Local Rotarians honor 100th birthday by giving money, time to Silver Key, Confluence Park

       In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Rotary International, local Rotary clubs culminated two civic projects this week.
       At Silver Key Senior Services, the Rampart Range Rotary Club gave new kitchen equipment to the Meals on Wheels program. Club President Tom Van Camp estimated the group spent $14,000 in all on the project. At Confluence Park (just east of I-25), a ceremony was held by the North Colorado Springs, East Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods Rotary clubs to commemorate the 500-foot Centennial Trail that its members built this year.
       The Meals on Wheels contributions include the gifts of major appliances, improved ventilation and “communal scrubbing” in the kitchen that cooks 400 meals for needy elderly a day, according to Tom Tudor, who chaired the Rampart Rangers' centennial program. The previous equipment was estimated to be well over 50 years old.
       As with the trail effort, the Rotarians' kitchen costs were largely covered by donations. One monetary donation resulted from a piece of luck. After winning $5,000 from a machine at Las Vegas, club member Paul Johnson donated $2,000 of his winnings to the cause.
       Silver Key chief executive officer John Morse said the agency for the elderly's efforts will be enhanced as a result, and suggested that the upgraded kitchen could now be used to make meals for other needy people in the area.
       About 40 Rotarians worked on the trail. Chris Jones, an East Colorado Springs Rotarian who helped lead the Centennial Trail effort, said in an address during the ceremony that the work took longer than expected because of the rainy summer. “I think I would have screamed if I'd heard someone say one more time, 'We can always use the moisture,' ” Jones joked.
       Another speaker was City Council member/ Rotarian Jerry Heimlicher, who had been delegated by council to attend and read its proclamation of appreciation.
       The Rotary clubs have mounted a plaque on a boulder at the south end of the trail, stating it is a gift from the three clubs to “the citizens and guests of Colorado Springs.”
       City Parks Director Paul Butcher said the trail, which winds along near Monument Creek, will enhance the recently built park by providing a useful inner access.
       Such a trail was in the master plan, but was not funded. “The Rotarians contacted us early on about building it,” Butcher said. “I said, 'Bring it on!' ”
       Rotary International started as the Rotary Club of Chicago, Ill., in February 1905. It was the world's first service club, according to the organization.

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