The Bluffton Rotary Club celebrated the anniversary of its charter from 1988 on April 28. Included in the celebration were special guests District Governor Ed Duryea and his wife, Cindy; Assistant Governor Sandee Brooks and her husband Mike Rambo; and our incoming Assistant Governor: David Tirard and his wife, Susan.
The celebration of our anniversary included a Parade of Presidents, reading of the roster of charter members and special recognition by District Governor Ed Duyrea for John Kinzer and Michael Reeves, who both received awards in recognition for being charter members and still part of the Bluffton Rotary Club today.
A little history of the Bluffton Rotary Club and how we came to be chartered:
• The first Rotary Club was founded by Paul Harris & the first meeting was held in Chicago in 1905
• Rotary came to SC in 1915 when the Greenville and Spartanburg Clubs were formed
• The Columbia Club was chartered in 1916
• In 1920, the Columbia Club sponsored the Charleston Club
• In 1934, the Rotary Club of Charleston sponsored the Beaufort Club
• In 1967, the Rotary Club of Beaufort sponsored the Hilton Head Island Club
• In 1988. The Hilton Head Island Club sponsored and assisted in the formation of the Bluffton Club
And so on April 25, 1988, 29 men – all distinguished citizens of Bluffton – celebrated the first Charter Night of the Bluffton Rotary Club. Their first project was a community Thanksgiving Dinner and an oyster roast. The oyster roast has become one of the major fund raisers and a signature event of each Rotary year.
Over the past 25 years, we’ve seen a lot of changes in Bluffton and have contributed a lot to Bluffton. Some of our accomplishments include:
• Bluffton Rotary acted as the guiding force to build our Rotary Community Center & the “Field of Dreams” or Oscar Frazier Park, both of which have been turned over to the Town. The first gala to raise funds for the Community Center was in 2003, 10 years ago.
• We have been very involved in supporting many local charities, such as Boys & Girls Club, Bluffton Self Help, Bluffton Jasper VIM over the years
Annually, we support:
- Happy Feet
- Student of the month
- Rotaract Club at TCL and Interact Club at Bluffton High School
- Bluffton High Interact scholarship
- Christmas Angels program
- Ring the bell for the Salvation Army
- Support inbound and outbound international exchange students
- Help with International projects such as the Eradication of Polio & funding Water Missions
The Bluffton Rotary Club has shaped, changed or touched many lives over the past 25 years. By putting “Service Above Self” for 25 years, to help support our local community, our community has supported us in return.