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Exchange club marks 75th anniversary
Pictured at the Martinsville Exchange Club meeting are (from left) Ralph Lawson, Colonial District President-Elect; Nancy Kennett, Martinsville President; Anne Marie Logue, National Treasurer; Bill Trimble, Region 11 Vice President; and Chuck Elinsky, Colonial District President 2012-2013. (Bulletin photo)
Monday, April 22, 2013
By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Martinsville Exchange Club is celebrating its 75th year of offering the community programs in Americanism, youth recognition, community service and child abuse prevention.
For example, its Americanism program is responsible for the flags seen lining uptown Martinsville on flag holidays, while the youth programs offer scholarships for high school seniors chosen as Youth of the Year.
“The Exchange Club, back in the day, provided all the milk to the school systems,” said Martinsville President Nancy Kennett. “They raised thousands of dollars for the library. And they actually provided all the band uniforms for Martinsville High School.”
Anne Marie Logue, national treasurer of the Exchange Club, said that “what amazes me is, what would Martinsville be today if it wasn’t for the Exchange Club? If they hadn’t been here for 75 years, what would not have gotten done?”
Logue joined the local club’s anniversary celebration Thursday at the Dutch Inn. District officials also attended.
Although the Exchange Club currently has its headquarters in Toledo, Ohio, it was founded in Detroit more than 102 years ago, Logue said. The Martinsville club is likely within the top ten oldest Exchange Club branches in the nation.
One of the things that makes the Martinsville Club unique, Logue said, is that since its inception, 27 of its members have gone on to serve at the club’s state level.
“That’s a lot of people,” Logue said. “A lot of times our clubs are very contained in their community and they don’t go on to the state or national level, so when you get one club that has 27 members that have gone on to serve at the state level, that’s pretty impressive.”
The Martinsville branch currently has 38 members, and according to Kennett, it completed 76 community service projects last year. The Martinsville club has also won numerous national-level awards, including best club bulletin, the CARE (Child Abuse Reduction Effort) award, best club website on two occasions and the public relations award.
According to Kennett, Ralph Shank of Henry County has been a member of the Martinsville club for 65 years, and remains active in the group to this day.
“The only requirement for joining Exchange is wanting to give back to your community,” Logue said. “I think that’s the unique thing with Exchange. Exchange Club members don’t just show up for dinner and meet. They really are out in their community doing projects.”
Chuck Elinsky, Exchange Club Colonial District president 2012-2013, agreed.
“We make a presence,” he said. “It isn’t just signing checks or donating money. We want to make an impact in the community, get out there and hand out flags and feed the homeless. It’s more hands-on. ... The fact of the matter is, you feel so good after you’re out helping people. It makes you feel like a million dollars, it’s just incredible.”
Logue added that, “at the National level, we certainly thank all the members of the Martinsville club for doing what they do.”