Muscatine Rotary returns to its roots

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Rotary 1Something old has become new for the Rotary Club of Muscatine.

When Paul P. Harris, a Chicago attorney, founded Rotary in 1905, his goal was to create a service organization “where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships,” according to the 1.2 million-member organization’s website.

Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.

But for as long as anyone can likely remember, the Muscatine club, which was chartered in 1920, has met at noon on Mondays in a set location. For the past couple of years, that location has been Wesley United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center in Muscatine. It’s a great location for the club’s meetings.

The bigger challenge is the meeting time. Many members simply don’t think they can get away from work long enough to attend a meeting over their lunch hour.

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Tony Joseph, Rotary Club of Muscatine president

To remedy that belief, the club’s Board of Directors awhile back agreed to try an evening meeting once a month that would be geared to club members who do not regularly attend the noon meetings. Club President Tony Joseph called that first meeting to order Thursday evening at Muscatine-based Kent Corp. About 26 of the club’s approximately 100 members attended the meeting, which served mostly as a social function. The culinary staff at Kent did a great job of catering. Food and drink were plentiful.

In addition to the food and fellowship, club members toured the Kent corporate offices and Joseph and club member Rich Dwyer recognized fellow members Tim Nelson and Bob DeKock as Paul Harris Sustaining Fellows. The recognition goes to Rotarians who have given at least $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation Annual Fund.

Everyone appeared to have a good time and the club will hold its next special evening meeting in February at First National Bank.

Special thanks goes to Rotarians Keith Porter and Shane Orr, who helped arrange Thursday night’s meeting, and to Rotarians Gage Kent, Rich Dwyer, John Kuhl and Eric Thomsen for hosting the event.

Rich Dwyer, left, and Tony Joseph, right, recognize Tim Nelson as a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.
Rich Dwyer, left, and Tony Joseph, right, recognize Tim Nelson as a Rotary Paul Harris Sustaining Fellow.
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Rich Dwyer, left, and Tony Joseph, right, recognize Bob DeKock as a Rotary Paul Harris Sustaining Fellow.