Oklahoma was not even 10 years old when the Henryetta Rotary Club officially began as a civic organization.
IMG 9424That century of service to the community was recognized Saturday as nearly 40 members and guests held a special birthday celebration.
The civic club was chartered June 1, 1917, only 12 years after the formation of what would become Rotary International.
Saturday night David Warden provided members with some of the history including the various projects and events the club has been involved with.
Among those activities are sponsorship of the Little Olympics that started in 1998, construction of wheelchair ramps in the 1980s at several downtown intersections, purchasing dictionaries for third graders and presentation of scholarships to HHS seniors.
The club also maintains a park on south Fourth Street and, in the mid-1920s, constructed a Boy Scout building at what would become Nichols Park.
“We have been involved in lots of things. There is lots of history with this club,” Warden said.
Originally the club met at the offices of business members then switched it over to lunch meetings at restaurants around town. Warden recalled when the club met at what was then the Holidome. “We were going to have the Rotary district governor as a guest and the owner was told the governor would be attending,” Warden said.
When the date came for the meeting, club members enjoyed an elaborate meal with the motel owner looking for the then-Oklahoma governor only to be told who was there. “We had a really good meal that day,” Warden said.
After brief addresses by the present Rotary district governor, Judy Brigham, and lieutenant governor Jay Graig, Henryetta native David Garrett addressed the crowd.
He told the group the club is, “there for a reason.” Using his experiences as an example, Garrett urged club members to make today’s youth feel important and challenge them to do better. “We need to look the kids in the eye.”
About Henryetta, he praised the community saying the town, “looks like its reinventing itself. “It didn’t go away when our commerce shriveled. A lot of town dry up and blow away.”
Besides the Rotary gold and blue colors, there were displays including a photograph showing the club members from 1926 and another from 1972.