Gloucester Township Rotary celebrates 50 years of service

Stacy Napolitano • Reader Submitted • March 4, 2010

In 1960, Americans watched Perry Mason on TV and listened to Elvis on the radio; Chubby Checker started a new dance craze with the Twist; and here in southern New Jersey, James W. Lilley, Jr., founded the Gloucester Township Rotary Club along with a group of dedicated community leaders. This week, the Rotary celebrates its 50th year of service to the local and world communities it serves with distinction.

Lilley, a past District Governor, is still with the Rotary. In fact, he's never missed one of its Wednesday lunch meetings. The organization will honor him at its 50th Anniversary Gala, Saturday evening, March 6, Paris Caterers in Blackwood.

Since its inception, the Gloucester Township Rotary has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to humanitarian efforts in Gloucester Township and the world. Locally, it has provided scholarships to students and was instrumental in raising the money needed to build the Blackwood Rotary Library.

Lilley, a former superintendent of schools in Gloucester Township, stated, "By providing scholarships we have given our students the opportunity to succeed in life."

The Rotary has also helped to eliminate polio and world hunger through their fundraising efforts. A portion of the proceeds from the 50th Anniversary Gala will be used to provide artificial limbs for those in Haiti who have lost their hands as a result of the recent earthquake.

The motto for Rotary international is “Service Above Self” and current president Kevin McGahey states, "This club has been well served by its members over the past 50 years. I thank all past, present and future Rotarians for their humanitarian service above self.”

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