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Mountain City Rotary says goodbye after eight decades of community service

Mountain City Rotary Club member Ron Drake presents the 18th and final Charlie Hux Service Award to Flo Bellamy, Director of the Johnson County Community Center. Along with the plaque, the award includes a $500 donation to the Mountain City, Johnson County Community Center. Submitted photo.

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

The Mountain City Rotary Club has a long history full of charitable donations and community support. Now after more than 82 years of service, the Rotary resigned its charter and status on June 30, 2020.The Rotary Club may be closing, but that does not mean the members will stop working to improve the community.

“We’re around, and we’re still doing things,” explained Rotary member, Geneva Taylor. “The Mountain City Rotary has always been about community-our own and the world.” 

The Mountain City Rotary Club’s main local focus was education, and members reportedly are not changing their focus. The Rotary gave out its first scholarship in 1996 for $2,500 to JCHS Senior Molly Mays. 

In 2002, the Rotary started awarding scholarships for outstanding athletic and academic accomplishments in honor of Dr. Don Tarr. More recently, the Mountain City Rotary awarded more than $19,000 in “annual and multi-year” scholarships. These scholarships were split into $1,000 increments and went towards approximately eight local students’ education. Those scholarships will continue thanks to an endowment established at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in 2000, in which locals contributed the initial $10,000.

Other than the spaghetti dinners, the golf tournament with a $10,000 prize for a hole-in-one (never claimed), soup suppers,and many sponsored events the Rotary either supported or ran, the Mountain City
Rotary also reached internationally through its partnership with Rotary International (RI). Some of these projects include supporting the eradication of Polio through Polio Plus, providing wheelchairs for amputees in Africa, and traveling to Uganda to provide seeds, tools, medical supplies,
blankets, and books for children.

“Although the Mountain City Rotary Club has ceased, the former club members are confident that the Rotary’s idea of “Service Above Self” will continue to be a permanent and prominent part of our civic life in Mountain City,” said Taylor.

As its last act, the Mountain City Rotary presented Flo Bellamy with the 18th and final Charlie Hux Service Award for her work with the community. Award winners must be a non-Rotarian community volunteer that exhibits the Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self.” 

Along with the honor, the award winner receives a $500 donation to a charity or project. Bellamy chose the Mountain City Johnson County Community Center.