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Rotary Club celebrates 70th anniversary

Judge Joe Stephens presents Rotary Club president Denise Smith with a proclamation congratulating the club on its 70th Anniversary.

The Highlands Rotary Club marked a milestone this year, by reaching its 70th anniversary of its founding.

The club held a combined Christmas party and 70th Anniversary celebration last Sunday, at the Monument Inn.

Almost a hundred past and present members and their families attended the gala event.

Led by club president Denise Smith, the program included an oral history of the club from its beginning, and vintage and recent photographs depicting the activities and history of the club and many of its members. The photos were presented by Gilbert Hoffman, who acknowledged that Alton Neatherlin, publisher of the Highlands Star and a past president of the club, had published most of the vintage photos in the newspaper.

Weston Cotten introduced guests, and acknowledged several clubs whose members were present, and a large number of past presidents of the Highlands club. There were also a number of District 5890 officers present.

A special award was presented by Johnny Gaeke to club member Chester Stasney, for his 51 years of membership, which included club president in 1972-73. Gaeke thanked Stasney for mentoring him when he joined the club.

The highest honor in Rotary is to become a Paul Harris Fellow, and Past District Governor Bill Palko presented this award to three members, Johnny Gaeke, Chuck Radney, and Carol Radney. In addition, past member and past president Richard Robinson presented his wife Pat with the same Paul Harris Award.

In her history presentation, Denise Smith noted that the club had been sponsored by the Dayton Rotary club, and chartered on November 24, 1948.

The club started raising funds for community projects with the Chili Feast in 1976, and started a raffle for a new car in 1983. Due to the success of this idea, the club has raised over $760,000 for community projects.