Service Above Self
Our Rotary Club over 95 years; here is a brief history of our Club! I snipped exciting pieces from our website on the history of our Club. I am just going to cover the cool stuff and be brief!
We formed in 1926; after almost six months of planning, a club started. Nearly 100 people were at the Gala held at the Royal Park Inn to present the new Charter number 2377, presented by our sponsoring Club, West Palm Beach Rotary. There were 19 all-male charter members at the time. The last of our original members, J.J. Schumann, passed away in 1989. He is still represented in our Club by his son, John Schumann, Jr., and is our longest-serving member. John has been a member since 1956 – 65 years!! We also have James Brumbaugh, who has been serving our Club for 60 years!
So as you can see, we are a fantastic club. Why would anyone stay that long if we weren't doing great things in the community and have outstanding members to serve with? Reese Brackins has been a member for 42 years. The list goes on and on! Trish Scattergood was the first female Rotarian in our Club and admitted in April of 1989. Vero was slow to allow women in the "man Cave" at the time! Trish is still an active member of the Club, and she served as the secretary for almost 30 years! Brenda Bradley has taken on the next 30-year run!
The Club first met at the Royal Park Inn, a new and elegant landmark of the town. In the following years, meetings were in several locations, the second being the Community Church. The luncheon tab at that time was 50 cents, and the women of the church prepared and served the meals. Later, high school students were allowed time off to come and help with the women's luncheon. In 1932, in the depths of the great depression, times were hard for the Club and its members. The Club was unable to meet its semi-annual international assessment and had to request an extension of time. The Club also reduced the dues to $1.00 per quarter. In 1936, the price of the Rotary luncheon skyrocketed 20% to 60 cents. In 1980, the lunch tab was $5.00 at the Sheraton Regency. And by 1989, the lunch tab had reached $9.00 at the Vero Beach Inn, formerly Sheraton Regency.
The Club has met at over 17 different venues, and since 2013, we have had the pleasure of meeting at the Vero Beach Yacht Club. We meet on Thursdays at noon, and although COVID tried to keep us down, it didn't work! We zoomed in for over 52 weeks to hold us together and involved. Over the past year, we gave over $9,700 to local organizations in need of help. Our Club raised over half of these funds at our weekly zoom meetings in the form of "happy donations." In 1926 the Club raised funds to help those in need in the flooded Mississippi Valley.
In 1928, the club help with the formation of the junior baseball league. It's pretty amazing if you take the time to read all the things that this Club has helped form in this county, including the swimming pool at the YMCA. Today we are still striving to make a difference in the community we serve, and we have a great time doing it. Please attend a meeting or visit our website, read our history to see all the things we have contributed to in town. It is pretty impressive, as are the members of this Club. With this, I want to say it is a pleasure to be standing here as the current President of Vero Beach Rotary, and I appreciate every member here supporting this Club.
Ophelia "Opey" Angelone