> History of Salem Rotary

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The ideal of service to others quickly became a cornerstone of Rotary International, the world's oldest service organization, begun by Paul Harris with the organization of the first Rotary club in 1905. The Salem club was chartered in April 1921 when twenty area businessmen, envisioning a brighter future for the Salem Community, met at the LaPalma Restaurant in the Metzger Hotel to form a Rotary club.

Helping crippled children was an early club project. Club members gave of their time and their money to help children receive the care they needed, and worked with the state legislature to pass a bill providing state aid for handicapped children. The Salem club was a charter member of the Ohio Society for Crippled Children. The club hosts an annual Christmas party for disadvantaged children.

The club is a sponsor of the Interact Club at Salem High School, which teaches the ideals of service and community responsibility. Through Bryce W. Kendall's vision and recognition of the importance of world understanding, the club became the first in the local district to become active in the foreign exchange program. Hundred of area students have traveled to countries all over the world, returning with a greater sense of who they are, and what their life's role should be to promote friendship, goodwill and understanding. The club has been a leader in hosting students from around the world, and thus its members have gained firsthand knowledge of many different cultures, discovering more similarities rather than differences.

The Group Study Exchange program is an annual exchange of adults between the United States and another country which has provided valuable interaction for club members and their families over the years and has formed many lasting friendships.

Club projects initiated or supported over the years include Heritage Park at the corner of W. State and N. Ellsworth Ave.; improvements to Waterworth Park and its softball fields; construction of racquetball courts at Memorial Park; the Southeast School mini-park and wading pool; and the Salem Playground Project.

Charitable organizations which have received financial assistance over the years include Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Salem Community Theater, Easter Seals, Salvation Army, Children of Chernobyl, Salem Public Library, American Red Cross, S.A.V.E., Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Y.W.C.A., Bycroft School for Retarded Children and many others.