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The Rotary Club of Space Center (Houston), Texas, and U.S.A.
District 5890
Club 2010

Chartered August 6, 1964

The Rotary Club of Space Center
A Topical Summary
August 6, 1964 - June 30, 2014

The Club’s members are grateful for the efforts of Walt Wicker who captured the history from 1964 to 1978 and several others, some not known, who provided invaluable information in the early years. All of these documents are available on the Rotary Club of Space Center History Web site, In addition, many of the Club’s presidents maintained records for their respective tenure, which provided valuable information for the history. One of the most valuable sources of information, which contained many of the Board of Director's meeting minutes, membership records, and some Shrimporee Reports, was Charles Hartman's file covering several years, which was meticulously maintained. Also many of the former presidents were still active members of the Club during the writing of this history and provided information from their perspective retrospectively.

The history of the Rotary Club of Space Center is compiled in three formats: the electronic archiving of the historical data on a Rotary Year basis; the harmonizing of the archived data into topical summaries in a quasi chronological order called History of the Rotary Club of Space Center, A Topical Summary; and The History of the Rotary Club of Space Center, A Corollary Version

This history is written on a topical basis in a chronological order ending in Rotary Year 2013-14. The first year is essentially all the history record for that Rotary year. This was done not only to maintain the history but to reflect the culture of the period. The primary sources of most information for the history was the newsletter, Blastoff, and the Club’s Board of Directors meeting minutes. However there was little or none for some of the Rotary years. The history is written based on the available history record recognizing there are date gaps. Many times activities occurred before and after a gap in the history record and often it was assumed that the activity continued through the gap. Such gaps are noted in the write-up. Although there are gaps, the overall history is a reasonable reflection of the activities of the Club. In addition to general historical information, some activities contained details, especially the origins of activities, and even quotes to give the reader a better understanding of an activity and a flavor of the culture of the Club during that respective period. The monies quoted for specific activities are very likely less than the actual amount due to the lack of details. For instance for three Rotary years the total amount of income is known but the actual budget was not available in the history record.

Unlike the Rotary year histories, this history is not designed to be a navigator for related historical records; however it does contain links to the same historical documents referenced in the Rotary year histories for convenience to the reader. Additionally, it contains multiyear statistical information not contained in any one Rotary Year history.

The first year, Rotary Year 1964-65
In 1961, the newly formed National Aeronautical and Space Agency (NASA) in Washington appointed a committee to look into finding the right area in which to build a manned space center. There was a list of about eighteen criteria which the site had to meet such as; close to a body of water, and access to an international airport, a large city, and a university. After months of weighing the various criteria, NASA announced that Houston, Texas had been selected for the site. Congressman Albert Thomas learned that NASA was seeking a site for the new space center and steered the NASA people to the Clear Lake area where Humble Oil Company owned a parcel of 20,000 acres. Humble Oil had purchased the West Ranch in the 1930's in order to develop the oil resources. They gave Rice University 1,200 acres of this land, part of which the university then gave to NASA. The site was a piece of prairie land, sparsely inhabited, flat, and close to Clear Lake, which empties into Galveston Bay and on into the Gulf of Mexico. Ellington Air Force Base was also close to the site. There were several small towns in the area: Kemah, Seabrook, La Porte, League City, and Webster. Temporary office space was found in nineteen buildings in the Houston area for NASA and contractor employees while the Space center was being built. Hurricane Carla had hit the area in October 1961 and much of the devastation remained.

Suddenly the area of small towns boomed; NASA and contractor employees began to flood into the area with their families. Housing developments sprouted; restaurants and businesses were established. Newcomers made friends easily because most of them had no built-in families or friends in the area. When strangers met they asked each other "Where are you from?" It was rare for the answer to be, "Texas." Looking back to 1962, it is easy to see why such an institution as a Rotary Club took root. Men were looking for new friends; some of them had been Rotarians before they moved to the Clear Lake Area. The excitement generated by a major complex being erected in an undeveloped area which would soon be known around the world spurred the thirty-five men who would become the charter members of the Rotary Club of Space Center.

In 1963 Fred Lane, President of the La Porte Rotary Club, conceived the idea that the territory around Seabrook would possibly support a Rotary Club. Accordingly, at the suggestion of the District 589 Governor, a preliminary survey was made. Lane contacted Ellis Bareiss of the Rotary Club of Pasadena to see if he would assist in the organization of such a club. After a few visits it was Lane’s opinion that Seabrook could not at that time support a Rotary Club. However, with the rapid development of the Space Center area it was felt by District 589 Governor Virgil Lee that a survey should be made to determine if a club could be organized in that area. Ed Bracher and Bill Avery, both past District 589 Governors, made a preliminary investigation and felt that a Rotary club would prosper there. However, other than a few visits with interested parties, not too much was done until May 1964.

On May 11, 1964 past District 589 Governor Edwin Bracher, J. A. Newborn, and Ellis Bareiss met for lunch at Mike Kouchoucous’s NASA Grill to discuss organizing a club in the Space Center area. It was agreed, following the meeting, to ask Governor Virgil Lee to appoint Ellis Bareiss as the Governor’s special representative to carry forward organizing a Rotary Club at the Space Center.

On May 15, 1964 an evening meeting was held at the Nassau Bay National Bank with the following present: J. A. Newborn of the Suburban Journal; Ivan Brown, President, Nassau Bay National Bank; Bob Stevens, President - Elect of the Rotary Club of La Porte; Carl Springer of the La Porte Rotary Club; Ellis Bareiss, Special Representative and a member of the Rotary Club of Pasadena; and Bob Gardner, South Western Savings & Loan Company. Prior to the meeting a tour of the area was made with Messrs. Brown, Newborn, and Bareiss.

A tentative survey form was filled out to determine the possible number of classifications in the territory. It was found that 84 separate classifications were on the list, representing different businesses or professions. Territorial limits were checked with Dick Proctor, Secretary of the Rotary Club of Houston since the club had jurisdiction over the area in the vicinity of the Space Center. Subsequently a formal request from Ellis Bareiss was filed with the President of the Rotary Club of Houston, Erwin Heinen, on May 19, 1964. The territory to be encompassed by the Club would be as follows:
• Genoa-Red Bluff Road on the North
• The Gulf Freeway on the West
• Clear Creek, Clear Lake and Taylor Lake on the South
• Red Bluff Road on the East

The Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of Houston approved the release of the territory and on June 11, 1964 the membership of that club approved the release.

Ellis Bareiss completed the Rotary International Extension Survey and forwarded it, along with his recommendations, to the District 589 Governor Virgil Lee in a letter dated May 22, 1964. His recommendations are as follows: “Having visited this area on several occasions, I am literally overwhelmed with the vast amount of building and new businesses moving into the area. As you know, predications are that by 1970 there will be 250,000 people living in the immediate area. This is equivalent to a city the size of Austin, Texas. New places of businesses are opening just as rapidly as space is available. It appears from a brief discussion of its possibilities that there will be at least 200 good solid Rotary classifications in the area within the next five years. Many large companies, professional men, and smaller businesses have signed contract for space just as rapidly as arrangements can be made to accommodate them. I have reference to such companies as Joskes, Foleys, perhaps Sakowitz, and others. In addition, several new churches and schools will be in operation in the area soon. This looks like an ideal area to start a fine Rotary Club. The people I have met and talked with will make good Rotarians. It is my recommendation to proceed as rapidly as possible.” Governor Lee forwarded the survey papers, together with his recommendations to Rotary International on May 23, 1964.

On May 26, 1964, Rotary International notified Special Representative Ellis Bareiss that the survey had been accepted and plans should be made to proceed with further organizational activities. On June 4, 1964 a meeting was held at Nassau Bay Inn with the following persons present:
Ivan E. Brown
J. A. Newborn
William Williamson
Mr. and Mr.’s Joe Stutts
Mr. and Mr.’s Bill Parker
Mr. and Mr.’s Ellis Bareiss

Following a very pleasant visit and dinner, the ladies had a social meeting while the others gathered to draw up a list of thirty prospective charter members for the new Rotary Club. It was agreed, after the list was drawn up and reviewed, that another meeting should be held just as soon as possible. This meeting is to be attended by all those whose names were placed on the tentative Charter List.

The application for membership in Rotary International noted that the officers for the Provisional Rotary Club of Space Center, Houston Texas were President, Ivan E. Brown; Vice President J. A. Newborn; Secretary, Joe E. Stutts; Treasurer, Joe R. Stutts; and Sergeant at Arms, David L. Shaw. The Board of Directors was Ivan E. Brown, J. A. Newborn, Jr., William A. Parker, Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr., Eddie H. Nettles, Paul K. Swackhamer, Joe R. Stutts, and David L. Shaw. The Charter Members were as follows:
• Ahlborn, Donald A.
• Allen, Richard
• *Armstrong, Wayman
• Ball, Jack C.
•*Barber, William Gerald
• Berry, Charles A.
• Blanton, Wick J.
• Brown, Ivan E.
•*Cooper, Leroy Gordon
• Elder, John B.
•*Frost, Joseph H. Jr.
•*Gracey, Martin
• Graham, Bob J.
• Harrison, Colin
• Kellen, Walter
•*Kouchoucos, Mike
• Lipovsky, Vince A.
• Morgan, Frank G. Jr.
•*Nettles, Eddie H.
• Newborn, J. A. Jr.
• Parker, William A.
• Pickett, Walter M.
• Runger, Robert G.
• Sarahan, Bernard L.
•*Shaw, David L.
• Smith, Harry P.
• Steadman, Beverly E.
• Stutts, Joe R.
• Swackhamer, Paul K.
• Taylor, J. Boyd
• Tear, Richard T.
• Tompkins, S. S.
• Warzecha, Ladislaus W.
• Weston, William H.
• Whynot, Charles L.
*Former Rotarians
The first two members initiated into the Club were Gene Lindquist and Don Kirk.

