our history

It was the 1960’s one of the most change-making decades in urban American history and in the quiet bucolic farmland towns of Acton and Boxborough, Massachusetts another type of change was in-the-making.

The idea of creating a Rotary club was born and chartered in 1962. The details are all coming up next told to us by one of our founding members, friend and honored Rotarians Edward “Bud” Flannery.

Who Is Bud and What Was His Role

Bud has lived in Acton for 58 years and 53 years ago he was a founding member of the Rotary Club of Acton-Boxborough. Rotary runs in his blood as his father was a Rotarian as well. In our club Bud has had perfect attendance throughout these many years by consistently attending most of our meetings and making up meetings that he has missed at other Rotary clubs. Back then every Rotarian had a specific designation; his was “Road Builder.” He became President in 1965, which was very competitive at that time and was District Governor in 1975.

Where and When the Club Met

From 1963 to 1980, the Rotary Club of Acton-Boxborough was comprised of only men, but met at the Acton Women’s Club in the evenings. It wasn’t until the early 1980s around 1985 that women were invited to join Rotary clubs. At first noontime or evening meetings were popular, but morning meetings were first added in Florida where people were on vacation and then didn’t interfere with their plans for the day.

What Were the Club’s Most Popular Activities and Projects in the Local Community

Every Patriot’s Day, the 200thanniversary of the 1775 battle, the club sponsored a big pancake breakfast and served about 6000 pancakes to 2000 people. The club also held very successful auctions to benefit Rotary projects and once even auctioned off a piano! Another initiative was that all club members got certified in CPR.

How Did the Club Participate in International Projects

One of the club’s earliest international projects was supporting drilling wells in Haiti and the Dominican Republic by fundraising for this effort and even teaching how to set the system up.

Then from 1985 to 1999 there was a dentist from Groton who went to the mountains of Tegucigalpa (capital of Honduras) every year to perform dentistry there. The club then helped to train a young man from Honduras to do this work by sending him to college so he could return and do the work himself.

The club also assisted in building houses in Brazil either by doing the work themselves or giving money. People sought to go on vacation together each year to some place in need to work on a project, like setting up photovoltaic cells to pump water in South America and set up voltaic cells with storage batteries for lighting in India. Another Rotarian began a very successful worldwide teaching program.

Why and How Rotary Has Been Successful Internationally

Part of why Rotary has been and is so successful with international relief efforts is because they have a relationship with a Rotary Club in the receiving country. This cuts down on misappropriation of funds that are sent. Also sometimes the agreement is that a local club might contribute something like 25%, so they are fully committed to the project and it’s success.