The Faribault Rotary Club is celebrating 100 years of service May 1, 2020.  There were plans for a big celebration but COVID-19 entered our lives.  Faribault Rotarians say it will not stop them from observing the significant anniversary.

A Zoom meeting is being held at Noon on May 1, 2020.  That is not all. Thursday, May 7, 2020 Faribault Rotary Club President Amy Amundson and Historian Murray Hanson will be guests on our KDHL AM Minnesota program.

According to a Faribault Rotary news release, "On April 29, 1920 E.B. Johnson of Minneapolis, representing the District Governor of Rotary met with Faribault community leaders and agreed to charter the Faribault Rotary Club on May 1, 1920 with 22 charter members."

"The first club President was Frank W. McKellip.  The Faribault club was the 596th club chartered by Rotary International, which was founded in 1905".

"The first meetings were held at the Episcopal Guild House."  Rotary was a men's organization until the year I came to Faribault, 1987 when Rotary International authorized the induction of women as Rotarians.  Janine Sahagian of Wilson Center Faribault fame was the first woman to join the Faribault club and was the first woman President in 1999.

During the 100 year history a lot of local traditions and new programs have been developed while participating in worldwide initiatives.

  • In 1939 Faribault Rotary started the annual tradition of enjoying a concert at Christmas performed by Faribault High School Choir, now an 81 year tradition.
  • In 1961 community members approached Rotary to assist in the development of a youth camp that soon became Faribault Rotary Camp.  Next year celebrating 50 years of service and enjoyment for youth organizations, families and other groups in the area. (Not long after I began working at KDHL I was invited to the camp when foreign exchange students would have a picnic there.  Dr. Skewes w
  • In 1965, the Faribault Senior High Band, Choir and Orchestra performed a special concert to benefit youth services through Rotary.  That annual tradition is in it's 55th year.
  • The purchase of the property on Cedar Lake in 1960 and subsequent development of the Faribault Rotary Camp allowed for many youth organizations to benefit from activities held in the great outdoors.
  • Rotary's focus on youth has resulted in programs like STRIVE, Rotary Readers, the development of local soccer fields, school buddy benches, youth Respect Retreats and may more programs benefiting local youth.
  • Over $350,000 have been given to local students by Rotary through music, arts and academic scholarships.
  • The Faribault Rotary Club has been part of international programs to improve farming practices in Sierra Leone, sending books to schools in Africa, helping orphan street children in Santa Rem, Brazil and inoculating children against polio around the world, most recently in Pakistan.
  • The Faribault Club has hosted many exchange students here and sent local students abroad to increase unity and understanding.
  • Recently the local club has been instrumental in the renovation of the historic clock downtown which had been in disrepair for a long time.  Also the placement of a mural honoring that clock is in downtown Faribault.
Security State Bank Building Clock Faribault. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
  • For local Rotarians living the motto of "Service Above Self" is demonstrated at blood drives, ringing Salvation Army Bells, delivering meals on wheels, participating in clothing drives, community beautification projects and selling roses to fund youth programs.
  • Every week for 100 years women and men have met to learn and serve together.

Thanks to the Faribault Rotary Club for all the projects and programs the past century.  We hope you are around for over 100 more.

Faribault Rotary Mural. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld