In 1916, The Boston Red Sox beat the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) four games to one in the World Series. Woodrow Wilson was elected the 33rd President of the United States; in Europe, World War I was raging and the Battle of Verdun claimed more than 900,000 casualties; in the Rio Grande Valley, the Rotary Club of Brownsville was founded and officially chartered.
On December 1, 1916, that charter was delivered by the president of the Corpus Christi Rotary Club; the new club, Rotary Club No. 255, boasted 40 members. The club first met at the historic Miller Hotel on Elizabeth Street. Since that time the Rotary Club of Brownsville has more than lived up to its dedication to “service above self.”
We are elated to be celebrating our first century as the oldest service club in South Texas. During the ensuing 100 years, the men and women of Rotary have dedicated time, money and effort to helping those who need it most.
The accomplishments of the Rotary Club of Brownsville would literally fill a book, perhaps several books. A few of the club’s projects and activities and dates they were provided include a plan to create the city’s first real hospital, Mercy Hospital, 1918. The facility was officially opened July 1, 1923. During that same time the club was busy helping to create a Boy Scout troop and continuing a series of civic projects. That work continues to this day.
Continuing the list of projects, there’s the student loan fund, student awards, sweater awards for academic achievement, and one of the most important, the Polio Plus project. Rotary Club of Brownsville joined clubs throughout the world to fund this $120 million effort to wipe polio from the face of the earth. It is miraculously close to succeeding.
In addition, the club annually sponsors four students to attend Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), a weekend leadership camp near Corpus Christi. In 2009 we were able to sponsor nine deserving young people to this camp.
Beginning in 1989-90, the club began its Brownsville Endowment for Teaching Excellence program which has grown to awards of $1,000 each to six deserving local teachers. An Adoption Awareness program puts potential adoptive parents with adoptable children.
Rotary Club of Brownsville has also been instrumental in helping to form four other Rotary Clubs in Brownsville and one in Matamoros, Mexico.
So when you think of service and service clubs, we believe Rotary stands alone as a major achiever of its assigned duty as a servant of the community.
We are proud and honored to be celebrating our 100th birthday and we offer a sincere thanks to all who have made it possible and helped to make it work so well all these years. We look forward to the next century of service to our community.