In accordance with the National Exchange Club’s 100 year anniversary, the Gettysburg Exchange Club held a candle-lit vigil Wednesday evening on the steps of the Adams County Library in downtown Gettysburg.
It was 100 candles honoring 100 people, activities and events that have helped make a difference in the Gettysburg area.
“It’s highlighting what we do as a club within the community,” said Vickie Corbett, board member of the Gettysburg Exchange Club.
Names like Carl Prosser, charter club treasurer/president in 1957; John Slentz, charter club president in 1956 and John A. Codori, charter club board member, were on the list of 100 people and events that have made a difference in the 61 years of the Gettysburg Exchange Club.
“We wanted to really pay tribute to people that have helped the Gettysburg community for years and years and years,” said Anne Marie Logue, regional vice president of the National Exchange Club and treasurer of the Gettysburg club. “What’s neat is that the names are people whose kids and grandkids are still active in the community today.”
There were events such as sponsoring the first of 11 builders shows in 1953, Youth of the Year/Student of the Month awards, installing Freedom Shrines — a collection of 28 historic documents — in schools and the Adams County Courthouse as well as providing support to the Oklahoma City bombing victims.
“What’s important to note is that a lot of (the events and activities), we haven’t done just once,” Logue said. “We continue to do many of them every year.”
While inclement weather abbreviated the ceremony to roughly 20 minutes, Logue was impressed with the turnout, which she counted to be 26 people.
“In the rain, that was great,” she said. “It’s really important to support what we do in the community. Our goal is to make it fun, even when working hard at tough topics such as child abuse prevention.”
The National Exchange Club was founded March 27, 1911, in Detroit, Mich., by businessmen who wanted to exchange ideas. For the past 100 years, its volunteer efforts have supported the needs of the country and of local communities, making it the country’s oldest American service organization operating exclusively in the United States.
Logue’s statistics show that annually, Exchange clubs across America give back $34 million into their local communities through fundraisers and various community projects.
“I’m very proud of the fact that Gettysburg has maintained its club for 61 years,” Logue said.
Mark Walters may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.