The Rotary Club of Oregon-Northwood’s membership pales in comparison to one of the largest Rotaries in the nation, the Toledo Rotary.
Yet, Past President Pat Gory says the Oregon-Northwood club will have raised an estimated $70,000 for the community as it approaches its 25th anniversary next December.
Charter member Charles L. Kissling, of the accounting firm Trucker, Kissling and Associates, has played a part in all of it.
|Rotary Club of Oregon-Northwood officers are Matt Mackowiak, pres., Reed Steele, pres. elect, Pat Bidwell, vice president, Angel Adamski, Sergeant at arms, Melinda Ciesielczyk, vice president, Chuck Kissling, foudation coordinator. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)
“We’ve given tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships and tens of thousands to Rotary International for all their various projects, like the eradication of polio,” Kissling said.
“We’ve given money for people to come to this country, especially during the fall of the Berlin Wall. We actually sponsored some people from that area to come here and learn about democracy. We’ve had three different exchange students come here from multiple countries. I think we’ve made a significant impact in the community, to some degree in the world. I think we’ve embodied what Rotary is all about here all these years and we are still going.”
Gory is now assistant district governor for Rotary District 6600, which serves Northwest Ohio.
“The Oregon-Northwood Rotary Club addresses social and health issues like illiteracy, homelessness, hunger, poverty, and educational needs,” Gory said.
“I am in Rotary because this is a service organization comprised of a diverse group of professionals from all occupations at various stages of their career sharing a common interest of service in the community,” Gory continued.
“I remain in Rotary because I value the friendships and expertise that others share in providing service to the community. I am a Rotarian because I believe making a positive difference for one person changes the lives of many and I am committed to helping one person at a time while living one day at a time. It is interesting to note that almost every city has a Rotary Club and a member from one club is always welcome at another club and yet the goals of service in the community remain the same.”
As Rotary Clubs worldwide celebrate over 100 years of service, the local organization is looking for a way to celebrate its quarter of a century anniversary.
The Oregon-Northwood Rotary is one of 63 clubs in District 6600 and is one of over 33,000 clubs in the world, part of Rotary International. RI is a worldwide service organization of 1.2 million business professionals, both men and women, from all industries sharing a common goal of service in the community living by the motto of "Service Above Self."
Over the past 10 years, District 6600 has contributed over $20 million to the community through the cumulative efforts of Northwest Ohio clubs.
Breakfast With Santa
The Oregon-Northwood Rotary, currently at about 20 members, was chartered on December 2, 1987 by Andy Anderson, who lived in the Trilby (West Toledo) neighborhood.
“He saw the need that the Oregon community, the eastern community, did not have a Rotary Club and he just felt compelled to get things started,” Kissling said.
“So he made phone calls to business people, and there was a small group, maybe a dozen of us, initially, who agreed to help charter and begin a Rotary Club. That original group was about 20 men, and this was before women were allowed to be members of Rotary,” Kissling continued.
“We started meeting in the Woodville Mall at the Harvest House restaurant, which has long since been closed and done away with. We learned how to sing the Rotary songs and what Rotary was all about. None of us knew, frankly, anything about Rotary when we first started.
“We’ve stayed intact for all these years, and after three years we moved from the Harvest House to Cousino’s (Steakhouse) over on Woodville Road, and there is where we grew the club to as high as 40 members. We have the distinction of having as our third president a woman, Joanne Powers — she was the first female Rotary Club president in this district. So, we have some claim to fame there for this Rotary Club.”
The Oregon-Northwood Rotary’s local past and present involvement includes —
• Providing dictionaries to third graders in the Oregon and Northwood schools in the fall. The club sells coupon books during its Community Days to raise the funds to purchase the dictionaries. It’s done to help with literacy in the schools, which is considered a staple of Rotary.
Hosting Breakfast With Santa at Clay High School, which allows low to moderate-income families a holiday breakfast, crafts, and entertainment. On an annual basis, the club serves breakfast to about 400 people and provides a free picture and toy with Santa Claus.
• The Fifth Grade Challenger Learning Center experience — every fifth grade student in the Oregon and Northwood school districts participates in a simulated space flight to help with math and science skills. Money is raised from its annual golf outing in June.
• OhioReads Tutors — many club members participate annually.
• The group plans social events for its members and families, such as Raceway Park Night, after the holiday get-together and installation banquet.
• Donates to various organizations, including Cherry Street Mission, Central City Ministries, Meals on Wheels, YWCA, and Central City Ministries.
• Purchased a training doll for the Anne Grady Center’s new “Annie’s House”, a respite home for children with disabilities.
• The group sponsors area high schools’ after-prom night.
• Sponsors a “Youthact” group at Eisenhower Middle School. They do so expecting members to grow up and be an interactive group and become official Rotarians.
• A future project includes involvement in the “Gateway to Oregon” projects as its club’s bi-centennial project.