Courtesy of  Ray Leisy, Club Historian
The 1982-83 Wooster Rotary Year began with a new President, Gerhard Soesemann taking office.  Rob Rollers, son of Warren Rollers, was the first guest speaker of the season to Wooster Rotary. Rob graduated from Wooster High School and Mt. Union College. He finished 11th out of 584 competitors in the Hawiian Iron Man Triathlon. He swam 2.4 miles in the ocean off of the “big Island,” rode his bicycle along 112 miles of the coast and then ran 26.2 miles. Rollers added that he is now in training for the 1983 Triathlon by riding 300 miles per week, running 60 miles per week and swimming 10 to 15 miles per week.

The last meeting of August provided a special focus on the Rotary Youth Exchange program. Returning Wooster Exchange students Beth Corbett (Columbia), Robert Noll (Germany) and Joel Kreps (Finland) each reported on their experience abroad. Each agreed that the year abroad was an excellent experience and not one to ever be forgotten. Joining the trio were two current inbound students Lisa Grainger (Zimbabwe) and Niclas Thalen (Sweden). Since the Wooster Rotary Club has participated in the Student Exchange program starting in 1966, this year 2020-21 will be the first year that the Wooster Rotary Club has not either sent or received an Exchange Student. Of course there are obvious international reasons, but it is an opportunity greatly missed by the students and Rotary members at each end of the exchange.

During this Rotary Year, Wooster Rotary noted another father-son duo with Robert M. Johns, Sr., and Robert M. Johns, Jr. Tony Biggio and Jim Horn were selected as co-chairs of the 1983 (7th) Wooster Rotary Auction. A special mention was made that the Wooster Kiwanis had honored Wooster Rotarian Dan Parmalee for 70 years of teaching music. Dan, who had just turned 91, joined Wooster Rotary in 1926 and estimated, exactly, that he had taught 9,918 students. He founded the Wooster Symphony in 1915 and was the first amateur orchestra, in 1926, to broadcast coast to coast.  Ross Schoolroy gave his classification talk to Wooster Rotary and noted that this was his fourth Rotary Classification talk. The first was to Wooster Rotary in the 1950’s, the second to the Carson City, Nevada Club and his third to the Twin Falls, Idaho Rotary Club.

It was announced that Wooster Rotary would again sponsor the Great Decisions Lecture for 1983. At the first meeting of 1983 Wooster Rotarians heard the four minute speech of Melissa Miller as Wooster Rotary’s entry in the Four-Way-Test District Competition.

On May 25th USAF Captain Paula Gathright, military assistant to the principal Deputy of Defense at the Pentagon, addressed Wooster Rotary. Captain Gathright was one of the first female graduates of the USAF Academy and in the first group of Wooster Rotary Exchange students (Sweden) in 1966. Captain Gathright credited Wooster Rotary and Paul Ladd for starting her career with the Student Exchange Program.