Service Above Self: Elizabethton Rotary serving the local community since 1926

Published 8:11 am Friday, June 22, 2018

Since its founding in 1926, the Elizabethton Rotary Club has prided itself on living up to the organization’s motto of “service above self.”

The club’s current president, Joe Alexander, has been with the group for roughly 39 years, and his family has a long-running history with Rotary.

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“My father was a Rotarian, and my grandfather was a Rotarian,” said Alexander. “He (grandfather) was a charter member of this club. So the history goes back quite a bit with my family.”

For Rotary and the many other civic groups in the Elizabethton area, membership is about giving back to the community, said Alexander.

“We are very fortunate in this community to have many service groups,” said Alexander. “Each local civic group has their thing that they focus on.

“You don’t join for what it can do for you, but you join for what you can do for the community and throughout the world,” added Alexander.

Rotary does a lot of work internationally and one of the organization’s current focuses is the eradication of polio worldwide through its PolioPlus program which is operated in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And through fundraising, the Elizabethton Rotary Club has helped financially in those efforts.

“There are just three countries left that have polio — Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan,” said Alexander. “It has been really hard to go into those countries because of the all the war and so forth. I saw in an email that this year, there has been only 11 cases reported worldwide, and it’s just about wiped out. And hopefully in a couple years that will get done.”

Elizabethton Rotary plays a hand in helping many local organizations. Proceeds from Rotary’s 2017 Charlie Robinson Memorial Golf Tournament were distributed out to the following groups: American Cancer Society Relay For Life, Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club, Elizabethton/Carter County Library, and the Elizabethton/Carter County United Way. The Elizabethton Rotary also raised funds for camp scholarships for 4-H Club, Boy Scouts, and Girls Scouts, while also providing Carter County students with scholarships to East Tennessee State University, Northeast State Community College, and Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

Along with its fundraising efforts, Elizabethton Rotary also works with Habitat for Humanity, and earlier this year with other area Rotary Clubs supported the renovation of a house through the Appalachian Service Project.

The current members of the Elizabethton Rotary Club are Joe Alexander, Renita Barksdale, Stan Bentley, Dean Blevins, Jason Blevins, Gregory Bowers, Angi Bradnan, Corey Gardenhour, Nathan Goodwin, Jack Holly, Charlie N. Long III, Janie McKinney, Josh McKinney, David Mills, Keith Morley, Margaret Moses, Carmella Price, Robert Reedy, Jim Richardson, Delaney Scalf, Lisle Snyder, Johnathan Street, Dwayne Taylor, Richard Tetrick, Tyler Tetrick, and Ginny Wright.

Alexander said that if anyone is interested in joining the Elizabethton Rotary Club, they can contact one of the current members and they will “be happy to get the ball rolling.”