A Brief History of the Paragould Rotary Club

Attorney William Kirsch became the first president of the Rotary club of Paragould on February 7, 1921. The club continued to organize and grow until charter #858 was presented on April 1, 1921.

On April 12, 1946 the club celebrated its 25th anniversary with a banquet at the Vandervoort Hotel. Al Wrape, the only surviving charter member was on hand to celebrate. Earl Kirk was president during the club's silver anniversary.

In March of 1971, Bill Kirsch Jr. posed for a Daily Press photo beside Sam Smith, president of the Rotary club of Paragould, and Bo Huffman Jr., Rotary District Governer. The event was the 50th anniversary celebrating the founding of the Paragould Club. Bill Kirsch Jr. was just a child when his father became the club's first president.

Rotary in Paragould has been marked by several changes in its near 91 year history. Originally the club started meeting on Mondays, then Tuesdays before finally settling on Wednesdays. Meeting sites have also changed over the years. The Vandervoort Hotel was home to Rotarians from 1921 until 1961, when the landmark was torn down. The club moved to Lambs Cafeteria, then to the Ember Glo Restaurant, then to the Oaks Restaurant before it moved to the present meeting place, The Paragould Country Club on January 17, 1996.

Several Milestones occurred during the club's near 91 years of existence:
- The late Verlyn Heath became the first District Governor in 1954, the year Greg Marlar was born, who later became the only other District Governor for the Paragould club in 1997. Owen Lusk became the District Governor in 2010-11.

-Ted Rand developed the Radio Auction in 1949 to raise money for youth projects and other worth- while projects. Today the auction is televised and thanks to Ted, many hanve benefited from Rotary.

-Anne Gregg, daughter of long time member Maurice Cathey became the first female Rotarian in the Paragould Club.

-Diann Walker became the first female president in 1997.

The Rotary Club of Paragould has had a positive influence on the community as well as internationally. Through scholarships, G.S.E. Teams, exchange students, playground equipment, baseball, softball, soccer, and the list goes on and on.

As Rotary begins its second century, the Rotary Club of Paragould will continue to be of service to our community, our country, and our world.