Dothan Rotary History

With every project, we're changing the world for the better.


Paul Harris founded the first ever Rotary Club.

A Better Place

Dr. A. S. Frazier, L. E. Morgan, R.W. Lisenby and a group of citizens called for a town meeting to discuss the implementation of a club for Dothan that would strive to make the town a better place.

Outlaw Club

An informal Dothan "Rotary" Club was created and dubbed the "Outlaw Club."

Ladies' Night

The first ladies' night was held by members of the "Outlaw Club". They were known as Rotarettes before being named Rotary Anns. The first ladies' night was held at Fritter Springs.

Making it Official

The Dothan Rotary Club became a part of Rotary International after having been known as the "Outlaw Club" for several years.

No Smoking

Concerned about the smoking craze, the Dothan Rotary Club sponsored a special picture for boys titled "The Evils of Cigarette Smoking."

Committee Work

The first Rotary Club Crippled Children's Committee was appointed to conduct a survey of the crippled children in Houston County. The club also voted to pay the cost of the survey.

Club Action

The Dothan Rotary Club became an active member of the Alabama Society for Crippled Children.

Making a Difference

The first crippled children's clinic in the state was held in Dothan and sponsored by the Dothan Rotary Club. By 1930, as many as 100 children were being examined and treated at the clinic held in temporary locations around the city.

The Great Depression

The "Great Depression" hit Dothan just as it did the rest of the country. Minutes of meetings during that period show a lot of local talent was used for programs, and that members were not doing a lot traveling.

Helping Schools

October minutes point out that the Rotary Club board of directors became so concerned about the school situation they voted to write each of the town's businesses and ask them to pay taxes early so school could be kept open.

Making Roads

A Rotary Club committee was appointed to work with the Columbia Lions Club to obtain a good road between Columbia and Dothan.

The Houston Hotel

The Dothan Rotary Club voted to move its meetings from the Wadlington Hotel to the recently opened Houston Hotel.

Staying Together

Discussions regarding the Rotary Club disbanding were noted. One Rotarian made it plain that he didn't want it talked about again. The subject of disbanding was dropped, and club programs were aimed at gaining more members and doing more work for the community.

White Elephant Sale

The Dothan Rotary Club stepped up its program for helping crippled children by starting its annual White Elephant Sale.

"Watching" 4-H

President Mark Cannon started the program to present watches to outstanding Houston County 4-H boys and girls.

Presidential Visit

During this Rotary year the club played host to its international president who was brought here by Harry Hall.

Local Governor

Dothan Rotary Club Member Dr. Samuel Windham was elected at District 6880 Governor.

Large Turnout

Rotary International President J. Ed McLaughlin visited the Dothan Rotary Club. More than 500 Rotarians and their Rotary Anns turned out for a rare and celebrated occasion.

Children's Foundation

The Dothan Rotary Children's Foundation was established. A 15-man board of directors was named after the club approved the foundation and authorized the construction of a clinic to serve the area.

England Project

The Dothan Rotary Club was matched with the Slough, England Rotary Club through a Rotary International project.

A New Clinic

The Houston County Board of Revenue donated a ten-acre site for the Crippled Children's Clinic on the Ross Clark Circle. Later the site was swapped for acreage on the opposite side of the road so that it could be beside New Hope Industries.

Hill Burton Funds

$232,000.00 in Hill Burton funds were received to help in building the Cripple Children's Clinic.

Local District Governor

Dothan Rotary Club Member Mark S. Cannon was elected as District 6880 Governor.

Interact Club

The Dothan Rotary sponsored Interact Club was organized. John Conti, son of Rotarian John Conti was president. Other officers were Randy Cobb, vice president; Judy Allen, secretary; and Rufus Davis treasurer.

Over to Ozark

Arthur Morris, Jr., president of the Dothan Rotary Children's Foundation, turns keys to the $348,000.00 crippled children's clinic over to Dunn Ozark, Southeast Alabama Rehabilitation Committee.

Rewarding Excellence

The Dothan Rotary Club was presented Rotary International's highest award - The Paul R. Harris Award - for their work with crippled children.

Honoring Rotarians

During the Golden Anniversary program, two individuals who had died in recent years were honored. One was Arthur Ussery who was an active Rotarian for 45 years and one of those who founded the Dothan club. The other was Mrs. Addie Wilson who was the club pianist for almost 45 years. It was noted that R.H. Wells was the only surviving charter member of the Dothan Rotary Club.

Chamber of Commerce

Eighteen out of twenty-five of the 1969 Chamber of Commerce board of directors were Rotarians, and all the officers were Rotarians.

Local Distict Governor

Dothan Rotary Club Member Paul Felts was elected as District 6880 Governor.

Local Distict Governor

Dothan Rotary Club Member Charles H. Chapman was elected as District 6880 Governor.

Harry P. Hall Meritorious Award

Started in 1981 by Past District Governor Charles H. Chapman, this award recognizes Rotarians from District 6880 who carry out Rotary International's tradition of "Service Above Self" in a distinguished and significant manner. Harry Hall was a member of the Rotary Club of Dothan and served as District Governor from 1941 - 1942.

Local Distict Governor

Dothan Rotary Club Member Joseph L. Donofro was elected as District 6880 Governor.

Honorary Members

Mark Stephen Cannon (upon his resignation from Rotary due to health problems) was honored for his 56 years of membership and outstanding service and was made an honorary member.

International Study

An exchange group from India visited the Dothan Rotary Club as part of Rotary International's Group Study Exchange.

Habitat Building

Dothan Rotary Club contributed $14,000 to the Habitat Building Ministry.

Giving Back

The Dothan Rotary Club was recognized by Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity for contributing $14,000.00 in 1999.

Local Distict Governor

Dothan Rotary Club Member Bob Rudder was elected as District 6880 Governor.

Local Distict Governor

Dothan Rotary Club Member Bruce McNeal was elected as District 6880 Governor.