About Our Club
ROTARY CLUB OF WHITE SANDS - Alamogordo
SUMMARY OF CLUB HISTORY
Chartered May 12, 1977. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Alamogordo, New Mexico. The charter banquet was held June 23, 1977 at the Holloman Air Force Base Officers Club, and the charter address was given by District Governor-Elect Vincent Ward. The charter was presented by District Governor F.C. Williamson and accepted by charter president Robert M. Doughty, II.
History and Growth:
The club started with 25 charter members and our first new member, Steven F. Crowley, MD, who for technical reasons could not be a charter member – there were already three health-care related charter members. The club grew rapidly, achieving a membership of 41 within the first year.
Richard A. Boss – Secretary Paul G. Light
Bassett M. Bryant, Jr. Norman D. Lindley, MD –Past President
Edgar L. Buck - Director Charles K. Moore
Robert M. Doughty, II – President Raymond V. Reyes, Jr.+
Richard H. Hackett – Treasurer Larry A. Soelig +
Harry J. Hazelby + Rodney D. Swafford –Director
Michael Hickey, MD + Orric Keith Wells +
Jerry Holder – Director Robert E. White, DDS –Vice President
John C. Humig Nate Claassen
Michael J. Jacobs Olin D. Hammack, Jr.
Stanley G. Langham William L. Uphouse
William E. LaNoue H.G. O’Dell +
Kenneth Lester Ronald L. Bailey
First New Member: Steven F. Crowley, MD
Since we hosted our first exchange student in 1979 we have had exchange students from every continent, except Antarctica. The countries include Australia (2), Austria, Brazil (2), Denmark (2), Ecuador, Germany, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, South Africa and Venezuela.
We have sponsored five outbound students, as follows:
Pam Cerny studied in Holland in 1985 – 1986. Afterward she attended the University of New Mexico and received her BA in business. She then received her MA in business at Texas Tech. She is now employed by Swatcha, an electronics resourcing firm in Plano, Texas. She helps conduct seminars in the 12th Federal Reserve District in Texas, dealing with banking laws.
Jessamin Berg studied in France for one year, 2003 – 2004.
Ashley Gottula studied in Germany for one year, 2005 – 2006.
Troy Atwood studied in Germany for one year, 2006 - 2007.
Shannon Simpson studied in Argentina for one year, 2006 - 2007.
We have sponsored young men at Camp RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) for approximately 25 years with only a few exceptions, and young women since the more recent inception of their program. From 1993 until 2011 we sponsored an outstanding high school junior as Junior Rotarian of the Month during the school year. The Junior Rotarian of the Year was recognized at the end of the school year, along with a cash award. The program was discontinued because of the question of liability with an adult transporting a minor to the meeting.
Sponsored the Alamogordo High School Interact Club.
Programs of the Rotary Foundation:
Ambassadorial scholar – Polly Walker, 1995-1996, studied at the University of Queensland, Australia, and stayed on as a faculty member of that university doing research for Australian Peace and Conflict Studies. In January, 2005 she was invited to the island of Tulag in the Solomon Islands where she conducted training workshops for the chiefs of that island. She states that her Ambassadorial scholarship was “pivotal for my career.” She is now back in the States and is on the faculty of a school in Pennsylvania.
Group Study Exchange – In 1982, the past president of our club, Roger Rhoton, led a group to Norway. One of the group members, Joe Chambers, became a member of this club and eventually club president.
Humanitarian Grants Programs –
- Summer Enrichment Program st the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped for visually impaired Mexican students, 2002,2003, 2004,2005, 2007 and 2009.
- Kids-at –Risk program. Matching Grant partner with Rotary Club of Paquime, Nuevo casas Grandes, Mexico, 2002. Helped to provide school breadfasts and lunches, as well as books for poor students. Moved propane tank from inside the classroom to a safer area outside.
- Matching grant in partnership with the Rotary Club of Chihuahua, Enlace, Mexico to build a solar-powered pumping station to furnish fresh water to a village of Tarahumara Indians near the Barranca del Cobre in Mexico. 2003
- Partnered with clubs in Texas, Colorado and Canada, along with the club in Talagante, Chile to fund a program to provide loans to underprivileged women in Talagante to help them start businesses. 2004
- Partnered with the Rotary Club of Juárez Norte, Mexico on a project to furnish school uniforms and shoes to underprivileged students at a middle school.2005
- Sponsored the “Bridges to Prosperity” project, building a bridge in El Salvador that granted access between communities that, separated from each other by a river, had to walk several miles to get to a place where they could cross to interact with each other for commerce, and to visit relatives, etc. Participated with the Alamogordo Rotary Club in building a bridge in Bolivia.
- Partnered with the Club Ciudad Juárez Paso del Norte to furnish two water tanks for Juárez colónias. 2010-2011
- Partnered with the club Juàrez Integra to repair and equip a vocational school for special needs people in Juárez.2010-2011
- Partnered with the Las Cruces Rio Grande Club and the Chihuahua,. Mexico Crece Club to fund Red Cross emergency training in rural New Mexico.