District 589 Governor Edwin Bracher sent the Recommendation of the District Governor to the Rotary International dated July 11, 1964 transmitting the application. Governor Bracher, stated “Herewith I transmit the following documents, duly completed and signed, comprising the application of the newly formed Provisional Rotary Club of Space Center, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. for membership in Rotary International.” Rotary International approved the admission of Rotary Club of Space Center (Houston), Texas on August 6, 1964.

A letter from Beth Maveety, Extension Services, Rotary International dated August 6, 1964 notified Ellis R. Bareiss, “Congratulations to you and your club on your success in extending Rotary to this community. The application for the provisional club has been received and before long we hope to advise District 589 Governor Bracher of the admission of this club to membership in Rotary International.” No correspondence was found in the history record of the letter from Rotary International notifying Governor Bracher of the admission. However, a completed form titled Notice of Admission to Membership in Rotary International of the Rotary Club of Space Center (Houston), Texas, U.S.A. (District 589) as of August 6, 1964 with the initials of G.R.M. dated August 11, 1964 and another completed form titled The Notice of Admission of Rotary Club dated August 13, 1964 are apparently the official charter documents. The Club’s Charter was not in the history record or does Rotary International have a copy of it.

Preparations began for the Charter Presentation soon after the official notification was received from Rotary International. In a letter dated August 27, 1964 to Mr. President from Fred Lane, Arrangements Committee, detailed several things that had to be done. Fred Lane noted that Rotary International had indicated a special interest in the new club due to its location and the type of membership which included Gordon Cooper, one of the original astronauts. The letter continued with the arrangements noting that each Rotary Club in District 589 would want to participate to the fullest; therefore, each club was asked to contribute $25.00 toward operating items the new club would need, such as Banner, Flag, Bell, Gavel, Speaker’s Stand, Lapel Buttons, and Identification Buttons. The Charter Presentation was held at the Houston Yacht Club near La Porte on September 28, 1964. Banquet tickets were $4.50 per person, including tax and tip. The Houston Yacht Club could accommodate approximately 275 persons in its new banquet room. “Please have your members send in their requests for tickets NOW, and be sure the requests are accompanied by a check sufficient to cover the number of tickets desired. WE CANNOT RUN A DEFICIT” Lane noted. The letter further states, “All details have not been worked out and additional information will be sent to you as these matters are finalized. We will have an outstanding speaker and an outstanding program, and we know your Club will want to be represented. ALL Clubs in the district are requested to have representatives present.”

According to the Charter Presentation Program, the presentation was held on September 28, 1964 at 7:00 PM at the Houston Yacht Club Shoreacres, La Porte, Texas. Ellis R. Bareiss, Governor’s Representative presided. District Governor Edwin G. Bracher presented the Charter to Ivan E. Brown, President Rotary Club of Space Center. The Rotary Club of La Porte was the sponsoring club.

The new Club held regular luncheon meetings on Mondays at 12:15 pm at the Kings Inn. (Note: Monday was chosen because it was the best day to meet due of the extensive travel done by  the Rotarians who were with the manned space program.  Likewise noon was the best time during the day to meet  since there were standup meetings every day the first thing each morning.  Per  Bob  Wren May 1, 2015.)  The initiation fee was $20.00 and the annual dues were $25.00. The Board of Directors met on the third Tuesday of each month. A club banner was designed by Martin Gracey in 1965 and was approved that same year. The Board adopted a policy of giving out-of-state visitors a banner, and members of the club could purchase banners for $1.00 each to give to clubs that they visited.

The object of Rotary is the ideal of service. The Club’s committee system was set up based on this ideal with four avenues of service: Club Service within and to the Club; Vocational Service, service within one’s business or profession; Community Service, service to one’s local community; and International Service, service in the development and maintenance of friendly and harmonies international relations.

The Club’s community service program began almost immediately as it began work to establish a public library (Theodore C. Freeman Memorial Library, in honor of the deceased astronaut) in the Clear Lake area. Citizens of the area along with members of the Club organized the library and established temporary quarters in the Clear Lake City Recreation Center in January 1965. Two thousand volumes were donated by residents to help get the library started. The operation was entirely voluntary, from staffing to funding. Richard Veth and Richard Allen, members of Space Center Rotary, were elected to the first Board of Trustees of Freeman Memorial Library. Club members also participated in a variety of projects at the library: renovating the building, changing of partitions, constructing shelving, painting and landscaping. There was also a repainting job on the library by Club members. The year ended with 47 active members and 2 honorary members.

Rotary Years 1965-66 through 2013-14
The Club continued holding its regular meeting at lunch on Monday and opening each meeting with an invocation, a song, and the pledge of allegiance to the United States of America flag. Not until Rotary Year 2000-01, under President David Baldwin, was the Rotary Four-Way Test recited on a regular basis. The Club has met at 7 different locations and lastly at the Bay Oaks Country Club Houston, Texas beginning September 2006. The Club enjoyed the unique pleasure of moving four times during Rotary year 2001-02. From the Hilton in Nassau Bay to the Gilruth Center on the NASA Johnson Space Center campus in Houston until shortly after the September 11th attack on the World Trade Towers in New York, then to the Space Center Houston for a short period, and finally back in Nassau Bay at the Holiday Inn.

District 5890 Governor Suzi Howe 2006-07 and eleven past presidents continued to attend the weekly Club meetings through Rotary Year 2013-14.  Club President Billy Weseman, 1988-89, was District 5890 Governor in Rotary Year 1993-94.   Vince Lipovsky, a chartered member of the Club and District 589 Governor Floyd Boze 1981-82 continued to attend Club meetings through Rotary Year 2011-2012.

The Club’s Board of Directors (Board) met on different days and at different frequencies over the years. In recent years, (since 1995-96) it met once a month on the third Tuesday of the month. The Board requested twice, in 1968 and again in 1977, to include League City in the Club’s territory but was refused both times by the respective district governor. However change to the Club's territorial limits was approved in a letter and associated documents including a map dated May 21, 1982. The Sergeant at Arms position was established in Rotary Year 1975-76 and the position of Vice President/President Elect established in Rotary Year1979-80. The Articles of Formation of the Rotary Club of Space Center, Houston, Texas, an unincorporated nonprofit association dated August 17, 2010, replaced the Certificate of Incorporation of the Rotary Club of Space Center, Houston, Texas Charter No. 1311422-01 dated May 12, 1994. The Club received a Texas sales and use tax exemption in 1981 and again in 2002.  A letter dated February 9, 1981 from the IRS noted that the Rotary International Space Center Chapter Rotary Club is exempt from Federal income tax under Group Ruling No. 0573, section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. It noted that this exemption was granted August 1965. Board action on June 4, 1985 dropped the title of "Rotary Anns" for the Rotary wives to "My Rotary Wife" and later the title of “The Space Center Women of Rotary” was officially established June 18, 1987.

The “Blastoff” has been the official newsletter since the Club was organized.  The earliest edition in the history record was March 2, 1967.  The size, color, content, and shape varied depending on the editor with influence by the club president.  The newsletter was issued either weekly or biweekly.  With the emergence of the electronic internet, the Club installed in Rotary Year website which was called Club Runner, which communciated with the District and Rotary International.  With this website, the newsletter, Blastoff, was no longer issued weekly after Rotary Year 2010-11.  Information normaly in the Blastoff was send by email or placed on the Club's website.

International recognition came early in the Club’s history with emergence of the manned space program and several astronauts being honorary members of the Club: Frank Borman, Gordon Cooper, Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin, and Apollo crew James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott, and Russell L. Schweickart. The fame of the Space Center Rotary Club continued to spread and in 1966 when Astronaut Gordon Cooper addressed the Rotary International Convention in Denver, Colorado. The Rotary Club of Space Center was also featured in an article in the May, 1966 issue of the Rotarian. In addition, Frank Borman was a principal speaker at Rotary International Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii in May 1969. He presented Rotary International President Kiyoshi Togasaki of Japan the banner of the Rotary Club of Space Center. This miniature banner was carried on Apollo 8, the first flight to circumnavigate the moon. The banner now hangs in Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Illinois May 1969. In June 2012, Suzi Howe, Club President 2001-02 and District 5890 Governor 2006-07 noted: “I have just left One Rotary Center and learned that our banner is not "hanging" at Rotary International, but rather is stored off-site with other valuable historical documents and memorabilia in a properly controlled environment (temperature, etc.). There is a rotating exhibit of historical items from this collection."

