SALT LAKE CITY — Being able to do anything for a century is almost certainly worthy of celebration, especially if you have spent the last 100 years serving your fellow man.
The Rotary Club of Salt Lake City is commemorating its centennial anniversary this year and recognizing its long history of community service.
The Rotary Club of Salt Lake City was founded in January 1911, about six years after the first Rotary Club was organized in Chicago in 1905.
When the Salt Lake Club initially received its charter, it became Club 24 and was the only Intermountain club between Chicago and the West Coast. Today, the Salt Lake chapter includes more than 300 members.
Under the motto "service above self," Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders who offer humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world, a news release stated. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 34,000 clubs chartered in 200 countries and geographic regions around the globe.
The name "Rotary" was derived from the early practice of rotating meeting locations among members' offices.
Although Rotary clubs develop autonomous service programs, since the late 1970s, all Rotarians have been united in a global effort to eradicate polio.
Rotary is currently working to raise an additional $200 million toward a $355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These efforts are providing much needed polio vaccines, operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment and educational materials for health workers and parents.
Working along with the World Heath Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rotary International has worked tirelessly to reduce the incidence of polio worldwide from 500,000 cases per year to just 1,000 cases annually, said Rotary International President Ray Klinginsmith.
"We're very near to eradicating only the second disease in history," he said. "We think the last case will occur this year or — at the very latest — in 2012."
Klinginsmith said the fact this Rotary has been so instrumental in eliminating such a significant health concern "is nothing short of amazing."