Cambridge Rotary celebrates 50 years at July 21 Open House

Claudia Loucks
Cambridge Rotary Club members is celebrating its 50th anniversary and in the photo, from left, are Steve Brandau, treasurer; John Taylor, president-elect; and holding the club’s 50-year certificate; John Gnatovich, president; and Vern Stackhouse, holding a list of original members which includes his father, the late Earl Stackhouse.

Members of the Cambridge Rotary Club invite area residents who may be interested in joining the group to their 50th anniversary open house. The event is open to all current Rotarians, past members and anyone interested in potential membership.

The open house will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21, at the Black Ridge Event Center, located at the corner of North Prospect and West Exchange St. in Cambridge. The event will include displays of memorabilia.

The Cambridge Rotary Club was established Sept. 29, 1970, sponsored by the Kewanee Rotary.

Rotary Clubs are defined as service organizations and the Cambridge Club has been doing their part to uphold that mission for last 50 years.

In addition to their involvement with Special Olympics, the group works with Rotary International in the eradication of polio worldwide.

Each year in August, Cambridge Rotary sponsors an annual Car Show with usually about 125 participants, and this year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14. Profits from the show benefit outreach organizations in the community, including the Cambridge Food Pantry, Cambridge Cares, Village Band Shell, Rebuilding Together – Henry County, GROW Ministries and a 50/50 drawing at the show benefits the Cambridge cheerleaders.

The club also honors Cambridge students by recognizing those who are nominated by teachers for the Student of the Quarter program at Cambridge Grade School and Cambridge High School, Cambridge Rotary members help organize the Cambridge High School Homecoming Parade each year. The club also presents awards each year to one community member for Service Above Self and also to one community member for the Promote Cambridge Award, and those recipients are part of the annual Homecoming Parade.

Cambridge Rotary members also take responsibility each year for the Memorial Day Program in the Cambridge Community Hall.

Club president John Gnatovich said in 2019, the Cambridge Club donated $4,100 to local organizations, and he added, “Cambridge Rotary is a great way to connect with other local businesses and help the community.”

For more information, contact Gnatovich at 563-508-0705.

Rotary is defined as an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build good will in the world.”

The history of Rotary can be traced back to Paul Harris who started the first Rotary Club in Chicago on Feb. 23, 1905. The name Rotary was chosen because meetings were originally to be rotated each week in each member’s office.

The Cambridge Rotary Club, founded in 1970, was sponsored by the Kewanee Rotary Club. The Club currently meets at noon on Wednesdays at the Black Ridge for lunch and fellowship.