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What is Rotary? It's an organization of business and professional persons who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Our creed is Service above Self.


Here's how our club began. In 1958, Stan Shaffer was a member of the NH Chamber of Commerce along with a man named Andy Smith. Stan suggested to Andy that NH needed its own Rotary Club. Andy had no idea what Rotary was but he learned and became interested. The necessary papers were filed, the Rotary Club of North Sacramento sponsored us, and on March 12, 1959, our club was chartered by RI. It had 23 members. Andy Smith was one of them. And Andy is still an active member of our club, and the only remaining charter member since November 1974 when Rick Ericson resigned.


The Early Days


Andy Smith was the club's president in 1961-62. There were 28 members.


During Andy's year, the club built a float for the NH Memorial Day parade. It was a 3-stage rocket, stuffed with Kleenex. On top of the rocket was a washing machine agitator. The club built a bbq for a local park, had a career day at a local high school where the kids learned about the club members' occupations, a Christmas program for children of the community, and they filled holiday baskets for 50 needy families complete with a turkey dinner and gifts for the kids.


Another early project was to purchase wheelchairs for the handicapped at the Easter Seal Society. The club also collected cans of food for distribution to the needy and worked with the Chamber of Commerce to paint and fix up businesses along Watt Avenue.


For six years, the club supplied and decorated a large Christmas tree erected at intersection of Watt and Roseville Road. Andy used to go into the woods and cut a suitable tree, never less than 25 feet long.

Our members were very active from the start. 3 members were presidents of the NH Chamber of Commerce: Andy Smith, John Cole, and Earl Chambers. In 1965 Andy Smith was voted Citizen of the Year by the Chamber.


Howard Allard ran for assemblyman. Bob Meyer, Randy Burton, and Bob Curran ran for the SMUD board, Patrick Osborne ran for the County Board of Supervisors. Several members ran for Honorary Mayor of NH. Some chaired the NH annual Moonwalk Parade.


In those days, NH had at least 2 papers of its own, plus Sacramento had both the Bee and the Union, and the club was written up constantly in all of them.


In 1966, our club name was changed from North Highlands to Foothill-Highlands to include Foothill Farms.


The club regularly had more visitors at its meetings than it had its own members. In November 1968, there were 25 club members, but 33 visiting Rotarians and 6 guests.  At one meeting a visiting Rotarian asked if our club was just for make up meetings!


How does Rotary work?


A Rotary club meets once a week. Most weeks there is a program which is usually a speaker. But there are exceptions: one program was a belly dancer and another was a very skimpy negligee show. I have photographic evidence of both. Do I need to tell you these programs were in the days when the club was all male?


A club has a President for a one year term. When the year is up the president is demoted. We do this with a golf tournament followed by a dinner, skit, awards. Lots of fun; lots of laughs. There's also a president of the parent, Rotary International, who also serves one year. In 1975, the incoming President, Wolfgang Wick, resigned. Why? Too much negative publicity due to his being a Nazi during WWII!


To meet club service goals requires money. How Do We Raise Money?


We donate some ourselves: for example We pay dues each year;


We pay "fines" (we have a fine master to help extract them). It's all done in the spirit of good fun. We pay fines for things like our birthdays, buying a new car, forgetting to wear our Rotary pin, you get the idea.


We also can offer to ring our club's bell or bong our club's gong which means we will donate $100.


But most funds come from the goodwill of the community through fundraisers, such as


St. Patrick's Day dances, Monte Carlo/casino nights, Crab feeds, working the infamous Bingo Hall and selling squares in football pools until we had some run ins with John Law and had to stop.


Selling See's candy, poinsettias and Christmas wreaths; wrapping Christmas gifts at Wal-Mart.


Holding summer BBQs: one year Kerry Hanson offered a free ride on one of his buffalo to the Rotarian who sold the most BBQ tickets. Not sure why he had buffalo to begin with.


Our Annual Chili cookoff


Rummage and estate sales


Night at the museum: this is our second


Oh, yeah, selling entertainment B..o..oo..oo..ks: Erik Nooren headed up this project for years. He's originally from Holland and even after 40+ years here still can't pronounce "books" among other things! Once when a Rotarian heard Erik was just back from visiting family in Holland for amonth, he said "well, that trip will set Erik back years in his progress towards mastery of the English language."


That's how we raise money. What do we do with the money we raise? Here are examples that will show you the power of one small Rotary Club.


In Rotary there are four Avenues of Service. The 1st is Club Service. Haave to have fellowship and fun or won't have a club for long. Along those lines, we have


Annual Mystery bus trip: hop on, drink and eat, drive around trying to guess where we'll end up for dinner.


Parties: Christmas parties, Valentine's day dances, Super Bowl parties, wine/cheese tasting


Group outings e.g. to theater or concert, sports events, picnics and BBQ


Rotary Friendship Exchange: in the 1980's, our Rotarian Tommy Neuman and Phil Jones a Rotarian from England exchanged homes; both were Fulbright scholars. Phil taught at ARC and Tommy studied in England. While there, Tommy attended Rotary meetings at the Thamesdown club and really enjoyed the members. They were raising money for a brain scan machine. Our club made a donation to help them. Since then, we've exchanged visits about every two years. Wonderful friendships.


And when we were younger, we had a softball team and competed with other clubs


The 2nd Avenue is Community Service: Here's hoow we've helped our Community


Long time supporter of the CRH: take on outings, donate and install picnic tables and benches. Recently coordinated the donation of $5,000 of supplies donated by Staples


We've always supported BSA. The 1st troop we sponsored was only 1 of 7 handicapped troops in the US.


