Rotary District 7280 storms Punxsutawney

Eddie Armstrong
Of The Spirit

As you’re reading this, hundreds of out-of-town Rotarians are flocking to Punxsutawney for the 2017 annual Rotary District 7280 Conference.

This year’s conference — the first ever to be hosted by the Punxsutawney Rotary Club — kicks off this morning at the regional campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is scheduled to wrap up Sunday morning.

“This is the time when friends, both new and old, come together to celebrate success and learning experiences from the past few years,” said Tom Chelgren, the 2016-2017 district governor and a past president and longtime member of the Punxsutawney Rotary Club. “This is when we come together to exchange smiles, handshakes and hugs.”

According to Chelgren, it isn't feasible for many clubs in the district to host the conference in their communities, mostly because their small towns are unable to provide the resources and facilities to hold such an event."

Punxsutawney is being stretched by a long shot with what we have," Chelgren said, adding that the Punxsutawney Rotary Club is monopolizing the phenomenon that is Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil to bring Rotarians to town and host them for the conference.

Read the full story in Friday's print edition of The Spirit.

PHOTO: The executive board of the Punxsutawney Rotary Club honored current and past governors of Rotary districts across the U.S. with a banquet on the eve of the annual Rotary District 7280 Conference. Pictured among the district governors and their spouses is Rotary International President's Representative Michael Johns, who can be seen holding a statue of Arch Klumph, Rotary International's sixth president. Klumph created the Rotary Foundation 100 years ago as an endowment fund to support the efforts of Rotary International. (Photo by Eddie Armstrong of The Spirit)