By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
The Asbury Park Rotary is going strong and attracting younger members as it approaches its 100th anniversary in 2019.
Public Relations person Robin Platt-Lacey, who is also a past president, said, “We are alive and well and we have lots of young people.”
Rotary Clubs are service organizations that provide support and service to their communities. The first Rotary was
The Asbury Park Club holds several annual fundraisers with it’s biggest the polar plunge in January.
“We like to say we raise a lot of money but we have a good time doing it,” Platt-Lacey said.
The group meets every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. at The Renaissance in Ocean Township.
Their members are from surrounding towns from Avon to Deal with all towns in between represented.
Rotary, an international organization, began in 1905 as a business to business club where professionals could meet and build relationships.
Presently, said Platt-Lacey, that has changed and members come from all walks of life including education. Others are retirees who want to stay active and be of service to their communities.
“It used to be business to business but we have grown out of that,” she said.
The club, which has 72 members, is always looking for new members.
“We are looking for Good Rotarians,” Platt-Lacey said.
She was referring to what they call the “four way test” for Rotarians: 1. Is it the truth?; 2. Is it fair to all concerned?; 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? and 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Platt-Lacey said one of the biggest accomplishments of Rotary Clubs International is eradicating the world of polio in the early 1980s.
She explained that there are still pockets of polio in some countries but that is only because the leaders of those countries led successful propaganda campaigns against having children vaccinated.
“If it wasn’t for propaganda from certain countries it would have been gone,” she said. “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with us,” she said.
Platt-Lacey said several of the club members traveled overseas in the effort.
“It was almost miraculous, our members go on missions all the time to distribute vaccines,” Platt-Lacey said.
She also said the clubs gets continual updates from around the world about the disease and the vaccination program.
The group’s next local event will be marching as a group in the Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
They will then host their annual wine dinner which will raise money for a bus trip for older veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the Korean War and World War II monuments, where they will lay a wreath.
“We are looking for older veterans, many of them haven’t been able to get down there to see the monuments,” she said.
Another cause they are collecting for is the Pedals for Progress, when they collect bikes to be sent to underdeveloped countries.
Every week at their monthly luncheon meetings they host a featured speaker.
“And they are terrific, we have good speakers,” Platt-Lacey said.
This year the club won the Ocean Township Community Service Award.
The club also creates a weekly bulletin, which can be found on their website, asburyparkrotary.org, with a member spotlight highlighting the life and service of one of its members.
Next year’s centennial is gearing up to be a big celebration. “Oh we’re going to do it up big,” Platt-Lacey said.