Rotary-logoThe West Bend Rotary Club began in 1925, under the sponsorship of the Hartford Rotary Club. Twenty-one made up the charter group. Among them were B.C. Ziegler, Arthur H. Klumb, John W. Gehl and Joseph J. Huber, all fathers or relatives of present Noon Rotarians. The first president was attorney Frank W. Bucklin.

n common with all Rotary Clubs, West Bend Rotarians supported many charitable and community activities, both on an individual and a group basis. In the early 1930's, the club was involved, for example, with the West Bend Kiwanis and the Chamber of Commerce, in a successful effort to secure a larger and more suitable building for the city Post Office. In 1929, the club sponsored the Port Washington charter. During the early 1940's, West Bend Rotary was also instrumental in sponsoring a number of International Institutes of Understanding, during which speakers focused on the world outside West Bend.

 In I939, the Wisconsin American Legion started the Badger Boys State program, a one week experience in government for Wisconsin's high school boys. Since its inception, West Bend Rotary has sent boys to this valuable program each year and now also sends girls. Other youth outreach efforts over the years included: Career Days at the high school; World Affairs Seminars; Business World, a program of student-business interaction; weekly student guests from the high schools and the university center; and active involvement in student exchange programs through the RI and Group Study Exchange. West Bend Rotary also sponsored Boy Scout Troop 21, Sea Scout Ship 141 and currently is sponsoring a Boy Scout Troop at the Threshold. In 1984, the club set up the Rotary Waterways Foundation to secure selected land parcels suitable for addition to the West Bend and Washington County park systems. To date, the Waterways Foundation has been instrumental in securing additions to Ridge Run Park and other park lands.

The club underwrote the first Riverwalk Project from Regner Park to Washington Street. It now reaches b
eyond Highway G and recently expanded to Barton. These efforts were made using both private and government resources. The Waterways Foundation continues to research additional projects for the benefit of the community.

In 1972, the c
lub began honoring fellow members with honorary Paul Harris Fellowships, named in honor of Rotary's founder. The Fellowships are awarded to members in recognition of their contributions to the club and community. The funds are donated to the Rotary Foundation by the club itself. To date, 72 individuals have been so honored as Honorary Paul Harris Fellows.

1972 was also the year that the club began its annual Fish Boil fundraiser which were patterned after the famous Door County Fish Boils and was originally held at the Bernie Ziegler Farm. Times change and it was re-christened as the Shrimp Boil and is now held at Regner Park to accommodate larger crowds. Proceeds from this fundraiser are used to fund various Rotary projects on a district and international level. Seafood Fest began in 1991 and is held in Regner Park. The proceeds from this 3 day festival primarily fund the Waterways Foundation.

International understanding continues to be a priority of Rotary, and the West Bend Club is active in this area through vigorous support of the Paul Harris Foundation and through cooperation with District 6270. Polioplus, water wells in Haiti, wellness clinics, and a garden tractor plant in India are among the club's most recent projects.

Over the years, the club has published a bulletin - the earliest on record was the Rotary "Spokesman", published in 1944 on a quarterly basis. The early bulletins listed names of guests, programs and make-up's as well as program and project plans for the future. The club bulletin was re-established in the late 1960's as the monthly Rotary Key, changed to the weekly Rotary Update, and recently renamed "The Key".

Finding a "home" for club meetings became a moving experience. The West Bend Rotary's first home was at the Washington House. The club subsequently located to the Masonic Temple, the Moose Hall on the third floor of the former Merten Building on Main Street, the VFW clubhouse on the corner of 6th and Walnut, the basement of the Masonic Temple, the Moraine Hotel and back to the Washington House. Just before it moved to its present location on the Cedar Ridge Campus, the club met at the West Bend Inn.

The Sunrise Rotary did not split off from the Noon Rotary, but was chartered as many individuals who wished to join Rotary could not attend at noon and so in 1991 the Sunrise Rotary was chartered, and we became the West Bend Noon Club.

Many of our members have served at the Rotary District level. Among these was D.J. Kenny who served as District Governor from 1940-1941. West Bend and Rotary have worked together for nearly 80 years of mutual growth and progress toward a better community and a better world.

Throughout the years, our club and its members have striven to exemplify Service above Self through individual, group and financial support for a wide variety of local and international projects. Through our membership in the ever growing fellowship of Rotary International, the opportunities for service also continue to grow.