Report from City Hall

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By Council Member LONNIE CRAIG

Congratulations Chesapeake Rotary Club

The yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of the City of Chesapeake is off and running.  Several exciting and fun events have already offered Chesapeake residents an opportunity to enjoy the best of Chesapeake.  Such an event took place recently with the annual Paint Your Heart Out project which mustered 535 volunteers to serve their neighbors by painting and sprucing up the homes of those who need some help.  This annual event is organized and executed by the Chesapeake Rotary Club; and I want to express appreciation to the Rotary Club, one of Chesapeake’s many community service organizations.

The City of Chesapeake was a new city, having been formed through a merger of Norfolk County and the City of South Norfolk on January 1, 1963.  At the time a number of members of the Rotary Clubs of Norfolk and Portsmouth, now residents of the new city expressed a desire for a Chesapeake Rotary Club.  Subsequently the Rotary Club of Chesapeake received its charter on June 26, 1967.

Edwin W. Chittum, former Superintendent of Chesapeake Public Schools, and Townsend Oast, a local banker, both members of the Norfolk Club joined with Lisle Lindsay of the Portsmouth Club and others in forming the Rotary Club of Chesapeake.  Other charter members were:  Earle H. Aleck, Gaspare Battaglia, E.L. Baker Earle Cadmus, W.O. Clark, Frank Clemons, Thomas Dalton, Doug Eley, W.L. Forbes, Clarence Forehand, James Garrett, Edward Gray, Thomas Johnson, Jonathan Lindsey, Roscoe Musselwhite, T.E. Nettles, Sid Oman, Bill Parker, Bill Scott, Hubert Shiner, Harold Thrasher and Carl Wilhelm.  Many went on to become president of the new club.  Several sons have also achieved that office.  Two presiding presidents died while in office:  John Eaves and Jack Smith.

The Club currently meets at the Marriott.  Previous meeting places have included the Chesapeake Conference Center, Red Carriage Inn, the Virginia Reel Motel, Nick’s Restaurant, Jerry’s Restaurant and the Holiday Inn.

During the first year, Earle Aleck, Earle Cadmus, Jonathan Lindsey, Lisle Lindsey and Townsend Oast had perfect attendance.  Bill Holloway currently holds the record with 40 years of perfect attendance.

The Rotary Club of Chesapeake is involved with numerous civic functions and projects in addition to Paint Your Heart Out.  Each year the Club provides $1,000 scholarships to each of the valedictorians from the city’s seven high schools. The Club also puts on the annual Christmas Parade. A favorite event for club members is the annual Christmas Choral luncheon put on by one of the high school choral groups.

Adopt-a-School, 4-H Camp and the Club-sponsored STRIVE program provide encouragement for Chesapeake youth.  In 2003 the Club established the Rotary Club of Chesapeake Endowment fund and the following year began presenting the annual Chesapeake First Citizen Award banquet which raises funds for the Endowment.  The first annual Rotary Golf Tournament was held in 2006.  The Rotary Wine Festival began in 2010 and raises money to benefit various charities supported by the Club.  Another notable community service is the Club’s annual Coats for Kids project. Last winter the club in cooperation with Cavalier Ford and Kohl’s donated more than 250 coats to needy kids in Chesapeake.

The Rotary Club started Interact clubs at three Schools in 2012; Hickory, Great Bridge and Indian River High Schools.

The enthusiastic community service by all those volunteers for the recent Paint Your Heart Out reminded me of the rich heritage of community service that we are blessed with here in Chesapeake.

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