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Currently browsing Hershey Rotary Club

HersheyArchives@30:22 Service Above Self – Hershey Rotary Club

Charter for the Rotary Club of Hershey. 6/10/1943

Charter for the Rotary Club of Hershey. 6/10/1943

 

Community organizations are the lifeblood of a town. They provide residents with opportunities to meet and socialize with each other while working to enhance community life.  These groups enrich their communities while giving their members a sense of purpose and contributing to the community. The Archives actively collects the records of Hershey’s community businesses and organizations and is fortunate to hold the records of several community groups.

 

Y.M.C.A.’s Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow meets for a celebratory meal in the Hershey Café. 3/1913

Y.M.C.A.’s Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow meets for a celebratory meal in the Hershey Café. 3/1913

 

Community groups began to form shortly after the Hershey Chocolate factory began operations in 1905.  The organizations varied from the critically needed Hershey Volunteer Fire Company to the purely social Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow Club (?!).

 

Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1905.

Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1905.

 

Hershey’s community groups enhanced Hershey’s social life by creating community gatherings such as the annual Christmas tree lighting, presenting annual concerts, and organizing food and clothing collections for the less fortunate.

 

The Hershey Civic Club sponsored a variety of youth sports teams, including a junior ice hockey team.  This 1941 team included (left-right) 1st row: Irv Gonz, Bob Evans, Jack Bernard, Dick Brunner. 2nd row: Endo Corsetti, Sterling Sechrist, Bud Prowell, Herb Erdman, Dick Stover.

The Hershey Civic Club sponsored a variety of youth sports teams, including a junior ice hockey team. This 1941 team included (left-right) 1st row: Irv Gonz, Bob Evans, Jack Bernard, Dick Brunner. 2nd row: Endo Corsetti, Sterling Sechrist, Bud Prowell, Herb Erdman, Dick Stover.

 

Civic clubs in particular play an important role, working to improve neighborhoods through volunteer work by its members. During the 1930s, Hershey had a local Civic Club, which sponsored community clean-up days, organized various community celebrations, and raised money to help support other local organizations.

 

Since there was already a civic club in Hershey, initially there was little interest in starting a Rotary club, despite urging from Rotary clubs in Elizabethtown and Harrisburg. All that changed in 1943 when D. Paul Witmer, the head of Hershey Industrial School [Milton Hershey School], attended a Rotary meeting in Elizabethtown.  “Pop” Britton, manager of the Hershey Community Center and member of the Palmyra Rotary, also encouraged John B. Sollenberger, president of Hershey Estates, to consider starting a new Rotary club.  With interest from two of Hershey’s business leaders, a new Rotary club was soon in the works.  It was decided that the members of Hershey’s Civic Club would be invited to join the new Rotary club.

 

One of the Hershey Rotary Club’s first activities was to sponsor a local business expo. Pictured here are the club’s organizers. left-right: Carl Britton, Harry.N. Herr, T. Egan, Albert Schmidt, John.B. Sollenberger, Edwin Wagner, Harry Erdman, D. Paul Witmer, W. Allen Hammond.

One of the Hershey Rotary Club’s first activities was to sponsor a local business expo. Pictured here are the club’s organizers. left-right: Carl Britton, Harry.N. Herr, T. Egan, Albert Schmidt, John.B. Sollenberger, Edwin Wagner, Harry Erdman, D. Paul Witmer, W. Allen Hammond.

 

The first meeting was held June 2, 1943 in the Hershey Community Building dining room.  John B. Sollenberger was elected president, and the charter was presented to the club on June 14, 1943.

 

Leadership:

President                            John B. Sollenberger

Vice President                   Carl T. Britton

Secretary                             W. Allen Hammond

Treasurer                            D. Paul Witmer

Sargent at Arms                 Raymond H. Koch

Directors:                            Harry Erdman, Harry N. Herr, Edwin S. Wagner

 

There were 29 charter members and Milton S. Hershey was made an honorary member.  The first regular meeting was on June 21, 1943 also in the dining room of the Community Building.

 

In the beginning, the Hershey Rotary Club partnered with the Hershey Civic Club on a number of projects. The first joint project was the Cocoa Bean game, a football game pitting Milton Hershey School against Hershey’s public high school.  The competition was first held in 1943 to raise money for Memorial Field, Hershey’s local outdoor recreation center.

 

Children have always been a focus of Rotary support and beginning in 1958, the Hershey Rotary Club began an enduring program of sponsoring international student exchanges.

 

Founders Day drew the entire community together to celebrate the life and legacy of Milton Hershey. 9/12/1953

Founders Day drew the entire community together to celebrate the life and legacy of Milton Hershey. 9/12/1953

 

Hershey Rotary Club often took the lead in organizing community celebrations. In 1950, the club organized Founders Day, a day to remember Mr.Hershey.

 

The club’s biggest fund raiser, its annual auction, began in 1968. At first the entire proceeds of the auction were donated to the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company. Today, auction proceeds are shared with a wide variety of community and regional non-profit groups.

 

Today Hershey Rotary Club continues to serve the community of Hershey through its commitment to “Service Above Self.”

 

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Hershey Rotary Club Auction

The 2013 Hershey Rotary Auction kicks off with a "Heads or Tails" contest.  4/13/2013

The 2013 Hershey Rotary Auction kicks off with a “Heads or Tails” contest. 4/13/2013

 

Hershey Rotary Club just held its annual auction last Saturday.  First held in 1968, the auction is the major fundraiser for the Rotary Club who uses the profits to fund its donations to the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company and countless other local organizations. Last week’s Auction was held at the Hershey Lodge, in one of the ballrooms.  A cash bar, hor d’oeurves and a silent auction preceded dinner and a live auction featuring trips, electronics, athletic events and Hershey memorabilia and other collectibles.

 

The original auction was a much difference event.

 

Registration desk at the annual Hershey Rotary Club auction.  4/22/1982

Registration desk at the annual Hershey Rotary Club auction. 4/22/1982

 

 Hershey Rotary Club’s Auction in 1968 was a community affair.  Club members and the community were asked to donate antique, collectible and new items for the Club to auction.  In addition, the Derry Township Police Department donated all the unclaimed bicycles collected during the preceding year.  Carnival games were set up to entertain children and picnic food was available for sale.  In 1968 Rotary was still a male only organization.  The wives of members were known as “RotaryAnns.”  The RotaryAnns contributed to the Auction providing a wider variety of baked goods for sale.

 

 

Good food for sale at the Hershey Rotary Club auction, 4/22/1982

Good food for sale at the Hershey Rotary Club auction, 4/22/1982

 

 

Since the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was the primary beneficiary, they also contributed to the Auction by bringing a fire truck to the site.  Children (of all ages) were invited to sit in the truck and free rides were offered as well.

 

View from the Auctioneer's podium, Hershey Rotary Club Auction, 4/22/1982

View from the Auctioneer’s podium, Hershey Rotary Club Auction, 4/22/1982

 

 

At first, the Auction was held in the Stadium.  After the Hersheypark Maintenance and Service Center was built in 1976, the event was moved there.  To learn more about the history of the Hershey Rotary Club, visit the Archives’ website.