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Life in the Slow Lane: Happy Birthday, Rotary Club of Tryon. Let’s eat some shrimp!

1927 was a good year here in Tryon. We got a hospital (St. Luke’s) and we got the Rotary Club of Tryon. It’s really hard to imagine life here in our community without these two venerable institutions. The organizations’ impact on our community is immeasurable. However, it’s easier to touch and feel the benefits of St. Luke’s Hospital. With the Rotary Club, you have to try a little harder. Sure, the Rotary Club put the clock tower in downtown Tryon and we throw a really good party once a year (Shrimpfest is this Saturday, Sept. 16 at Harmon Field) but really, what’s the big deal?

I’m glad you asked. In fact, I might have asked that same question had I not joined the Rotary Club of Tryon right after moving here four years ago. It’s unreal the impact this little club has in Polk County, USA.

Our club’s motto is, “Service Above Self.” And you don’t have to look very far to see our club at work living out this creed. The biggest example of our community support is through our monetary grants and awards.

For example, in 2017 our club donated just over $44,000 here in our community. The majority of these funds went to scholarships for our graduating seniors. Each year we award $38,000 in scholarships to high school seniors from Polk County. These funds help offset education costs of a two-year or four-year degree. We help and support our community in a number of other ways but our focus is on education. We donate and read books to kids through our Reading is Fundamental program (Thanks Carolyn Jones!). We send Polk County youth to Germany as part of our Youth Exchange Program (Thanks to Petra Harrelson). As we hear of other needs in our community, we step up time and time again.

As we celebrate our 90th birthday this year, let us pause and say thanks to not only the Rotary Club of Tryon, but to all the service clubs and organizations in our community. Our lives are better thanks to all of you. Even those Kiwanians . . .