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                                              82 Years of Service

On February 25, 1905, 100 years ago, Paul Harris and three other founding members met in Chicago to hold the first meeting of what ultimately became Rotary International. Twenty-five years later, on February 24, 1930, the Rotary Club of Culver City held its first meeting. The Charter President was George Conaway.                 

The Culver City Rotary Club is a club of leadership. Many members have led the way in the City of Culver City as Councilmen, Commissioners, Members of the YMCA Board of Managers, School Board Members and in many other civic organizations. Throughout the years, the club has taken strong leadership roles in the field of local Community Service and International Service.           

It has been a tradition in the club, that each year reflects the special interest of that year's president. Charter President, George Conway, founded and served as the first Scoutmaster of Troop 48. The Culver City Rotary Club continued to sponsor this troop for 40 years and still sponsors a Scout troop.  At the same time, Bob Adams provided leadership to serve the patients at Children's Hospital. Through Bob's efforts, Rotarians made a difference in the lives of many of the hospitalized children.  Reg Cochrane led our sponsorship of a Girl Scout Mariner's Ship for many years. Of major concern to the club during the 30's was the effect of the Great Depression upon each member.            

One of the most lasting contributions the Club has made to the community of Culver City was the founding of a YMCA program in 1944. Ray Haddock and Warren Betts were the Rotarians in the lead on this program. The success of the "Y" program is due in large part to the participation of Culver City Rotarians. Throughout the history of the Culver-Palms YMCA, many of the Board of Managers has been from the ranks of the Rotary Club.

As Rotarians, the club members reflect with pride on the largest undertaking in Club history, the sponsorship and building of Rotary Plaza. This low income housing for senior citizens and disabled persons was accomplished through a collaborative effort between the Rotary Club, the Retirement Housing Foundation, the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Culver City and Department of Housing and Urban Development of the Federal Government. This collaboration would not have succeeded without the persistent efforts of our members in initiating sponsorship and persevering through two application processes. With the leadership of Dr. Bill Vickrey and many others like Red Betts and Eli Meshulam, Rotary Plaza continues to provide affordable senior housing for our community.            

Jerry Burton was instrumental in getting Rotary involved with Adult Literacy.  Culver City Rotary Community Foundation provides support each year to the program for the purchase of books and supplies to meet the needs of families in the community. With the efforts of Phil Newman, the members participated in the D.A.R.E. program that promoted a drug free culture in the Culver City Schools grade K -12, with services of the Culver City Police Department. Other Community Service projects have included the sponsorship of the Venice-Marina Rotary Club and Rancho Park Rotary Club.            

International Service in the Culver City Rotary Club has been sustained and remarkable. It began when the club sponsored the establishment of the Rotary Club of Tijuana during William Yaehrling's (1931-1932) year as President. During the presidency of Dulie Housman(1970-1971), the first venture into Student Exchange Programs began by receiving an exchange student from Japan. Over the years the club has developed close relationships with the Rotary Clubs of Northcote, Australia and Kaizuka, Japan. Two of the outstanding events in this fellowship were home hosting 40 members of the Northcote Rotary Club and the Mid-Pacific Conference in Hawaii under the leadership of Ed Little and Eli Meshulam. Student exchanges between Culver City Rotary Club, Kaizuka and Northcote have been a regular part of the Rotary year for more than thirty years. With leadership by Aaron Rose and Ed Little, the club has hosted several visiting Rotary Foundation Scholars. The club also sponsored local college students who were awarded ambassadorial scholarships for study abroad.

Matched Club relationships have provided additional opportunities for service. Northcote and Culver City collaborated with the Guaymas Rotary Club to restore a medical clinic in Tesapaco, Mexico. The club joined with Northcote to supply books and radio communication to the inhabitants of the isolated South Pacific location known as Brambi Island. With Matched Club, Pune-Parvati, India, Culver City has taken a lead role in the development of the Polio Corrective Surgery programs.

In the 1990's, the Culver City Rotary Club expanded its leadership in International Service. With the persistent initiative of Nandlal Parekh, the club members were the leading participants in the  Polio Corrective Surgery Program. Nandlal joined forces with Dr. Madhav Borate of the Pune-Parvati Rotary Club to provid hope for hundreds of children who suffered the ravages of the poliovirus. In the ten years of this alliance, over four thousand children have been treated surgically. We participated in the donation of a bus that transports patients and their families to and from surgical camps. The club helped to establish a rehabilitation center for post-surgical patients. The club partnered to establish a workshop that fabricated all the calipers and braces to help support these weak limbs.  Pat Cashin joined with Nandlal to involve Rotary District 5280 in a program of funding and support that helped to continue the work of Polio Corrective Surgery. This important work expanded to the countries of Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Madagascar.            

For these efforts as well as many other projects, Nandlal Parekh, 1998-1999, Pat Cashin, 2002-2003, and Carmela Raack, 2002-2003, received the Rotary International Service Above Self Award. The President and Board of Rotary International choose the recipients. This award is given to a very few in any given year and only for the highest levels of achievement. Our Culver City Club is proud to have three such worthy members. The Rotary International significant recognition for Meritorious Service was received by Aaron Rose, 1979, and Pat Cashin, 2002-2003. Nandlal Parekh also received the Rotary International Distinguished Service Award in 2000-2001.            

To insure that this remarkable record of service is sustained, leadership with vision is required. This type of leadership was true of our charter members and it continues. In 1987, Larry Knowles and Rotarians Cy Pierce, Steve Davidson, and Chuck Perelman, the Culver City Rotary Community Foundation was established. The purpose of this fund is to maintain the high level of International and Community Service of the Culver City Rotary Club. The foundation is particularly grateful for generous gifts from Jack Sugihara and Bob Thompson. With careful stewardship by Culver City Rotarians, this fund provides for service projects that benefits the world community throughout the next century.

To support the International Rotary Foundation, Culver City Rotary became a 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club in 1998, 2001 and 2011. Three members have served as District Governor: Hal Thompson, Aaron Rose and Patrick Cashin. Former members of the Culver City Club, Paul Netzel and Eli Mesulam have served as Governors in District 5280 and District 5000 respectively.            

There have been many more people and projects that have contributed to the success of the Culver City Rotary Club. It is the hope of the club that we will always be able to put Service Above Self.