Marshfield Rotary Noon Club
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  About Rotary....
 
Rotary is the largest service organization in the world with over 1-2
million Rotarians organized into 32,000 clubs in 168 countries. In 2005, Rotary celebrated its 100th year of service worldwide, having been founded in Chicago by attorney Paul Harris in 1905.

The great humanitarian work done by Rotary International was extended to Marshfield, Wisconsin in 1919.  The club is comprised of a highly regarded group of approximately 90 community leaders who are committed to the principle of "service above self."
 

  • Marshfield Rotary was organized on May 26, 1919 and admitted to Rotary International Aug 1, 1919 with 25 members.
  • The Paul Harris, Service Above Self program was initiated in 1940. A member of Marshfield Rotary, or a local business leader is recognized almost every year.  Two honorary members include Melvin Laird and Frederick Fritz Wenzel.
  • Marshfield Rotary has produced three district governors: John Adler 1943-44, Wikkiam Uthmeier 1969-70, John Cross 1980-81
  • In 1980 the club started the Rotary Exchange Program, hosting a foreign student, and sponsoring a Marshfield student exchange participant each year.

Learn more about Marshfield Rotary service project here.

The material on this page is from the Rotary International website www.rotary.org.

Definition of Rotary

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians, members of more than 29,000 Rotary clubs in 161 countries.

A Brief History

Rotary's first day and the years that followed...

February 23, 1905. The airplane had yet to stay aloft more than a few minutes. The first motion picture theater had not yet opened. Norway and Sweden were peacefully terminating their union. On this particular day, a Chicago lawyer, Paul P. Harris, called three friends to a meeting. What he had in mind was a club that would kindle fellowship among members of the business community. It was an idea that grew from his desire to find within the large city the kind of friendly spirit that he knew in the villages where he had grown up.

The four businessmen didn't decide then and there to call themselves a Rotary club, but their get-together was, in fact, the first meeting of the world's first Rotary club. As they continued to meet, adding others to the group, they rotated their meetings among the members' places of business, hence the name. Soon after the club name was agreed upon, one of the new members suggested a wagon wheel design as the club emblem. It was the precursor of the familiar cogwheel emblem now worn by Rotarians around the world. By the end of 1905, the club had 30 members.

The second Rotary club was formed in 1908 half a continent away from Chicago in San Francisco, California. It was a much shorter leap across San Francisco Bay to Oakland, California, where the third club was formed. Others followed in Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, California, and New York City, New York. Rotary became international in 1910 when a club was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. By 1921 the organization was represented on every continent, and the name Rotary International was adopted in 1922.

The Founder of Rotary

Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, was born in Racine, Wisconsin, USA, on April 19, 1868, but moved at the age of 3 to Wallingford, Vermont, to be raised by his grandparents. In the forward to his autobiography My Road to Rotary, he credits the friendliness and tolerance he found in Vermont as his inspiration for the creation of Rotary.

Trained as a lawyer, Paul gave himself five years after his graduation from law school in 1891 to see as much of the world as possible before settling down and hanging out his shingle. During that time, he traveled widely, supporting himself with a great variety of jobs. He worked as a reporter in San Francisco, a teacher at a business college in Los Angeles, a cowboy in Colorado, a desk clerk in Jacksonville, Florida, a tender of cattle on a freighter to England, and as a traveling salesman for a granite company, covering both the U.S. and Europe.

Remaining true to his five-year plan, he settled in Chicago in 1896, and it was there on the evening of February 23, 1905, that he met with three friends to discuss his idea for a businessmen's club. This is commonly regarded as the first Rotary club meeting. Over the next five years, the movement spread as Rotary clubs were formed in other U.S. cities. When the National Association of Rotary Clubs held its first convention in 1910, Paul was elected president.

After his term, and as the organization's only president-emeritus, Paul continued to travel extensively, promoting the spread of Rotary both in the USA and abroad. A prolific writer, Paul wrote several books about the early days of the organization and the role he was privileged to play in it. These include The Founder of Rotary, This Rotarian Age and the autobiographical My Road to Rotary. He also wrote several volumes of Perigrinations detailing his many travels. He died in Chicago on January 27, 1947.

Room 711

Room 711 of the Unity Building at 127 North Dearborn Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois, was the site of Rotary's first meeting on February 23, 1905. At that time, it was the office of Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer and one of the founding members of the organization.

