The West Shore Rotary Club’s current list of service projects includes raising money to purchase a truck for a hospital in the southern African nation of Zambia. The club’s goal is to raise $13,500; promised matches from other area Rotaries and the international organization will bring the total to $46,000 for the truck, which will transport patients between their rural homes and the hospital.
The club, which serves Fairview Park, North Olmsted and the West Park neighborhood of Cleveland, marked its 50th anniversary last year. Its 35 current members meet every Tuesday at noon at the 100th Bomb Group restaurant on Brookpark Road across from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
“It’s a way of giving back to the community,” said Angelo Russo, the club’s current president.
Dan Fronczak, who will succeed Russo as president later this year, said Rotary’s strength comes in its numbers and its international structure. According to the Rotary International website, the organization counts 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs across the globe.
Rotary’s motto is “Service above self.” Local West Shore Rotary service projects include giving dictionaries to fourth-graders at area public and private schools and awarding four $1,000 college scholarships to graduating high school seniors.
Members pay $220 in dues annually. New members must serve as greeter at meetings, visit other clubs, serve on committees and meet with other club members to get their membership badges, Russo said.
Members are expected to make 70 percent of the club’s weekly luncheons. The luncheons often feature guest speakers. Recent West Shore guest speakers were Bob DiBiasio, the Cleveland Indians senior vice president for public affairs, and Jan Murphy, president of Fairview Hospital.
Many clubs such as Rotary and Kiwanis have seen membership declines in recent years as potential new members have difficulty taking time away from work and family to join such groups. But Russo said the West Shore Rotary has seen its membership stay level.
“Our membership has stayed pretty steady over the past several years,” he told West Life. “We’re trying to use social media to bring younger members in.”
While service is Rotary’s primary mission, camaraderie is also a result, seen in the joking around at the weekly luncheons. Among the upcoming events the West Shore club has planned is attendance at a minor league baseball game of the Lake Erie Crushers in Avon.
For more information on the West Shore Rotary, visit the club’s website at www.westshorerotary.com.