Rotary Club of Oxnard marks 100 years of help for area children, community leadership

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The Rotary Club of Oxnard's charter and banner greet the guests at the club's 100th anniversary luncheon on Nov. 16.
The Rotary Club of Oxnard's charter and banner greet the guests at the club's 100th anniversary luncheon on Nov. 16.

On Oct. 19, 1920, the Rotary Club of Oxnard held its first meeting.

Its minutes show that over 20 people were in attendance. However, it wasn’t until December of that year that the club received its charter from the Rotary District Governor and became an official member of Rotary Club International.

The Rotary Club of Oxnard celebrated its 100th year of support of area children and its role shaping community leaders at a luncheon earlier this month.

About 13 past club presidents spoke at the event, given one minute each to reflect on the accomplishments they oversaw during their time as leader, said Patrick Mullen, club historian and executive secretary.

Most Rotary club presidents serve one year after rising through the board ranks, Mullen said. However, Pete Marcus, the club’s current president, is the exception. He is currently serving his second year as president after the pandemic shifted the club’s procedures.

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The only other president who served two terms was Frederick Noble, manager of the American Beet Sugar Company of Oxnard, according to Rotary club documents. Noble served as the club’s first president from 1920-1922.

“It’s kind of funny it’s 100 years apart,” Marcus said.

Marcus, who is the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, was born and raised in Ventura County. He said the farthest he's ever lived from his hometown of Ventura is Camarillo.

He said he enjoys using his skills and education to help his community and give second chances to those who need it.

Since its founding, the Rotary Club of Oxnard has given back to the community through numerous programs.

The club currently hosts the longest-running youth basketball tournament in the country. Thousands of local boys and girls in grades 3 through 8 have participated in the tournament since 1948, which aims to teach teamwork and sportsmanship, according to the club’s website.

The club also offers a program to Pacifica High School in Oxnard to learn how to build websites. Each year, Rotarians also award $5,000 in scholarships to Oxnard high schools.

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Rotary Club of Oxnard members have sponsored participants in the study abroad programs, hosted yearly job fairs for the area’s teenagers and co-founded the local Boys & Girls Club in 1953.

“There’s a lot of people that have come through Rotary over the years,” Marcus said. “They do a lot of great stuff not only in Rotary but in the city of Oxnard as a whole. It’s a great organization to be a part of.”

Rotary Club of Oxnard President Pete Marcus addresses the crowd at the club's 100th anniversary luncheon on Nov. 16.
Rotary Club of Oxnard President Pete Marcus addresses the crowd at the club's 100th anniversary luncheon on Nov. 16.

Erin Antrim, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, said the Rotary club helps support the 2,000 kids that visit their 18 locations each year. The annual Boys & Girls membership costs $650 per year, but with contributions from the Rotary club and other supports, kids only pay $20.

Rotarians have also supported numerous beautification projects at the Boys & Girls Club location in Nyeland Acres. A mural on the side of the building was commissioned by the Rotary club and depicts the history and future of Oxnard.

"We can't do the support that we do without the support from the businesses and organizations from Oxnard like the Rotary club," Antrim said.

Brian J. Varela covers Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo. He can be reached at brian.varela@vcstar.com or 805-477-8014. You can also find him on Twitter @BrianVarela805.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Oxnard Rotary marks 100 years of help for area children, community

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