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fre·mo·cen·trist (f'mō-sĕn'trĭst) n. one who deeply believes all in the universe revolves around the Seattle neighborhood of Fremont - fremocentric adj. see Kirby Lindsay
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fre·mo·cen·trist (f'mō-sĕn'trĭst) n. one who deeply believes all in the universe revolves around the Seattle neighborhood of Fremont - fremocentric adj. see Kirby Lindsay
           The Archives: Originally Published August 11, 1999 ~ The Seattle Press


by Kirby Lindsay

This column was originally published on August 11, 1999 in The Seattle Press

When Jim Daly and Suzie Burke started a Chamber of Commerce in Fremont, unlike others, ours became a renegade organization with a focus on “fun” instead of funding and “funky” instead of formality.  This tradition continues with the hopefully imminent arrival of the first Rotary International Club in Fremont

I know this may not sound like much to crow about, but it could mean a lot to our community.  Rotary Club of Fremont (Provisional) will use the talents, time and ‘Yankee ingenuity’ of members to help those in need in our area.  With Jim Daly as a charter member, the Rotary Club of University Sunrise has always included Fremont in their service area.  Having our own Rotary, though, will involve even more of our own folks.

They already have plans to clean the Burke-Gilman trail in west Fremont and work with the Ballard Rotary on Christmas presents for low-income children.  Curt Boozer, a local architect and prospective member, is excited about picking up litter, gathering up clothes and a possible program of mobile hygiene centers.  For him, this is “about getting fun people together to do worthwhile things for the neighborhood.”

Of course, even Rotary can be done Fremont-style.  Meeting Tuesday evenings from 5:30 – 7 p.m. is a new innovation for Seattle Rotary clubs.  It is an ideal time for Fremont, as most citizens are not morning people.  Also, most members are small business owners who cannot afford to take a long lunch.  Being in Fremont, they chose to meet at Hale’s Ales Brewery.  And until they become a chartered Rotary club, they are the “Fremont Fun Club”.  When they are given a charter, they will select a nickname for themselves.  Members want a name that expresses what they are there for.  The list of eleven possibilities includes “Fremontarians” and “Artist-o-crats” and the “We do it With Fun Club”.

Rotary groups are made up of owners or managers of businesses who wish to put “Service above Self”.  Chris McDowall, a public relations consultant, moved to Seattle a year ago and wanted to become connected to the community.  He saw service clubs as something his parents did, not him.  Still, he gave University Sunrise Rotary a chance and learned that the group was informal and friendly and made up of energetic, involved people.  John Savage also says he is “not your normal Rotary-type”.  He joined the Fun Club because friends and business associates talked him into it.  “I didn’t know what it was the first time” but he liked the people and as an area resident, “it’s a neighborhood thing.”  John also joined because of the meeting time.  “I can’t do mornings because of my kids” and, as a general contractor, he can’t do long lunches.  “Evenings are ideal.”

Suzie Burke, a property manager, explained that Fun Club came about when “I was invited to a committee meeting of District 5030 (King County) about membership – and the only way they knew to get more members is to build new clubs.”  When someone suggested an after hours club, Fremont seemed the natural location.  The meeting fee for the Fun Club is $10, very low by most club standards, but they want “to keep it inexpensive.  Keep the price(s) down so small business people can afford to get involved.”

And you can’t help but get involved.  Chris has been attending University Sunrise meetings weekly for 3 ½ months, and he has already worked on three projects including cleaning the Burke-Gilman Trail and fixing up the Burke-Gilman apartments for United Cerebral Palsy.  Rotary is about getting things done.  Each July 1st, a new president is elected to each Rotary Club and near the end of their term, the annual Rotary convention is held.  Each club is invited to show off all they have accomplished in the year.  It guarantees that projects don’t get postponed or put off, they get done.

Duane Ruud is District Governor this year for #5030, the District that covers King County.  He sees to the needs of the 48 clubs with 31,000 members in this district.  He told me that Rotary was begun, in Chicago, in the early 1900’s and is still an all-volunteer organization with 528 Districts worldwide.  “The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis for worthy enterprise...”

To Suzie fellow Rotarians are “the 40 people you know best.”  Because they meet each week, work together on numerous projects and enjoy many social activities together, “you find out how multi-faceted people are.”  A new club must have over 20 members (Fremont Fun Club has 24) and a territory line, which is being drawn now.  Once they become official, a Charter Party is planned at Hale’s.  Somehow, in Fremont and with these people, I imagine it will be FUN!

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©2010 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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