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Robinson named new rotary president

| Thursday, July 11, 2013, 12:24 p.m.
Bill Pribisco | for the LIgonier Echo
Paul McCracken
Bruce Robinson

Former Ligonier Rotary Club president Paul McCracken passed his leadership role over to Bruce Robinson during a ceremony on June 20 at the Ligonier Country Club. The ceremony was also a celebration of the local rotary's 75th anniversary.

Both McCracken and Robinson addressed the crowd with gratitude, well wishes and congratulations. McCracken personally thanked every member present, stating that in some way during his term as president they displayed ‘service above self'.

“Paul did an excellent, outstanding job in his role,” Robinson said. “He is very dedicated to rotary and will continue to support the club.”

McCracken was awarded a past president's plaque for his commitment.

The new president addressed the crowd regarding what he'd like to accomplish in his new position. Robinson has much experience with Rotary, having previously served in West Virginia and Beaver Falls chapters before moving to Ligonier.

“I've known Bruce for many years,” McCracken said. “It will be a fantastic year under Bruce's reign.”

Incoming District Gov. Ron Aldom presented the club with an award and plaque in honor of its 75 years of service. This is the second year in a row the Ligonier Rotary Club has been honored as the fastest growing rotary in the district.

“It was a very nice evening; a nice turnout,” said Cindy Knaus, who was the event planner for the dinner. “Paul thanked members for their support. He did a very nice job in his term as president.”

Rotary is a community-based organization. Some of the work that the club takes part in includes the adoption and maintenance of state highways and organizing the annual Miss Ligonier pageant. Each year, the club awards local high school students, including those from vocational school, a $1500 scholarship. As fundraising devices, Rotary keeps a booth at Fort Ligonier Days and holds a pancake breakfast every year on Palm Sunday.

“Every penny we make is given back to the community,” McCracken stated. “I'm proudest of our fundraising abilities. We've been able to grant more scholarships and scholarship money than in previous years; it's all about the community.”

Aside from just a local focus, the club also hosts, and helps fund, international exchanges. Recently, the club welcomed a group of young professionals from Brazil, who spent a month touring the USA. Rotary also sponsors foreign exchange students through their cultural exchange program.

Rotary Clubs began in the early 1900s, when a small group of Chicago businessmen got together and began ‘rotating' lunches each week at their businesses as a way to expand their professional and social networks. The popularity grew and clubs began to pop up in other parts of the country. The mission of the club turned its focus on the community, and the motto became ‘Service Above Self.'

The local rotary club meets every Tuesday at noon for lunch at the Ramada Ligonier. Males and females of all ages are welcome to attend if they'd like to find out more about the service work the club takes part in.

Two of Robinson's goals in his new position are to continue generating funds for scholarship programs and to increase membership.

“It's an honor, serving my peers and serving the community,” said Robinson. “We are very heavily focused on community operations.”

Rebecca Ridinger is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.