A Brief History of Our Club

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A screenshot of a newspaperDescription automatically generated1930 - The Rotary Club of Sequim was sponsored by Rotary Club of Port Angeles, organized in February 1930 with 19 members and chartered by Rotary International on June 11, 1930 as Club #3338. Our first club president was Archie Taylor who was a teacher at the Old Dungeness Schoolhouse and became Superintendent of the School at Blynn where he served for about 25 years.  The Rotary Club of Victoria was very helpful when our club first started. Founding members were I.O. Anderson, Jess Harlemen, Guy Holmes, Dr. Robert Howard, G.H. Keeler, Frank Lotzgesell, A.A. McMahn, Jess Mantle, Laurance Moniz, Charles A. Smith, M. Tefler, Archie Taylor, Howard Taylor, L.P. Viele, Roy Ward and Robert A. Williams.

1930 – Our club began sponsoring the Boy Scouts of America Troops, later Explorer Scouts. We also began awarding scholarships to Sequim High School graduating seniors. The club also began sponsoring at least two Sequim High School students to a week-long seminar on business in a free-enterprise system. The club received a Rotary Youth Leadership Award.

1932 – We sponsored a Rotary Student Exchange Program.

1933-1947 – The world-wide depression of the 30’s and World War 2 exacted a heavy toll on the growth of Rotary. Clubs disbanded and members were lost. By 1945, a remnant of the Rotary Club of Manilla met and conferred Honorary Membership on General Douglas MacArthur. When the war in Europe ended 66 clubs in France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Norway were re-admitted. In 1947, clubs in Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Rangoon, Athens and six cities in Czechoslovakia were re-activated. By 1960, there were 10,266 Rotary Clubs and 480,000 Rotarians world-wide.

1959 – We began a 25-year long fundraising program of preparing and printing Sequim Community Birthday/Anniversary Calendars.

1960 - We took on the job of organizing and staging the annual Irrigation Festival Parade and have continued to do so every year since.  The parade features marching bands and community floats as well as units from military, fraternal organizations, local businesses and charities from all over the Northwest.

1970 - Harry Brenn became the first District Governor from our club. 

1971 - Our first Salmon Bake fundraiser was held at Pitship Point in Sequim Bay to raise money for local and international Rotary projects. 

1972 – Our club began sponsoring Boy Scout Troop 1492. Also began administering the McCall Boy Scout Trust.

1974 - Our club began a 10-year partnership with the Sequim High School Carpentry Class building and selling homes in Sunland. Profit from sales funded several projects for the School District including the High School Stadium Concession Building and Public Restrooms.

1977 – We helped fund purchase of uniforms for the Sequim High School Marching Band. 

1979 - Cy Frick became the second District Governor from our club. 

1979 – Sequim Rotarians were speakers and organizers of Sequim High School’s first Career Day.

1980-83 - The club worked together with Friends of the Library and North Olympic Library System (NOLS) to raise money to build a new library building in Sequim. Rotary Club of Sequim assisted with $30,000 donation to start a fund-matching drive for half the library construction costs of $350,000. Club members spearheaded the effort that totaled $175,000 from Sequim, including the clubs initial $30,000 donation.

1985 - Club members became liberal supporters of the Rotary's Polio Plus campaign to eliminate polio worldwide.

1985 – The club helped fund a $10,000 program to resurface the Sequim High School track and hurdles.

1986 - Our club sponsored formation of Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club. Its first meeting was the 4th of November. It was first called Sequim Dungeness Valley Club. Its first members were Ron Bell, Jay Cooper, Steve Gray, Lloyd Smith, Bob Venator, Andy Watkins, Jim Carl, Bob Rice and Glen Wood.  

1987 – Club provided $1,000 seed money to the fledgling Boys & Girls Club.

1989 - We sponsored formation of the Boys & Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula which has grown to serve hundreds of children in both Sequim and Port Angeles today.

1990 - Our club started the annual Duck Race when Club President Joe Hawe acquired all the permits to make it happen.  The race was originally held on the Dungeness River in conjunction with the Olympic Medical Center Foundation.  It has since moved to Port Angeles and become one of our club's biggest fundraisers.

