Socorro Rotary Club celebrates 75 years

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Socorro Rotary Club president and webmaster Jim Rushing became a member three years ago, soon after he and his wife moved to Socorro. Invited to a club meeting, he saw a chance to give back to his adopted community.

"Rotary is an incredible group of people," he said. "It's for all kinds of people — teachers, business people, students, newspaper people, retirees. Anybody who wants to volunteer to be helpful in the community is welcome.

"Penny Lommen is an example. She's a housewife. She ran the book sale at the library and the wine tasting events. We are all just average people who want to help out in the community. Our motto is 'Service Above Self.'"

Rotary isn't all work and no play, Rushing said.

"I enjoy the camaraderie at the meetings," he said. "The meetings are fun. We go out of our way to make sure they are fun." Members meet monthly at K-Bob's for lunch. Each meeting features a guest speaker. The club hosts four social events for its members.

On the serious side, Socorro Rotary Club contributed approximately $30,000 to various charities supporting projects here and abroad this past year. About 75 of that amount is spent on projects here in Socorro County.

Monetary contributions is only a part of Rotary's service mission.

"We honor high school students of the month," he said. "We bring them to a meeting, let them tell us about themselves, and give them a certificate." Rotary also sponsors a foreign student exchange student at the high school. Rotary members present the drug prevention program "Don't Meth with Us" to all fifth graders in the school district, partner with the city on a paper recycling project, and pick up trash on I-25 at the Escondida Exit every spring and fall.

Club dues, proceeds from the Bill Weiss Wine tasting event, and the sale of Rotary club community calendars provide funding for the group's charitable events, according to Rushing. The community calendars are the biggest fund raiser, netting the club about $4,000.

"The calendars are ten dollars each," Rushing said. Local businesses purchase advertising space in the calendars, which list community events and milestones, such as birthdays and anniversaries.