WAVERLY — One of the oldest organizations in the Valley is getting ready to celebrate a century of helping communities both at home and abroad.
The Waverly Rotary Club, which is more recently recognized as the group of volunteers who perform the beautification of the Exit 61 ramp from Interstate 86 and offer a pancake breakfast every election day, is preparing to celebrate its centennial with a special event on July 20.
Starting at 11 a.m. that day at East Waverly Park, the club will be hosting a cornhole tournament to help raise funds for the organization as well as celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Complimenting the tournament will be a chicken barbecue, which also starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.
“We just want to continue to give back to the community,” rotary president Chip Roberts said. “It’s a great program with lots of great volunteers, and we just to want to try to help out.”
The event will also offer an opportunity to reflect on decades upon decades of service that the club has dedicated to the village.
“We were chartered in January of 1919, and Hart Seely was the first president,” Waverly Rotary Club member and secretary Linda Vogel said. “He worked for the Waverly Sun newspaper at the time, and there was a total of 24 chartered members.”
Vogel explained that the club was involved in countless projects throughout Waverly’s history over the past 100 years.
“If there was an important project or event going in Waverly, then the rotary probably had a hand it,” she said. “It was a very influential and important club. It had international directors visit. The governor of New York would sit in during meetings. And it’s really just all about servicing Waverly with its needs.”
Early in its life, the club often helped provide services for disabled children and injured war veterans, and later on played a large role in education, which carries on today in the forms of its junior rotarian program and foreign exchange student program.
“The club has participated in various programs from Rotary International serving the community and the world,” Vogel added. “The Waverly Rotary has bought several wheelchairs that were sent to those in need in South America, Cuba and Mexico. We’ve also played a part in Bill Gates’ initiative to rid the world of polio — eliminating the disease in all but two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
On April 13, 1989, the club opted to allow women to join the organization, a decision that allowed the rotary to continue to offer even more volunteer services to the community.
“We may have shrunk in size over the years, but we have great ideas,” she said. “And we want to do as much as we can for our community.”
The cornhole tournament on July 20 will consist of of two-person teams at a rate of $20 per team, noted Roberts. First prize will be a set of custom-made cornhole boards with American flag graphics, courtesy of Wayne Huddleston. Chicken dinners will be available for $12.