HISTORY of Warrenton Rotary

Warrenton Rotary Club
Warrenton, North Carolina

The Warrenton Rotary Club was chartered on March 29, 1945. The Charter night ceremony was held on May 7, 1945 at the Hotel Warren. District Governor John A. Holmes from Edenton presented the charter to Rev. Alfred P. Chambliss, Jr. the first president of the club. Bennett Perry of Henderson, the Representative for the District Governor, presided over the meeting. Of the 18 charter members only one, W. W. Taylor, Jr., is still living. The Henderson Rotary Club sponsored the formation of the Warrenton Rotary Club.

The first projects of the Warrenton Rotary Club involved support of the local John Graham School. H. M. Hardy, club vice president, operated a lumberyard. He contributed the lumber for school bus sheds to be built and placed around the county as a place for the school children to wait for the bus in inclement weather. Advertisements were painted on the sheds and paid for by local merchants. Other early projects of the Rotary Club included paying the salary of the band director, buying uniforms for the high school band, and paying the salary of the Latin teacher at the high school. The Warrenton Rotary Club was the founder of the John Graham High School Booster's Club to support the football program. Early fundraisers were minstrel shows and the sale of Community Birthday Calendars.

In the intervening years the Warrenton Rotary Club has continued to be an important civic force in the life of Warren County. On a local level we have supported local Girls and Boy Scout troops, the local library, the Warren Education Fund, historic preservation projects and helped out on an individuals basis with the concerns of the needy in the community. On a District and International level our club has supported Polio Plus as well as many other projects of Rotary International. We have supported the Boys and Girls Home at Lake Waccamaw, annually send students to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program, and had students participate in the Rotary Against Drugs High School Speech Contest.

In 2004, the Warrenton Rotary Club was the "lead club" in a RI matching grant program (chaired by Rotarians Nick Bagshawe and Rhonda Williams) to equip four K-5 classrooms in Swaziland with basic educational tools. All incoming club presidents attend the PETS program in preparation for their year as Rotary Club President.

For the past few years, the major fundraiser for the Warrenton Rotary Club has been a Silent Auction and Dinner each spring. Club members donate gifts and solicit the county for gift items that are auctioned off by silent and live auction methods. A cocktail hour is held during the time for the silent auction and prior to the live auction. A prime rib dinner with all the trimmings is provided to the attendees. The event has been very popular in the community and is highly anticipated each year.

We are proud to be the home club of Michael Thacker the District Governor for 2003-2004, and the only District Governor that the Warrenton Rotary Club has ever had. Our current membership stands at 13. We have three Rotary Benefactors, two Bequest Society members, 2 Paul Harris Society members, and over the life of the club we have had 48 Paul Harris Fellows (and became a 100% Paul Harris Fellows club in 2009). We are also delighted to report that 100% of our members are sustaining members and give at least $100 annually to The Rotary Foundation in 2004.

Submitted by Richard E. Hunter, Jr., Club Secretary
March 2004 (with minor updates in March 24, 2015)