Members and guests of the Rotary Club of Ocala (Florida,US – RID 6970) gathered Friday at Tuscawilla Art Park to dedicate a four-pillar arbour erected as part of the club’s 100th anniversary celebration.
The structure includes four key words that summarise the Rotary International 4-Way Test: Truth, Goodwill, Beneficial and Fair.
“We were looking for a a service project and a gift for the people of Ocala,” said Rotary Club of Ocala President Al Formella. The arbour “reminds them of the principles we live by.”
The President of Rotary International, Barry Rassin, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, and club members joined for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.
Guinn remarked that the club, which had its first meeting on April 11, 1919, has been an integral part of the Ocala community.
Formella said the Ocala club was sponsored by the Jacksonville Rotary Club. The Ocala club, in turn, sponsored the Silver Springs club in 1969 and Belleview club in 1981.
Rassin wrote in a letter to the club that he shares the members’ “sense of fellowship and purpose.”
By reaching the 100-year milestone, he wrote, the club “has made a commitment to represent Rotary in your community as well as doing good in the world through sustainable, meaningful service.”
Past presidents of the Rotary Club of Ocala included the first president, James E Chase, George MacKay (1924), C Wisdom O’Neal (1929), Henry Camp (1943), Newton Perry (1965), Wayne McCall (1979) and Dr Henry Lambert (1982). The immediate past president was Ellen Witterstaeter.
The arbour stands as a testament to the four questions that are the pillars of the Rotary way of life, according to Formella.
Those four questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
The four words summarising the test are etched in granite on the pillars, which stand about 10-feet tall.
“We say (the Four-Way-Test) at every meeting,” said Toni James, a member of the Ocala club since 1991. Formella said James was the first female member of the Rotary Club of Ocala.
Women are now an essential part of Rotary and often “the doers,” he said.
The arbour has an open cypress ring at the top and a tree growing through the opening. Pavers with commemorative bricks cover the base and surrounding area, recognising members and their service.
Ocala Marble and Granite Works donated about four days worth of labour to engrave the words into the granite pillars, according to owner Scott Harward.
Formella said Granite Wishes of Belleview donated about $10,000 worth of granite.
The club donated the $50,000 to build the structure.
Formella said the Rotary club partners in support of the Rotary Sportsplex on Maricamp Road and the Discovery Science Centre adjacent to Tuscawilla Park.
The club also supports Interfaith, the Marion County Children’s Alliance, Sozo Kids, the Marion County Literacy Council and Wreaths Across America.
Rotary Club of Ocala is currently involved in the planning phase of building a significant addition to the Discovery Science Centre facility.
The club is also involved in supporting the work by a Rotary club in Zimbabwe to bring electricity to a village in that country.
In a press release about the dedication, club historian Frank Rasbury wrote: “Approximately $1 million has been donated by the Ocala Rotary Club over the 100 years of its existence to both local and international causes, particularly the effort to eradicate polio from the world.”
Rasbury served as past district governor and worked with Nancy Reagan on the Gift of Life programme to start an international outreach for children with congenital heart conditions.
He was honored at a recent dinner with the Rotarian of the Century Award to recognise his leadership and over 45 years of contributing to Rotary.
Rotary is an international service organisation whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world with over 34,000 clubs and 1.2 million members.