Last fall, the Ashland Chamber of Commerce gave awards to businesses, individuals and organizations in recognition of their valuable impact on our community. For the Volunteer of the Year award, the chamber recognized Rotary — the two clubs in Ashland that currently represent more than 150 service-minded business and community leaders and volunteers — for 100 years of service to Ashland and the world. In May, the city of Ashland issued a proclamation recognizing May 22-28 as Rotary Club week for their efforts as well. This has certainly been a year for Rotary!

Ashlanders value volunteerism — so much, in fact, that the theme for Ashland’s Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration in 2011 was “Volunteers — the Heart of Ashland.” From the Ashland Emergency Food Bank to Ashland Little League, volunteerism defines the community spirit that is Ashland. Rotary is deserving of recognition due to its longevity and commitment to making Ashland and the world a better place.

The Rotary Club of Ashland, the “noon club,” celebrated its 75th anniversary this last year. Throughout the years, their signature projects have been providing housing and water to villages around Guanajuato, Mexico; medical equipment and books to the Republic of Congo; financing to support improvements to Ashland’s Rotary Centennial Ice Rink; scholarships for Ashland High School graduates and SOU undergraduates; providing books to all first and second graders in the Ashland School District; and cultivating a garden to provide produce to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.

The Rotary Club of Ashland Lithia Springs, the “morning club,” celebrated its 25th anniversary this last year. Its signature projects include rebuilding bridges and labeling plants in Lithia Park; vocational scholarships for local youth; enclosing the garden at the Ashland Emergency Food Bank; providing youth and community grants to local projects and organizations; and joining with the noon club to provide clean water to villages around Guanajuato, Mexico.

Jointly, the two clubs made a generous contribution on behalf of Rotary to the Ashland High School Turf Project and will play host to the 2018 Rotary District Conference, bringing more than 400 Rotarians and their guests to Ashland in May of next year.

Rotary International’s motto is “Service Above Self” and, through their dedicated efforts of both action and philanthropy, Rotarians have made a sizeable impact on our community since 1941. The Ashland Chamber congratulates Rotary for its efforts and thanks members for their contributions to Ashland.

 

— Dana Preston is membership development manager for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. For more information, go to www.ashlandchamber.com, call 541-482-3486 or stop by the office at 110 East Main St.