Rotarians celebrate 100 years of community service | Living

Rotarians recently came together to celebrate the centennial of the Noon Rotary Club of Tullahoma with an evening of music, food and a walk down memory lane.

The entire Rotary membership of Tullahoma, along with family, friends and district dignitaries, gathered to celebrate the occasion on Thursday, March 3 at Lakewood Golf and Country Club. Attendees enjoyed a social hour to talk and view some of the late Rotarian Bob Couch’s Rotary memorabilia, provided by his daughter Candy Couch.

Past president and current member Hank Jordan started the evening’s program by saying that this year was a big year for Tullahoma. Coinciding with the Noon Rotary Club celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 100and anniversary, and the South Jackson Civic Center celebrates 100 years since its construction this year.

“Everyone is here because they are a member of one of the clubs or maybe they have a spouse or loved one who is a member of one of the two clubs. We appreciate the history and the Rotary legacy in Tullahoma.

Some of the desserts on display for the banquet.

Jordan continued to speak about the legacy of Noon Rotary, dating back to its inception in 1922 after delegates from Nashville came to Tullahoma to explain Rotary to interested residents. In 1992, Sunrise Rotary of Tullahoma separated from Noon Rotary and the organization celebrated its 30th anniversary.and birthday. He revealed that the first Noon Rotary meetings were held in the basement of a hotel on South Atlantic Street before club meetings moved to various churches and hostels before moving to the country club in the 1970s .

“Lots of places, lots of meetings and lots of green beans being eaten,” Jordan said as the crowd laughed.

He revealed that the two Rotary clubs have donated more than $600,000 to The Rotary Foundation, which he says helps fund Rotary International’s seven goals, including promoting peace, fighting disease , providing clean water, rescuing mothers and children, supporting education, growing local economies and protecting the environment. Additionally, Jordan pointed out that he discovered that over the past 15 to 20 years, the two clubs have reinvested $300,000 into local projects involving the Hands-On Science Center, Blue Monarch, Tullahoma High School, the Rotary Disc Golf Course, the playground at Frazier McEwen Park and more.

“It again shows the impact we have on Tullahoma and Coffee County and we’re certainly proud of that,” Jordan said. “Many projects that we are very proud of and happy to be able to make a difference in Tullahoma.”

He also revealed that over the club’s 100 years he has produced six district governors and seen several families with three or more generations of members who have led the club.

Cindy GammonsJack Thoma

Rotary District Governor Cindy Gammons (left) presents President-elect Jack Thoma with a certificate from Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta to commemorate Rotary’s 100,000 noonand birthday.

District Governor Cindy Gammons was also in attendance. She praised both clubs for all the projects they are doing serving their community and said they should be proud of its history.

“For your club and the legacy and history you have at Tullahoma, it’s absolutely incredible,” Gammons said. “You all have a heart for service and it shows.”

She then presented a certificate from Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta to President-elect Jack Thoma commemorating a century of service.

Rich Ellis of Sunrise Rotary thanked Noon Rotary for hosting the celebration banquet and said he was delighted to have the two clubs working together in the future. He then introduced long-time Sunrise Rotary member Shawn McBride to share his thoughts on getting involved in Rotary.

McBride said Sunrise Rotary was established in 1992 as a way for members to have another option for meetings to attend and receive different classifications. He said both clubs had a strong and difficult years but he was grateful to both clubs for working together for the community.

“We’ve done some really remarkable things and I think the potential is there for a lot of great things to come,” McBride said. “Happy Birthday to Tullahoma Rotary.”

Jack ThomasBrian Coate

President-elect Jack Thoma presents Brain Coate with a plaque for his service as President of Noon Rotary of Tullahoma during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noontime Rotary President-elect Jack Thoma then presented Brian Coate with a plaque to commemorate his tenure as President during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also acknowledged the members who have been with the club for some time. He started by asking those who have been part of it for more than 20 years to stand up. He then went through the years until he reached Paul Credle and Steve Worsham who have been members for 55 and 51 years of service respectively.

Brian Coate then introduced the Paul Harris Fellows, which reward members who contribute, or who have made contributions on their behalf, $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. Although no new member achieved Paul Harris status, he presented Diane Bryant with a level three Paul Harris Fellow award.

To close the program, Thoma gave his closing remarks and thanked those who came to celebrate the anniversary and thanked members Jim Jolliffe, Jim Woodard and Rachel Ferrell for their contributions in organizing the event.

To learn more about the club, visit

Norma P. Rex