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Glenwood Rotary Celebrates 50th Year Of Service

Glenwood Rotary Celebrates 50th Year Of Service

Glenwood Rotary Celebrates 50th Year Of Service

It was June 24, 1965 when the Glenwood Rotary Club was started, and today’s members and guests celebrated the anniversary with a banquet and special program 50 years from the day of that first Rotary gathering in Glenwood.
President Jeffrey Ozanne presided over the program at Lakeside Ballroom, which attracted nearly 100 Glenwood Rotarians and guests as well as a number of visiting and past Rotarians.
Dennis Martinson gave the keynote address as the only charter member of Glenwood Rotary who is still active in the club.  The club also honored Bill Ogdahl, who has been a member of Glenwood Rotary since 1971 and served as president of the club in 1978.  Ogdahl was given the club’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” and accepted it to a standing ovation. (His biography accompanies this story).
Martinson, who attended that first meeting and served on the board and as president of the club in the formative years, focused on the first 10 years of the club, stating that many in attendance are aware of the club’s accomplishments in the recent past.
He said that as he was looking through some of the history of the club, he noticed a song book that Rotarians used when “we actually sang at the meetings.”  
“There was a song titled Long, Long Ago in that book, he said.  And compared to that song, “I really don’t think 50 years was that long ago.”
As a charter member, Martinson served as president of the club in the fifth year and that started his 25 consecutive years of perfect attendance at Rotary from 1969 until  1994.
He also provided a few pictures of what members looked like 50 years ago and said, “the double breasted suits looked all right then, but just don’t work anymore.”
Martinson also talked about some of the early fundraisers, including selling chances to guess when a car was going to fall through the ice of Lake Minnewaska.
“That came to an end, I guess, when it was determined that old, greasy cars was not something we wanted in the water.”  He added that that fundraiser raised just over $300, but noted that the expenses were about $87, “and much of that was to tow the car out of the lake,” he said.
He also remembered the Glenwood Rotary’s corn and chicken feeds when the club would serve up to 600 people.  The club still serves pancakes out of what used to be called “the chicken shack” at city park.
Club history provided by Martinson
It was February of 1965 when a group of Glenwood men began meeting informally to explore the possibility of organizing a Rotary club in Glenwood.  The group met each Wednesday at noon at Cliff’s Café with visiting Rotarians from Alexandria and Sauk Centre present to help with discussions.  It was the Alexandria Rotary club that sponsored Glenwood’s club, and after a steering committee was organized in March of that year, Alexandria Rotarians spent several days in Glenwood making personal contacts and seeking members.  
“The goal was to reach 25 members to start the club,” Martinson said.  
On May 26 of that year, an organizational meeting was held at the Anchor Inn with the Alexandria Rotary Club officers in charge.
Glenwood Rotary Club was officially constituted with 23 charter members at a banquet held on July 24, 1965.
Some of the significant events in the first few years of the club’s existence included August of 1965, when the Glenwood Rotary hosted 12 underprivileged youngsters from Hennepin County on a two-week outing at Smoky Ridge Campground on Lake Pelican.  In 1966, another 15 boys came to Glenwood for the same purpose.  In 1966 through 1968, the Glenwood Rotary sent two students each year to the Young Men’s Conference sponsored by the St. Paul Rotary.  In 1966 the Glenwood Rotary sponsored the Vocational Choice Program at Glenwood High School.  Called “Job for a Day,” this event was repeated for a number of years.  
Charter members listed
Martinson also read a list of the charter members of Glenwood Rotary Club.
The 23 members charter members were:  
Hart Armstrong, Lowell Kramer, Arthur Olson, Charles Kettells, Oliver Hoplin, John Spencer, W. Robert Fegan, Jacob Meyers, O.R. Powers, Dennis Gloege, Donovan Schaub, Merlin Berglin, John Miller, A. L. Larson, Dennis Martinson, James Stradtman, Howard Lecander, Les Danielson, Robert O’Fallon, Russell Schluter, William E. Berger, Verlin Nicolaus and Peter Troen.  Officers for the club’s inaugural year were: Hart Armstrong, president; John Miller, vice president; and Arthur Olson, secretary/treasurer.  Martinson also noted that six of the original 23 members were pastors from various local churches.  
Some recent accomplishments
Over the years since the club has been established, Glenwood Rotary has conducted numerous annual fundraisers over the years and has supported the community to the tune of more than $12,000 per year each year.
Locally, the club’s members have helped with the pancake breakfast for Hospice, Relay for Life for cancer survivors, and Rose Sale fundraisers, Waterama pancake breakfasts and the Waterama 10K and 5K runs, among other events.  The club has sponsored scholarships each year for high school graduates through the Dollars for Scholars program.  There have been many donations over the years to community events and individuals.  A few of them include the Glenwood Hospital, the ski hill, the proposed bike trail, Ann and Andy Preschool, Waterama, the Boy and Girl Scouts, the Glenwood Retirement Foundation, Someplace Safe, Reading Is Fundamental, and the Youth Exchange program, Camp Enterprise, Model UN, and annually sends a Minnewaska Area High School student to the HOBY Leadership program.  
Some of the larger projects the club has done over the years include stripping and powder coating the city fishing dock, adding signs to the Barsness Park trails, adding a pavilion at the Morning Glory Parks, restoring equipment for the city beach and working on city beautification issues.
The club, since 1991, has also taken part in the Adopt a Highway program, picking up trash along Highway 104 south of Glenwood.  
The club and individual club members over the years have contributed to Polio Plus, a program to eradicate polio in the world, helped build wells in Haiti and took part getting medical equipment to Panama,  among other international projects.  A number of local members have traveled to Haiti to help with projects in that country and a number traveled to South Korea to join Rotary Club there in helping with projects.
About 68 percent of the current 40 Glenwood Rotary members are regular contributors to the Rotary Foundation, through the Paul Harris Fellowship program.
Other highlights of the 50th anniversary event
In other business, this year’s Glenwood Rotary President Dick Benson was sworn into office by Judge Jon Stafsholt, along with all the members of the 2015-16 board of directors.  Benson also presented outgoing President Jeffrey Ozanne with a plaque recognizing his service over the past year.  Rotarian Nan Haggerty was given the Paul Harris Award, for contributing $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation.  

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