If Brazil had a Rotary Club 100 years ago, the members would probably not be making a luncheon trip to Terre Haute today.
But, with much improved means of transportation, Brazil Rotarians are celebrating Rotary International's 100th anniversary by joining with area clubs for lunch at The Meadows Conference Center. Also present will be the Rotary Centennial Bell to mark the 100th anniversary of the first Rotary Meeting in Chicago on Feb. 23, 1905.
Long-time Brazil member Amos Thomas is scheduled to take part in the program. He plans to give a five-minute talk on the first president of a Rotary Club, Sylvester Schiele.
Schiele was born in Clay County, not far from Clay City
The Brazil Club is planning another centennial celebration April 28 with a dinner at Traditions for Brazil Rotarians, their spouses and guests. The special guest speaker will be John Germ, Vice President of Rotary International. In two years, he will be president of the organization that is based in Chicago.
In the afternoon, a special ceremony will be held at Clay City and Mr. Germ will visit Schiele's birthplace.
Amos Thomas is highly regarded by members of the Brazil Club for his dedication to Rotary and his knowledge of the organization's history.
"I feel that we in Clay County want to emphasize that Sylvester Schiele was the first president of the first Rotary Club in Chicago," he said Tuesday morning.
Schiele and Paul P. Harris, one of the founders of Rotary, had been friends for five years before they started the first club. Both men were from small towns and appreciated one another's company in the big city of Chicago, Amos said. When the first Rotary Club was formed, Harris nominated Clay County's Schiele to be the first president.
Schiele was a coal dealer and Harris was an attorney.
Not only did the big city make Harris and Schiele yearn for the good old days of their youth, but Schiele also changed the way he spelled his first name, Thomas told The Times. While he lived in Clay County, his name was spelled "Sylvester". After he moved to Chicago, his name was changed to "Silvester" and continues to be recorded that way in Rotary files.
The Rotarians motto is "Service above self."
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