Sponsored little league teams


Donated commercial salad bar to local elementary school


Funded a Secret Witness program to help curb school crime.


Purchased automatic opening door for handicapped at ARC


Purchased and retrofitted a mobile home to create a traveling dental clinic to to go to those unable to get to a dentist. Our member, dentist Kerry Hanson, operated the unit and once was accused of driving it back from the District conference in Reno via Mustang Ranch for the purpose of filling a few cavities.


Installed welcome directory sign at entrance to NH


For decades, we have funded purchase of food for holiday baskets, bought and wrapped gifts for the children and delivered the food and gift baskets to needy families in our service areas.


Planted 80 trees at Gibson Community Ranch


We're part of a centennial project to build a Rotary House where out of town families of children under treatment at Shriner's hospital can stay.


The 3rd Avenue of Service is Vocational


We use our vocations to be of service. For example, one member owned a McDonalds. He offered a free hamburger for every can of food donated for our Christmas baskets. Phil Danz is an ocularist & has made many artificial eyes for needy children in Mexicali. Lee Wiggins is a dentist who annually goes on dental aid trips to Africa and Cambodia. One member was a florist who always provided the centerpieces for our parties. Other members offer their services or business products as raffle or auction prizes at our fundraisers or use their business skills to help in some other way.


We honor vocations:


          We annually hold an Administrative Assts day with a well known speaker: Sandra Smoley, March Fong Eu, and for the last decade or so, DA Jan Scully. We donate money in their name to a favorite charity.


          We annually honor a local business person, teacher, law enforcement officer, and/or community citizen of the year


          We take vocational tours to learn about businesses in our community


Much Vocational Service is youth related b/c these will be our future leaders.


          We hold speech contests for high school students & offer prize money.


          We offer student scholarship awards at high school and college level. This year $1,000 to ARC student


          We sponsor students to go to the RYLA camp for youth leadership training


          We buy and distribute childrens' dictionaries to 3rd graders. They love them! This is their personal dictionary to take home, for some it is the only book at home


The 4th Avenue of Service is International


We sponsor Youth Exchange Students who go to hs here for a year from Australia, Finland, West Germany, South Africa, India (2), Mexico (2), Belgium (2), New Zealand, Italy.


Our club has provided 4 ambassadorial scholarships for 1 year graduate study abroad: England, France, Italy, and South America.


We sponsored and lead GSE teams on 1 month trips abroad. One Rotarian is team leader and four young professionals. Learn about the other country's vocations and culture and share their own. While that country sends its own GSE team here

Bob Curran: Bangladesh

Hoard Allard: Australia

Tommy Neuman: Australia

Bob Meyer: Peru

Erik Nooren: Holland


We fund wells for villages in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Africa: $3,500 provides 20 wells, each one supplying fresh water for up to 60 villagers who were drinking from polluted rivers or ditch water.


For over 30 years we have supported a school for special education in the Philippines. Erik there at least 2 times; founder here once or more.


Avoidable Blindness: raised $2,000 matched by the district for total of $4,000. provided cataract surgery to 120 people in other countries


Donated to hospital in Cambodia for AIDS patients: 5 new hospital beds, sheets, bp cuffs, x-ray viewers patient gift packets, complete computer system, suction machine, stethoscopes


Biggest, most continuous is through our relationship since the early 1980's with our sister club, the Rotary Club of Mexicali-Oriente. Who can count how many trips we have made there and they to us? A dozen? More? Bob Meyer spearheaded most of the trips with Joe Kaiser close behinid. We have donated and usually delivered & helped distribute: 400 desks, dozens of computers, a washing machine, a Braille printer, Braille watches, hundreds of books, masses of clothing, 1100 pounds of food staples, medical equipment originally worth over $1 million, bought and restored a jeep for search and rescue work, donated a van for blind school. We have driven the stuff there and put it on ships and sailed it there.


Admittedly, there are some perks when we go to Mexicali: a  2 day golf tourney with big prizes sponsored by beer companies giving out free beer and promoted by gorgeous young beauty contestants wearing short dresses and really high heels.


So, That's the way we've helped

But oh, How Times Change over the years


1960's: Presents for the Christmas party were not to exceed $1.50!


Mid 1970's:


          program speaker was footwear buyer for College Hi Shops. He explained why some of their athletic shoes (e.g., Adidas) cost as much as $27!


          Lunch was $3.48 at our meetings


          Program was about construction of Auburn Dam. Authorized by congress in 1965 and should be completed by 1985.


          speaker discussed the 6 week seminars he gives on how to use microwave ovens!


          we supported the Widening Vistas senior center. It served those 50 yrs "or better". 50 years old!?


          Speaker told us that America is converting to the metric system.


          Erik Nooren put together a travel package for our members. It was a one week vacation in Mexico on the beach for $265 per person. For that price, maybe it was literally on the beach, no hotel included?


Last: Rotary Foundation


Since 1947 the RF has contributed nearly 2 billion to programs worldwide.

Probably the most mammoth is PolioPlus.


In 1985 RF pledged $120 million to end polio worldwide. Rotarians then raised over $650 million and volunteered hundreds of thousands of hours administering the vaccine all over the world. 2 billion children have received the polio vaccine. today Polio has declined 99% world wide. We're almost there.


By 2005 our club had donated over $800,000 to the RF; an extraordinary amount of money for a club our size (which has averaged between 20 and 40 members). Then when Al Morris passed away last year, he left $50,000 to PolioPlus. That was matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a total of $100,000 to fight Polio. Wow!


So now you know what our club's been doing the last 50 years.


Thank You
Sam Morgan
Club Historian