Rotary projects around the globe February 2022

Rotary Projects Around the Globe

February 2022

by Brad Webber

United States

While jogging on Memorial Day weekend in 2020, Patrick Shairs discovered a holiday-appropriate spot for a break: the old City Cemetery in his hometown of Franklin, Tennessee. Shairs, a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Franklin, was dismayed by the multitude of badly stained and unreadable headstones. That fall, the club started a project to restore several historic cemeteries in the area. About a year later, 127 volunteers, including members from other area Rotary clubs and students from local schools, had cleaned 560 headstones and footstones and 140 plot pillars, using brushes and spray bottles filled with a biological solution recommended by a preservation organization. They identified 81 people buried in one cemetery who were not listed in the town’s official burial register, something that would have gone undiscovered if not for their efforts.


Island Park in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, has been a meeting place for more than 100 years. In 2019, the Rotary Club of Portage La Prairie outlined a strategy for a phased, $150,000 effort to revitalize an area within the popular lakefront park, where the club also sponsored a disc golf course. “The club felt that we could rejuvenate the duck pond to its old glory as well as add new features,” says club member Preston Meier. Since 2020, the club has redesigned and rebuilt a waterfall, added fencing and lighting, and constructed a deck with a pergola for special events. “We wanted a project that we could get our hands dirty in and have our fingerprints on — a little blood, sweat, and tears in addition to the fundraising,” Meier says.