Submitted By Dean Sparks

The Tarkio Rotary Club, established in 1940, celebrates 78 years of service this year. The club is an affiliate of Rotary International (RI). RI was founded in 1905 and is the oldest and largest service club in the world with over 1.2 million members in 30,000 clubs in 168 countries around the world.
The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis for worthy enterprise, acquaintance as an opportunity for service, high ethical standards, worthiness, and dignity in all occupations and professions, and the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
The Tarkio Rotary Club supports many programs and activities both locally and worldwide through the Rotary Foundation (RF). Some programs supported by Rotary International include Interact for high school students, Rotaract for college students, Fellowships, Friendship Exchanges, Volunteers, Youth Exchanges, Youth Leadership Awards, and World Community Service.
Through the Rotary Foundation, the Humanitarian Grants Program funds local and international projects that provide water wells, basic shelter, medical care, literacy classes, and other essentials to people in need in our local communities and worldwide. The RF also funds educational programs such as Ambassadorial and World Peace Scholarships, Group Study Exchanges, and Grants for University Teachers.
Perhaps the largest Rotary International project in recent history is PolioPlus. The PolioPlus program provides funding for vaccine and transportation for mass immunization campaigns with the goal of eradicating polio from the face of the earth. Since 1985 Rotarians have contributed over $500 million to this effort. It is the largest single humanitarian project of its kind in human history.
Locally, the Tarkio Rotary Club has completed such projects as the Joe Stevenson Tennis Courts, the Boy Scouts Building, and the picnic shelter house at Niedermeyer Park, all in Tarkio. Club activities both past and present include the Rotary International Centennial celebration, both club and Congressman Sam Graves’ Fly-In Breakfasts, Tarkio Nutrition Center meals delivery, the Tarkio Holiday Adopt-A-Family program, C.A.B.A. ticket sales, the annual Tarkio Rotary Club Golf Tournament, collecting shoes for the Buckner International Shoes for Orphan Souls Project, raising money for the Southeast Asia Tsunami Relief and the Haiti Relief Funds, Mule Barn Theatre Guild Summer Theatre, Tarkio Elementary Book Club, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, scholarships, and numerous chili and soup supper and Hy-Vee cookout fundraisers, to name but a few.
During the 2004-05 school year, an Interact Club for students at Tarkio High School was established. Another was the sponsorship of Short Term Student Exchanges in which Tarkio High School students/Interact members have spent three to five weeks in Sweden or Germany during the summers beginning in 2005.
The Rotary and Interact Clubs have also painted and lighted the Rotary Shelter House for Christmas and planted a Norway Columnar Spruce in commemoration of the RF 100th anniversary at Niedermeyer Park. Another major Rotary Club project was raising funds to renovate and maintain the Joseph Stevenson Tennis Courts in Tarkio. Recent local community projects have included purchasing a roll up door for the rodeo grounds building, providing a video system for the Atchison County Nutrition Center, securing sunscreen umbrellas for the city swimming pool and building raised gardens and fencing for the Tarkio Rehabilitation Center.
The Tarkio Rotary Club, with a current membership of 18 local business people, meets each Tuesday at 12:00 noon at the Atchison County Nutrition Center on Main Street. Visitors are always welcome. If you would like to help make our community and the world a better place to live and be a part of something greater than yourself, contact any Rotarian for details on how to become an active member of the Tarkio Rotary Club.