The Club has received many prestigious awards since receiving the first recorded award in Rotary Year 1983-84. President Webb was selected the outstanding Club President for Rotary Year 1983-84, the Club was designated as one of the 5 "Best Clubs" in Rotary Year 1984-85, and has received six Club of Year Awards since then. It has received the Rotary International Presidential Citation nine times. Owen Morris was presented a 5-star, Paul Harris pin in recognition for his dedication to the Polio Plus campaign for raising $39,000 in Rotary Year 1987-88 and Dr. David Taylor received The Freedoms Foundation “At Valley Forge Award” in Rotary Year 1993-94. The Club became a 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club in Rotary Year 2006-07. Dr. David Taylor received the “Service Above Self” Award in Rotary Year 1988-89 and Stan Galanski received it in Rotary Year 2009-10.

It is the custom of Rotarians to exchange club banners when visiting other clubs, and over the years many Rotarians have visited the Rotary Club of Space Center and many of the Club's members have visited other clubs. The banners from these exchanges in previous years have been displayed at each Club meeting. However the number of banners became numerous and space to display them became difficult. With the electronic archive web site, the banners can be preserved and displayed electronically. Many banners have a special meaning to the Club members and consequently some have written appropriate messages beneath the respective banner. A special board was designed for displaying the banners at the club meetings in 1975. This board was 66 inches wide and 72 inches high. Apparently this board was large enough to hold all the exchanged banners at that time. In Rotary Year 1993-94, an article appeared in the newsletter stating that Sergeant at Arms Donnie Johnson collected banners from all sorts of garage and attic corners and had them sewn on large display dark blue banners. These displayed banners were mounted on the walls of the meeting room during the meeting. This practice continued until the Club started meeting in rooms where there was not sufficient wall space, i.e. the walls were mostly windows. In 2009 the banners were removed from the four blue display banners and the exchanged banners that had been received over the years that were not placed on blue display banners were scanned and electronically archived. The exchange banners are stored in the Rotary history storage room. As of January 2014 there were 520 banners in the electronic archives.

“Friendship was the foundation rock on which Rotary was built ...” noted Paul Harris in his write up on Friendship and Tolerance. Like Rotary, friendship was the foundation on which the Rotary Club of Space Center was built. Looking back to 1962, it is easy to see why such an institution as a Rotary Club took root. Men were looking for new friends; some of them had been Rotarians before they moved to the Clear Lake Area. Gatherings then were more formal as noted in the history record: “Following a very pleasant visit and dinner, the ladies had a social meeting while the others gathered to draw up a list of thirty prospective charter members for the new Rotary Club”. Fellowship took on many forms over the years from backyard socials (Dick Allen in 1967 and Carlos Villagomez in the spring of 1999) to a trip of 37 Rotarians, family, and friends to Austria and Germany in 1985 skiing at Innsbruk Olymplic Ski Runs and St. Anton Ski Areas in Austria; visiting the Innsbruk Rotary Club regular evening club meeting (special arrangements made to allow our ladies to attend); and making day trips to Salsburg and Venice; Neusewanstein, Germany Ludwig's castle, site of the Passion Play. Fellowship trips included going to the WURSTFEST in New Braunfels, Texas in 1988 and 1989 organized by Billy Smith and Bill Lowes to several fishing trips by Earl Maudlin and Johnny White in the 2000’s and farewell parties for Bill Geissler in 2000 and Suzi Howe in 2001. There were several Rotary Family nights at Jim Saxe’s Putt-Putt Golf and the Bay Oaks Country Club. Eating at restaurants about every other week, going to the Houston Rodeo with fellow Rotarians from the District 5890, and attending Astros baseball games with Rotarians, friends, Interact Club students and International (Rotary) Exchange Students occurred regularly over the years. There was the annual Christmas party, sometimes with other Rotary Clubs, and there was always golf about every week weather permitting. Some unique gatherings took place such as the Mystery Dinner by Laura Hale in 2002. And of course the weekly Club meetings were the mainstay for fellowship where many came a half hour early just to socialize. One of the greatest fellowship activities together with much hard work, were the Shrimporees which began in 1974. Many of the Club members spend part, and many all day, working and fellowshipping. It was hard and often hot work but all say they enjoyed the time with other Rotarians and the many volunteers who helped. Today there are many long term Club members and you can ask them what is one of the main reasons they continue to attend, and they will say the lasting and genuine friendships they have with members in the Club. The Club had 3 Paul Harris/Floyd Boze dinners in Rotary Years 2009-12 to 2011-12 recognizing both great Rotarians for their "Service Above Self" life and the 94th birth day of Floyd in year 2012.  Floyd continued to attend the Club meetings on a regular basis until Rotary Year 2012.

Youth Activities were collectively the most funded and most Club member participated in projects of all of the service projects. Almost $739,000 has been given to such projects as the Interact, Academic Scholarships, Rotaract, YMCA, Drug Awareness, Boy and Girl Scouts, and International Youth Exchange. Club members also participated in many of the programs such as mentoring, Youth Forums, International (Rotary) Youth Exchange, drug awareness program, drug essay contest, Interact, and academic scholarships. A few of the Club member participation programs have continued through the years, however some of them were intermittent. Those continuing were the Interact and Rotaract programs, academic scholarships, drug awareness essay contest (not conducted since Rotary Year 2009-10), and the International (Rotary) Student Exchange.

The Interact program was started in Rotary Year 1967-68 but was not very active until the 1990’s. Even during the 1990’s and the 2000’s there was little or no activity for several of those years. In Rotary Year 2008-09, after three years of inactivity, an Interact club was organized again. The Clear Lake High School Interact Club ended the Rotary Year 2009-10 with over 40 student members. Club member and Clear Creek Independent School District Superintendent, Dr. Greg Smith was presented a Rotary International Presidential Citation by Assistant District 5890 Governor Chris Schneider at the June 14, 2010 Club meeting for the outstanding work he had done with the Interact program. In summary the Interact program appears to have been active in the 1990’s and early 2000’s and the late 2000’s or about 36% of the Rotary years since it was organized in Rotary Year 1967-68. Over $10,000 has been given to Interact since 1967-68.

Rotary Year 1988-89 was the first year that Rotaract was a Club committee in the avenues of service and the beginning of Rotaract for the Club at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL). The Rotaract was active in the early 1990’s with very little information about it for the remaining Rotary years in the 1990’s except for Rotary Year 1997-98. In that Rotary year, a Rotaract chapter was reestablished under the leadership of Student Ambassador President Kanchana Weerasinghe. Mr. Weerasinghe organized a book drive for the area women's shelter and local child care agencies. The Rotaract members assisted in the Rotary of Space Center Shrimporee, and helped with the Club’s Garage Sale. A Rotaract Club at UHCL was again established in Rotary Year 2009-10 after 4 years of inactivity indicating an active Rotaract in the early 2000’s and late 1990’s. Dr. Ted Cumming's (Club Rotarian and Dean at UHCL) was presented a Rotary International Presidential Citation by Assistant District 5890 Governor Chris Schneider at the June 14, 2009 Club meeting for the outstanding work he had done with the Rotaract program. Rotaract continued to foster humanitarian service and to build friendships among the young college students through Rotary Year 2010-11. There was no Rotaract in Rotary Year 2013-14.

The most active service project since the Club was organized has been the academic scholarships with over $135,000 in scholarships been given to outstanding high school students. The winners and their parents were invited to a regular Club meeting for receiving the scholarships. Often the Superintendent of the Clear Creek Independent School District made the presentation.

Carson Stephens, Youth Committee Chairman, found an article in the January 1989 Readers Digest that powerfully outlined the debilitating effects of drug abuse on individuals and society. The Youth Committee, then made up of Carson Stephens, Dr. Huey Barnett, Dr. Sam Marullo, Joe Skelly, Steve Waldner, Julia Vidal and Billy Weseman, agreed that the article would make an excellent teaching tool for young people in public schools. They also agreed that one way of disseminating the information would be through an essay contest conducted in cooperation with the schools but under the auspices of the Rotary Club. Thus was born the Space Center Rotary Drug Awareness Essay Contest. The Club participated in the Annual Drug Awareness Essay Contest until Rotary Year 2009-10. The winners and their parents were invited to a regular Club meeting where the winner presented her or his essay, and received their monetary awards. An earlier drug awareness program was approved in Rotary Year 1968-69. The ensuing years reflected varied interest regarding the program and the amount of monies given in some years. However, one year, the Palmer Drug Abuse Program was the major beneficiary of the Shrimporee. Nevertheless, the Drug Awareness Program was the most funded community project during the first 16 Rotary years, over $10,000. One year the Drug Awareness Committee sold Shrimporee tickets from door to door.

