Orange Rotary
Orange Rotary

Inaugural 1910 Orange Street Fair Committee featuring publisher and 4th Rotary President William O. Hart (circled)

Orange Rotary

Look to the roots of Orange, and you’re likely to find something in common amongst the city’s founding fathers.  Many were members of the Orange Rotary.  Chartered in 1921, the Orange Rotary is currently celebrating its 100th year in the city.  Continuing the tradition today, many community leaders, business owners and professionals are members of the longstanding service organization focused on serving and bettering the community.

“Looking back on the last 100 years of our club’s history is like looking through a history book of Orange,” says Orange’s former mayor Carolyn Cavecche.  She joined Orange Rotary in 2008 and was the Club’s 97th president in 2017-18.

To celebrate and honor the club’s 100th anniversary, Orange Rotarian Ted Albert wrote the 576-page Our First Hundred Years: A Centennial History of the Rotary Club of Orange.  “Early Rotarians were pillars of the community,” says Albert.  “They included businessmen, citrus ranchers, lawyers and newspaper men, all of whom were pivotal to the formation of Orange.”

The long line of Orange Rotarians includes Orange High School principal Frank Arthur Henderson, the club’s second president from 1923-24.  William (Bill) Ord Hart, the fourth president of the Orange Rotary from 1925-26, owned the Orange Daily News, and Hart Park is named after him. Keller E. Watson, Sr., the seventh president from 1927-28, was a druggist and founder of what is now known as Watson’s Soda Fountain & Café in Old Towne.

An international organization founded in 1905 to tackle the world’s most urgent humanitarian challenges, Rotary currently has 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.  The Orange Rotary is the oldest club in Orange, and like all clubs in the organization, focuses on the Rotary motto: “Service Above Self.”

Orange Rotary projects include building a local senior housing complex, updating and beautifying local school campuses and collecting food and clothing for those in need.  The organization also honors veterans the week of November 11 at the Orange Field of Valor.  This yearly, week-long event held at Handy Park was spearheaded by Orange Rotary member Gary Remland.

Most of the club attended the November 7, 2017 luncheon meeting at the inaugural Orange Field of Valor.

“Being a Rotarian offers you the opportunity to meet the needs of your community while spending time with likeminded individuals,” says Spud Lambing, past president (2020-21) of the Orange Rotary.  “The club is comprised of businessmen and businesswomen dedicated to giving back to the community that helped make them successful.  It’s a win-win all around.  There are also opportunities to participate on an international level.”

One such opportunity is Rotary International’s End Polio Now campaign.  As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the organization has managed to reduce polio cases by 99.9 percent since their first project in 1979 vaccinating children in the Philippines.

To become a member of the Rotary, you need a member to sponsor you.  You must also go through an interview process.  “Applicants for membership are interviewed by three members to ensure that they understand what they’re committing to, which is being of service to the community,” says Lambing.  There are Rotary clubs for young people, as well.  These include Rotaract for college students and Interact for high schoolers.

While service is the goal, members also greatly enjoy themselves.  They have a weekly luncheon at Colleary’s Bistro in Orange.  And to celebrate the club’s Centennial, they’re holding a gala featuring a Roaring 20s theme on December 4 at the 1886 Brewery in Old Towne.

“I am so proud to be a member of the Orange Rotary, and I enjoy the fellowship with other club members,” says Cavecche.  “We’re from different vocational fields, walks of life and generations, but the focus is the same—giving back to the City of Orange.”

For information about Orange Rotary, including membership, visit

Article Published in the
Nov / Dec 21 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Julie Bawden-Davis Photos provided by Rotary Club of Orange
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