"As we shared stories of our Club over the last 33 years, the common thread has been camaraderie, fun and service above self to our fellow man. We look forward to carrying on the legacy that has been set forth."- Courtney Eudy, current President
Rotarians gathered for their weekly meeting on Monday, but this wasn't their normal meeting. The club celebrated 33 years of "service above self" among its membership. The club originally began as The Rotary Club of Paris South in 1976. Of the original charter members of the group, six are still active Rotarians and continue the mission started so many years ago. The group reminisced of its beginnings with candy and popcorn sales fundraisers and how things have changed so much over the years. The first meeting of the club was September 13, 1976, charter issued on October 26, 1976, and first charter presentation banquet was on November 30, 1976 with 27 members. When the club began, the dividing line was Lamar Avenue and Bonham, dividing the town into two Rotary clubs. All those who were members of the original Rotary Club of Paris South lived south of that dividing line. Things have changed quite a bit since 1976. Women weren't originally allowed to be members, however, now play a vital role in the club and its functions. Linda Flippen, current Rotarian, past club President, and the first female Rotarian of the Greater Paris Rotary club, reminded us of that fact. The current membership is currently at 60 members of all race, gender, and walks of life with, as one charter member put it, "much more sophisticated" functions, such as the Fireworks fundraiser, Football Frenzy, and other operations that the group has evolved into doing. The Rotarians enjoyed pictures of fellowship and functions over the past 33 years and a birthday cake marking the special occasion. A display of the hard work evidenced by a table full of awards was on display and will be placed in permanent storage at the PJC archives. One of the great achievements that was recalled was the numerous awards of the coveted Bill Campbell Award early on in the club's history. The Bill Campbell award is awarded to the most outstanding chapter in a district amongst many other Rotary Clubs. One interesting piece of history as the group went through the charter presentation banquet agenda was that Mr. Campbell himself was the District Governor and guest at that meeting. The group heard from their guest speaker, as the meeting continued in normal fashion, hearing from Red River Valley Down Syndrome and the ways it is helping our community. As they concluded their meeting as always, a hint of pride could be felt in the past of the club, and even more so in the present progress and future potential, as each member recited the always guiding four-way test of the things Rotarians think, say, and do. Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP? and Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? Each looked forward to the next 33 years and the impact we all realize that the club will have on Paris, Lamar County, and even beyond throughout the world.