Looking back, Lake Gibson said he can’t believe 18 years has passed since a group of local businessmen and women chartered the Dawson County Rotary Club.
While membership has grown over the last two decades, the Rotarian core value of service above self has remained and flourished.
“Back when we started Rotary here, there really weren’t any other civic clubs,” said Gibson, a charter member still active in the club. “And I think we’ve done some good things for the community over the years.”
From the beginning, the club focused on giving back to the community through annual donations to the local senior center’s Meals on Wheels initiative and by funding scholarships to Dawson County High School graduating seniors.
Over the years, the club also branched out to support local and international literacy efforts, as well as numerous service projects throughout the community.
Gibson said Rotary taught him why giving back is important.
“It instills in you why you need to give back to your community, because it is the community that makes you what you are,” he said.
All donations the club makes locally and internationally are collected during one golf tournament fundraiser, which is held each spring.
“We decided when we first got together that we only wanted to have one fundraiser each year instead of several throughout the year,” said Gibson, who has played in the tournament every year. “We still have sponsors from the first tournament that have supported us each year because we kept that promise.”
This year’s tournament, held May 11 at Chestatee Golf Club, exceeded the club’s fundraising goal, according to Treasurer Carol Tyger.
The event also allowed the club to pay tribute to a fellow member and incoming president who continuously put others first.
President Will Wade said the club dedicated this year’s tournament to the Rev. Mark Weaver, a long time Rotarian, who helped organize the event, but fell sick and was not able to see it through.
Weaver, who always strived to carry on the Rotarian model of service above self, died May 13.
Weaver was set to take the office of club president in July.