A HISTORY OF OUR ROTARY CLUB
 
The Rotary Club of Santa Maria had its first meeting as a provisional club on October 10, 1922.  The 19 members chose Jesse H. Chambers to be the first President, and George M. Scott to be the first Secretary.  The first official meeting was held on December 5, 1922 at the Santa Maria Inn, and on December 19th the District Governor, Jack Williams, presented the club with its charter.
Our club was sponsored by the Santa Barbara Rotary Club, and in turn we have sponsored the San Luis Obispo Rotary Club in 1923, the Lompoc Rotary Club in 1925, the Guadalupe Rotary Club in 1940, the Santa Maria South Rotary Club in 1973, the Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club in 1984, and the Nipomo Rotary Club in 1997.  The Rotary Club of Santa Maria has also sponsored two Interact clubs, the Santa Maria High School Interact Club in 1982, and the St. Joseph High School Interact Club in 2007.
 
Cecil B. DeMille regularly attended our club meetings in May and June of 1923 when he was filming the movie "The Ten Commandments" at the Guadalupe Dunes.  When he returned to Hollywood he had his prop department make a Rotary Wheel, which he gave to our club.  This wheel now is housed in the Santa MariaHistoricalMuseum.
 
On November 13, 1925 Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, was traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco and made up at our club.  In 1985 Rotary International President, Carlos Canseca, chose to visit our club over larger and more well-known clubs in Santa Barbara and Bakersfield.  Rotarians from all over the district attended.
 
In 1996 our club started a major fund raising endeavor that was called Monte Carlo.  Now this event is called the Rotary Harvest Gala and annually raises $60,000.00 for worthwhile projects. 
 
Our commitment to the Rotary motto "Service above Self" is exemplified by the number of different types of projects that we support both locally and internationally.  We have participated in local hands-on projects like the GuadalupeDunesCenter clean up and the Salvation Army bell ringing at Christmas.  We have purchased dictionaries for all the third graders in the Santa MariaValley for three consecutive years.  Some of our funds have gone to programs at the Boys and Girls Club and the Y.M.C.A.  Internationally we have participated in water projects in Africa and Mexico, and have helped furnish an orphanage in China.  We have donated over $100,000.00 towards the Rotary International Polio Eradication project.
 
The Rotary Club of Santa Maria has over 200 Paul Harris Fellows, and has donated over $231,000.00 to the Rotary International Foundation.