50th Anniversary Gala

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The Chesterton-Porter Rotary club recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a gala at Barker Hall in Michigan City. Approximately 105 people attended the event, including the first President of the Club, James M. Read, and Warren Canright, the only active remaining charter member. According to the event organizers, Past President David Perry and Past President Jim Jeselnick, the evening was a huge success.

A delightful cocktail party, complete with gourmet cheeses and crackers, assorted spreads, salami and Carr’s Water Crackers, Bruschetta, grapes, and Italian Port Wine and Mushroom Meatballs, started the evning while Elizabeth Chamberlain Marks provided a piano music background.

President Christine Newton called the meeting to order and recognized Shirley Caylor, the President of the Gary Rotary club and Sharon Kish, the President of the Valparaiso Rotary Club who presented Chesterton-Porter with a new base for their bell, inscribed with the names of all past Presidents. Both Valparaiso and Gary helped to sponsor the Chesterton club on their induction night, April 7th, 1960. Chrsitine and past President Jim Read rang the bell to open the meeting.

Martha Bucksbarg had the Invocation, Dave Perry led the Pledge, Tim Harris the Four Way test, and Will Lewis the song.

A scrumptious dinner of a deluxe salad station, fresh green beans almondine, skin-on mashed potatoes, and rolls accompanied the main courses of prime rib, turkey, and Shrimp De Johgne. Guests enjoyed four types of anniversary cake.

Following the meal, Secretary Brock Lloyd introduced the guests including District Governor Floyd Lancia and his wife Betty Lou, District Governor Elect Steve Van Scoik and his wife Linda, and District Governor Mike Crabill and his wife Teri. In addition, there were several visiting Rotarians, guests, and spouses.  Special guests were the five members of the Group Study Exchange Team who are visiting the District from Korea.

DG Floyd Lancia presented the club with a special anniversary certificate and told the club what a great job they had done in the past 50 years to promote Service Above Self in the Duneland community. Past President Steve Walker then recognized all the past presidents of the club who were in attendance. District Foundation Chair Dan Ryan recognized all of the Paul Harris Fellows as well as all of the Paul Harris Society members. In addition he praised the club for its generosity in giving to the Rotary Foundation and being one of the top giving clubs in the District for the past several years.

Jim Jeselnick then gave special gifts to Jim Read and to Warren Canright and thanked both men for their vision in helping to start the club 50 years ago. Christine Newton, the current club president, was also given a gift for her dedicated service during this Golden Jubilee year. Jim Jeselnick was also recognized by President Chris for being the first and only District Governor from the Chesterton-Porter club.

Nine past Presidents from the club then talked about Rotary Through the Decades, accompanied by an extensive slide show organized by member Phil Baugher. The stories were both humorous and touching as each past president recalled what made the club special. Past President Lee Lathrop, who drove from Holland Mi to attend the event, talked about the club’s on-going commitment to the Rotary Polio Plus program and how the club has been a leader in donations to this important Rotary world-wide service project. Rick Hokanson mentioned how the first $500 donation to help start the Chesterton Food Pantry came from the Rotary club. Also mentioned were the three Welcome to Chesterton signs that were donated.

The entertainment for the evening was provided by the Wolffgang Singers from Hobart High School following which President Christine Newton closed the meeting.

Special thanks go the the event’s five major sponsors, Lakeside Wealth Management, Anton Insurance, Express Employment Professionals, Professional Appraisal Services, and Trout Glass and Mirror. Additional thanks go to Matt and Ed Kis of Great Lakes Catering, as well as their staff, for a fantastic meal.

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