Jean McKenzie called joining the Brookfield Rotary Club “probably the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Through the Rotary, she has been involved in numerous community projects, and made lasting friendships.
“Rotarians, they’re all, across the board, good people,” she said. “Their hearts are in the right place and they’re hard workers. We’re just one big family.”
The club celebrated its 45th anniversary Dec. 8 with a banquet to which former members were invited to attend, keeping those family ties strong.
Sometimes, the Rotary has taken McKenzie, a 28-year member, out of her comfort zone. She said she does not like speaking before a crowd, but has had to do that in representing the Rotary at the township’s annual Memorial Day observance.
“I owe it to the vets,” she said.
The Rotary sponsors its own events, such as placing flags throughout the community, holding an annual luncheon for veterans and distributing dictionaries to third graders at Brookfield Elementary School, and also provides labor at activities of other groups.
The Rotary, which was instrumental in starting the Brookfield public library and building the gazebo in Brookfield Center, is down from a high of 25 members to only five, and club President Elwood Walker said gone are the days when local employers would support – or even require – their employees in joining a service club.
But, the drop in membership has not lessened the commitment of the group members to service projects, either local endeavors or international ones such as Ukraine support and polio eradication.
“Just a pretty strong organization,” said Walker, a 42-year member. “It does a lot of good. I’ve met a lot of great people, made a lot of great friendships through Rotary.”
Jim Slabe, a member for eight years, said he has backed off his participation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but still supports club efforts “whenever I can.” Participating in Rotary is enjoyable and worthwhile, he said.
“It’s good for the community,” Slabe said.
The Rotary meets at noon the first and third Tuesdays of the month at Papa Louie’s Italian Kitchen, 7172 Warren Sharon Road, Brookfield.