The first Rotary Club was organized in Chicago, Illinois on February 23, 1905, by Paul P. Harris, a young lawyer, who gathered together in a spirit of friendship and understanding a group of men, each of whom was engaged in a different form of service to the public. That basis of membership–one person from each business and profession in the community–still exists in Rotary. At first, the members of the new club met in rotation at their various places of business, and this became the basis for the name “Rotary.”
Since 1905, the ideas of Paul Harris and his friends have become ideals which have become accepted by men and women of practically all nationalities., and of many political and religious beliefs. Today, there are Rotary Clubs in 161 countries and geographical regions. The universal acceptance of principles has been so great that there are now more than 29,000 Rotary clubs which have a combined membership of more than 1,188,000.
The general objectives of Rotary clubs in every country are the same — the development of fellowship and understanding among the business and professional people in the community, the promotion of community betterment endeavors and of high standards in business and professional practices, and the advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace. Rotary clubs everywhere have one basic ideal — the “ideal of service,” which is thoughtfulness of and helpfulness to others.
“God grant that my vision of the faults of men and of nations be dimmed and my vision of their virtues be brightened.” –Paul P Harris
On January 28, 1921, Rotary International requested John D. Steele of the Charleston Rotary Club to serve as special representative to assist in forming a club in Beckley. The following October, then District Governor Roy Neville of Sharon, Pennsylvania appointed C.O. Dunn as Organizational Chairman. A charter was granted March 1, 1922.
Our club has had a distinguished record in the district. Six members have been elected District Governor: Dr. A. U. Tieche (1936-1937); E. E. Bibb (1952 1953); Joseph X. Fazio (1972-1973); Thomas J. Hayes (1978-1979); Harry Altman (1983-1984); Robert B. Sayre (1995-1996); and Harry R. Faulk (2013 2014).
The first female members of our club were inducted in 1993: Nancy Pat Lewis-Smith, Kimberly Mann- Harris and Brenda McNutt.
Our club has sponsored three other Rotary clubs during its history: Oak Hill (November 12, 1923), Fayetteville (March 8, 1924) and Mullens (April 22, 1924).
For many years of exemplary and humanitarian service to the City of Beckley and surrounding communities the following Rotarians have been honored with the annual “Spirit of Beckley Award” sponsored by the Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA:
1990 Charles Conner
1992 Dr. Murrell Ralsten (and wife Teele)
1994 Hulett & Nancy Pat Lewis-Smith
1995 Alex D. George, Sr.
1999 Jerome R. VanMeter
2001 Mike & Charles Massinople (and wives)
2002 Susan Landes
2007 Cong Nick Rahall
2008 Mike Darby
2010 William Baker
2012 Nancy Kissinger
2014 Charlie Houck
A wheel has been the symbol of Rotary since our earliest days. The first design was made in 1905 by Chicago Rotarian Montague Bear, an engraver who drew a simple wagon wheel, with a few lines to show dust and motion. The wheel was said to illustrate “Civilization, Movement and Service work in action.”
In 1922, it was decided that all Rotary clubs should adopt a single design as the exclusive emblem of Rotarians. So, the present gear wheel, with 24 teeth and six spokes was adopted by the “Rotary International Association.” The gear teeth around the outside represent the fact that work is to be done. The six spokes represent the inner direction and path of our Vocational Service, through the representation of our membership via the classification system. Similarly, these same spokes represent an outward distribution path of Rotary’s ideals of service and the Four Way Test… going out toward the community, vocations and businesses that our members represent.
A group of engineers advised that the geared wheel was mechanically unsound and would not work without a “keyway” in the center of the gear to attach it to a power shaft. So, in 1923 the keyway was added to signify the wheel was a “worker and not an idler”. The keyway in the center of the hub is of great significance, because it represents the individual Rotarian member, who is the key factor in every club. Quality members are the keys needed for the hub to engage with the shaft and turn, putting the energy into motion and creating the power for the gears to do their work.
