The Rotary Club of Muskogee will celebrate 100 years of service Thursday when it presents its commemorative clock to the city of Muskogee. At 11:30 a.m., a ribbon cutting will be held at the Muskogee Civic Center, where the clock is located. Mayor Bob Coburn will also proclaim Oct. 28 through Nov. 1 as Rotary Club of Muskogee Week, according to a media release.
On Friday, club members will continue the 100th anniversary celebration with a banquet at the Muskogee Country Club. Karen Garde Keith will be the keynote speaker. Keith, a former KJRH news anchor, is a Tulsa County commissioner, president of Rotary Club of Tulsa, and sister of Muskogee School Superintendent Mike Garde. In addition, the 26-member Rotary Men of Note will provide music for the festivities.
For the past 100 years, Muskogee Rotary has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to providing service to meet special needs of organizations and individuals in Muskogee, as well as to organizations around the world, the release states. In the past six years alone, the club has contributed $147,000 in Muskogee to support organizations such as the Good Shepherd Health Clinic, Gospel Rescue Mission, Muskogee High School regional speech tournament and donating grants to address individual needs.
For many years, the club has provided a dictionary to all third grad students in Muskogee, Hilldale, Fort Gibson, Oktaha, St. Joseph, and Boulevard Christian schools. Internationally, it has contributed more than $107,000 to provide polio vaccines to countries where polio remains endemic, purchased equipment for drilling wells and filtering unclean water, supported health clinics in developing countries and humanitarian projects through Heifer International, and provided shoes for needy children.
“For these 100 years, Rotary Club has been a partner and participant in efforts to make Muskogee a more prosperous place to live and work, and we look forward to continuing that partnership for the next 100 years,” Club President Joel Cousins said in a media release.
Dr. Ted Hine, club historian and the individual who has led the effort to secure the commemorative clock, reflects on the club's first Pancake Day in 1954, a quarter century of meetings at the Severs Hotel, the year the club went coed when Janey Boydston joined the club (1986) and so much more.
“If asked how they would like to be remembered, most individuals would say they would like to be remembered as someone who left their space better than when they first appeared,” Hine said in the release. “Reviewing the history of just some of the things that the Rotary Club of Muskogee has done in its 100 years assures us that the club, with its members, will leave our space and our world a better place than when we first appeared.”