Around 1980, the Rotary Club of Chicago, the club that originated from that gathering, set about to preserve the site. It rented the room and undertook an extensive effort to recreate the office as it existed in 1905. For several years, the club maintained the room as a shrine for visiting Rotarians. The Paul Harris 711 Club, a nonprofit organization comprising Rotarians from around the world, eventually assumed that responsibility. In 1989, when the Unity Building was scheduled to be demolished, the 711 Club carefully dismantled the office, salvaging the original interior from doors to radiators. Everything was placed in storage until a permanent place to reconstruct the room could be found. In 1993, the Board of Directors of Rotary International set aside space for it on the 16th floor of the RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.

First Rotary Club

On the evening of February 23, 1905, Paul Harris and three friends, Sylvester Schiele, Gustavus Loehr, and Hiram Shorey, met in Loehr's business office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago to discuss Paul's idea that businessmen should get together periodically for camaraderie and to enlarge their circle of business and professional acquaintances.

From their discussion came the idea for a men's club which would meet weekly and whose membership would be limited to one representative from each business and profession. After enlisting a fifth member, Harry Ruggles, the group was formally organized as the Rotary Club of Chicago. By the end of 1905, the club's roster showed a membership of 30 with Sylvester Schiele as president and Ruggles as treasurer. Paul Harris declined office in the new club and didn't become its president until two years later.

Objectives of Rotary

The Objectives of Rotary are 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 for service;

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

THIRD. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business and community life;

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

Avenues of Service

For seventy years (since 1927), The program of Rotary has been carried out on four Avenues of Service (originally called channels). These avenues club service, vocational service, community service and international service closely mirror the four parts of the Object of Rotary:

Club Service includes the scope of activities that Rotarians undertake in support of their club, such as serving on committees, proposing individuals for membership, and meeting attendance requirements.

Vocational Service focuses on the opportunity that Rotarians have to represent their professions as well as their efforts to promote vocational awareness and high ethical standards in business. For decades, Rotarians having been applying the "4-Way Test" to their business and personal relationships and in recent years, a "Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions" has given expression to their concern for ethical standards in the workplace. From offering career guidance in high schools, to seeking ways to improve conditions in the workplace, Rotarians and their clubs engage in many different kinds of vocational service.

Community Service includes the scope of activities, which Rotarians undertake to improve the quality of life in their community. Many official Rotary programs are intended to meet community needs, whether it be to promote literacy, help the elderly or disabled, combat urban violence or provide opportunities for local youth.

International Service describes the activities, which Rotarians undertake to advance international understanding, goodwill and peace. The spread of Rotary clubs across the globe allows for the concerted Rotary support of humanitarian efforts worldwide. 

4-Way Test

One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary 4-Way Test. Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor created it in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives. The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy.

Herb Taylor became president of Rotary International in 1954-55. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. Here it is in English:

"Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the Truth?
2. Is it Fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?"

Derivation of the Rotary name

The name Rotary was chosen to reflect the custom, in the early days of the first Rotary Club in Chicago, of rotating the site of club meetings among the members' places of business. This rotation, an integral part of the founder's original concept, was designed to acquaint members with one another's vocations and to promote business, but the club's rapid growth soon made the custom impractical.

Mottos

Rotary's principal motto, "Service Above Self" and its other official precept, "He Profits Most Who Serves Best", evidence the enthusiam with which Rotarians embraced the ideal of service. The roots of both of these adages, adopted as official mottos at the 1950 RI Convention, can be traced back to the first decade of Rotary's existence, when "He profits most who serves his fellows best and Service not self were both put forth as slogans. In 1989, the RI Council on Legislation designated "Service above Self" as the principal motto.

The Rotary emblem

Rotary's first emblem was a simple wagon wheel (in motion with dust) representing civilization and movement. Montague Bear, a member of the Chicago club, who was an engraver, designed it in 1905 and many Rotary clubs of the time adopted the wheel in one form or another.

In 1922, authority was given to create and preserve an official emblem, and the following year the present gear wheel with 24 cogs and six spokes was adopted. A keyway was added to signify that the wheel was a "worker and not an idler." At the RI Convention in 1929, royal blue and gold were chosen as the official colors.
 


 


Copyright 2007 Marshfield Rotary - Noon Club
P.O. Box 463 - Marshfield, WI 54449

 

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