The International (changed to Rotary in Rotary Year 2010-11) Youth Exchange Program essentially began in Rotary Year 1985-86. In June 1986 the first students went to Cheltenham College (high school) in England. The students were Susan Hargrove, Pat Wren, Patrice Staples and Danny Taylor. Later, Cheltenham College students returned the favor and visited the Clear Lake area. The short-term student exchange was a success and the next Rotary Year, 1986-1987, a Youth Exchange Committee was officially created at District 589 level with Harold Jones as Chair and included Dr. David Taylor. Thus started District 589's involvement in Rotary Youth Exchanges, both Short and Long Term. There were 5 more short term out bound students and 3 long term and 4 short term students during the remainder of the 1980’s. Dr. David Taylor received the District Award for his service to District 589 and to the Club in the International Youth Exchange Program. The Club continued actively involved in the International Youth Exchange program during the 1990’s under the leadership of Alan Wyle who became Chairman of District 5890 Long Term International Youth Exchange in Rotary Year 1993-94. There were also much interactive between the International Youth Exchange students and the Interact students such as providing host families and a Foreign Exchange Student 'Overnighter' for 14 District 589 foreign exchange students. The Club remained actively involved in the International Youth Exchange program during the 2000’s under the leadership of Club members Alan Wylie and Dick Meyer. The Club also hosted several gatherings of the International Youth Exchange students over these years. Alan Wylie was elected President of the Southwest Rotary Youth Exchange in Rotary Year 2005-06. I would like to CONGRATULATE our Youth Exchange committee, especially Alan Wylie ..."stated District 5890 Governor Sunny Sharma, Rotary Year 2010-11 concerning District 5890 Rotary Youth Exchange committee being awarded the outstanding youth exchange district award for all of North America – United States, Canada, and Mexico." There have been 37 outbound and 38 inbound students since the start of the program and almost $110,000 given to the program since 1985.

Rotary Club of Space Center continued its long standing tradition of being actively involved with the youth in the community by sponsoring the Early Act First Knight (EAFK) program at the Whitcomb Elementary which was a Title One school of 26 ethnicities.  Working with the Superintendent of the Clear Creek School District, Dr. Greg Smith; Whitcomb Elementary Principal, Mark Smith; and encouraged by Tommie Buscemi, District 5890 Early Act Committee Chair; Club President Marilyn Musial deemed Whitcomb Elementary was the perfect school for the character building program. 

The program was themed around history’s champions of chivalry; role models of various eras and cultures who distinguished themselves through living by a code of high ethical standards and rendering service to others.  More than a student service club participated in by a few; it was a daily, mandatory course of study for each child, starting with the first day of Kindergarten.  It was a year-round character and service education program for elementary and middle schools that, for the first time ever, put Rotary into mainstream public education every day.

The first major fundraiser was held in July of 1974 at Galveston County Park, League City, Texas and has continued each year since then. It was patterned after the Brazosport Rotary Club Shrimp Boil. The event was moved to the September/October timeframe after the first year due to the hot weather in July. The format for the early years consisted of a live auction, conducted off an 18 wheeled truck trailer; a boiled shrimp and fried fish meal; entertainment such as a band, singer or recorded music; and a raffle of donated used vehicles. Activities such as a silent auction, 4 K run, beauty contest, and golf tournament were added to the Shrimporee in some of the latter years. The meal was famous for its boiled shrimp, fried fish, and Cole slaw. In Rotary Year 2005-06 President J. B. Fox changed the menu from fried fish and Cole slaw to Barbeque brisket, beans, and boiled corn. The preparation and frying of the fish was considered a safety concern. On September 5, 1984 the L.D. “Cap” Landolt Pavilion in Clear Lake Park, Seabrook, Texas was dedicated and became the home of the Shrimporee. The facility contained several features designed by some of the Club members to facilitate food preparation and serving for the Shrimporee, plus a large pavilion. Although the name Shrimporee has been used since 1974, names mentioned in various documents in the first year were Shrimp Boil and Shrimp Peel. The first shrimp costume was approved by the Board in August 1980 at an estimated cost of $750 to $1,000 and expected to last 10 years. Delivery was scheduled in September. The first available photo of the Shrimp costume was in 1997. A large shrimp dressed to represent a respective theme has always been the logo for the Shrimporee. In Rotary Year 2005-06 the President Elect was designated as the permanent Shrimporee Chair. The Club raised over $1.4 million net income with the Shrimporee since 1974 through Rotary Year 2013-14.

A second major fundraiser was started in Rotary Year 2000-01. It had several different names; VIP Auction and Wine Tasting, SCR VIP Gala, Boots and Black Tie Ball, and Springoree in Rotary Year 2006-07. It is estimated that over $204,000 has been raised with these fundraisers through Rotary Year 2013-14. The event was more formal, catered to adults, and had higher value live and silent auction items than the Shrimporee. It was held at a banquet type facility, rather than in a park environment with about 100 persons attending. It was primarily to recognize the Shrimporee sponsors. The event was changed from August 2005 to the spring 2006 in Rotary Year 2005-06 to provide more separation between it and the Shrimporee which was held in the fall.  The Club raised over $.29  million net income with the second major fundraiser since 1974 through Rotary Year 2013-14.

The total amount of money raised by the Shrimporee, the Springoree, and other fundraisers through the end of Rotary Year 2013-14 was over $1.7 million net income. The highest amount raised during a single Rotary year since the major fundraiser started in 1974 was in Rotary Year 2013-14, a net of over $99,000. A review of the income on a Rotary year basis indicates a marked decrease in Rotary Year 1992-93 which did not recover to the pre 1992-93 level until Rotary Year 2000-01. It was in this time period that the idea of investing some of the income for potential needs the next year became a reality. Based on various documents, the amount that was invested was $15,000 in year 1996, approximately the amount left over from the Space Shuttle Payload Project cancelled in about year 1988 or 1989. The primary purpose and benefit of such funds was to allow the Club to begin its service projects and activities early in the Rotary year and to establish a reliable Service Budget, and/or provide capital for equipment for the Shrimporee until the Shrimporee funds are realized at which time the advanced money was to be returned to the reserve. Such reserve funds were called “Forward Funding Reserves”. In April 2010 the Club’s Board approved the using of the income which had accumulated over the years as the basis for the next Rotary year’s Service Budget.

There were hands-on and/or monetary service projects every Rotary year since the Club was organized starting with the extensive hands-on work done on the Freeman Library in 1965 to an almost $300,000 Extreme Makeover Home Edition project in Rotary Year 2009-10. The hands-on projects are described in the following paragraphs for the specific year performed, and the monetary projects are described in an integrated manner in this paragraph. To arrive at the amount of money given to service projects since the Club was organized; the June 30, 2012 balance statement and the total amount of income raised through Rotary Year 2011-12 were used. The balance statement showed $112,881 not spent from a total income of $1,550,942 or $1,438,061 (94% of the income) given to service projects since the Club was organized. The top six service projects ranked by the amount of money given were: Academic Scholarships, International Student Exchange, The Rotary Foundation, Excellence in Education, Youth Activities, Space Center Rotary Club Endowment Foundation. See donations alphabetically by name and desceding by monetary value.

The Club’s membership experienced a steady increase for the first 25 years and then began to decrease at about the same rate for the next 25 years. The membership began with 47 members and ended with 99 at the end of Rotary Year 2013-14 with a peak of 187 in Rotary Year 1989-90. Statistically the growth was 300% to Rotary Year 1989-90 and with a 47% decrease by the end of Rotary Year 2013-14.

The first mention of a Group Study Exchange team was in Rotary Year 1971-72 regarding a team to Australia. Not again until May 1979 was the Club visited by a British six person team plus two hosts exchange study group. A team from Mexico visited the Club on May 1984, and a team from India visited the Club on April 1986. In Rotary Year 1989-90 a team who visited Australia presented the Club's program. The Club became more active in the Group Exchange Study program in the 1990’s and was visited by teams from several countries; Japan, German, Turkey, New Zealand, Australia, Czechoslovakia and Chile. In turn the Club supported teams that went to New Zealand, Czechoslovakia, Chile, and Germany. Hilmar Zeissig was District 5890 GSE Chairman until Rotary Year 1997-98 when he became District 5890 International Service Chairman. The Club remained active in the Group Study Exchange program and teams visited the Club for most (at least 8) of the years in the 2000’s and sponsored a person in a team going to Egypt. Club member Mike Dennard led a Group Study Exchange team on a month long visit in June 2006 to Johannesburg, South Africa. It was noted by President Dennard in Rotary Year 2011-12 that the Group Study Exchange (GSE) Program would likely be phased out by Rotary International.

Preparations for the 63rd Rotary International Convention held in Houston, Texas on June 11-15, 1972 occupied much of the Club’s time during Rotary Year 1971-72. Martin Gracey headed up the Club’s committee on the Convention. The Club arranged a visit for the kids of Rotarians attending the Convention to NASA’s Manned Space Center. It was estimated that 2,000 kids would be involved. The kids had lunch at the Manned Space Center, and then taken to Harris County Clear Lake Park for a “Moon Rock Concert” by local young people. The attendance to the Convention was expected to be 22,000 from 149 nations; however the official number was 13,287. District 589 had a goal of 5,000. A later letter noted 60 Rotarians and 8 guests were registered from the Club.

The Club awarded posthumously its first Paul Harris Fellowship for Harry Smith following his death in August 1972 to his wife, Pat, at the July 30, 1973 Club meeting. Since that time there has been 364 Paul Harris Fellowships named for a total of $468,350. The Club has also given over $106,000 to The Rotary International Foundation since 1964.

