In early summer of 1984, an intrepid group of men met in a corner of the upstairs dining room of Nendels Inn; thus marked the beginning of the Corvallis Morning Rotary Club. The founding board of directors included: Glenn Chaffin, President; Bruce Lulow, President-elect; Howard Jenks, Secretary; Richard Hughes, Treasurer; and Larry Earhart, Sergeant at Arms; Harold Kibby; Donald Wirth; and Ronald Marek. Keith Dragoo, John Jenks, Jack Ostenson, and Robert Rackman were also charter members of Benton County’s third Rotary Club. When the national Rotary organization suggested in 1988 that Rotary clubs across the country begin admitting women to the formerly all-male organizations, Betty Evans became the first woman Rotarian in the Morning Club.
The membership of Corvallis Morning Rotary is dedicated to the concept of “Service Above Self.” In 2004, Past District Governor Hans Neukkom officially declared it the most “irreverent” club in District 5110, and the club does have a lot of fun! In 2000, Francie Kibby became the first female president of the Corvallis Morning Club. The Club also quietly boasts of 100 percent Paul Harris participation in 2003. Members who contribute at least $1,000 to Rotary International during a single year receive this award in honor of the founder of Rotary.
Rotary practices four “Avenues of Service:” Community, International, Club and Vocational. The Club’s first Community Service Project was helping the Madison Avenue Task Force plant bulbs along Madison Avenue. Other projects include parking cars at Oregon State University home football games (which provides a good source of funds to allow the club to sponsor both an inbound and outbound exchange student each year); partnering with Kiwanians during an annual Easter Egg Hunt; providing a yearly barbecue picnic for local foster families and their children, fellowship with club members at a festive Holiday Party at the Hanson Country Inn; and hosting several other charitable events. The Club’s International projects include dental work on Union Island, a new garden tractor for an orphanage in Uzgarod, Ukraine—Corvallis’ sister city—and textbooks in Cameroon.
The club greets the morning at the Corvallis Aquatic Center on Wednesdays at 6:45 A.M.
The Corvallis Morning Rotary Club established a Donor Advised Fund with BCF. By so doing, the Club ensured that contributions to the fund were tax deductible, the corpus of the fund would be prudently invested, and grants directed by the Club from the fund would be made to qualified local charities.