No one will dispute that New Castle has seen its share of tough economic times.
However, you wouldn’t know it by looking at Rotary Club No. 89.
The New Castle club was organized in 1913, making it the oldest in District 7280, which encompasses all of northwestern Pennsylvania. Erie, which hits the century mark next year, is second oldest.
Lee Dyer Jr., the governor of the district, knows that the economy of western Pennsylvania isn’t what it used to be, but says he’s not surprised to see New Castle’s Rotary Club still going strong at 100.
“It absolutely does not surprise me, the reason being that if you’re ever around Rotarians very long, you’ll see this amazing. committed kind of people who try to make things better,” he said. “In 100 years, obviously, there’s been lots of people come and go, but this core group has very strong membership and they accomplish amazing things.”
For instance, last year the New Castle club provide seven shelter boxes. These are disaster kits, Dyer explained, that included a tent, cook stove, water filtration device and food that will last 10 people up to 40 days.
The New Castle Club also signed up 12 Paul Harris Fellows in the past year. A Paul Harris Fellow must pledge at least $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation, which funds many of Rotary’s humanitarian projects.
“And that’s the highest in the district by far,” Dyer said. “Everybody got a Paul Harris Fellow or two or three; they’re the only club that got 12. So they’re an extremely vital club.
“Joe Reagle, the president over there this year, has done an amazing job. The club continues to thrive in tough times.”