The Club’s Tenth Anniversary was celebrated during a dinner held in the Lakewood Yacht Club October 5, 1974. Club member Dr. Alfred Neumann presided as Master of Ceremonies and one of his remarks of interest was that the Club had started with 35 charter members, 328 persons have been inducted, and 208 members have been lost, with a present roster of 120 members. The turnover has been largely due to membership being from a transient aerospace industry personnel rather than lack of interest in Rotary. Eleven of the original 35 charter members were in attendance. In Rotary Year 1972-73 there was only 8 of the original 35 were members: Dick Allen, Martin Gracey, Vince Lipovsky, Frank Morgan, Bev Steadman, Lad Warzecha, Buck Weston, and Charles Whynot. “Charter members Charlie Whynot, Vince Lipovsky, Frank Morgan, and Bev Steadman celebrate the 25th Anniversary of our club” was the caption under their photo in the January 8, 1990 Blastoff regarding another club anniversary. "Frank Morgan and myself gave the club its 30th year anniversary party. Frank was one of the members that started the club. Frank was a fantastic Rotarian and worked very, very hard to do a wonderful job for Space Center Rotary Club," Donnie Johnson, President Rotary Year 1997-98, stated in year 2012. The 40th anniversary was celebrated at the University of Houston Clear Lake with a group picture of the Club members taken July 19, 2004. Only charter member Vince A. Lipovsky was a member of the Club in 2004.

In the fall of 1976, NASA announced a program known as the getaway special, also known as small self contained payloads. Club member Marv Mathews proposed that the Club sponsor a contest to develop a small payload to be flown on a space shuttle flight. The University of Houston at Clear Lake (UHCL) and Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD) were interested. UHCL would take care of cost of reservation and the balance of $2,500.00 to be paid by Club. The Rotary Club of Space Center was 24th in line, space having been reserved for student experiments in the Clear Creek and Clear Lake High Schools. The experiment proposed by Clear Lake High School examined the effect of wave action on live fish in zero-gravity and was being coordinated thru Goddard Space Flight Center, the NASA center in charge of GAS experiments flown on the Shuttle. The students held weekly meetings at the McDonnell Douglas building and followed a schedule leading toward a launch in the summer of 1985. Johnson Space Center as well as area aerospace contractors were lending assistance as advisors. The experiment apparatus was to be designed, manufactured, tested, and ready for flight by January 1985. The Gateway Special launch was announced pending for the fall of 1987. Rotary International also took an interest in the Shuttle Payload Program. The project was never brought to fruition due to the long time required for the students to define and develop a project, consequently graduating before it was completed, and then the tragic accident of the Challenger in January 28, 1986 which precluded further projects. The project was probably cancelled by the Board by Rotary Year 1988-89.

THE PAPER of the Bay Area dated March 5, 1980 was a special issue saluting the Rotary International and the Rotary Club of Space Center regarding the 75th Anniversary of Rotary International. Rotary International President, James Bomar, presented to Chris Craft of NASA, in appreciation for NASA’s service to mankind, a signed plaque at a dinner on February 29, 1980 at the Gildruth Center. In 1989, the President of Rotary International and 16 guests visited the Johnson Space Center with the District Governor and several of the Club's members accompanying him. Rotary International President Glenn Estess visited the Club and area January 23-25, 2005 at the request of Laura Hale, President Rotary Year 2002-03, who was the Assistant District 5890 Governor at the time. Assistant District 5890 Governor Hale made the request during the President Elect Training Seminar in the spring of 2004 where President-Elect Estess was participating. He was the honored guest at the January 24, 2005 Club meeting, made several presentations, and was the featured speaker of the day. During the program, he presented a Paul Harris Fellow award to Alan Wylie's sister who was handicapped and had a speech impediment, and recognized past Club President and District 5890 Governor Nominee Suzi Howe (2006-07) with her Bequest Society pin and package. She was the first member of this Club to make this type of contribution at this level. President Sun and others made President Estess aware of some the facts and accomplishments of the Club. Prior to the Club meeting, President Estess visited the Freeman Memorial Library where he cut the ribbon dedicating the Children's Reading Room and made a few comments on the importance of literacy in today's world. The reading room was named in the honor of the Rotary Club of Space Center which donated $25,000 over five years beginning in Rotary Year 2002-03. After the Club meeting, Vissett Sun, President Rotary Year 2004-05, escorted President Estess and others for a tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center. In Rotary Year 2008-09 President of Rotary International Dong Kurn “DK” Lee visited the Houston area including the NASA Johnson Space Center.

The Club has been involved with the senior citizens practically every Rotary year since the Club began. Normally about $1,000 per year, $500 in the early years, was donated to various senior citizen projects such as the Senior Citizen Olympics, senior citizen organizations, providing computers to a nursing home, medical alert pendants, and giving roses around Valentine’s Day to seniors in nursing homes. However for most of the 1980’s much more money was given to the senior citizens projects. Information in a Senior Citizens’ Program dated January 1982 noted that a Senior Citizen Committee had been formed in 1980. In that program a needs survey had been conducted, and the needs were transportation and a meeting place. The Club took transportation as a project; however there was no information in the history record as to whatever happened to it. During the 1980’s over $18,500 were given to senior citizen projects of which $5,000 was given to the Senior Citizen Olympics. The Red Rose Program was initiated in Rotary Year 2008 where red roses were given to seniors in local nursing homes around Valentine’s Day. Each year about 20 Rotarians and their spouses distributed “roses of love“(about 300-400) to and spend time with the residents. Over $28,000 has been given to senior citizen projects since the Club was organized.

In the fall of 1985, the Governor of Mexico District 417 requested aid due to the devastating earthquake which occurred in September 1985 (and again in April 1986) in Mexico City. As the result of the request, a project of District 589 and the World Community Service Committee under Dick Moore, acquired used hospital and medical equipment donated by South East Memorial Hospital to be shipped to the area. Mr. Lee Schroeder of Central Freight Lines of Houston and Mr. Fernando Navarro, representing Central Freight Lines in Mexico City, provided 2 trailer trucks, free of charge, to transport the hospital equipment from Houston to Brownsville, Texas and on to Mexico City (after a two week delay which required the American Embassy in Mexico City to get involved). The equipment was shipped January 22, 1987 and arrived at Mexico City by train.

A sister club relationship with the Aeropuerto Rotary Club was initiated by Roberto Ferrio in Rotary Year 1985-86. A small delegation from the Aeropuerto Rotary Club visited the Club to determine the feasibility of forming a sister club. The Club agreed to such a formation and 40 Club members and spouses visited the Aeropuerto Rotary Club in Rotary Year 1986-87 to consummate the agreement. The Fraternity Declaration (certificate one in English and certificate two in Spanish), a special banner reflecting the relationship, and the banner of the Aeropuerto Club of Mexico City were presented to Jim Hargrove, President Rotary Year 1986-87, during the visit to Mexico City. The Aeropuerto Rotary Club (38 adults) made a visit to the Club in Rotary year 1989-90. In Rotary Year 1993-94, President Vic Maria and wife Norma made a trip to the Aeropuerto Rotary Club to exchange plans and ideas. The ensuing history record was silent about the sister club.

The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation (RNASA) (named in October 1, 1985 Board meeting minutes) was established in 1985 (the first official board meeting of RNASA was October 15, 1985) by the Rotary Club of Space Center to organize and coordinate an annual awards event to recognize outstanding achievements in space and create greater public awareness of the benefits of space exploration. People who have made a preeminent contribution to space exploration were nominated by government, industry, professional organizations, and individuals. The winner was presented with The National Space Trophy. Nominations for Stellar Awards for individual and team achievements were solicited from NASA, the military, and industry leaders in human and unmanned spaceflight programs. Top ranked nominees receive Stellar Awards. The first Rotary National Award for Space Achievement was presented to Dr. Maxime A. Faget on March 12, 1987. The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation began in 1985 when Club member Owen Morris approached Charles Hartman, President Rotary Year 1984-85, with the idea of having a National Space Trophy to honor U. S. Achievements in Space Activities. “We need to recognize individuals and/or groups who have led us into the space age and who better to do this than the Space Center Rotary Club” noted Owen. Club President Hartman agreed with the idea and started the process moving. Club members made many visits to the appropriate committees and foundations of the Houston Rotary Club to learn how they formed and structured their annual Vince Lombardi Award Dinner held each fall to honor the college football lineman of the year, a national event. The Club decided to have a formal organization and asked Club member Billy R. Smith to establish a foundation incorporated in the State of Texas. Thus was born the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation with Charles Hartman as the first Chairman.

“The acronym, RNASA, was appropriate”, related Bob Wren, President Rotary Year 1985-86, “to the creation of a nationwide prestigious event since NASA was highly regarded in the aerospace industry. But from the start, we intended all space endeavors to be included, not just those of NASA. The Board of Advisors was carefully crafted to include all branches of the Department of Defense as well as other non-NASA participants. The Awards ceremony was to be a black tie event held at a facility capable of providing for a prestigious national event with about 1,000 persons in attendance. Since this was to be a nationwide event and not just a Johnson Space Center or NASA event, a dinner location in downtown Houston was chosen. The Houston Hyatt was ideal with its superb food service and other amenities needed for such an event. Club member and General Hal Neely provided a wealth of knowledge and effort in properly adhering to accepted formal protocol especially with the Department of Defense involvement. This included proper seating arrangements at the Head Table, Color Guards, pick-up, and transportation of dignitaries and special invited guests from across the country. He knew all the rules of proper conduct that should accompany formal affairs. The RNASA Foundation borrowed seed money from the Rotary Club of Space Center to get started including $35,000 for the large display trophy, a truly great work of art of leaded crystal.”

