Rotary Club of Everett to mark 100 years of service

Dec 14, 2016

The Herald: Rotary Club of Everett to mark 100 years of service

By Caitlin Tompkins 

One century ago, Tacoma and Seattle Rotary Club members embarked on a steamboat to Everett.

They traveled across cold December waters in hopes of chartering a new service club.

At the time, the United States was on the brink of entering World War I. And just one month prior, seven people were killed during the Everett Massacre. A half-dozen others went missing.

The Rotary Club of Everett’s founding members aimed to do good during a challenging time.

For one of their first international projects, members lent a hand to people affected by Japan’s Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. The official death toll was 184,000.

On Tuesday, the club celebrated its Founders Day and looked forward to the upcoming centennial in March.

“For those of you from Everett, it’s like a family reunion,” Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson said.

Club President Ed Petersen announced the Rotary Centennial Initiatives at the gathering. A total of $200,000 was set aside to help those who do not have a home.

Members plan to give $100,000 to Housing First, which provides housing for the chronically homeless. Another $100,000 was budgeted for HopeWorks Station. The money would fund a program that offers culinary training and other career skills.

“Since 1916, your work in Everett has evolved to meet the needs of people here,” Congressman Rick Larsen said. “What hasn’t changed is the commitment.”

An additional three-year grant was awarded to the Recovery Cafe. The local business offers support to people facing challenges related to addiction or mental health.

The club has raised funds and donated money for local organizations and student scholarships.

“We serve about 20,000 students each year,” said John Olson, vice president for college advancement at Everett Community College. “Many come here with Rotary dollars in their pockets.”

Members also have worked with international groups on Polio Plus, an effort to eradicate polio.

Only a few cases of the disease are known to remain, mostly in the tribal areas of Afghanistan.

The celebration concluded with a long-standing tradition called “happy bucks.” Members give a donation and share something they’re happy about.

Members from the 1955 graduating class of Everett High School donated $195.50.

Someone from the Arlington Rotary Club gave $46. The Rotary Club of Everett founded the north county club 46 years ago.

“We’re looking forward to carrying it on for another 100 years,” spokesman Walt Greenwood said.