1991 – Our club purchased a bus for the Boys & Girls Club.

1993 - Business women became active and productive members in our club.  The first woman sponsored for membership was Cathy Van, Director of the Boys & Girls Club. The first woman inducted was Mary Morgan, also a Director of the Boys & Girls Club. Since then, eight women have served as president.

1991 – Our club’s support check helped the Boys & Girls Club to purchase the Methodist Church building in Port Angeles.

1994 - Our club joined with the three other Rotary Clubs in Sequim and Port Angeles to fill backpacks for Belarus children who were exposed to the radiation of the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986. The children spend time each year in the area receiving medical and dental treatment.  

2000 - The Annual Harry Hughes Memorial Dictionary Project was started. Each year, every 4th grade student in Sequim has been given a free full-color hardbound Houghton-Mifflin Dictionary. To date, more than $45,000 in dictionaries has been given to Sequim area students. This program was updated to the digital age in 2018.

2004-05 - Our club members worked with Sequim Sunrise Rotary to help fund and renovate the Olympic Theatre Arts building on North Sequim Avenue and construct a second stage in the building. Team leaders were Tom Schaafsma of Sequim Sunrise and Al Dixon of our club.

2004 - We began helping to fund the annual visit of the Smile Mobile which provided dental services to under-served children. We also participated in a Rotary Friendship Exchange Program with English Rotary Clubs. 

2005 - Over 300 Rotarians and spouses from Port Angeles Rotary Club, Port Angeles Nor’wester, Port Townsend Rotary, Port Townsend Sunrise, East Jefferson County Rotary, Sequim Sunrise Rotary and the Rotary Club of Sequim celebrated Rotary International’s Centennial at 7 Cedars Casino. The club worked together to build a new playground at Helen Haller Elementary School meeting current safety standards. 

2005 – We terminated our graduating senior scholarship program and began awarding Sequim School District Classroom Grants for Teachers.

2009 - The club sponsored its largest grossing Salmon Bake to date thanks to the outstanding leadership of Rotarian John Lovett.

2009 - Two International Service Projects were initiated with in-country Rotary Clubs in the Philippines and Guatemala. One provided drinking water to a school with 367 students in Zambales, PI. The other provided eco-toilets to three villages in Guatemala. The Philippines project was finished in 2011 at cost of $5,927. The club teamed up with Bainbridge Island and Tumwater Rotaries to complete the Guatemalan “Three Villages” project in 2016 for a total of $54,273.

2010 - Our club began helping fledgling science and robotic science endeavors (STEM) in Sequim Schools. It also began helping the Sequim-Dungeness Health and Wellness Clinic (the Sequim Free Clinic) as a sponsor of its annual “Fun Walk” fundraiser.

2010 – The club joined with Project Amigo to help Colima, Mexico overcome an earthquake disaster.

2011 - We started an active "Raise and Reader" program donating books to Sequim elementary schools and participating in reader education to empower young children. The club worked with Sequim High School to sponsor bi-annual Career Day Programs for junior and senior high school students.

2012 - Under the leadership of Past-President Rochelle McHugh, we obtained a District Grant to refurbish and update the Boys & Girls Club kitchen facilities and equipment.

2018 - The club began rebuilding membership for which Club President Bob Macaulay received special recognition from the governor of Rotary District 5020. The 18-year-old Harry Hughes Memorial Dictionary Project was updated from presenting students with hard-bound printed dictionaries to sponsoring 21st century digital aids in Sequim classrooms through Sequim Education Foundation grant programs.

2019 - We began our very successful Adaptive Bike Program. Working with the Sequim School District physical therapist, Cherry Bibler, two young students were chosen to receive bicycles customized to meet their special needs. The freedom and mobility enjoyed by the children immediately inspired both youngsters to achieve better life and learning experiences. This has encouraged the club to build upon the Adaptive Bike Program's initial success.

2020 - Our club is looking forward to celebrating its 90th birthday under the leadership of President Pat Zane, our eighth businesswoman president!