Local Rotary Club recognizes long line of presidents

November 22, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - G. Ermin Plott was the first president of the Greencastle Rotary Club, serving from 1929 to 1930. Nina Barr is the 73rd president.

She began her one-year term in July.

Earlier this week the Greencastle club had a celebration of sorts when the members invited surviving presidents who served between Plott and Barr to their weekly luncheon meeting at the Antrim House Restaurant.

Twenty-five attended.

The first Rotary Club was organized in Chicago in 1905. The club's purpose then, as now, was to promote ethics among business people and do community service projects.


The Greencastle club has about 31 members, most of whom show up for the Monday luncheon meetings, Barr said.

The visiting past presidents, speaking on their experiences when they led the club, told of the club's now defunct exchange student program, how growth is changing the Greencastle area, a few anecdotes on past members, living and dead, and of the year when Rotary International voted to allow women to join the organization.

That was in 1989.

This issue was thorny, even in Greencastle when some members voted against the mandate of the national organization. Eventually, women won the day.

Sharon Baumbaugh, Darlene Nisewander and Lois Easton were the first women Rotarians in Greencastle in 1990, Baumbaugh said.

Attitudes in the club changed fast. Two years later, Kristian Thorne was elected as the club's first woman president.

When it came to stories, none of the past presidents could top the one told by Dr. Pascual Patalinghug, a native-born Filipino and retired Greencastle physician. He told his fellow Rotarians that one of his ancestors, LaPu LaPu, killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.

Patalinghug brought along a statue of his ancestor holding a sword to illustrate his story.

The members hold fund-raisers to raise money for local service projects, including helping Scouting groups, paying for scholarships, helping the needy and supporting Medic II, Barr said.

The local chapter is also joining the Rotary International effort to wipe out polio around the world.

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