscribing to that theme, the members of the Rotary Club of Jamestown have lived, worked, and believed in upholding this worldwide motto.

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of Service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

FIRST: The development of acquaintance as an opportunity to serve society;

SECOND: High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying by each Rotarian of their occupation as an opportunity to serve society.

THIRD: The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his personal, business and community life;

FOURTH: The advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

All Rotarians subscribe to the Four-Way Test.

Of all things we think, say or do…

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

100 Years of Service

The Rotary Club of Jamestown, NY was started by 25 charter members. Over the 100 years there have been more than 1,235 men and women who have held membership in the Jamestown, NY, Club and today there are just over 100 active members. The Rotary Club of Jamestown, NY, is proud to have sponsored the beginnings of several other local Rotary Clubs including Warren, PA, Salamanca, Westfield, Dunkirk, Falconer, Lakewood and Greater Jamestown AM Rotary Club.

Rotarians are active in local, district, and international projects. Our Club belongs to District 7090 which extends north internationally to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and east to Batavia, NY, west and south to the Pennsylvania state line.

For Good Causes

Rotary is well-remembered for its fundraising Travelogues, hosted by wonderful Sam Paladino, bringing tantalizing information of other lands to our community. Rotary’s famous Annual Auction became the model for many other auctions in the community and raised significant funds. The group began holding an annual golf tournament in 1939 at Moon Brook Country Club (which Rotary founded in 1919-1920).

Recently, the Club has been celebrating an annual Fire and Ice Ball in February. Through these fund raisers and several others as well, the Club has been able to carry on a very fruitful history of giving to our community, our District and our World.

The Club’s annual July Golf Tournament has underwritten camp experiences for handicapped young folks and adults at the YMCA Camp Onyahsa, supervised by The Resource Center. Thanks to the $150,000 generosity of John and Lois Abrahamson, this fund has been capped and proceeds from the golf tournament may now be directed to other worthwhile projects

Each year the Club sponsors the exchange of one or two high school students to a foreign country and welcomes students here to our community to build worldwide peace and understanding. Every April, we host approximately 70 students from the entire District 7090 to bond together and learn about where they are going and what to expect. We also get to introduce all of these students to the wonders of Chautauqua County. This Club has sponsored 118 students since 1968-69.

Ending Polio

In 1988, Rotary International undertook the crusade to rid the world of POLIO. From 1988-1990, Dudley Ericson (the second longest active Rotarian with 49 years of service) and Al Brown co-chaired the efforts to raise over $55,000 to support this cause. Ericson went on to chair the Polio Eradication Committee for District 7090’s 70 clubs.

Today, Rotary International has teamed with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (matching donations 3 to 1) and the World Health Organization to reduce the incidence of Polio to just three countries in the world. The Rotary Club of Jamestown has committed over $154,000 to this fund over the years. Ericson is most proud of these accomplishments and the Polio contributions continue to this day through generous birthday donations by club members through a program initiated by Ericson.

In 1957, the Rotary Foundation launched the Paul Harris Fellow recognition program. Any individual who contributes, or in whose name is contributed $1,000 to the Foundation, shall be recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. As of today, over 375 individuals have been honored with this recognition by the Rotary Club of Jamestown, NY.

World Wide Work

In addition to Polio Eradication, the Rotary Club of Jamestown has donated more than $245,000 to the Rotary Foundation which also supplies grants all over the world committed to peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention and treatment, maternal and child health, water & sanitation, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development. Our Club is also able to apply for and bring these grant monies to appropriate projects in our community.

Local Impact

Locally, our Club has changed the direction of its charitable giving to larger amounts that make a more substantial impact on our community. In recent years $15,000 was given to the remodeling of the Reg Lenna Civic Center; $15,000 was given to the Jamestown Community College Capital Campaign; a $25,000 “Portage” sculpture was donated to the City of Jamestown’s new city hall (the sculpture is now located near the Riverwalk); donated $10,000 for a skateboard park Comedy Center Park; donated $5,000 for Chautauqua Lake Cleanup; donated $5,000 to the Veteran’s Memorial Park; donated $10,000 to provide the gate to Comedy Center Park; and this past year donated $20,000 to fund Comedy as a Tool for Social Progress exhibit at the National Comedy Center, describing the tireless efforts of this important art form to shift discourse towards social progress and peace.

In addition to these larger donations, the Club has supported several local library, school and church literacy projects; Chautauqua Institution Music Scholarships; JHS A’Capella and Music Boosters (the club purchased the original candles for A’Capella Vespers in the early 1960s; the Alex Foulk Fund; and Green Up Jamestown.

Every year in the Spring and the Fall, Rotarians volunteer for Highway Cleanup on I-86, between Route 60, Exit 12 and the Falconer exit. Rotarians can be found ringing the bell each holiday season for the Salvation Army and Rotarians volunteer at Jamestown High School doing mock interviews with high school students helping to hone their capabilities when going for job interviews.

More Outreach

As the World has become smaller and smaller, the Rotary Club of Jamestown has been able to reach out to Nepal, Cambodia and now Ethiopia to participate in small but very meaningful projects to help those on the other side of the world. Rotarian David Troxell and his wife Marissa winter in Thailand and facilitate projects helping small schools build playgrounds, cafeterias, latrines, provide clean water and even start a weaving cooperative for women in Nepal.

We are thrilled that we have been able to contribute over $1,080,000 locally and internationally as well as over $350,000 to the Rotary Foundation and more than $160,000 to the END POLIO NOW project.

Open Invitation

We invite all Jamestown Gazette readers to share in our success and join us at our 100th Anniversary celebration.

We are so proud to carry the name of the Rotary Club of Jamestown, NY not only to our own community but all over the world for the past 100 years and many more to come!