From helping to maintain the dental health of children to contributing toward post secondary education financing, Paris United Rotary Club is a service club of older generations giving back to help younger generations.

Club secretary Michael Nickey, who moved to Paris in 2017, has been in Rotary here since November 2018. He said he was drawn to the club because he saw how the organization’s values aligned with his own.

“When I retired, I wanted to join a service organization to meet new people and get to know people in the community,” he said. “‘Service above self,’ the four-way test, resonated with me.”

Nickey said he enjoys participating in Rotary because it is so involved in the Paris community.

“We try and live the motto of ‘service above self,’” he said. “If you want to try and understand the community you live in, it’s a great option.”

The Rotary Club of Paris United, the oldest club in District 5830, is involved with projects such as the Healthy Smiles dental program, the annual Fourth of July fireworks show, RYLA Awards, student scholarships, student exchange programs, the four-way speech contest, End Polio Now campaign and more. As an international organization, Rotary has more than 35,000 clubs whose goals are to promote peace, provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene, support mothers and children, and grow local economies and education, according to the organization’s website.

Phillip Bandell joined the club in 1978. He and his wife, Dee, have been involved ever since and have traveled the world attending Rotary conventions and going on service trips. Phillip said they’ve visited places like Munich, Manchester, Montreal and Bangkok, and they will visit Honolulu in 2020.

“It’s a great international service organization,” Phillip said. “There are opportunities to meet people all over the world if you take advantage of it.”

Dee said she had the chance to participate in a Group Study Exchange trip to Africa for young professional women, a month-long trip for vocational and cultural exchange. She credits Rotary for teaching her children empathy and cultural understanding during their time at Rotary international conferences.

“For us, it’s been a life changing experience.” she said. “It’s a great service club, we can serve locally and internationally in a heartbeat.”

The club has a four-way test that asks four questions: “Of the things we think, say or do: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” The Rotary Club of Paris United meets Thursday afternoons at noon in the Paris Junior College ballroom, 2400 Clarksville St.

Club leadership includes president Alex Fowzer; president-elect Laura Spencer; vice president David Taylor; secretary Michael Nickey; membership director Steve Wilson; programs director Janna Davis; sergeant-at-arms Reeves Hayter; international chair Mahesh Agarwal; directors-at-large Derald Bulls and Mike Gallagher; treasurer Brittany Martin; public image director Morgan Cheney; and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards coordinator Stephanie Parker.

Macon Atkinson is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6963 or macon.atkinson@theparisnews.com.

(1) comment

MDNickey

Macon - a good article as it provided information about Rotary and on several of the service activities/projects that we do and contribute within the community. I especially liked the photo that recognized the students that received scholarships. However the note, "Paris United Rotary Club is a service club of older generations giving back to help younger generations", is not quite correct. As you are aware, the club has several younger members, such as our President. The club membership includes people in their late 20s to latter 70s, and all participate in the various projects, not just the "older generations". Thanks for the article and the PR for the club. Michael Nickey

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