At the 1929 Rotary International Convention, the design we now know as the Rotary Symbol was adopted. Royal blue and gold became the official colors of the organization and the wheel was designed with these colors. The four blue bands within the outer radius of the gear represent our four avenues of service.
The Rotary wheel is also referred to as “The Mark of Excellence”.
Rotary motto: “Service Above Self”
Rotary colors: Royal blue and gold
The Four Way Test of the things we think, say or do is a test used by Rotarians world-wide as a moral code for personal and business relationships. The test can be applied to almost any aspect of life.
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will and build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
The Beckley Rotary Club is part of Rotary Zone 33 which covers West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland. Zone 33 includes sixteen Rotary Districts, including District 7545 of which our club is a member. District 7545 covers most of West Virginia excluding the eastern panhandle area.
Formed through a merger of two former districts (7530 in northern West Virginia and 7550 in southern West Virginia), our district was established effective July 1st, 2019, Our former district, 7550 was established in 1915. District 7545 is divided into fifteen regions and has over 2,000 members and 55 clubs. Our club is in region XII of District 7545.
A map of our district’s Rotary Clubs is included below:
The Beckley Rotary Club structure is depicted in the following diagram:
The five boxes at the top of the diagram constitute the officers of the Club. Together they form the Administrative Committee. The remaining five boxes represent the standing committees of the Club, the chairs of which serve as members of the Club’s Board of Directors as stipulated in the Club’s By-Laws.
New members of our club are provided a new member orientation, ideally within 90 days of their election to membership. This orientation provides a chance to review the contents of this manual and the club bylaws as well as answer any questions the new members may have.
Members of the Rotary Club of Beckley are expected to:
- Regularly attend Club meetings
- Participate actively in Club service projects
- Promptly pay outstanding bills
- Contribute to Club charity undertakings to the extent they are financially able
- Propose new members to our club
To propose a new member, an existing member must complete a new member form which can be obtained from the Club Secretary, Membership Chair or Sergeant-at-Arms. The completed application, signed by the existing member, is submitted to the Club Secretary. The Secretary notifies the Board who reviews the application and authorizes its release to the membership (normally within seven days). The Secretary then notifies the club members of the new applicant allowing them seven days to comment after which the Secretary contacts the new member to complete the registration process.
The new member has 14 days to complete the registration process during which he/she should attend Rotary meetings. Once the above is completed, the new member is notified that their membership is approved. New members MUST attend three meetings before their membership is official (all charges during these meetings are covered by the club). Once this is done, they are “pinned” at a club meeting, normally by the Club President and the new member’s sponsor.
It is important while soliciting new members that you clearly communicate the costs associated with membership in our club. Members are billed on a quarterly basis for Rotary International fees, The Rotarian Magazine, District fees and meal fees. Currently that equates to $59 per quarter.1 It is important to emphasize that members are charged for meals even if they do not attend a meeting. They are also charged individually for any guests they bring to our meetings and the then current meal rate.
1This paragraph pertains to regular membership in our club. Special categories of membership (i.e., family memberships, young professional memberships, corporate memberships and Rule of 85 memberships) have fees which differ from this paragraph. Members should be familiar with each of these membership categories to ensure prospective members fully understand the cost of membership in our club.
As stated in the History of Rotary International, Rotary clubs everywhere have one basic ideal — the “ideal of service.” Our club shares that ideal and has consistently acted on it in many ways. Membership in our club requires active participation in service projects undertaken by the Club. While projects undertaken are at the discretion of the Club, they are typically focused in areas consistent with the Rotary Foundation’s six areas of focus (see Rotary Foundation article below).
