Happy Birthday Marshall Rotary
For ninety-nine years, three weeks and one day we have been standing on the shoulders of giants.  Soon we will join them celebrating a century of changing lives in Marshall and beyond.
 
Ike Hochwald had some friends from Longview who had heard about Rotary and even attended a Rotary meeting in Dallas in the spring of 1919, so he was excited about having a Rotary club in Marshall, but the people in the Dallas Rotary club told Ike’s friends that starting a Rotary club in Longview or Marshall was not possible.  Marshall was wrongly perceived as a “hick” town.  It didn’t even have paved streets, or street lights. 
 
But, apparently Ike failed to mention that to the people he talked into starting a Rotary Club here, including the Texarkana Rotary club that sponsored us, and their “Special Representative” State Senator, Robert P. Durough who did all the paperwork, and, the twenty-four other Marshall businessmen who signed up with him June 19, 1919, to apply for Rotary membership. 
 
Subsequently, the application was approved by Rotary District Governor Reed of Beaumont, and on August 1, 1919, Marshall Rotary was admitted into the International Association of Rotary Clubs, as its 525th club, with Ike Hochwald as its first president.  A legacy was born!
 
Ninety-seven different presidents from Ike to Louraiseal, have led the club through those years.  Thousands of lives have been changed and Marshall is a safer, better place to live now, with paved streets, electric street lights, and better schools.
 
Looking back now, Marshall Rotary has been a vital part of many other things that seemed impossible.  Eliminating Polio from the World was thought to be impossible, but we are on the verge of doing just that.  This little hick town in east Texas has given $400,000 to the Rotary Foundation, including almost $100,000 to the Polio Eradication program.
 
The Student Loan Fund provided 160 or more people a college education.  It’s successor, the Scholarship Fund provided almost two-hundred more people with a degree and hope for a better life, including Bill Moyers.
 
Diploma Plus has made it possible for dozens of young people to graduate high school.  The Rotary Spelling Bee has made it possible for hundreds to read and write.  Mission Marshall and Hearts-For-The-Hungry have provide live-giving nourishment to thousands.  Annual blood drives have made possible life-saving operations and safer surgeries for hundreds more.
 
Ambassadorial Scholarships, Group Study Exchanges, Youth Exchanges, Rotary Volunteers, and numerous humanitarian projects, which were sponsored, or paid for by Marshall Rotarians, have touched the lives of thousands more. 
 
Those early Marshall Rotarians didn’t give much thought to the difficulty and scope of what they were doing, and for the most part, never received any thanks for what they had done, but in fifty weeks, we will reap the benefits and applause they, so richly deserved.  We must be worthy of the legacy that has been given to us and pass it on, even better than we received it, to the next generation of giants.  It is time to start getting excited!  Happy birthday Marshall Rotary.