The RNASA Foundation has presented the National Space Trophy each year since 1987 (through Rotary Year 2011-12) at a stellar banquet held at the Hyatt Regency Houston, Texas for 19 years; the South Shore Harbor Conference Center League City, Texas for 2 years; and Space Center Houston located in Houston, Texas for 5 years.

The Club and St. John Hospital Nassau Bay, Texas announced the formation of the Rotary World Health Foundation (WHF) in Rotary Year 1985-86. The WHF provided plastic surgery, hospital care, transportation, and lodging for young people from around the world who suffer from physical deformities that prevented them from living a normal life in their society. The genesis of the Rotary World Health Foundation took place in the minds of Dr. Abdel Fustok, a plastic surgeon at St. John Hospital and Raymond Khoury, the hospital's administrator and a member of the Rotary Club of Space Center. Mr. Khoury had been seeking avenues for achieving the Club's goals for service to the international community. Dr. Fustok, also a Club member, had been impressed with the dramatic effect on self-esteem after corrective surgery, such as the young Lebanese girl he treated who had suffered disfigurement as an innocent victim of a car bomb in her home country. Through their professional association, the idea for a joint program took hold and the two co-sponsors were approached to evaluate their interest. The directors of both organizations enthusiastically adopted the project and started planning activities to receive their first patient as soon as possible. The first child arrived for corrective plastic surgery in cooperation with the Aeropuerto Rotary Club in Mexico City the week of August 10, 1987. Also Club member, Dr. David Taylor, Pediatric Dentistry, worked on several children to correct mouth and dental problems. The exact number of children treated since 1986 (to 2011-2012) is not known because of the lack of history record which was primarily the newsletter, Blastoff. However, the available records indicted at least 15 children were treated, with most returning for continuing surgery. The WHF was active from 1987 until about 2003 which was the last recorded child to be treated. Most were treated from 1987 to about 1996. The Foundation was established February 28, 1986 as a Domestic Nonprofit Corporation and forfeited existence on January 18, 1988 for failure to file annual franchise tax returns.

The Board unanimously accepted an official Club project, the Space Flight Memorial Foundation, with joint sponsor the High Flight organization March 4, 1986 and under took the task of building a Space Flight Memorial on or near the National Aeronautical and Space Administration Johnson Space Center. This endeavor was intended as a lasting memorial to all Americans who have lost their lives while engaged in the exploration of space. Funding for the memorial was to be raised through private individual, institutional, and corporate donations. The Board voted to advance $10,000 in seed money for this project. It was hoped that construction for the memorial would begin within a year. All of the officers and directors of the Space Flight Memorial Foundation were members of Rotary Club of Space Center. March 18, 1986 Board meeting minutes stated "One other note of special projects' information update was that the High Flight group is no longer a joint sponsor with Rotary Club of Space Center in the Space Flight Memorial Foundation." The history record has been silent on the project since 1986.

One of the most significant and historic events for the Club and Rotary International was the admittance of women into Rotary International. An article in the August 10, 1987 Blastoff noted that the Club was to start processing proposals for women members. Dr. Myra Gochnour-Hooker was the first woman inducted into the Club on November 16, 1987. Shirley Battey was the second woman and Donnie P. Johnson the third inducted into the Club. Donnie Johnson became the 34th president of the Club in Rotary Year 1997-98. See photos of the first three women in the Club.

Another first for the Club was the new member orientation program called the "Red Badge" program developed in Rotary Year 1987-88. It was a checklist of things to do and sign off to quickly acclimate a new member on the practices and procedures of Rotary and the Club. The September 26, 1988 Blastoff noted that Eddie Harris was the "Father" of the Red Badge Program. The program was soon adapted by District 5890.

The dedication, contribution, and warm friendship of those members who have passed away will always be cherished and remembered by the Club members. Over the years efforts have been made to commemorate these beloved members. The first effort was to plant a tree for each deceased member on the north side of the YMCA on Highway 3 in Webster, Texas at the property line going from the east to the west. The July 13, 1987 newsletter, Blastoff, noted the following statement regarding this memorial: "As a way of honoring the deceased members of our club, it was decided in 1985 that we would plant a memorial tree (live oak) in the memory of each deceased member in the designated Memorial Grove at the Bay Area YMCA located on Highway 3 in Webster. To date, we have planted trees in memory of: Harry Smith, James L. (Jim) Haas, Alfred Neumann, and Richmond J. (Dick) Bownds. We are now planning a memorial ceremony to honor the following deceased Rotarians: Steven D. Stewart, Rex Strader, Dr. Jim Cook, Cheng Loon Hooi, Marvin Matthews, O. G. (Gene) Lindquist, and C. D. (Cap) Landolt." Unfortunately over the years, the trees have died according to Robert Wren, President 1985-86, and the memorial no longer exists. A second attempt to have a memorial for the deceased Club members was to erect an engraved monument close to the entrance to Clear Lake Park in Seabrook, Texas at the southeast corner of the fence which surrounds the Landolt Pavilion next to the parking lot. This memorial was set up in Rotary Year 1990-91 under the President Billy R. Smith. Over the years the deceased Club members were remembered in memorial services held by the Club. The most emotional event of Rotary Year 1993-94 was the formal dedication of the Space Center Rotary Club memorial marker at Cap Landolt Park Clear Lake Park in Seabrook, Texas. Many family members of deceased Space Center Rotarians were in attendance and expressed their heartfelt appreciation to the Club for holding this event. The monument has all the known deceased members engraved on the front and carrying over to the back. With the advent of the Club’s History Web Site the names and other information about the deceased members were also available there.

The Board pledged $100,000 February 1991 toward building a community center in Clear Lake Park payable no later than five years. Jerry Smith was selected to chair the fund raising committee. In a letter dated May 24, 1993, Terry Hesson, President Rotary Year 1992-1993, responded to a letter from Commissioner Fonteno: "Your letter to me dated March 17, 1993, was presented to our board of directors for discussion and, in light of the unforeseen complications and uncertainty of timing for this project, the Board has decided to suspend any further fund raising activities for the Center. While we will certainly consider this project again, when the problems have been solved, Space Center Rotary Club must withdraw its previous pledge of $100,000.00 and be relieved of this obligation. Because our budgeting is annual, it is difficult to sustain financial commitments that extend beyond the term of one president." As a result of the letter, the senior citizens who had been actively raising money for the center and who worked with the Club on a raffle in 1992, became upset because they thought the Club had reneged on its commitment to donate the money from the raffle (over $11,000) to the community center. Letters were received from Bay Area Sunshine Club, The Mainstreamers, and the National Association of Retired Federal Employees regarding the $11,000. Vic Maria, President Rotary Year 1993-94, responded to the letters stating that a meeting was scheduled August 27 at the City of Nassau Bay City Hall to discuss the issue. In President Maria's own words "It was not until I met with members of the Senior Citizens Clubs on August 27, 1993 at the Nassau Bay City Hall that I realized the level of animosity the Senior Citizens had against the Rotary Club over this matter." President Maria summarized the events in a letter to Commissioner Fonteno dated December 21, 1993 with the closing line reading: “The Space Center Rotary Club plans to take no further action in this matter until it hears from Commissioner Fonteno”.

The first Excellence in Education Awards for teachers in the Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD) was given in May 1991. Club member Dr. David Taylor, originator of the award, noted in year 2008 how it came about: "I started the Excellence in Education Awards in the fall of 1990. It was in response to a school tax rate hike that was rolled back by an election, and because of the new construction commitments the board was talking about making up the deficit from the teachers pay, and other ways that would affect students. Consequently I designed a selection process for honoring teachers who demonstrate excellence in their field." The Excellence in Education program has became one of the Club’s most active and prestigious programs. In Rotary Year 2008-09 it became a joint effort between the CCISD and the Rotary Clubs of Space Center, League City, and Seabrook. The Club has given over $82,000 to outstanding teachers since 1991. Teachers of the Year continued to further competition.

The Space Center Rotary Club Endowment Foundation (SCRCEF) was established February 15, 1991 with Billy R. Smith, Club President 1990-91, as President of the Foundation. Four of the Club's charter members (Charlie Whynot, Vince Lipovsky, Bev Steadman, and Frank Morgan) were among the first to receive Floyd Boze Fellows Awards by SCRCEF. The first fellowship was given to District 589 Governor Rotary Year 1981-82 and Club member Floyd D. Boze’s wife, Nancy Boze. Ninety nine Floyd Boze Fellowships have been given since SCRCEF was formed (as of Rotary Year 2013-14). The vision of the SCRCEF is to create and grow an essentially untouchable fund which will earn and produce funds for the “bricks and mortar” of places, organizations, and community groups which will identify and satisfy some of the needs of our community. Needs may range from those of the underprivileged to those of the whole community relating to the arts, science and education.