Examples of Club projects undertaken in the past include:
- Adopt-a-Highway and other local litter sweeps
- Funding to support purchase of a drug enforcement do for Beckley Police
- Support of the Beckley Area Foundation
- Dictionary’s to elementary children
- Food drive to support area food banks
- Support of the District Water Jug Project to provide clean water in Africa
- Bell ringing to support the Salvation Army
Members are expected to regularly attend the meetings of our club. If circumstances prevent attendance at any particular meeting, make-up should be accomplished in accordance with the following:
Within 14 days before or after the meeting:
- Attend a regular meeting of another club, including e-Clubs
- Attend a regular meeting of a Rotoract or Interact club, Rotary Community Corps, or Rotary Fellowship
- Attend a convention of Rotary International, a council on legislation, an international assembly, a Rotary institute, or any other meeting convened with the approval of the board of directors of Rotary International
- Attend and participate in a community service project or club-sponsored community event or meeting authorized by the Club Board
- Attend a meeting of the Board or Committee approved by the Board
Rotary members are classified in accordance with their business, profession, or type of community service. The classification is intended to describe the principal and recognized activity of the firm, company, or institution with which the member is connected or that which describes the member’s principal and recognized business or professional activity or that which describes the nature of the member’s community service activity.
The club shall not elect a person to active membership from a classification if the club already has five or more members from that classification, unless the club has more than 50 members, in which case, the club may elect a person to active membership in a classification so long as it will not result in the classification making up more than 10% of the club’s active membership.
Members who are retired shall not be included in the total number of members in classification. The classification of a transferring member of a club shall not preclude election to active membership even if the election results in club membership temporarily exceeding the above limitation.
Four special membership categories have been established to incentivize new member introduction to our club. These categories include: Family memberships, Young Professional memberships and Corporate memberships. The rules and fees associated with these membership categories are detailed in the Club Bylaws.
In general, members are responsible for the cost of the meals for all guests they invite.
The following are the only circumstances under which guest meals will be funded from Club operating funds:
- Guests invited by the President on behalf of the Club.
- The featured speaker and one guest of theirs.
- Any media covering a Club meeting or event.
- Up to two Club-funded meals for potential-members while actively pursuing membership in our club.
- New members at the meeting during which they are admitted (pinned) to membership in the Club.
Recognizing the long term participation and commitment of our senior Rotarians, the Rule of 85 was created which exempts a qualifying Rotarian from Rotary meeting attendance requirements as well as the payment for meals not consumed.
To qualify as a Rule of 85 member, a Rotarian must:
1. Have accumulated at least 20 years of service in Rotary.
2. Have an aggregate of the member’s age plus his/her cumulative years of service in Rotary of 85 or greater.
3. Have made a written request to be exempt from attendance requirements as a result of their having qualified for the “Rule of 85.”
NOTE: The “Rule of 85” does not exempt a member from payment of Rotary dues or for the payment of meals for events the member actually attends. Rule of 85 members are still considered active members and are highly encouraged to continue in attendance at regular meetings and community service events.
Members are billed on a quarterly basis by the Club Treasurer. Billings include the annual fee charged by Rotary International, District fees, subscription fees to The Rotarian magazine, the cost of meeting meals (whether consumed or not), the cost of any special events held during the quarter, and any member requested contribution to the Rotary Foundation (e.g., Sustaining Member contributions) and/or the Beckley Rotary Club Charities account.
Members are expected to pay their bills within 15 days of receipt.
Members are normally responsible for their own expenses associated with Rotary events with the following exceptions:
- Pre-approved attendance at District Training Assembly
- Attendance at President-elect Training (PETS) by the Club’s President-elect
- Pre-approved attendance at Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI)
The Rotary Foundation is the charitable arm of Rotary International. It is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotary members and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world. This support is essential to make possible projects, funded with Foundation grants that bring sustainable improvement to communities in need. The Foundation manages three primary funds: The Annual Fund (the primary fund that supports the ongoing work of Rotary), the Polio Plus Fund (the fund supporting the Rotary initiative to eradicate polio), and the Endowment Fund.
