Continuous commitment of Rotary Club honored

Jul. 30, 2013 @ 07:03 PM

A quarter century ago, members of the Oxford Rotary Club heard about a new program and voted to sign up.

Earlier this month, the club was one of 44 entities statewide recognized for still being there, serving 25 continuous years to the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program.

“They brought it up, voted on it and decided to do it,” said Bart Cleary, an Oxford dentist affectionately recognized as Mr. Rotary by colleagues, in recalling what took place. Paul Kiesow was the club’s president in that 1987-88 timespan, Cleary said.

Cleary had been in the club a couple of years. Charles Dean joined the club in 1997, and in 1998 became the guardian of the club’s highway cleanup program.

“We definitely want to stay interactive with the local community,” Dean said. “We like to know what’s going on and what we can do to help, as a group and for the community as a whole.”

From parks to city streets, and all points between including the public school system, the club is like a lot other civic organizations in being willing to lend a hand to help the city and its residents.

But getting in on the ground floor of a program known statewide is unique. Of the recognitions for organizations there since the start and still continuing, the Oxford Rotary Club was not only the lone representative for Granville County but also for the Tri-County region including Vance and Warren counties. Their contract number in the program is “001.”

Twice a year, the DOT requests those in the program to hit the shoulders of the roads and tidy up. Typically, most are done in the spring and fall. Trash is bagged, and Dean says recycling is done when possible.

The club’s more than three dozen members periodically pitch in.

Cleary said the club first had a loop near McDonald’s and Burger King extending to the Revlon plant. That eventually changed to the current Williamsboro to Old Salem Road stretch.

It is there that a sign has a 20-year sticker. Dean said he’s received the 25-year sticker to replace it. And that wasn’t all.

“They gave me the nicest orange eight high-end vests, with 25 years of service printed on them, DOT-type safety vests,” Dean said. “These are nice.”

He assured all of the club’s projects are special, from taking underprivileged children to Durham Bulls baseball games to an art auction with Henderson’s Rotary Club.

“The city and county have ramped up recycling,” Dean said. “Here in the last few years, they’ve restructured and helped recycling.

“It’s important to keep our roads clean.”

The Tri-County didn’t have any entities on the 20-year list.

Named to the continuous service 15-year list were respective groups from Vance County memorializing Lemeuel G. Cheatham, Mary and Milton Perkinson, and April Harris; Food Lion Distribution Center No. 9 in Granville County; and respective Warren County groups memorializing Belle S. Williams, Buck Williams, Donna Weingarten and the Henderson Estate.

On the 10-year list were respective groups honoring Cody and Chelsey D. in Vance County; Joe Germain A. Tripp II in Granville County; and My Parents Mickey in Warren County.

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.