Project Free enterprise had its beginning recalled Club member Dr. David Taylor as follows: "International Youth Exchange started about 1985, and was headed in the district by Harold Jones. I served on that first district committee, and my son was on the first exchange we arranged and was sent to England as part of a group of four. I chaired Youth Exchange at our club for some time, served as the District chairman, and then in 1987 or 1988 managed to arrange exchanges with Hungary and East Germany using non-Rotarian contacts (they were still communist and did not have Rotary). We also sent two students to Moscow the next year. The Youth Exchange objective is to foster world peace through understanding. The many countries we had exchanged with did not have peace issues with us so an effort was made to exchange behind the Iron Curtain. My contacts for this were Gert and Marta Bahlo. Marta’s sister still lived in Hungary and she contacted her and got the pastor of her church to make the arrangements. Gert was a native of East Germany and still had family there. Marta was the mother of one of my patients and her accent tipped me off. Moscow University became the source in the Soviet Union as a result of my letter writing. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, I used some of these same contacts to start an international project to go to the Eastern bloc and give seminars on small business and free enterprise. This was called Project Free Enterprise. This was a Rotary project funded by a matching grant, and some of the speakers on these trips came from our own club – such as Gonzalo Montoya. These were 2-day free seminars to hundreds of people arranged by Rotary clubs in Hungary and Poland. We spoke in 16 cities in four years, and gave talks covering the business plan, management, marketing, finance, quality assurance, business ethics, management information systems, ISO standards, etc. A typical team was 8 people. After NAFTA was passed by Bill Clinton, there seemed to be a similar need for finding common ground in our business practices with Mexico business men, so I took a Project Amigo seminar team to Mexico City in 1995 and gave five seminars at various places around the city, arranged by our sister club there, Aeropuerto, and one of its past presidents, Umberto Orozco."

Ambassadorial Scholarships is the oldest and best-known program of The Rotary Foundation — a tradition of excellence since 1947.  Rotarians worldwide provide the funds that make this program such a success. These generous contributions are an investment in today’s scholars: they represent Rotary’s faith that these promising students will become tomorrow’s leaders and will make substantial contributions both to their communities and to the world.  The Club had 25 Ambassadorial Scholars since the first recorded one in Rotary Year 1971-72. Rotary Years 1978-79 through 1990-91 provided the largest number of scholars, with 15 of the 25.  The following thank you note was from Irene Shu-Wei Yao, as Ambassadorial Scholar sponsored by the Club in Rotary Year 1993-94. "To the Gentlemen of the Space Center Rotary Club: I regret that I am unable to be with you today, but I trust this note finds you in good health and humor. I'd like to thank all of you for supporting my application for the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. Because of your help, I will be attending the National University of Singapore next year, studying Southeast Asia in international relations and sharpening my command of Mandarin Chinese."

The Club sponsored a major new club in District 5890 during Rotary Year 1991-92. The Club, the Seabrook Rotary Club, began with over 56 charter members and was a very active and successful club. President Jack Lister asked Charles Hartman of the Rotary Club of Space Center to be the key person to advise the Seabrook Club and get it up and running. A tribute to Hartman was made in the February 8, 1993 Blastoff regarding his excellent work with the Seabrook Rotary Club. “Charles Hartman received an outstanding ovation from our club at the last meeting after a worthy tribute from Jack Fryday, president of the Seabrook Rotary club and former member of our Club ... Charles attended every meeting at the Seabrook Club and also kept a perfect attendance at our Club. His wisdom and experience got them off to a great start!”

Over $18,500 and 450 bicycles and scooters were given by the Club members to the Bicycles for Christmas project over Rotary Years 1992-93 to 2003-04. A letter in 2002 by Vic Maria, President Rotary Year 1993-94, to Nelle Spates and Lee Saladino, Houston Chronicle Goodfellows describes how the Bicycles for Christmas project originated. “Shopping for one another for Christmas was becoming a stressful event for my wife and me. About fifteen years ago my wife and I decided that we would no longer buy each other Christmas presents but would rather buy presents for foster children in the Three Wishes for Christmas program. She would pick 3 girls to shop for and I would pick 3 boys. It was fun. Then one morning in 1991 after buying gifts for the boys I had selected I awoke thinking of three or four youngsters who had requested only one gift - A BIKE. I could not think of any reason why I had not selected one of these youngsters who wanted a bike. It was then that I thought of a way to make this happen." Thus was the beginning of the Bicycles for Christmas program.

Five local police officers were awarded the first Distinguished Law Enforcement Award, the first year of the program, on April 12, 1993. The Law Enforcement Distinguished Service Award was developed by Club member Dr. David Taylor utilizing the organizational model he developed for the excellence in teaching award. “One outstanding feature was that it was not an award for "bravery", as important as that sometimes is in law enforcement, but an award for excellence in upholding the law in a professional way and serving the community” noted Dr. Taylor. The criteria were: professionalism, effectiveness, community involvement, and valor. The Excellence in Public Service Award program recognizes not only law enforcement officers, but also emergency medical services personnel and fire fighters. Over $49,000 has been awarded since the program began.

The Vocational Excellence Award was awarded only three times in Rotary Years 1997-98, 1999-00, and 2000-01 based on available information. However there was very little information in the history record for the two Rotary years preceding these awards and for Rotary Year 1998-99. Further there is no history record of how it started; perhaps it was in the Rotary years prior to the first noted award in Rotary year 1997-98. The Award was given to individuals who excel in their vocations, have made notable achievements, support their communities, and whose efforts make a difference.

Club member Earl Maudlin started a "Rotary Bench" community service project which involved several of the Club members and provided a Rotary present in the local area and also part of Rotary’s Centennial Celebration. The benches were made of treated wood and had a large metal Rotary emblem appended to the back of the bench. There were 110 benches made at Earl's home work shop in Kemah, Texas. Special Centennial benches, numbers 99 and 100, were unveiled in honor of Rotary International President Glenn Estess’s January 23-25, 2005 visit to the Houston area.

Several hands-on projects took place during the decade of the 2000’s. Club member Dr. Vissett Sun and his wife, Adrienne, joined other Rotarians for a trip to Chinandega, Nicaragua for the Avoidable Blindness Project in Rotary Year 2003-04. He examined the eyes of the Children of the Dump School with some 220 children screened and 11 needing glasses, which he later made and sent back. The Children of the Dump were mostly orphans who lost everything in a hurricane that devastated their country and were found scavenging at the city dump to survive. Suzi Howe, District 5890 Governor Rotary Year 2006-07 and Club President Rotary Year 2001-02, and other Rotarians went in and built them housing and a school. Several in a group, called the Children of the Dump, travel about the world in the summertime singing to earn money to support their selves. Others on the trip included Past District 5890 Governor Charlie Clemmons and his wife, Barbara of Seabrook Rotary, Rotary Club of Space Center Laura Hale, President Rotary Year 2003-04, and Club member Dick Kidder. The Club gave over $32,000 to the project over decade of the 2000’s. The Club members donated clothes, packed into 6 large boxes and delivered them to District 5890 to be sent to Nicaragua for their resale shop which helps run the schools and clinic. Club member, Dr. Jack Bacon, spent two weeks working in Rwanda, Africa as part of the Johnson Space Center Engineers Without Borders group. A donation of $1,000 was given to Jack for the work of the Engineers Without Borders in Rwanda.

A quote from District Governor Jeff Tallas’ log (District 5890 Governor Rotary Year 2007-08) states “Yesterday the clinic (Guerrero Eye) had over 250 patients come through. It was truly amazing and a feat that could not be accomplished without a very coordinated effort by a lot of people. The motto of Rotary, "Service Above Self", was truly in full effect.” described the good work that was being done by District 5890 Rotarians in Guerrero, Mexico. The Club gave $14,000 to the Guerrero Surgery and Education Center and to the Rotary Eye Clinic in addition to a washer and dryer to the orphanage during the last half of the decade. Several of Club members volunteered their time during three visits there.

Several hands-on projects took place locally during the last part of the decade of the 2000’s: working on an old Farm House (Rotary Year 2005-06), building a Handicap Trail (Rotary Year 2007-08) and developing the Discovery Loop Accessibility Project (Rotary Year 2009-10); all in Armand Bayou Nature Center. Club volunteers also completed a 4 week community service project at Interfaith Caring Ministries in July 2010. Activities included re-striping the parking lot, painting offices on Hwy 270, and stocking the food pantry. A large closet was installed in the recreation room at Hope Village in Rotary Year 2010-11.

The Club supported hurricane Katrina (August 2005) relief effort in numerous ways. The Club’s members under the leadership of Suzi Howe, President 2001-02, provided over 200 man days helping the Katrina refugees in Houston and the Bay Area. The Club supported District 5890’s request for $30.00 per member for the Katrina disaster resulting in $2,600 being given to the District. The Club also joined the Sharpstown Rotary club in a project with two clubs in Louisiana. The Sharpstown Rotary Club matched any fund sent. The Club gave $1,000 and Mike Dennard received $1,000 from a Club in Africa designated for the Sharpstown Club. It also matched the gift from Africa.

After having determined that FEMA was concentrating on New Orleans, Rotary Year 2005-06 Board decided that any help, other than that which we had given, would be concentrated in Mississippi around Gulf Port or Pascagoula. As a result, the Club contacted the Rotary District Governor in Mississippi and found a school that had severe damage and no FEMA help. The local club in Gulfport was contacted and a matching grant was applied for and was received. The total was for $16,000 of which $8,000 was donated by the Club and a matching amount of $8000 from The Rotary International. This grant to the Club is an excellent example of the payback from the money that the Club members donated to the Rotary Foundation. Geoff Atwater, President Rotary Year 2006-07, presented the $16,000 to Drew Allen, President of the Gulfport Rotary Club in June 2006.

