History of Rotary
Rotary is 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man: Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world's first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary's name came from the group's early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.
The Rotary Club of Augusta was organized on September 23, 1914. It was the 138th Rotary Club formed. Our club was an outgrowth of The Merchants and Manufacturers Association and was organized with high ethical standards that continue today. James M. Hull was the first president. Seven (7) District Governors have come from our Club. They are T. Harry Garrett, Reginald Maxwell, John Bell Towill, Charles H. Gibboney, Lee Curley, Bill Kemp, and Jim Puryear. The Augusta Rotary currently has 160 Members, the Club had a high of 206 members.
- Early on a Christmas Cheer Fund was organized to help needy families. This fund continues to be generated annually but monies are now given to the Salvation Army.
- In 1922, the Club started a student loan fund named the Lawton B. Evans Rotary International Fund which later became the James M. Hull Fund Rotary Educational Fund. It has a corpus of over $400,000.00 and makes low interest loans and gives scholarships to worthy students annually. More than 850 students have been assisted over the years with loans, scholarships, and grants.
- In 1922, the Club brought the Boy Scouts of America to Augusta. The Club underwrote the first year expenses. Many of our members continue to be in volunteer leadership roles with the Boy Scouts.
- In 1922, the Club organized the Waynesboro Rotary Club
- In 1963, the Club organized the West Augusta Rotary Club.
- In 1964, the Club brought Junior Achievement to Augusta. Junior Achievement teaches the Free enterprise system to elementary, middle and high school students.
- In 1976, the Club organized the Augusta North Club.
- In 2000, the Club organized the Augusta South Club.
- In 2011, the Club received the 100% Paul Harris Fellow Designation. This is a great honor for the Club.
- In 2001, Jim Puryear and Bill Kemp helped organize the Area Rotary President's Council consisting of President's, President Elects and twelve clubs in three Districts in the CSRA. Districts 6920, 6910, and 7750. Puryear and Kemp continue to serve as advisors.
- In 2011, The Rotary began the Kemp-Puryear Rotarian of the Year Award. The award is to recognize outstanding Rotarians who exemplify the Rotary's call to service and demonstrates a principled commitment to the Four-Way Test. The award is named in honor of Bill Kemp and Jim Puryear. The 2012 winner of the award was Jimmy Richards.