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Campbell: Rotary in the “Orchard City”

The Campbell Rotary Club was organized in November, 1947, The Charter was presented on March 15, 1948, admitting Campbell Rotary Club to Rotary International. The Santa Clara Rotary Club was the sponsoring group. Jim Dunn, G. F. Bacon and Ken Hartman of the Santa Clara club provided the necessary leadership and assistance.

James B. Arends was the first president of the Campbell Rotary Club. After receiving the charter, the president wanted this new club to be a 100 percent contributor to the Rotary Foundation Fund. To accomplish this, President Jim Arends made a personal contribution of $240, indicating the caliber of man who was Campbell Rotary’s first president. Officers of the fledgling club in 1948 were:

JAMES B. ARENDS President
EDWARD HUBERT Vice President
FORREST REESE Secretary
CEL GEREVAS Treasurer
I. 0. McCONNELL Sergeant-at-Arms

A creative and unusual international project was initiated and completed in the 1970-71 Rotary year. Arrangements were made to provide a fire engine to a community in need in Mexico. With the cooperation and participation of the city of Campbell fire chief George Maxwell, a club member, the city council of Campbell and the Campbell Rotary Club delivered a functioning fire engine to the Mexican community. The city of Campbell was in the throes of replacing their fire engine with a more efficient and effective model. Club president, Myron Alexander (1971-72) and our “train buff’ expert Al Smith comprised the delivery team. Rotary clubs along the projected route were notified resulting in Rotary hospitality and newspaper publicity. Needless to say our two erstwhile Rotarians persevered through a variety and of harrowing experiences. The two pioneers arrived at the Mexican community where the entire population appeared as greeters. The fire engine was turned over to the Mexican officials with great fanfare, fulfilling a need for a very appreciative group of people. This adventure in international club service has all the earmarks of a potential Hollywood movie or a television mini-series. Regrettably, that did not come to pass.

In the Rotary year 1972-73 when Bruce Stevenson was club president, the club developed the Joseph V. Gomes mini park located on the corner of Alice and Winchester Road. This was truly a “hands on” effort by club members. The mini park remains an attractive spot of local color.

During the 1972-73 Rotary year past president Bob Culp (1961-62) was responsible for initiating the fund raising activity known as the Campbell Rotary Road Run. This was a very successful venture for a number of years.

The 1987 Rotary International embarked upon a program called Polio Plus. It was the objective of Rotary to eliminate Polio on a worldwide basis by the year 2004. This was a project in size and scope never attempted by a private or public group in the world. The financial goal established to meet this challenge was a fund raising goal of $120,000,000. Members of the Campbell Rotary Club of thirty some members pledged $120,000. On a per capita basis this placed Campbell Rotary as the number one contributing club within the entire Rotary 5170 district which includes fifty-seven Rotary clubs. This was an achievement of considerable proportion. When the Campbell club’s financial commitment is translated into practical terms, it will have immunized 1,000,000 children, saved 3,000 from contracting Polio, and saved 300 lives. Past presidents Mark Campbell, M.D. and past president Dan Bryant co-chaired this project. A resounding well done to these Rotarians!

During Rotary year 1988-89 two club organizational procedures of note were accomplished. Bob Woods was at the helm of the Campbell Rotary Club that particular year. Fourteen new members were inducted into membership, a club record. This singular achievement remains as a standard. Also in that year the Red Badge new member indoctrination program was developed and instituted. This program outlines responsibilities for new members to include make up procedure at another Rotary club, attendance at a Board of Directors meeting, attendance at a club social activity, greeting at club meetings, etc. All this is done with the guidance of the individual’s sponsor. This program remains intact in its entirety to this day. A number of clubs in the district have inquired about the process and have adopted this program.

As one reads about the variety and scope of the projects undertaken by the Campbell Rotary Club it is apparent that it is not unusual for a single Rotarian to see a need and be subsequently supported by a willing and cooperative group of members thus making it a reality. Yes, one person and a small club can make a difference. This is but another example.

In November of 1988 Campbell Rotarian Mark Campbell, M.D. along with a group of Rotarian colleagues were serving dinner to homeless families at the Agnew’ Homeless Shelter, another club project. Administrative personnel in charge inquired if we could assist them with medical care needs. This was the impetus that prompted Rotarian Mark Campbell, M.D. to develop and initiate a program. To be sponsored by the Campbell Rotary Club. A free medical clinic was established. The name RotaCare (Rotary Cares) was invented by the club and a rotating group of Rotarians was formed to set up and help out each week at Agnew.

