“Honoring the Past, Driving the Future” was the theme for the Akron Rotary Centennial Celebration Saturday evening. Co-chairs Cheryl Warren and Jack Harig, along with Vice Chair George Rooney, greeted 450 guests as they arrived at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Akron.
Emcee Dave Lieberth gave a history of Rotary International, which was started by Attorney Paul P. Harris in Chicago in 1905, and is the oldest service organization in the world. Today there are more than 32,000 clubs in 200 countries around the world.
A dynamic video presentation showed the history of the Rotary Club of Akron, founded by M.E. Harpster and Harry Bauman in 1914, with 31 charter members, who met at the Portage Hotel.
In 1924, Walter Hoyt and Hezzelton Simmons founded the Akron Rotary Camp so kids with polio and cerebral palsy could have a camp experience just like other children.
Today the Rotary Camp, located on Rex Lake, serves children and adults with special needs, providing activities for over 1,700 campers in 2013.
Executive Director Dan Reynolds and the camp staff were introduced and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh thanked Rotary Camp for providing Summer Camp and Respite Programs for children with special needs as she related the camp experiences of her son, Matthew.
Rotary President Lance Chima led a champagne toast to the work of Rotarians around the world, as he proudly announced his son Brian would become the third generation of his family to be a member of Akron Rotary.
Charles W. Billow and his wife Retta, along with their son, Charles M. and his wife, Patty, represented five generations of the Billow family who became Rotarians.
Tim Heslop and his father, Don Heslop, enjoyed looking over photos of the activities of the Club over the years, along with Doug and Carol Hausknecht, Jim and Marianne Redmond, Andy and Jean Wilson and Aric Stano.
Garfield High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers, Jonathon Sayre, Steven Lewis, Brandon Colter and Travontae Thomas presented the colors, and Father Norm Douglas gave the Invocation before dinner. Pam Kiltau invited guests to sign a time capsule for the next 100 years.
Rotary District Governor Bob Johnson and his wife, Cindy, enjoyed the celebration along with Bud and Susie Rogers, Rennick and Dee Andreoli, Kellie and Dan Gilbert, Mark and Lori Krohn, Leeanne Neff Heppner, Joel Cox, Elaine Marcius, Suze Johns, Valerie Richardson and Fred Jennings.