- First club project- Funded Parcourse (series of exercise stations) for city of Alamogordo. 1978
- Donated $20,000 to build a schoolhouse in a colonia in Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico. The club was unanimous in this project that was funded by a bank loan, and was repaid by special assessment of the club members monthly. No RI funds were used in this project.1986-87
- Gave $2000 for books and equipment to La Escuela de Enfermería del Hospital Regional de Cuauhtémoc (The school of nursing of the Regional Hospital of Cuauhtémoc.)
- Sponsored the building of a shooting range for private citizens and law-enforcement agencies. The range is named for the Rotarian who initiated and oversaw the project, the late past-president Sidney Paul Gordon.
- With the help of our former exchange student from Germany, located the widow of a WWII German soldier and presented her the war-time diary of her then-future husband, which had been found on a battlefield in North Africa by the father of William Schiers, one of our club members. Both the man who found the diary and the man who wrote it had died in 1980. With a great deal of detective work and help from men who had served with the German soldier, the diary found its final destination.
- Tree-planting projects around athletic fields, along walking paths, in city parks and in medians on Indian Wells, Scenic Drive, First Street, and Tenth Street between White Sands Boulevard and the bypass.
- Sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Tularosa. Charter date, June 28, 2002.
- Sponsorship of the Satellite Club that meets Tuesday mornings to facilitate club make-ups.
For several years we sponsored the local Special Olympics, and furnished the officials, helpers and “huggers” for the event, which included track and field as well as swimming. Physical examinations for the local participants were done each year by a member of the club, Norman Lindley, MD
The Club has an annual golf tournament as a fund raiser. An additional tournament was co-sponsored with the Rotary Club of Tularosa in 2002 to generate funds for a project for Tularosa and Alamogordo by which underprivileged school children could obtain emergency dental care. No dentists were available in town to provide services to patients whose care was paid by Medicaid, and many of the children in this category required interim emergency care until they could travel to Las Cruces to obtain services.
Another fund raiser that was slightly controversial was a “Casino Night” that was the first event held in the Civic Center, now the Sergeant Willie Estrada Memorial Civic Center (named in memory of the uncle of former White Sands Rotary member Cecilia (Estrada) Ashe.) Admission was charged and various businesses donated prizes. Various gambling events were held – poker, blackjack, roulette, etc., and instead of chips tickets were given to the winners. Later a face value was assigned to these tickets so they could be used to buy the donated prizes at auction. This proved to be very successful.
For several years the club “adopted a mile” of highway that was cleaned twice a year by club members and other volunteers. Later we changed our area of interest to the 10th Street medians between White Sands Boulevard and the Relief Route.
Club outreach- In 1986, we developed a sister-club relationship with the Rotary Club of Cuauhtémoc as the result of our assistance in funding the school in the colónia. Out of this arose the sister city relationship between Alamogordo, New Mexico and Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Club president, David Gottula visited China in 2004 as part of a special Rotary outreach program sponsored by the Rotary Club of Santa Maria, California. This was part of a project among several United States Rotary clubs to oversee the construction of an orphanage.
The first Bi-District Conference with Districts 552 and 411 of Northern Mexico (later 5520 and 4110) was held in El Paso, in 1977. The entire membership of our club attended all or part of the conference.
Several members attended a session in El Paso, Texas for RI President Carlos Canseco in 1985. Members also attended the conference in El Paso in 2004 at which RI President Jonathan Majiyagbe was in attendance.
Norman Lindley attended the centennial International convention in Chicago in 2005, and placed an envelope with a letter from centennial club president, Lee Ann Nichols along with the group picture of the club members, a club banner and an at that time up-to-date version of this brief club history in a 100 year time capsule.
Since being chartered the club has donated $213,839 to the Foundation.
Paul Harris Fellows now in the club 31 (of 40 members)
Total multiple awards credited to present members 85
Total awards since 1977 - 209
Individual and Club Recognition:
Business/Professional Person of the Year
- Norman D. Lindley, MD 1996*
- Marcia Clark 1997*
- Jan Jeter 1998*
- Meron Wilson 1999*
- Laura Bregler 2000*
- Charles Ferrell 2001*
- Jan Jeter 2002*
- Samuel Estepp 2003*
- John Jones, MD 2004**
- Stan Richardson 2011*
- Renee Cantin 2012*
- Christina Martinez 2014*
- Bart Garrison 2015***
- James Forney 2016*
*White Sands Club member **Member of Alamogordo Rotary Club ***Former member, past president
Rotary International Service Award for Professional excellence (One of only ten clubs in District 5520 to give this award.) Awarded to CMSgt Michael Espiritu,2004 (non-member) for his work as sponsor of the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Alamogordo High School, making it the number-one program in New Mexico.
Outstanding Club, District 5520 – 2001-2002
RI Presidential Citation- 2002-2003
First Female Rotarians in District 5520 – July 9, 1987
Barbara McDonald (First female club president, assistant governor, still a member - 2017)
Assistant District Governors –
Roger Rhoton 1981-1982
Barbara McDonald 1993-1994, 1996-1997, 2004-2005
Bart Garrison 2001-2004
Laura Bregler 2004
Ed Carr 2006-2007
Lieutenant District Governor- Bart Garrison 2004-2005