About Our Club

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The idea for Gulfway Rotary Club was spawned on October 26, 1950 when the Pasadena Rotary Club agreed to sponsor the new club - then to be named South Houston Rotary Club.

Rotary International granted a charter to the South Houston Rotary Club on January 22, 1951. The Pasadena Club called a meeting on the evening of March 16, 1951. The meeting place was the Pilot Cafe on Old Galveston Highway and some 300 Rotarians were in attendance.

South Houston Rotary Club was organized that night and was off and running with George Washington Christy being installed as our first president.

Shortly after the new club was organized, it moved its meeting place to Houston International Airport (now Hobby Airport) - meeting at the Dobbs House Restaurant. The club met here for 12 years except for a short period of time in 1959 when it met at Faith Methodist Church on College Avenue.

In April 1963 the meeting place was moved to the Airport Inn at 7777 Airport Blvd. where it met until May, 1964. At that time the meeting place was moved to the Skylane Inn on Telephone Road. Four months later, in September of 1964, the club moved back to the Dobbs House at the Airport where we stayed until 1967.

In February of 1967 the decision was made to move our meeting place to Wyatt's Cafeteria on Bellfort Blvd.

In 1968 our club was approached by a group of Rotarians who wanted to form a new club in the South Houston area. Our club quickly agreed to sponsor this new club. We generously gave up half of our geographical territory assigned by the district as well as our name.

At this point we became Gulfway Rotary Club.

In 1979, after twelve years at Wyatt's, we elected to move our meeting place to the Ramada Inn on Airport Blvd., directly across from the main entrance to Hobby Airport.

In 1983-84, the Board reserved $10,000 to create a permanent fund to provide money for annual scholarships or other projects of the Club. Each year thereafter, the Club increased the permanent fund. In 1986-87, the Club created the GULFWAY-HOBBY AIRPORT ROTARY CLUB CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, INC., an I.R.C. 501 (c) (3) not for profit corporation to manage the permanent fund and distribute its revenues for charitable purposes. An eight person board of trustees was established consisting of past presidents and long standing members. The entire permanent fund, which now consisted of $70,000 was transferred to the Club Foundation.

In 1986, a proposal was presented to our members to again change our name in order to better identify the club with its territory. The name "Hobby Airport" was presented and it was met with great opposition. In the spirit of compromise, we changed our name to "Gulfway-Hobby Airport".

In 1986-87, we were named the "The Outstanding Club of the District" and Pres. Don Oelfke was named "The District's President of the Year".

In 1987-88, we conducted our first Casino Night charitable fundraiser.

In 1989, we moved one more time to our present meeting place, the Hobby Hilton Hotel.

In 1988-89, we were named the "The Outstanding Club of the District" and Pres. Andy Smallwood was named "The District's President of the Year".

In 1994-95, Pres. Lloyd McDonald led a delegation to Mexico City for unveiling of permanent plaques in the University of Mexico Medical school and the Dental School. The presentation was made on national television by Ramon de la Fuentes, the Minister of Health. The project was initiated by PP Tom Everett.

In 1995-96, Andy Smallwood became our Club's first member to be Governor of District 5890 . His successful year was greatly aided by the support of all of the members.

In 1995-96, Pres. Joe Wiatt was named one of the District's Outstanding Presidents.

In 1995-96, the Club won RI's Calgary Ghallenge Award for the largest percentage growth in the small club category.

In 1996-97, the Club received the District's award for Outstanding International Project for the Club's medical equipment project in Mexico.

On July 28, 1997 the Club's Web Page debuted on the Internet. In 1997-98, the Club's charitable fundraiser "Casino Night", netted a record $36???.00. PDG Andy Smallwood was awarded TRF Citation for Meritorious Service and represented the District at the Council on Legislation in Delhi, India.

In 1998-99, the Club received approval from The Rotary Foundation for a $40,000 matching grant with R.C. Mixcoac to train doctors in Mexico City to treat a form of Spinal Bifuda. Gulfway donated $10,000, Mixcoac donated $10,000, and TRF matched with $20,000. Gulfway also contributed $500 to a matching grant with RC Santos, Brazil to establish a Rotary Literacy Lighthouse in Santos. PDG Andy Smallwood was named D.5890's Rotarian of the Year.

The R.I. Presidential Club Citation Award is presented annually by Rotary International to the clubs that have demonstrated a well rounded program of projects within each Avenue of Service and fulfilled the RI President's specific goals. It is with great pride that our Club has received this honour for every Rotary year since 1986.

In 1999-2000, the "Rotator", the Club's weekly bulletin, was named the District's best newsletter. Editor, George Yeiter, utilized email for distribution.

In 2001-02, under the leadership of President-elect Danny Perkins, the Club's charitable fundraiser "Casino Night" set a new record of net $41,000+.

In 2003-04, George Yeiter became our second member to be Governor of District 5890 .

Gulfway-Hobby Airport Rotary Club, over this 50 years plus time span has been one of the most active, "Service Above Self" clubs in District 5890. All of our activities have been dedicated to the high principals of Rotary and many great projects have been accomplished over the years for fellow Rotarians, our community, our nation and the world.

Although our Club has never been large in numbers, we have been most effective in our efforts as is indicated in other pages in this history.

Respectfully, and with quiet pride (and with minimum bragging), we can say that Gulfway-Hobby Airport Rotary over its 50+ years of existence has been a great Rotary Club. Further, we believe that it will continue to be so. When you are near, please come join us.