Boone Rotary Club History
by C. Ted Howard, 52 year member
Written in the year 1999
The Rotary Club of Boone, Iowa (sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ft. Dodge, Iowa) was chartered on February 25, 1919.
Record keeping during the early years of the club’s existence varied from non-existent to extremely lengthy. When the editors of the local club publications were short on news they substituted jokes and stories varying from one-line to half a page. Some of these were good, some were very bad, but any I was privileged to read were socially acceptable.
The club has taken on a variety of projects through the years:
1. During the years of the First World War the club supported Food Trains that passed throught the city periodically. This provided much needed food for people in war-torn areas. As a result of the club’s effort, many people were kept alive that might otherwise have died of starvation.
2. Starting in the 1930’s when the Great Depression was hitting farmers especially hard, this club annually held a Farmers’ Nite. At this time each member brought a farmer guest to a Rotary meeting. The program at this meeting was directed toward farmers, providing them with bits of knowledge we hoped they would find valuable, and thanked them for all they were doing for our community and the surrounding area.
3. For several years this club held a Corn Yield Contest. Valuable prizes were awarded to the winners. This club felt that we helped increase the corn yield in this area.
4. In the 1940’s the club sponsored a Hobby Show. This stimulated a lot of interest in people of all ages. It was very educational to learn some of the things people had as hobbies.
5. In the 1950’s the Boone Rotary Club had the feeling that Boone people needed to know more about Rotary so we sponsored “The Rotary Hour” on the local radio station. It was broadcast once a week for a 1/2 hour telling people about Rotary from its inception to the present day.
6. From 1954 through 1964 the Boone Rotary Club participated with other Boone service clubs in the All-Service Club Olympics which provided friendship and fellowship for clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions in the Boone community. Club members competed in events that included volleyball, ping pong, pool, bridge, checkers, and bowling.
7. In the 70’s the club began sponsoring a Little League Baseball team. It still exists today.
8. Probably the most gratifying to the members of the club, and most enthusiastically supported by the public, is the Annual Rotary Club Steak Fry. This began as a result of a club steak fry held at a suburban acreage of a member, at which time, it was suggested this might be a method of raising money to the scholarship fund if it were opened to the public and a reasonable price of admission was charged. This has continued for over 25 years, and presently well over 1,000 steaks are served each year. Rotarians and spouses do everything from cooking steakes to setting up the dining area, washing dishes, to cleaning up the area after the occasion is all over. This year 11 scholarships were awarded. The club was deeply gratified when the recipients spoke at a recent meeting expressing their thanks for the help the club had given them in financing their education. These reports left a smile of satisfactions on the face of every Rotarian as we realized the accomplishment of another successful project of the 1900’s.
9. The Rotary Club of Boone started a project in the spring of 1998 that will be an ongoing program for our club.
* The “Dear Senior” program originated in Ft. Osage, Kansas and the Rotary Club of Boone adapted that program to their school district. At high school prom and graduation time, every senior received a packet of letters urging them to make wise decisions on high school prom night and graduation festivities. The letters asked the seniors to abstain from drinking and drub use. These letters were written by sixth grade students, school officials and local business people-that’s where our Rotarians came in!
* Copies of those Sixers letters are sent to their parents with a letter of congratulations from the Rotary Coordinator and a proclamation from the Boone Mayor. Another copy of the letter is kept on file to be sent to that student at the beginning of his senior year to remind him of his connection to not use alcohol or other drugs.