By Sarah Shurge – Many people talk about wanting to make the world a better place. If actions speak louder than words, then the Rotary Club of Wayne has proven themselves true to that statement.
The Rotary Club of Wayne is an organization of individuals who live or work in Wayne and contribute their time, talents, and treasure to improve the quality of life in Wayne and around the world.
In January 1922, Charles McKenny of the Ypsilanti Rotary Club formally presented Wayne with a charter. With McKenny as their sponsor, Wayne became the first Rotary Club in a town of less than five thousand people.
Last year in January 2022, the Rotary Club of Wayne celebrated 100 years of service.
“The Rotary motto is “Service above Self.” I think we have demonstrated that over the last 100 years,” said Carol Bevard, President of the Rotary Club of Wayne. “I’m so proud to be a Rotarian.”
Bevard has served in the Rotary since 2019 and has held the title of Rotary President since October 2021.
“My favorite part about the Rotary is you help people that perhaps couldn’t help themselves and make their lives better,” said Bevard.
The Rotary Club of Wayne normally takes on three big events a year, but last year being their centennial year, they completed a project a month.
In January 2022, the Wayne Rotary completed their 17th dictionary project.
It began in 2005, when Wayne Rotarian Nate Weiser came across a Rotary project about providing dictionaries to third grade students. The project began in 1999 with a California Rotary Club and had spread across the country.
Weiser saw the value in providing dictionaries as a resource to students, so he called it the “Gift of Words”.
For the 18th year, the Wayne Rotary has continued working on the dictionary project this year. They have served over 5,000 third graders books at three schools so far, and have one more school to go to.
The Rotary also put up Little Free Libraries at Rotary Park II, Wayne Memorial High School, Glenwood Heights Subdivision, Roosevelt-McGrath Elementary School, and Civitan Park on Glenwood.
For seven years, the Rotary Club of Wayne has been a sponsor for the concerts in the park. The cost of the concert is free to the community, but has been the main fundraiser for the Rotary with sales of adult refreshments, t-shirts, and water.
In June 2022, the Rotary Club completed the “Paint Veteran’s Haven” Project.
Veteran’s Haven is a non-profit organization run on donations and volunteers with the purpose of helping homeless and needy veterans with food, shelter, clothing, job opportunities, and much more.
There were 17 Rotarians, several community leaders, and several churches that volunteered their time. Most of the supplies were donated by Rotarians and Teknicolors Inc in Redford donated all the paint. In four hours, the entire exterior was painted and several gutters were also replaced a few days later.
Another project the Rotary completed was the “Core in the Community” Project.
The staff of the Special Education Department (SED) at the Wayne-Westland Community School District asked the Wayne Rotary for help. The SED wanted kits for first responders to have on hand when they interact with individuals (children and adults) who are non-verbal, or who may have special needs.
Each police and fire department (Canton, Wayne, Westland, and Inkster) received three (total of 24) “Core in the Community” kits. The kits included noise canceling headphones, weighted lap pads, sensory fidgets, and laminated core boards.
“My favorite project is Wayne Clean-Up Day,” said Bevard. “It’s fun because you bring the whole community together.”
In recognition of Earth Day, the Wayne Rotary sponsored the seventh annual City of Wayne Spring Clean-Up Day in downtown Wayne on Saturday, April 23, 2022. Over 160 participants volunteered their time to clean the city and clean by the river. The total amount of debris collected was 6,170 pounds.
“The Rotary makes people’s lives better,” said Bevard. “I like to help people. I have a Christian background and I believe as a Christian, you should help and serve people.”
Service has been a large part of Bevard’s life. She served in the United States Navy from 1975-2005. She was active-duty for three years and was the Command Master Chief (AVCM) of NAS Sigonella’s Reserve Detachment out of Selfridge Air National Guard Base when she retired in 2005. She has lived in Wayne since 1978 and retired from the United States Post Office in 2012 as an Architect Engineer for the facilities in Southeastern Michigan.
“It’s really about service above self. All the people I associate with in the Rotary do this,” said Bevard. “I really am so proud to be a Rotarian.
The Rotary Club of Wayne Executive Board Members consist of: President: Carol Bevard, Treasurer: Linda Gable, Secretary: Trish Hampton, Rotary Foundation: Pat Rice, Membership: Laura Mack, Club Administrator: John VanStipdonk, Service Projects: Lois VanStipdonk, Public Relations: Stanley Shelton, and Interact Club: Sue Webb.
The Rotary is looking for more people to join. They meet every Tuesday at Noon in the Thomas Kelly Room in the Wayne Public Library.
If you are interested or looking for more information about the Rotary Club of Wayne, visit waynerotary.com, find them on Facebook at facebook.com/waynerotary, or contact them at waynerotary@gmail-.com.