The Rotary Club of Marion’s beginnings goes back to the 1920s. The Club started organizing in 1921, the same year W.G. Harding was sworn in as President. The official bargaining date was February 1, 1922, with twenty-three members. President Harding was made an honorary member of the Marion club in 1922 and was the first U.S. President to speak at a national Rotary convention.
“Marion’s charter number is 1051. This makes Marion’s club one of the earliest, with Rotary International having over 1.2 million members, in over 35,000 clubs, in over 120 countries today,” shared Marion’s current president Rob Howard.
There are over 120 members in the Rotary Club of Marion today. During non-Covid-19 times, they meet weekly, on Tuesdays, over lunch in the May Pavilion of the Palace Theatre. During the meetings they host a speaker which informs the members about our community, state, or world current events.
The local members follow the Rotary International’s mission of providing service to others, promoting integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. They believe that they have a shared responsibility to take action on the world’s most persistent issues.
The over 35,000+ clubs, including Marion, work together to:
- Promote peace
- Fight disease
- Provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
- Save mothers and children
- Support education
- Grow local economies
The Rotary International emblem/logo is the cog-wheel. While it symbolizes the name of the organization, it also symbolizes its nature. The name was adopted early in the history when there was only one club, in Chicago, and emblem was officially adopted later in 1924. The name of the club came from rotating the meeting locations among the members of the club. From this rotation theme came the wheel emblem/logo.
At first the wheel was smooth but later became the cog-wheel. There are 24 cogs to the wheel representing the twenty-four hours of the day. There are also six spokes. The spokes represent acquaintance, friendships, investments, dividends, service and the last is the Rotary member. Each building on the foundation of character, friendship, and service to God and to people.
From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The Four-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy.
This 24-word test for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The Four-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions:
“Of the things we think, say or do:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
The Rotary Club of Marion has a long and rich history of community service. Philanthropist R. T, Lewis, a Marion Club member, helped to start the Marion Rotary Foundation, Inc. in 1959, with a contribution of $20,000. The Foundation annually awards contributions to local charities and other worthwhile projects.
Examples of these contributions include OSUM, Marion YMCA, Palace Cultural Arts Association, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Epworth Preschool and Day Care, 4-H, Turning Point, Junior Fair, Red Cross, and Marion Tallgrass Trail. They have also funded projects at Marion Technical College, local parks like Sawyer-Ludwig, Safety City, MarionMade!, and Junior Achievement. Over $17,000.00 annually is given in scholarships to outstanding graduating high school seniors to assist with college tuition.
In honor of the Club’s fiftieth anniversary in 1972, it helped to fund the construction of Rotary Towers. In 1990 they helped fund the addition to the Towers that were built to help with senior citizen housing issues.
The Rotary Club of Marion truly believes in their motto- “She/he who profits most, serves best”. But this doesn’t mean monetary gain but gains in character, happiness, and the satisfaction of becoming a better person. The Rotary Club of Marion and its members help Marion County have a positive present and an even brighter future, through their support in our community.