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2 Scottdale men mark 50 years with Rotary

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 12:02 a.m.
Bea Jarbeck-Burk (center) admires the citations received by Frank Stoner (right) and Ralph Geary for 50 years of membership in the Scottdale Rotary. The citations were issued by state Rep. Ted Harhai. The local Rotary meets every Tuesday at noon in Woodcrest Senior Living Community, Scottdale. Submitted

Fifty years ago, two Scottdale men made a choice to become involved in their community, to make a difference in some way.

So Ralph Geary and Frank Stoner did what they thought was the best step toward that goal — they joined the Scottdale Rotary.

“A fellow by the name of Ivan Hearnley invited me to a Rotary dinner, and I didn't belong to any other organization at the time, so I went with him,” Geary said.

Geary enjoyed himself at the dinner and made the decision to become part of the organization.

“Over the years, I've learned through Rotary to be helpful and to contribute financially to a lot of programs,” Geary said, adding that he has completely enjoyed the fellowship with other Rotary members.

In fact, he enjoyed it so much that at one time he had 29 years of perfect attendance, even attending Rotary meetings while on vacation in places like Missouri, South Carolina and Ohio.

“There was a gentleman who had 30 years of perfect attendance, and I didn't want to break his record,” Geary said, adding that he intentionally missed a few meetings.

Stoner said his father was a Rotarian in the 1930s and 1940s and had a good experience.

“I was approached by some members of the club and asked if I would be interested in joining,” Stoner said. “Since then, I've been involved in just about every aspect of Rotary.”

Stoner added that he has continued to be involved with Rotary over the years because of the camaraderie and the work that Rotary does here and all over the world.

Over the years the Rotary has worked with the local historical society as well as West Overton Museums and has given new dictionaries every year to third-grade students in the Southmoreland School District, St. John's Roman Catholic School and Mt. Carmel Christian School.

The Rotary has also been trying to eradicate polio around the world and has seen great results with a first-time report of no polio victims in India in 2012.

Both members are planning to continue in Rotary for as long as they can serve.

Stoner said it's just a great organization. Geary said future goals include getting more members to keep the organization going.

“Membership is a problem in the whole area,” Geary said. “People don't want to take the time to go to the meetings.”

Stoner said he can't figure out why people don't want to join service clubs, in general, to try to help others.

The Scottdale Rotary meets at Woodcrest Senior Living Community every Tuesday at noon. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the service organization may attend a meeting or call Geary at 724-887-9768.

The next event sponsored by the Rotary will be a multiphasic blood testing from 7 to 10 a.m. Feb. 23 at Trinity United Methodist Church on Mulberry Street in Scottdale. The basic blood test is $7; more tests are available for an additional cost.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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