Early years were a test
It was the early 1990s, and with the explosive growth occurring in these valleys and the incorporation of two new cities, leaders of the Rotary district thought the timing was right to add yet a third club to the two already existing, this one to be centered on the emerging City of Murrieta. With the sponsorship of the Temecula noon and Sunrise clubs, the Rotary Club of Murrieta was chartered on April 28, 1992, with 25 members, most of them brand new as Rotarians.
The club then met on Thursdays at Bear Creek country club, and Bear Creek was also the site of a black tie dinner marking the chartering. The occasion attracted the likes of former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (well, okay, maybe just a look-alike) and then District Gov. Ken Roberts, escorted onto the premises by the just-forming Murrieta Police Department.
The early years were slow-going. Membership declined and fundraising was difficult. Teetering on the brink of extinction, District Gov.'s representative Charlie Nichols met with the club and discussed its future. What emerged was commitment to continue and a pair of newer Rotarians who agreed to lead the way and serve as president the next two years.
Thanks to the leadership of Jody Lawlor and Lorie Schulenberg and the commitment of those then around them, membership grew and the seed was planted for what was to grow into one of the most consistently successful fundraisers in the district -- the Spring Fling, an idea nurtured by a newer club member, Teresa Fleege. The Fling morphed into the Patriots Ball in 2014 and was the culminating activity in the club's now enormously successful Field of Honor.
Since, that fundraising and its approximately 50 members have allowed the club to engage in an array of some 40 community service, international involvement and personal development activities each year, making it one of the most active clubs in Rotary District 5330.
The club celebrated its 20th anniversary with a special luncheon April 28, 2012.
--with thanks to charter member Jim Yanoschik