The backbone of a strong vibrant community is, in large part, made up of people who willingly give their time, experience, expertise and sometimes monetary assistance to make their hometown a great place to live and raise a family. It is the concept of giving back to the community they have chosen in which to live their lives.
The Swanton Rotary is an organization of individuals who embody the philanthropic spirit of that concept and it is conveyed in their motto, “Service Above Self.” These are individuals who contribute to their neighborhoods without any expectation of financial gain, praise or even gratitude.
All over the Village of Swanton one can see where the Rotary has left an indelible mark of their generous efforts. The Swanton High School boys and girls track and soccer teams have a great venue in which to compete thanks to the Rotary. Games under the lights at Memorial Park take place and residents can enjoy spending time in beautiful Pilliod Park because of projects funded by the Rotary. These and many more are tangible evidence of the Rotary’s impact on Swanton.
What may be even more significant is the Rotary’s scholarship program. Over the years, they have given over a quarter million dollars in scholarships to Swanton High School students to help fund their dreams of a higher education. Some of these students have returned to become contributing members of the Swanton society while others have gone on to be an important part of other communities.
Two fund raisers were recently held in the Swanton Sports Center for the local Backpack Buddies program to help feed students in need on weekends and for scholarship and project monies.
The Swanton Rotary received its charter on November 14, 1962 and will celebrate its 55th anniversary later this year. Currently, it has 33 active members made up of business and professional leaders from the area. The overall leadership skills of its members are the primary reason they have been able to sustain a strong organization. “Enough people have been able to step up into the leadership roles over the years that no one person or people have been shouldered with that responsibility,” said Jeff Schlade, current president and Superintendent of Swanton Schools. “That is one of the highlights of the club that make sustaining long-term membership a bit easier. The members truly buy into the ‘Many hands make light work’ mantra.”
In fact, Mr. Schlade is a second-generation member and president of the Swanton Rotary. His father, Dr. Roger Schlade was a Rotary member for 32 years and served as its president from 1973 to 1974.
The Rotary meets every Thursday at noon in the Swanton Community Center on Chestnut Street and is always looking for new members.
They offer a great opportunity to be an ongoing positive influence for the community.
Bill O’Connell may be reached at email@example.com
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