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Paul P. Harris, a Chicago lawyer, was the founder of Rotary, February 23, 1905. The purpose was to provide a setting where business and professional persons might recapture the friendliness and comradeship of the small town life many had known as youngsters. Initially there were four members and they met, in rotation, at each other's place of business each week, thus the name Rotary.


Wisconsin Rapids Sunrise Rotary Club

On Thursday August 3, 1995, twenty-nine people attended the first meeting of a provisional Sunrise Rotary Club at 7 am at the Mead Inn in Wisconsin Rapids. The extension committee of the Wisconsin Rapids Noon Club contained Bob Zimmerman, Art Gilmaster, Paul Gross, Ed Heuer and John Siewert. Of the original number, twenty one went on to be members in Sunrise Rotary.

Wisconsin Rapids Sunrise Rotary was chartered on December 29, 1995. A Charter banquet was held April 28, 1996 at the Mead Inn with a total of 39 members. It was one of the largest new Clubs being chartered in the 6250 District of Rotary at that time. Paul Bergmann, District Governor, presided and presented the Charter to the club. Joe Lane, who had been president of a Rotary Club in Tennessee, became the first Sunrise President and held that position for 1 ½ years. The other officers were Dean Ryerson, Vice President; Janice Retzloff, Secretary; Jere Johnson, Treasurer and Larry Schmick, Sergeant of Arms. Robert Bassuener and Ellen Dahl were selected as Directors on the Board.

Sunrise Charter Brochure

A Club flag was designed by Ellen Dahl, to depict the local area; the river with rapids, paper mills, trees and cranberries.

Sunrise Club Flag

Wisconsin Rapids Rotary Clubs have contributed over $370,000 to local and
International charities from its “Give to Share” auctions, “Fun to Share the
Gift of Education” events, Run/Walk for Life events Glow Ball Golf event,
Vegas Night event and Dancing for a Cause event since the Charter of Sunrise in 1995.

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