About Our Organization

What would it take to change the world? Rotary International is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self.

Paul P. Harris formed the world’s first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905. More than a century later, Rotary remains dedicated to improving communities, relations between peoples, and world peace and understanding. Rotary’s principal motto is Service Above Self.

During World War II, Rotary members became increasingly involved in promoting international understanding. A Rotary conference held in London in 1942 was a precursor to the development of UNESCO, and 49 Rotary members served as delegates and consultants at the founding of the United Nations in 1945.

Today, Rotary holds the highest consultative status given by the United Nations to nongovernmental organizations. In this capacity, Rotary has a voice within the UN system, allowing access to its people and resources worldwide.

Our local Rotary Club meets every Thursday at noon for lunch at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg.

The Martinsburg Rotary Club was founded April 18, 1921 at a Monday evening dinner meeting in the now defunct Berkeley Hotel C.M. Seibert was the mayor of Martinsburg and William M. Dean its sheriff. The Reverend Richard Aspinall of Buckhannon, WV came to Martinsburg on the April night to organize a Rotary club here in Martinsburg. This was accomplished through the participation of 22 local businessmen who elected attorney A. C. Nadenbousch as its first president with J. R. Poland as vice-president, Clyde E. Smith Sr. secretary, Dudley Harley treasurer and Frank W. Van Horn Sergeant-at-Arms. The club’s first Board of Directors in support of its elected officers included C.A. Miller, George W.F. Mullins, Ward Mclanahan, R.A. Bradford, A.R. Emmert and Harry H. Byrer. The other members were T.W. Martin, Edward Rutledge, Dr. G.J.E. Sponseller, W.R. Caskey, Stuart W. Walker, Dr. James Duff, W.J. Worthing, T.L. Dunn, Wilbur H. Thomas, Wilson P. Sperow and W.B.Thornton. These 22 Rotarians met every Thursday for lunch at the Berkeley Hotel and agreed to spend no more than one hour between 12:15 and 1:15 for lunch and social gathering. From 1921 through 1931, that decade saw the following club presidents: A.C. Nadenbousch, Harry H. Bryer, J.R. Poland, W.R. Caskey, Dr. G.J.E. Morison, Bonn A. Poland, Wilbur Thomas, Dr. V.L. Glover and Robert H. Whitacre. 33 new members were accepted for membership during this period, and the club moved its meeting site from the Berkeley Hotel to the then new Shenandoah Hotel in 1972. Lunch was one dollar From 1931 through 1941 the club presidents were; 11-Allen R. Emmerty, 12-Herbert C. Miller, 13-R.C. Williams, 14-Frank D. Town, 15-Lynn A. Roberts, 16-Richard C. Greenland, 17-Harry L. Reaves, 18-William M. Dunn, 19-James G. Maples, 20-E.D. Johnston, 21-John L. Lightner. During those 10 years, 48 new members were accepted and on April 17, 1939, Paul Harris the founder of Rotary International visited our club in Martinsburg with a reception following at the home of Harry Byrer. From 1941 through 1951 the following individuals presided as head of the club; 22-Fred C. Matson, 23-Phillip G. Petri, 24-Dudley Harley, 25-Edgar C. Trout, 26-Garland L. Dunn, 27-John R. Poland Jr., 28-L.E. Barkhouser, 29-Francis E. Straw, 30-Richard A. Biggs and 31-Hugh S. Bryer. From 1951 through 1961, the presidents were, in order; 32-Oliver S. Ikenberry, 33-Dr. A.W. Armentrout, 34-Thomas E. VanMetre, 35-Robert M. Steptoe, 36-A Lovelave Straliper, 37-Dr. Dudley J. Shaw, 38-Wilson P. Sperow, 39-C Leslie Golliday and 40-James A. Powers.