There is something to be said about serving one’s community. In Benson, and the San Pedro Valley, we have the various service and fraternal organizations that do much for our town. In rural municipalities like ours, it’s not only imperative but necessary if we’re to flourish. After all, we’re only as strong as our weakest link.

That’s the beauty of rural America, and Benson and the surrounding cluster of communities which comprise the San Pedro Valley valley are no exception. While we’re thankful, mindful and appreciative of all the organizations and clubs relegated to the helping and serving of others, Benson Rotary has been serving the city and the surrounding townships for three quarters of a century.

In its 75th year of service, local Rotarians continuously work together to better the conditions and lives of our people. A refreshing and necessary concept, at least in our neck of the impoverished woods, and at a time where political rhetoric is used to divide and conquer rather than unify.

“Each year since 1944 the Benson Rotary has made a difference in the community with many projects,” noted longtime valley resident and Rotarian Ann MacInnes Cook. Rotary was there to throw its usual support behind Hope for Kids over the summer and more recently the school districts’ Wish List for Teachers for classroom essentials purchased locally.

“More than $500 was spent on over 200 items for the elementary classrooms in Benson, St. David and Pomerene schools,” noted Cook. And that’s in addition to the substantial contributions which have helped to keep Benson Area Food Bank afloat over some 20 years. On top of that, Benson Rotary has supported annual youth programs, like the Dictionary Project for third-graders, and have since 2005. Rotary’s Youth Leadership Award has been in existence for 27 years. Rotary also awards three $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors. Other ventures include Honor Flags, Little Free Libraries for citizens, smoke alarm program, as well as Rotary International Polio Plus.

It’s the giving spirit from the community that make Benson and the San Pedro Valley the special place that it is. We are fortunate there are several civic-minded individuals who are selfless with their time, talents and labor.

Our Benson Rotarians personify community, and have done so for the past 75 years. It would be foolhardy to think we’re not better off because of their efforts.

As we offer each and every Rotarian from 1944 through today a well-deserved tip of the hat, we’re also quick to recognize we can all follow in their example. Our community and people would be better off because of it.

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