Gibson City Rotarians are 'people of action making a difference'

GIBSON CITY — The Gibson City Rotary Club is a relatively small but mighty service organization. The club’s roster lists just more than 40 members, and at its three monthly meetings never are all 40 members there at once.

Rotary International began more than 110 years ago as an organization of business and professional leaders — primarily men — to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in vocations and advance peace around the world.

The Gibson City club has a diverse membership that includes both men and women who are working in businesses, as teachers and doctors. The club has members who are working women with young children, and the club has members who are retired from their career jobs but are still willing to give their time to make a difference. The club continues to evolve to meet the needs of its changing membership. The club has moved from a standard weekly noon meeting to meeting twice a month at noon, to go along with one evening meeting.

This allows members to attend what meetings they can.  Email has also become an important part of the club, as announcements and meeting minutes are shared that way so everyone stays up to date on club activities. For information on joining the club, people can contact its president, Susie Tongate, at susietongate@hotmail.com.

During the past year, the club has recognized six members who have become Paul Harris Fellows. This is a recognition for Rotarians when they reach a level of financial giving of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides life-changing, sustainable projects in areas of need around the world, including providing wells for clean water, building schools and providing education and vaccinations that have nearly eliminated polio throughout the world.

The Gibson City Rotary Club financially supports other local organizations throughout the year. At Christmas time, donations were delivered to  the Moyer District Library, Handles of Hope and Shepherd’s Closet in Gibson City. The club also donated reading books to Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Elementary School’s third grade, gives to the “living wax museum” at GCMS Middle School and supports activities of the Interact Club at GCMS High School. 

The club also sponsored two GCMS High School students to study overseas this school year and will give several scholarships to GCMS High School students at the end of the year. 

Rotary also sponsored a free Touch-A-Truck event for families last fall and paid for the face-painter  at the Corn Belt Shrine Club’s Kids Day at Gibson City’s North Park. The club also held a Veteran’s Day recognition dinner and invited many local veterans for a meal, and the club also recently held a dinner to honor members of the local police and fire departments. 

The club also provides a food stand at the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Fright Night event for children, this year giving away hot-dog meals at no cost with free-will donations going to the Rotary Foundation.

The club also recently committed to participate, for the first-time, in an international effort supported by a Rotary grant. The club will soon be working on a project that is providing kidney transplants to children in Mexico.

In 2015, the playground area of Gibson City’s North Park was given a colorful make-over with new toys and a soft surface by the Gibson City Rotary Club. The new equipment and surface cover allowed the park to be much more accessible by children with limited abilities. This June, the club will begin work on Phase II of its project at the park. It will extend the soft surface and add additional play equipment and a shaded seating area where adults can watch their children play or they can all enjoy a picnic.

“The club is thankful to the many businesses and individuals who donated to help make this vision a reality, as well as to the City of Gibson for their financial and physical support of the project,” Tongate said.

On Friday, May 4, the Gibson City Rotary Club is hosting what is now being called Rotary’s Funky Fiesta. The club’s March 24 Rotary Ball was postponed due to snow and was rescheduled for May 4, the weekend of Cinco De Mayo.

The band Libido Funk Circus will be back to entertain at the event, which will also feature games, raffles and a live and silent auction, with all proceeds supporting the club’s activities.  The tickets previously sold for the March 24 event will be accepted for entrance, and tickets will be sold at the door for $15.

The event will be at The Sandtrap in Gibson City beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the band performing at 7:30. The Sandtrap will have food available for purchase.

“The club hopes many people will come out to enjoy this fun event and support their work in the community,” Tongate said.

Categories (3):News, Living, Social Services

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