One hundred years ago today, May 17, 1917, a group of Carthage business leaders gathered to form a club designed to help make the community a better place.

One hundred years ago today, May 17, 1917, a group of Carthage business leaders gathered to form a club designed to help make the community a better place.
It was the 320th version of a relatively new philanthropic club called Rotary International, the first of which had only been founded 12 years ago in Chicago.
The current members of that club gathered at the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix Auditorium on Saturday to celebrate 100 years of giving back to the Carthage community with a banquet and speakers.
Past Rotary International president Ron Burton, from Norman, Okla., the keynote speaker, said it was a pleasure to speak on an auspicious occasion.
“It's a really wonderful event for any Rotary Club to have survived 100 years,” Burton said. “When you stop and think, whether you know anything about the club or not, about the difference this club has made in the community, it has to be tremendous and it continues to make that difference today. I'd hate to see what these communities would be like without organizations like Rotary, and having caring people who really do care what happens in the community.”
District officials and representatives from the Joplin Rotary International were among the 140 people who attended the banquet.
More than a dozen past presidents of the Carthage Club, including Tom Geisert, who was president in 1968, lined up for photos, and members swapped stories and memories.
Current Carthage President Jerry Poston said reaching this milestone is a big deal.
“Our theme is Rotary Serving Humanity,” Poston said. It's something that all the past presidents since 1917, all the way up until now, all of us have the same thing in mind and that's helping people locally as well as internationally.”
Poston said the club gave out eight scholarships, worth $1,000 each, to graduating Carthage High School Seniors earlier this month, and serves the community in a number of other ways.
“We're here to help,” Poston said. “We do different things to raise money to be able to give money, we do the Brats on the Square, we do the Rotary Club Golf Tournament, we do the Christmas Raffles, different functions to raise money, and it all goes back to the community.”