Rockville Exchange Club Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Post date: Jun 12, 2016 1:04:10 PM

The Exchange Club of Rockville celebrated its 70th anniversary at its meeting on May 18.

Members who had 25 years of service or more were honored, including Edward Dymond, who has 51 years, and John Olender, Sr. who has served for 50 years. The 17 members have a combined 620 years of service to the organization.

"That's an incredible thing," said chapter President Bill Johnston. "To keep this club together for so long and for the members to still be willing to come forward when they need to."

Connecticut Exchange Chapter President Bill Solder spoke about the strengths of the Rockville Exchange Club, including the KIDSAFE CT Center for the prevention of child abuse, which was the first in the state before Stamford and Bristol both opened centers more recently.

"This club started that whole child abuse prevention thing here in the state," Solder said. "It's a very strong club with 60 members."

Solder said that many other local Exchange Clubs have sprung from Rockville's, and that it was started by veterans of World War II who were looking for the camaraderie they had during the war.

The Exchange Club of Rockville is also the oldest, still-standing local chapter in the state. Bridgeport had an earlier club, but it folded in 2007.

Solder said the Rockville club has been an example to others in many ways, and also praised that it varies the location of its meetings.

"I like Exchange. It's really worked for me personally," he said. "I generate a ton of work as a business networking opportunity.

Solder also encouraged the group to utilize social media to publicize its accomplishments, and cited the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS, which raised $57 million through social media.

"Will growth for Exchange come from a hard copy newsletter that gets mailed to your house? I don't know. Will it go viral with the right hashtag? Probably," he said.

Rockville Exchange Club 39-year member Jerry Bundy spoke about the local chapter's current project, restoring and hanging flags around Vernon – including at the memorial in downtown Rockville. A dedication ceremony took place on May 21. The club also gave Bundy a check for $1,000 to further the cause.

Giving an example of the types of service the Exchange Club provides, Johnston said when he got started years ago, he often helped deliver beds to children.

"We were lugging beds and furniture all over," he said. "KIDSAFE got a call about a 14-year-old boy who needed a bed. We took one to a kid in Hartford. The kid sat on the bed and just cried. He said, 'This is the first bed I ever had.' That's when you say service is worth all you can give it."