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The History of Midland West Rotary

During Rotary year 1961-62 District 573 Governor L.E. Patterrson had as one of his goals the organization of three new Rotary Clubs.  The proposed clubs were to be a second club for Odessa, a second club for Midland, and a new club for Friona.  Rotarian Delbert Downing was appointed as the governor's representative to initiate the formation of the second club in Midland which was to become known as Midland West Rotary.

After a series of meetings with prospective club members, the special representative sent to Rotary International on April 12, 1962 a proposal for a charter for the new club.  Wade Hodges resigned his position from the Midland Rotary Club, now known as the Midland Downtown Rotary Club, and accepted the temporary chairmanship for the new group.  On Monday, April 16, 1962 Wade Hodges met with the Board of Directors for the first meeting of the new club.  Attending this meeting were Clay Styles, Jerry Blair, Buddy Otto, Dr. Truman E. (Gene) Spires, and Clyde Foltz.  Special representative Delbert Downing was also in attendance at this meeting.  The initial plans for the operation of the club, such as meals, billing, and special assignments were discussed.

The first official meeting of the newly formed Midland West Rotary Club was held on Tuesday, April 17, 1962 at the Sands Motel.  Since the charter had not yet been granted, the group met as a provisional Rotary Club but conducted business in the usual manner, subject to approval from Rotary International of the organization's charter.  The speaker at the first meeting was Delbert Downing.  He discussed with the membership their role as Rotarians and the role of the Rotarian in the community.  Twenty-six of the thirty-one charter members were present.

The proposed new club was officially admitted to Rotary International on April 30, 1962, which permitted the new club to meet as an official Rotary Club for the first time on Tuesday, May 1, 1962.

Charter Night was set for May 22, 1962, with "PIC" Lamore, noted West Texas humorist from Graham, Texas, as the guest speaker.  District Governor Patterson and delegates from other west Texas Rotary Clubs were in attendance.  Officers were also elected:  President, Wade Hodges of the Borden Company; Vice-President, Clay Styles of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company; and Secretary-Treasurer, Clyde Foltz, Minister, Memorial Christian Church.  Assigned as directors responsible for the four areas of service were:  Dr. T.E. "Gene" Spires, International Service, Slay Styles, Club Service, Buddy Otto, Vocational Service, and Jerry Blair, Community Service.

The first membership proposals for the new cub were submitted on July 3, 1962 and included Paul T. Kantz, Odie L. Morris, and Donald R. Roth.  New membership proposals on October 2, 1962 included Robert Wrinkle and Bill Clanton, who later became the club's seventh president.  On November 13, 1962 Edmund Robb, James McKinzie, and President Wade Hodges resigned.  Wade Hodges was being transferred to Phoenix, Arizona, by his company.  Wade Hodges was replaced with Clay Styles as president for the remainder of the Rotary Year.

The first Ladies Night Banquet was held in early December, 1962.  The Rotary year ended on a financially successful note with a cash balance of over $600 in the treasury after $220.00 had been donated to the new Lee Youth Center. 

The second official Rotary year began with Dr. T.E. Spires as presiden; Jerry Blair, Vice-President; Bill Clanton, Secretary; and Fred Faulkner, Treasurer.  Members of the Board of Directors also included Leslie R. Hinds, Don McBride, W. I. Sparks, and James Ivy.

In early November, 1963, Clay Styles proposed that the club consider sponsoring Dr. Carlton Palmer in an art exhibit in Midland.  In exchange for the club's efforts, Dr. Palmer would donate certain pieces of art to the club.  At a later board meeting Clay Styles was made chairman of this committee and Midland West Rotary Club sponsored Dr. Palmer with an art exhibit at the Whites's Auto Stores building.  After a highly successful showing the art exhibit project was continued each year through the fall of 1966 when Dr. Palmer said he no longer had the youth and strength to manage such a large art show.  During this association with Dr. Carlton Midland West Rotary Club received the first 13 paintings by American and European artists.  These works of art have been on exhibit at Midland Public Schools, Midland Memorial Hospital, Midland County Public Library, the Midland Girls Scout Ranch, the Boy Scout reception area, and at a District 573 meeting in Hereford.  

The Midland West Rotary Club has grown throughout the years and currently meets weekly in the "Rebel Room" at Furr's Cafeteria from 11:45am until 1:00pm every Tuesday.  In addition to honoring a student scholar from Lee High School each week the Midland West Rotary Club also sponsors an Interact Club at Lee High School and annually awards scholarships to graduating seniors from Lee high School to help them attend college.  The Midland West Rotary Club has been active in local and worldwide community service projects in areas such as literacy, health, and water.

Three primary fundraising projects held each year are the fall Vacation Get Away Give Away, the February Art Auction and Silent Auction held during the week of Valentines Day, and the spring Golf Tournament.