A decade ago, on February 28, 2008, the Klamath Basin threw a party for would-be volunteers for the community of Klamath Falls. After receiving an official charter on December 22, 1997 for a new Klamath Basin Sunrise Rotary Club, members went about planning an inaugural celebration that was held that last day of February, 1998. The current members of this relatively new Rotary club recently celebrated the ten year anniversary since being Chartered, and boy, do they have a lot to celebrate.
Five Charter Members attend 10-year Charter Party
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Rotary is organized at club, district, and international levels to carry out its program of service. Today, 1.2 million Rotarians belong to some 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries.
According to charter member Don Hoffheins, “the Klamath County Rotary Club has been established for over 75 years and has provided a lot of service to the community. They began work in early 1997 to sponsor, or charter, our new Sunrise club.” And thanks to them, a new group of individuals has put a lot of effort into providing service to those who live in Klamath Basin and around the world.
The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life. Jack Baumann, a charter member, says, “I joined Rotary to be involved in community service and to meet and enjoy the company of like-minded people in varied occupations.” Jack found that when he joined the new Rotary Club.
In the last ten years Hoffheins says, “Sunrise Rotary has been involved in over 25 local service projects and eight different international projects. Locally, projects have ranged from hosting holiday parties for Early Childhood Intervention to planting trees at Moore Park. On an international level the club has provided financial support to projects that range from the “LN-4 Project” that provides prosthetic hands to victims of landmines left from war, to funding missions to give serum to children in third world countries to eliminate polio.”
During these early years, the Club has focused on community projects that benefit youth and seniors. Jeannette Gansberg, also a charter member said, “For such a small group, we have accomplished a lot over the last 10 years. If I was to pick a personal favorite, I guess it would be Camp Evergreen, I am a huge advocate for the future, which I believe, are the children we are growing.”
According to Hoffheins, the club’s primary objective for fundraising each year is to raise funds to support Klamath Hospice’s Camp Evergreen – a Bereavement Camp for Children. The Klamath Basin Sunrise Rotary joined with Klamath Hospice in the support for children who have lost loved ones to death. These children, 8 years to 18 years old, often never receive professional counseling following their loss, due to expense or lack of family participation. At Camp Evergreen each child is able to spend a week of counseling, fun and laughter at no cost to learn to talk about their pain with peers and counselors. The camp started eight years ago with ten campers and in 2007 there were 50 children were able to attend the camp to learn to better communicate their personal losses. According to Steve Lamarr, another Charter member and current treasurer, the Club has donated $26,000 to Hospice in just the last six years.
So what’s up for the next ten years? Well, some of those 30 plus projects have involved one-time support to a local group or organization, and some, like support of Camp Evergreen have been going on for many years. Support of the camp seems to be a goal of the club for the foreseeable future. But there’s more that the club can do at the local level and internationally. “I would like to see our club develop a World Community Service Project involving bringing clean water to villages in need in Tanzania”, says Baumann. Rotary International has a grant program where a club’s donation is multiplied one and a half times with added District level funds and then that is matched at the International level. According to Jennifer Palmer the incoming President [for 2008-2009], who is also the current chairperson of the Rotary Foundation, “local money can be leveraged to four times the amount”, which makes international projects much more feasible. No matter what projects these hard working Rotarians take on, they have the interest in the local and world-wide community at heart.