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Eagle Archive: Westminster's Rotary Club marks 90 years of service, and counting

On March 21, 1923, twenty prominent Westminster citizens gathered at the Westminster Fire Department on Main Street to receive the charter of the newly formed Westminster Rotary Club.

This month, about 70 folks gathered at McDaniel College for a special club dinner meeting to pay tribute to the 90 years of service that members of the Rotary Club of Westminster have given to our community.

Undoubtedly, one of the key and critical pieces of the puzzle that comes together to give us a high quality of life in Carroll County is our sense of volunteerism.

In an era when communities are increasingly turning to higher taxes and bigger government to provide quality of life services in a community; Carroll County still turns to the large number of volunteers and philanthropic groups in our community — which are supported by donations of time, talent and money, and not tax dollars.

The Rotary is among the stalwart examples of this attitude in Carroll. Club secretary Dr. Jim Lightner notes that at this month's Rotary event, Ober Herr, one the longest-serving members of the club, gave a brief presentation details the organization's rich history.

Lightner, a local historian, said in a interview that Herr has been with the club for 62 years. According to a history of the club, researched in part by Lightner himself, the club has always been involved in community, national and international projects.

"Over these nine decades, this club has contributed to countless projects, spearheaded many community improvements, and raised funds to contribute to numerous local charities," he wrote.

One of the many good works of the Rotary in our community is the awarding of the Sherman E. Flanagan Jr., Memorial Scholarship. This has been given annually since 1969 to two graduating seniors at Westminster High School.

Readers may recall that Air National Guard Lt. Col. Sherman E. Flanagan Jr., 38, was a Westminster attorney who was shot down and killed while flying a mission over the Demilitarized Zone in Vietnam on July 21, 1968.

"The Rotary Club chooses the recipients for the $3,000 scholarships from applications, based on outstanding scholarship, school activities, good character and conduct, and financial need. Col. Flanagan and his father were both members of the Westminster Rotary Club," wrote Lightner in a recent e-mail.

Students must submit a short application that is available in the guidance office at Westminster High School, show financial need, and have a good academic record, said Lightner. Recipients are chosen by the club's Scholarship and Awards Committee. The deadline for applications is April 1.

When he is not volunteering in the community with his wife Caroline, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at kevindayhoff@gmail.com

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