Rotary club of Lynn celebrates 100 years of service

The audience gives Obie Barker a standing ovation as he is presented with the Paul Harris Award at the Rotary Club of Lynn Celebration of 100 Years of Service dinner held at the Four Points Sheraton Wakefield. (Owen O'Rourke)

A cocktail hour, surprise awards, and emotional speeches helped ring in 100 years of service from the Lynn Rotary Club.

Members of the community gathered in the Colonial Ballroom at the Four Points by Sheraton in Wakefield to celebrate the organization’s 10 decades of dedicated service. The Wednesday evening event offered a cocktail hour, a silent auction raffle, and a free, catered dinner.

“Rotary is an organization of business professionals, as well as professionals from various other resources, that promote ethics in business but also service to mankind,” said Stephen Upton, Lynn Rotary Club president. “The belief is everything, no matter how small, can ultimately contribute to peace.”

Upton has been a member of the Lynn club for eight years and was elected as president three years ago. The 47-member club offers a variety of community services such as the Student Awards Program for local eighth graders, the Annual Special Games for special needs children, the Dictionary Project, which distributes to local third graders, financial services for local homeless veterans, the Annual High School Football Luncheon, scholarships for future college students, and Camp Rotary, which has been around since 1921.

The 100-year celebration featured International Rotary Club president Ian Riseley as the keynote speaker. He helped present the Paul Harris award to Obie Barker, former Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Lynn, which was a surprise to everyone in the room. According to Riseley, the Rotary club of Lynn is the oldest, continuous Rotary program in the world.

“The motto of rotary is service above self and I, as well as the rest of the club members here, just happen to believe in that,” said Upton.

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