The Rotary Club of Space Center (SCR) had led a series of projects in Bolivia under the guidance of club member Stan Galanski, who had connections in South America through business and humanitarian contacts. The first project (MG 15826 in 2002) was a matching grant for a water well for an orphanage in the city of Cochabamba in the Central Highlands. Previously, the 150 orphans and staff relied on excess water not needed by a brewery uphill of the orphanage. The successful water well enabled La Villa to have a steady supply of clean water all their own.

The second project in Bolivia (MG 51329 in 2005) benefitted the Andean village of Aramasi by providing an ambulance and motorcycle for the medical clinic in the village. The motorcycle allowed for home visits to “hard-to-reach” villages and for those indigenous people too sick to walk to the clinic. The ambulance, a small SUV, allowed for the transport of seriously sick or injured to a hospital in Cochabamba.

The third project (MG 56831 in 2006) provided irrigation enabling gardens for all the families in Aramasi. A steady diet of corn and wheat contributed to an almost universal condition of malnutrition among indigenous children. A steady diet of corn and wheat contributed to an almost universal condition of malnutrition among indigenous children. The grant covered tapping into an aquifer one kilometer from the village, installing PVC pipe to bring the water to two holding tanks, one on each side of the village, and a common distribution system to the gardens. An addition to the grant provided one year’s salary for an agricultural engineer to teach modern growing methods as the villagers had been practicing only traditional ways previously. When Stan Galanski and Geoff Atwater visited the village in June 2007, they found that malnutrition among all children had gone from approximately 85% to zero as a result of changes in diet resulting from good gardening practices. In addition, most villagers grew more than they could eat and were selling the surplus for a modest source of cash. Changes to the village were clear as many huts had casement windows, metal roofs, and an occasional second story.

The fourth project at Aramasi (MG 67468) provided an irrigation dam that represented a huge change in culture for the people. Since forever, the villagers had been surviving on one crop per year following the rainy season. Completion of the dam would allow for multiple crop cycles per year, a singular advance in agricultural method. The dam was designed in 2006 in cooperation with the regional government of Tapacari. In June 2007, Stan and Geoff noted that the Tapacari contribution allowed for completion of the first 3 meters of the 10 meter dam, construction of the sluice, and a control gate. Geoff christened the dam using Holy Water provided by the Monsignor of Neustra Senora de Guadalupe in Cochabamba. A local contractor was engaged to complete the dam and funds were obtained to purchase all materials well in advance as a hedge against inflation consuming too much of the grant money. Even so, the grant monies, priced in a prior year, were not enough and more money had to be raised. Geoff contacted members of SCR who eagerly stepped up and contributed $12,600. Total project costs came to approximately $77,000, including an estimated $10,000 from Tapacari. The SCR contributors were: Mike Brown, Ted Cummings, Mike Hernandez, Mike Hess, Don Kirchoff, Earl Maudlin, Olive Murphy, Gene Tromblee, and SCR. Stan returned to Aramasi in June 2008 to attend the dedication ceremony for the dam. The original intent had been to provide year-round farming to keep people in the village and to discourage moves into the city where circumstances could be even more desperate. The result was far different. The village of Aramasi had become a model village, not only to the surrounding area, but also to the regional and national governments. Aramasi had become self-sustaining and the people were on the road to prosperity, a true example of a Rotary project raising expectations among beneficiaries. Additionally, the design on the dam has been replicated in other areas of Bolivia in projects funded by the regional and federal governments.

The final project in Bolivia (MG 64413) addressed a water problem in a girl’s school in Concepcion (Nuestra Senora del Rosario), near Tarija in the south of the country. The school was run by 5 Benedictine nuns and served 300 girls. A dormitory was available for those with some money and whose homes were not convenient to the school. The source of water for the municipality was a nearby river that would dry up during the dry season when girls would be charged with carrying water in buckets from half a mile away. Water quality testing was conducted when Geoff visited the school in June 2007 and again in December 2007. Very low levels of contamination were noted, despite the turbidity of the water. This result led to defining the project as provisioning rather than purification. A local contractor was engaged and built a 40 foot water tower with a pump at the base to move water up to the tank. Distribution lines were installed from the municipal tap and from the tank throughout the school complex. Total project cost came to $30,000. The height of the tower allowed for water pressure to the second floors of the convent and the dormitory so neither the nuns nor the girls would need to carry buckets of water up the stairs just to bathe. The success of the project was proved in the dry season of 2010 when the nuns did not realize the municipality had run out of water and their supply was uninterrupted. Elsewhere in District 5890, this project inspired the leadership of District Interact to hold a fund raiser to benefit the school in Concepcion. The members of Interact were challenged to divert money they would have spent on soft drinks to make a contribution for the project. In this way, they raised $3,500, which went for hot water heaters to replace the problematic “bare wire” method previously used by the nuns.

A new Club web page was constructed and kept up-to-date in Rotary Year 2006-07. A comprehensive database was prepared and resided on the web page, password protected and available to members only. The Club membership was kept informed in real time of items of interest at the District level and the Club level. District 5890 and Space Center both installed the Club Runner programs, which provided a management tool and communicate platform to connect Rotary International, District 5890 and the clubs in the district.

Rotary Year 2006-07 brought Rotary Club of Space Center, the Galveston County Health District, and Interfaith Caring Ministries together in an outreach community program (Blane Community Immunization Grant 375) offering nursing, nursing assistance, and immunization serum to both pre-schooled and school aged children up to 18 years of age who were under immunized due to either a lack of funding and/or parental awareness to the importance of age appropriate immunization. Interfaith Caring Ministries provided the location site for the immunization clinic in addition to developing promotional material and conducting public service announcements. The Interfaith Caring Ministries location attracted families who were need for food pantry and overall special needs assistance. The Club’s members participated with community outreach announcing immunization events to local establishments and provided service duties at five immunization events assisting the Galveston County Health District nurses, clinical screening personnel and Interfaith Caring Ministries’ staff with facilitating immunization administration. Children were provided school supplies and goodies during this event.

Club member Pat Doughty was awarded the Rotary Foundation Service Award for her work as counselor for Ambassadorial Scholar, Eun Hye Kong, from South Korea. The Club was the host club for Ms. Kong, who pursued graduate studies in architecture at the University of Houston. Club member Hilmar Zeissig received the Rotary International Service Award in Rotary Year 2006-07 for serving 10 years as International Chairman of Rotary District 5890 and was asked by District 5890 Governor Elect Jeff Tallas to continue as Co-Chairman for Rotary Year 2007-08. He was also the Discovery Grant Team Leader to Thailand, the District 5890 International Service Chairman, and received the Rotary Foundation District 5890 Service Award.

The popular TV ABC show, “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” kicked off its latest new home makeover in Kemah,  on January 7, 2010 when Ty Pennington, popular host for Extreme Makeover - Home Edition screamed into his bull horn, “Good Morning Beach Family”. The handover of the keys to the old home (Larry and Melissa Beach) took place and a whirlwind of activities started, culminating on January 14 with Ty again leading a chorus of "Move That Bus". In the course of 7 days, over 1,100 volunteers worked 24 hours a day to tear down the Hurricane Ike damaged home and build their new home, the largest home ever constructed in Extreme Makeover history. Jon McKinnie, President Rotary Year 2009-10, saw a great opportunity for Rotary to be involved and jumped in “head first”. "This once in a lifetime project is the perfect opportunity for us to give back to those less fortunate and to share our Rotary story on a national stage", noted President McKinnie. Rotarians across the greater Houston District 5890 had an integral part supplying material, supplies, food, and labor totaling over $50,000, plus financial support. Club member and Vice President of Lewis Jewelers, Slade Lewis, was instrumental in raising money to pay off the Beach's home mortgage.

District 589 Governor 1981-82 Floyd D. Boze received a Proclamation from the State of Texas and one from the City of Houston, Texas naming February 7, 2010 Floyd D. Boze Day recognizing his lifelong contributions to the service to others and how he symbolized the Rotary theme of “Service Above Self”. Jon R. McKinnie, Club President 2009-10, also received a Proclamation by the City of Houston, Texas designating Jon R. McKinnie Day as follows: "On June 28, 2010, Rotary Club of Space Center will honor Jon. R. McKinnie in recognition of his community spirit, and involvement in local, state, and national civic activities. Jon R. McKinnie’s honors include “Outstanding Young Business Leaders to Watch” in America, and “Rotarian of the Year” for Arkansas (2005) and Houston (2009) among many others.” Jon McKinnie was also named the District Rotarian of the Year in Rotary Year 2008-09, and Stan Galanski received the “Self Above Service" Award in Rotary Year 2009-10.

David Coney, President Rotary Year 2010-11, received a "Certificate of Special Recognition” from City of Houston Council Member Mike Sullivan which stated: "That on the behalf of the citizens of the City of Houston, Texas I take great pride in joining Space Center Rotary, and David Coney’s family and friends in honoring him for his time as Club President." Mike Sullivan, Houston City Council Member, District 1. Suzi Howe, District 5890 Governor Rotary Year 2006-07 and Club President Rotary Year 2001-02, received the "Citation of Meritorious Service Award" from The Rotary Foundation and the "Past District Governor of the Year Award"; Jon McKinnie, Club President Rotary Year 2009-10, received the "Governor's Award"; and Alan Wylie received the "Governor's Award".

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