This RotaCare program addressed a need in our larger community not previously recognized. Our Rotary District 5170 became interested. Today RotaCare Medical Clinic is a California State licensed clinic with its own malpractice insurance. It now includes over 1,500 health professional volunteers, 11 operational clinics, and six more about to start up with locations from the California to New York City! The RotaCare Clinic sees 28,000 patients a year and is totally free of charge. The original Mission Statement of RotaCare as established by the Campbell Rotary Club remains intact without a single word change- “Give Free Medical Care To The Most Needy Who Least Have Access To It.” Campbell Rotary is very proud of this accomplishment.

The Campbell Rotary Club in 1989-90 initiated the first event of a social nature to support the Children’s Advocacy Program in Santa Clara County. The county advocacy program is for children that have been assigned by the court to various homes. Approximately forty to fifty children identified by the court system were club guests at a barbecue and train ride at Vasona Park. The children enjoyed the outing immensely. Ralph York was the club president in 1989-90 when the first outing was organized and realized. This successful program has endured through the years.

The Campbell Rotary Club had the honor of sponsoring a high school’s Interact Club. Interact clubs are high school service clubs which have a direct sponsorship connection with the Rotary service club. Our club, at Leigh High School, is an active part of our club and is soon to be more so.

It was during the 1992-93 Rotary year that club president Gary Hubbard was the guiding force of an important communication sent to Rotary International headquarters. He galvanized support of the club membership to address the by-laws, which barred women from being members. The club recognized that this was an area that needed to be addressed. Neglecting to allow women as members created a void resulting in a loss of important potential, which could enhance the effectiveness of Rotary as a worldwide service organization.

It is not implied that the communication from the Campbell Rotary Club resulted in our being agents of change. This effort along with many other clubs and individuals was the impetus which would result in women being welcomed to membership in Rotary. It was during the Rotary year 1988-89 when the Rotary International bylaws were changed removing the restriction of membership. We can attest that our women colleagues have enriched our local club in a significant manner.

During the 1993-94 Rotary year the Campbell club received the Balance Club award for the first time in the club’s history. This award indicates that the club achieved a minimum of two accomplishments in each of the four designated avenues of service: community, club, vocational, and international service. Past president Chuck Mahler (1993-94) correctly stated that this was an achievement for which all members could be justly proud, for they earned the recognition.

The Campbell Rotary Club can justifiably state that we have indeed been a friend to our community on a local, national, and international level since our inception as a Rotary Club in 1948.

In an address by past president of Rotary International Cliff Dochterman (1992-93) he succinctly indicated the importance of the individual Rotary club and the individual Rotarian. “When you think that your contribution doesn’t really count, remember those words of that 19th century author, Edward Everett Hale, ‘I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.’ That is the spirit of helping others.”

Although the Rotary Club of Campbell is not large in size, it is a proud group and one which has emphasized Service Above Self.”

The members of the Campbell Rotary Club have been successful in their projects due to the individual participation and cooperation of its membership. The feeling of fellowship, accomplishment and satisfaction cannot be adequately expressed in words. It is a soul-satisfying experience to see each member contribute to a project in his own way. The end result is that each member feels a bond of closeness to the project in both an individual as well as a group sense. The first project undertaken by the Campbell Rotary club was a clothing drive for the people of Portland, Oregon, due to a disaster in that part of the country in June, 1948. One of the club’s first community service projects was the erection and installation of street signs in the city of Campbell. This was a functional project much needed by our young city.

Other past community service projects have been construction of the city’s first Little League baseball park, the placement of trees and planter boxes in downtown Campbell, annual student scholarships, installation of smoke detectors for senior citizens, and installation of benches at the civic center.

In the early 1990s,we were involved in providing meals for the homeless at Agnews once a month, Special Olympics participation, free flu shots for the indigent and others, continuing financial support for Campbell Little League plus sponsorship of a Cambrian Park team, sponsorship of an annual high school speech contest, toys for needy children at Christmas, sending high school age students to Rotary’s Youth Leadership Camp and sponsorship of a Boy Scout Troop.

The 1987-88 Rotary year marked the 40th anniversary of the Campbell Rotary Club. a number of significant events took place during the year such as a ten percent net growth in membership, our first women members, and a major success in raising $120,000 in contributions to Rotary International’s PolioPlus campaign (goal of which is to eradicate Polio in the world by year 2000). Our club’s contribution to this most worthwhile project placed us first in our District 517 and surpassed the dollar contribution of three small countries. We feel this to be a truly magnificent achievement.