Local Service Organization
The Rotary Club is an international service organization made up of business and professional leaders interested in the welfare of their local community and the world. It is the largest international volunteer service organization in the world with over 1.2 million members. Weekly meetings are held for the purpose of fellowship and to feature programs about issues and topics of interest to members.
The local Rotary Club was first established in Carthage in 1945 and presently has 42 active members. Local banker and current President David Murphy says, "I joined the club in 1985 when I was living in Shreveport. I chose Rotary over other organizations because I liked the idea of meeting people in different areas of business. The more I got into it I realized the service aspects of Rotary and how I could be a part of doing something good for the community. My grandfather, B.F. Payne, who was also in the banking business, was a Rotarian." Until 1987, the International Rotary was a male-only organization. Judy Guthrie, past president, was the first woman allowed in the Carthage club. "When I first moved to Carthage, I wanted to be a Rotarian because my whole family was in Rotary. As a child, my grandfather would take me with him to different functions, so I learned a little bit about it. Some of the men were really against letting me in the club, but now we have several women. My grandfather would be very proud that I'm a Rotarian."
The Rotary Club has three fundraisers each year—two hamburger sales on the Square, one in the spring and one in the fall, and the Don Scott Memorial Golf Tournament which is in May. Because of the success of these events, the Rotarians are able to send money to several worthy organizations. Guthrie adds, "This year we sent six high school juniors to the Rotary Youth Leadership Award training program held at Camp Pirtle in Gary. The kids come back saying it's the best thing they've ever done. We also buy dictionaries for every third grader in the county. That equals to about 450 dictionaries we give away. We give to New Destinations which provides Camp Tenaha for children with disabilities. Other organizations we donate to include Mission Carthage, Boy Scouts, Dixie League, the Patriot Guard, String Power, Sammy Brown Public Library, Panola College Foundation, and Carthage ISD Education Foundation. Several $1,000 scholarships are given to graduating seniors that plan to attend Panola College."
One of the missions of the International Rotary is to eradicate polio worldwide. Dues collected each week from members are sent to the main organization to help fund this cause. Only four countries are left that have any cases of polio. Rotary funds 50% of the worldwide effort to help eliminate polio completely.
The Carthage Rotary Club meets every Friday at noon in the Panola College Ballroom. Murphy says, "We are a very friendly club and would love to have new members. If interested, contact a Rotary Club member for membership requirements."