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Hughesville Rotary Celebrates 75 Years of service

By Staff | Apr 22, 2013

Veterans remaining from the days of Hughesville’s famed Rotary Minstrel Shows gathered in a makeshift chorus line during the club's 75 year anniversary and include (l-r): Harry Rogers Sr., Oliver Holmes, James Ritter and Patricia Holmes.

HUGHESVILLE Strands of white lights wrapped in tulle gave a soft glow throughout the Country Fork restaurant as 51 members and guests gathered on April 6 to celebrate Hughesville Rotary’s 75th year.

Banquet tables decorated with flocks of various colored miniature origami cranes conveyed the theme “Peace Through Service,” chosen by Sakuji Tanaka of Japan, the 2012-13 International President.

A proclamation from the State Assembly was read by PA State Representative Garth Everett, followed by a welcome from President Suzanne Holmes and invocation by Director and Historian Mike Bieber.

Following the banquet, Karlda Thomas and Mike Bieber gave a glimpse back at the club’s first seventy five years. The initial group of 22 members was chartered on March 31, 1938 following a banquet at the Methodist Church social hall. It was the tenth club sponsored by Muncy Rotary. At the time, Harold Larned was Muncy’s President with William Grittner the first President at Hughesville.

The new group immediately went to work on community projects raising funds with much aid going to Muncy Valley Hospital.

During the Hughesville Rotary Club's 75 year anniversary celebration dinner on April 6, Treasurer Peggy Wood presented the Humanitarian Award to Gail and Harold Lowe.

The local school benefited with instruments purchased when the marching band was formed. In 1983, $4,000 provided an outdoor basketball court, while $2,000 went toward lights for the football field. The Rotary continues to sponsor sports teams and annual children’s events.

Over the years, more than $10,000 was donated to the local library. In 1986-87, Rufus Fetter chaired a committee to erect a clock on the town square. Aiding Fetter were Ben Crago, Ed Aderhold, Steve Hess and Tom Paternostro. The familiar icon that proudly stands today cost in excess of $15,000.

In 1966, the Student Exchange Program was initiated with 15 students coming here and 12 from the Hughesville area going abroad.

Time was set aside for fun with late summer clam bakes and Pepsi-Cola parties held at Picture Rocks.

From this group came two District Governors including Dr. George Callenberger, 1973-4, and Gary M. Peck during 1999-2000.

The all men’s club was intergraded with Pauline Montgomery the first female member, and since then there have been four female presidents.

Awards given during last week’s festivities included the Humanitarian Award presented by Treasurer Peggy Wood to Gail and Harold Lowe of Lowe’s Super Valu in Clarkstown. “Whenever we’d call, the Lowe’s would say, we can do that,” Peggy said. An emotional ‘thank you’ was the couple’s response.

Listed as an “Acknowledgment of Gratitude”, this award to Geneva and Gary Peck was presented by President Suzanne Holmes. “Few have any idea how much these people do,” the president said.

Oliver Holmes contributed to the evening program by showing slides from the Rotary’s famous Minstrel Shows. Afterward, the four remaining veterans of those escapades gathered in a makeshift chorus line to be photographed and included Harry Rogers Senior, Oliver Holmes, Jim Ritter and Patty Holmes.

Rotarians representing many groups were present including Muncy, Montoursville, Heggins Valley and Berwick. From State College, District Governor Jim Eberly was presented an award for traveling the greatest distance. Eberly was given a bird house made by Ken Singer of oak harvested from his Penn Township farm.

The local Rotarians follow the club’s motto “Service Above Self” having a long history of supporting the Rotary Foundation and to date, contributions exceed $59,000.

The next opportunity to support Rotary and help others will be to attend a pulled pork meal on Saturday, May 4. The annual event chaired by William Sherwood is held at the Fire Hall in Hughesville.