The Foundation’s priorities are currently:
- Eradication of the poliovirus from the face of the earth – the PolioPlus Program
- Funding fellowships to individuals to pursue a graduate degree in international relations, peace, conflict resolution, and related subjects, or a professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies at one of the six Rotary Peace Centers – Rotary Peace Fellowships
- Funding grants
- To local Rotary Clubs and Districts to address local community immediate needs – District Grants
- To address large-scale international humanitarian projects, vocational training teams, and scholarships that have sustainable, measurable outcomes in one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus. – Global Grants The Foundation has six areas of focus:2
- Peacebuilding and conflict prevention
- Disease prevention and treatment
- Water, sanitation and hygiene
- Maternal and child health
- Basic education and literacy
- Community economic development
Contributions to The Rotary Foundation may be made by check, credit card, wire transfer, or through your Rotary club. Members are encouraged to become Sustaining Members of the Rotary Foundation by contributing at least $100 annually to the Rotary Foundation. The simplest way to become a Sustaining Member is to give through a quarterly contribution of at least $25 added to your club billing. Doing so is easy, just notify our Treasurer or Rotary Foundation Chair and they will add whatever amount you specify to your quarterly billing statement and will take care of transferring the funds to the Foundation.
Members can also make a one-time contributions or enroll in the Foundation’s recurring giving program, Rotary Direct, by going to www.rotary.org/give.
Our Foundation is the engine that drives the Rotary machine. It gives us the chance to see and fulfill the opportunities for service both within our community and internationally. Your gift to The Rotary Foundation allows us to improve communities by promoting peace, preventing disease, bolstering economic development, and providing clean water and sanitation.
2Updated per The Rotarian magazine of November 2019
As indicated in the Rotary Foundation article, contributions to the Rotary Foundation are used to provide both District and Global funding grants. Typically District Grants are short term in nature and support projects during a single Rotary Year (July 1 through June 30th of the following year). Local clubs request grant funding from their Rotary District and up to 50% of an approved project’s cost can be funded District Grant funds, the remainder must be funded by the Club.
Global Grants are much broader in scope and often cover several years. The funding for these grants is more complex and is typically a combination of Rotary Foundation, District and local funds. Global Grants are intended to address needs in a country other than that of the originating club and require a partner Rotary Club in the benefiting country.
For more information on District and Global Grants, see the Club Foundation Chair.
Our club has established the Beckley Rotary Club Charity’s Fund. While not affiliated with the Rotary Foundation, it does provide our club the flexibility to directly contribute to local causes requiring immediate financial assistance. As indicated in previous articles, funds collected from Happy Dollar contributions and the Club’s portion of 50/50 proceeds are contributed to this fund. Members may also choose to contribute directly to this fund through one-time or sustaining-member contributions.
The Club Secretary provides updates weekly to the Club regarding upcoming programs, special events, calls for volunteers and community events. The Secretary will also ensure up-to-date information is maintained in the database (see below) which is accessible to all members.
The Club Directory can be accessed through DACdb. This information is pulled directly from the database information, which is maintained by the Club Secretary. It is the responsibility of members to ensure their personal information is current in the database. This directory should only be used for official Rotary business and not shared for outside sales or other business.
Our club website can be found at: https://beckleyrotary.org/ The website content is managed by the Public Image Committee Chair. Members are encouraged to submit information to the Public Image Chair for inclusion on the website.
Each week the Club publishes the weekly “Tatler.” This publication has the listing of all members, club officers, and provides those in attendance with a biography of the program speaker. Members who desire to include articles in the Tatler should coordinate their inputs with the Club President or Secretary.
District database (DACdb)
DACdb is the database used by or District which contains all active Rotarian’s information. All members have access to the database by going to http://www.directory-online.com/Rotary. Access to the database is through each Rotarian’s username and email address. Members who have difficulty accessing the database or desire to change their password should contact the Club Secretary for assistance.
