A love letter to Lacey Rotary

November 1st, 2018 by Ken

It was 1973.  I had just gone to work for a small weekly community newspaper called The Lacey Leader.  I started as a reporter, but soon worked my way up to city editor.  Promotion comes quick when there’s only two of you in the newsroom and one of them is the publisher.

While I was centered on the news, I soon learned the financial facts of running a newspaper.  Advertising pays the bills.  If you’re going to sell advertising in a small community of 6000, you have to depend on local businesses to buy.

Unfortunately Lacey was a new city with very little sense of community.  I knew that if we were to make it, we needed to create a sense of community, and then translate that sense of community into support for the community’s newspaper.

Our local undertaker Doug Twibell, stopped by the newspaper office weekly to drop off death notices.  One day he asked me if I wanted to come to Rotary with him.  I knew of Rotary and I knew that it was filled with community leaders.  I eagerly agreed to lunch.

I was right.  Many men of importance in the community  were a member of the Lacey Rotary Club.   I had to join and I did.  I thought if we could get all of the city leaders in the same organization we could begin to create a sense of community.  But, we needed as many of the leaders as we could get.  We need business owners, franchisees, bankers, clergymen, school administrators and city officials.  We needed them all in the same room on a regular basis.

As a newspaper editor (and reporter) I had access to almost everyone of them.  I began to recruit.  No one was too small or too great not to be considered.   In just a few months I had sponsored a dozen new members.  Not all of them stayed, but they had exposure to a cross-section of the community.

I continued recruiting members into the Lacey Rotary Club, several a year.  When a new business opened, I was the first through the door, sometimes before they had even opened their doors.  When a new administrator was hired in a government position, I was one of the first in their office.

Many of them wanted to become involved in the community. Some because it would help their business, others because they needed the community to support some cause.  And they joined.   The club began to grow and I began to get a reputation as a “go-getter”.

I eventually left my newspaper job but by that time, I had become invested in the community.  I continued my involvement with Lacey Rotary and continued my involvement in the Lacey community.

As the years went by I sponsored more and more members in the club.   Before I knew it, I was creeping upon a hundred members.   No one in the club seemed to care, but I did.  My 100th member was an officer with the Lacey Fire Department.  He stayed only a short time and left in six months.  But, I’ve continued to sponsor new members.

Did I accomplish my goal?  Was the Lacey Rotary Club a catalyst for the creation of the greater Lacey community?  I think so.  I can point out the creation of city parks, the support for the Lacey Boys and Girls Club.  The many social service organizations which have received funding from the Lacey club and the hundreds of students who have received scholarship money.

While those types of activities help make a community, its the table talk that went on at Rotary meetings when business, government and educational leaders share a meal and talk about their day.

Lacey is a strong stable community with a population passing 50,000.  People who live in Lacey know they live in Lacey.  There’s no doubt in their minds anymore.

And, members of the Lacey Rotary Club were instrumental in helping make a vibrant Lacey community.


Posted in The Real News

(comments are closed).