Pictured congratulating Cliff Grasmick (right) is Lakewood Rotary President Dennis Lovaas

Joined by his family and fellow Rotarians, Springwood resident Cliff Grasmick was honored Thursday evening for 60 years of membership in Lakewood Rotary. Cliff joined Lakewood Rotary in 1955 and has maintained perfect attendance for 60 years! During his tenure, Cliff held every office in the club, including President in 1974 and in 1975 saw the chartering of the Rotary Club of Wheat Ridge, where they knew him well.

Cliff was instrumental in instituting the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) Leadership Camp in the late 1980’s and served as District Chair of RYLA in 1994. Each year the Lakewood Rotary raises money for its scholarship fund to send youth to RYLA camp. A Scholarship in his name will be awarded in 2016. In addition to the camp scholarship fund, each year Lakewood Rotary raises money for school supplies and donates a large cache of supplies to Jefferson County Schools. One of the means by which they raise money is through “fines” given to members at weekly meetings. A member pays a fine if he or she can’t answer the question of the week. Cliff supplied the questions every week. He involved his whole family in the school supply drives and set an example of friendly inclusiveness.

The Rotary Club is a noteworthy service organization which exemplifies “Service above self”. Attorney Paul P. Harris founded the Rotary Club of Chicago on February 23, 1905 as a means by which like-minded professionals could form friendships, exchange ideas and serve their communities. The number of clubs grew and evolved into the National Association of Rotary Clubs, which became Rotary International in 1922

By 1925 there were 2,000 clubs with over 100,000 members on six continents. Members have served as prime ministers, U.S. senators and presidents. Today, Rotary International provides support to Rotary Clubs all over the world and develops initiatives, organizes campaigns, and coordinates international programs while continuing to work toward its goal of bringing positive changes to the lives of people throughout the world. The inaugural Rotary Club, based in Illinois, proved successful and valuable. Other Rotary Clubs emerged in the U.S. These clubs adopt the same three characteristics set forth by Harris and other Rotarian leaders. These traits include dedication to national and international service, perseverance in difficult times, such as wars and natural disasters, and commitment to community service. These characteristics, Rotarians assert, distinguish the Rotary Club from other, similar organizations. Rotary Clubs contain more than one million members worldwide and exist in more than 160 countries. Although they function independently, all rotary clubs carry out services for improving lives of citizens in surrounding communities. These services include combating disease, promoting peace and camaraderie, and establishing high standards for moral and ethical conduct. The Rotary Club promotes friendships among people of different backgrounds, which generates feelings of respect and tolerance. Rotarians worldwide encourage truth and fairness to benefit society.