Our club normally meets weekly at 12:00 noon on Tuesdays at the Black Knight Country Club, 2400 S Kanawha St, Beckley, West Virginia. Meetings are not held during the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
Club meetings are held to one hour in recognition of the business demands of our members, The normal order of our luncheon meetings is as follows:
- Club meeting Call to Order
- Singing of God Bless America
- Repeating of the Pledge of Allegiance
- Rotary Minute
- Recognition of member birthdays and anniversaries
- Introduction of invited guests and visitors
- Happy Dollars (an opportunity for members to update the membership on special events in their lives – one dollar is collected from each member who chooses to make an announcement with the collection going to the Beckley Rotary Club Charity’s Account) Club Announcements, RI Information, Correspondence, or Other Items of special interest to the membership
- Unfinished Business from previous sessions
- Introduction of Program, Address, or other Special Agenda Item
- 50/50 drawing (see below)
The Club 50/50 drawing is completely voluntary. It is a raffle in which tickets can be purchased on arrival at each lunch meeting for a chance to win 50% of the money that has accumulated from raffle ticket sales since a winner was last determined. The other 50% is contributed to the Club’s Charity’s Account. Hence the name, 50-50 drawing.
A person can purchase one or more tickets, and each ticket purchased equals one entry in the drawing. A single ticket is randomly chosen at the end of each luncheon meeting (the member who purchased the ticket must be present). That ticket holder is then given an opportunity to draw two cards from a deck of cards in an attempt to match one of two winning cards randomly selected from the cards in the deck prior to the meeting. If one of the two cards is matched, the member is a winner and the funds accumulated from ticket sales are distributed as indicated above. If a winning card is not selected, the two cards drawn by the member are removed from the deck for the next drawing at the next Club meeting. In that way, the odds of selecting a winning card improve from week to week as the deck is reduced in size.
There are a number of ways in which both our club and individual members can be recognized for their contributions to the objectives of Rotary.
- Every Rotarian Every Year Club recognizes Clubs who achieve the status of having every dues paying member contribute some amount to the Rotary Foundation.
- 100% Foundation Giving Club recognizes Clubs whose members achieve an average annual donation level of $100 per dues paying member.
- 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club recognizes Clubs for which all dues paying members have achieved Paul Harris Fellow status.
- Top Three District Club recognizes the top three clubs in each district who achieve the greatest level of per capita giving to the Rotary Foundation in any given Rotary Year (clubs must reach an average per capita giving level of $50/dues paying member to qualify)
- Rotary Foundation Sustaining Member — $100 or more per year to the Annual Fund
- Paul Harris Fellow — $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus or an approved Foundation grant
- Multiple Paul Harris Fellow — $1,000 or more multiple times.
- Paul Harris Society — $1,000 or more annually to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus or an approved Foundation grant
- Benefactor — $1,000 or more estate plan donation to the Rotary Foundation Endowment Fund
- Bequest Society member — $10,000 or more via your estate plans
- Major Donor — cumulative donations reach $10,000 or more
- Arch C. Klumph Society — cumulative giving reaches $250,000 or more
Beckley Rotary Club Recognitions
Our Club installs new officers at the last meeting in June each year during which we honor the outgoing president. During this Installation meeting, awards are typically presented to Club Rotarians in the following categories:
Service Above Self Award – (this award acknowledges a Rotarian who exemplifies Rotary’s mission of “Service Above Self” through their work within the Club and community. The board provides nominations to the President. The President makes the final designation.
Rotarian of the Year – This award acknowledges a Rotarian who goes above and beyond the expectations for service to the Club. The recipient is selected at the discretion of the Club President.
Susan Landis Spirit of Service Award – This award was established in 2017 to honor a long-serving Rotarian who passed in that year. The recipient is decided upon by the board. To be considered Rotarians are selected by review of their volunteer hours for Rotary events. If a clear winner is not determined, the board will consider other community service hours submitted. The Club Secretary maintains a volunteer log for those who volunteer for events and for those who submit volunteer hours for consideration. The club makes a donation to the Beckley Area Foundation which Susan Chaired for many years, in the amount of $100 in the name of the recipient. The recipient also receives a plaque. The club maintains a banner which displays all recipients of this award (much like the Rotary District Governors banner).