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Fargo Rotary Club celebrates 100th anniversary

The Fargo Rotary Club in a Fargo parade sometime between 1917 and 1919. Photo courtesy of Fargo Public Library and NDSU Archives.1 / 2
Eight of the eleven board members for Fargo Rotary Club. Submitted photo.2 / 2

FARGO — The Fargo Rotary Club is honoring 100 years of serving the community with a celebration at the Radisson Hotel here on Thursday, June 29.

The celebration will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m., followed by dinner and entertainment.

Travis Christopher, president of the Fargo Rotary Club, said the club was established June 17, 1917, by 24 business leaders. It was the 317th Rotary Club created in the world.

A few original members include printer S.F. Knight, Forum publisher Norman Black, and florist W.B. Shotwell. Knight Printing, Forum Communications and Shotwell Floral and Greenhouse all remain prominent businesses in the area.

J.D. Shotwell, current owner of Shotwell Floral and Greenhouse, is the great-grandson of W.B. Shotwell and an active member of the club today. He said every generation of his family has been involved in the club, and he hopes the tradition continues.

"As a family and a family business, we're very involved in the community," Shotwell said. "It's a fantastic club to be a part of ... and it's very important to stay very active locally."

Over the years, the Fargo Rotary Club helped organize three more such clubs in Fargo and one in Moorhead, accounting for about 300 Rotarians in the Fargo-Moorhead area, according to Christopher.

Christopher said the Fargo Rotary Club today has 70 active members, a number that has stayed pretty steady in the past five years.

Recent projects for the club include the Moorhead Miracle Field, a ballfield that is cushioned for the use of wheelchairs and walkers; Project English, which helped bring English-learning software to several facilities in the area; and the Rotary Centennial Universal Playground, built in Fargo's Lindenwood Park for children of all abilities.

Christopher said the club's largest centennial project was sponsoring a sensory gym at TNT Kid's Fitness and Gymnastics in Fargo. Sensory gyms are used by occupational therapists to help treat children with a variety of needs, challenging them to use all of their senses.

"Our service and our charity is better than ever," Christopher said. "This year we are going to record over 300 community service hours—more than in recent history."

The club's 100-year celebration is open to members of the public who have any connection with Fargo Rotary. Tickets can be purchased at fargorotary.org.

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