This article is reprinted form the Charter Night program of the Rotary Club of Little River.
In early 2002, Mary Martin, Harry Thomas, Tom Heyward and Charlie Stuart, the long range planning committee of the North Myrtle Beach rotary Club, met to discuss the possibility of forming a new Rotary Club in Little River, SC. They decided to pursue the opportunity.
Mary and Past District Governor, Craig Hill devised a plan to invite potential Rotarians to a planning meeting to see if the area would support the idea. They relied on the membership list of the local Chamber of Commerce, and people they had discussed Rotary with over time, to invite those they thought might be interested in forming a new club. They sent a letter inviting these people to an information meeting explaining the purpose of Rotary. The response was immediate and significant. Many said “You mean we can have our own Rotary Club?” This first letter was sent on June 4, 2002.
The information meeting was held at the Holiday Inn at Coquina Harbor on June 17, 2002. The turnout was impressive and everyone seemed enthusiastic. Another letter was sent to these people, and others, announcing that the interest was sufficient to start meeting on a regular basis. The early meetings were started on July 3, 2002 and consisted of Rotary information, rules and regulations and what programs Rotary supported. The need for more new members was also emphasized. As the first “real” meeting was held during a holiday week, the turnout was suspect. However, many came and the meetings continued to flourish.
In a short time, the club outgrew the Holiday Inn and moved to Pat & Mike’s restaurant in Little River. We met in a room that was larger than we had before, but quickly outgrew that also. We now meet in a larger room at the restaurant. Our “Rotary Meets Here” sign is proudly displayed outside and several visitors have stopped as a result of seeing it. We do meet Wednesday at non, and have an enthusiastic turnout weekly.
Mary and Craig were at work completing the requirements for admission to Rotary officially. Our Charter was granted on September 24, 2002, and at that time, we had 49 Charter Members. We have since added one more member and several are currently proposed. To add a club to Rotary in such a short time, with 49 members, in a small town is truly amazing. There is a bright future for Rotary and Rotarians in Little River.