Service Above Self:
History of the Las Cruces Rotary Club

This history is from a pamphlet commissioned by the Rotary Club of Las Cruces in 1989.  It was written by Jennifer L. Holberg, who was an NMSU undergraduate at the time. 

Acknowledgments  Introduction: Rotary  The Early Years  The War Years
  The Post-War Period   The 1950's  The 1960's  The 1970's and 1980's 
Food, Fun, and Fellowship  Charter Members  Presidents

The Post-War Period

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Although membership dropped during the early 1940s to twenty-seven members, by the war’s end it began to build and by July 1947 active members numbered forty.  In that same year, attendance as well as membership became the club’s focus.  To facilitate greater attendance, the club was divided into two teams, the Martin Bombers and the Sting Rays.  Five points were awarded for attendance, ten for a make-up meeting, and five for bringing a guest.  The competition began on October 1947 and ended 31 December of the same year; the losers were required to pay for the entertainment and corsages at that year’s Ladies Night.  During this same time, Rotarians, with help from their wives, worked to bring the Community Concert series to Las Cruces.  Under the presidency of Leo Valdes, the club raised $1,089.20 to purchase a grand piano needed for the concerts.  After its purchase, the piano was stored at Las Cruces High School, then located on Alameda Avenue.  (This building is now the district courthouse.) 

The late 1940s also saw the introduction of two other Las Cruces Rotary traditions.  Under the editorship of Alec Hood, El Ro-Toro made its debut in 1947.  The predecessor to Spokes and Cogs, El Ro-Toro was filled with club news and much humor.  Secondly, under the administration of President Bill Erwin (1949-50), the club began its yearly Rural-Urban program.  This was designed to encourage interaction between Las Cruces businessmen and local farmers and ranchers.  Since the program’s inception, the club has brought in speakers of interest to the agricultural community; club members are asked to invite area farmers and ranchers to the event.  It has proven to be a popular one throughout its forty year history—a fitting program for a club which held its charter meeting in the Temple of Agriculture. 

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