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Rotary marks 20th Cherry Tree

by: Submitted Photo  - Meredith and Dick Junge attend the first Cherry Tree Celebration dressed as George and Martha Washington.


   The Rotary Club of Jefferson County is celebrating its 20th year of supporting community improvement projects through its Cherry Tree Celebrations.
   Through the years, the club has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help the efforts and dreams of other local groups become a reality.
   The Rotary Club is currently looking for a $10,000 to $15,000 community project in the county to be the recipient of its annual Cherry Tree Celebration auction, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort.
   The deadline for applications is Oct. 15. Proceeds from the event will fund one-time projects or capital improvements, such as renovations, equipment purchase, or building, rather than daily operations.
   For further information, contact Tina Dickson at 541-475-4886. For an application, visit the website www.rcofjc.org.
   Event history
   Since Jefferson County Rotary was chartered in 1986 with under 20 members, it has been an active supporter of local communities, and now has some 49 members.
   The first Washington's Birthday Bash and Cherry Tree Open Golf Tournament was held in 1991 to help raise funds for the Jefferson County Senior Center.
   As the event developed, the name was shortened to the Cherry Tree Celebration, and Rotary began partnering on the fundraising effort with the chosen organization. The event included a dinner, dance, golf tourney and live and silent auctions.
   Over 20 years, Rotary has raised the following funds for community projects through its Cherry Tree Celebration:
   In 1991, the Jefferson County Senior Center kitchen received $3,000; 1992, Habitat for Humanity, $3,000; 1993, Jefferson County Little League field development at Juniper Hills Park; 1994, senior center kitchen supplies, $5,000; 1995, 509-J soccer field donation; 1996, Little League field donation, and Community Kitchen fan and stove $7,000; 1997, Jefferson County Search and Rescue, $5,000; 1998, Jefferson County Library furnace, $4,000; 1999, Boys and Girls Club/Juniper Junction, $3,500.
   In 2000, the Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 received $10,000 to purchase a Jaws of Life device; 2001, Art Adventure Gallery, $7,000; 2002, Jefferson County Library Foundation, $12,130 for community film center equipment; 2003, Opportunity Foundation of Central Oregon, $9,500; 2004, Jefferson County Fire District cadets' Sahalee Park improvement project, $9,000; 2005, hospital defibrillator, $11,450, and sheriff's office bullet-proof vests, $6,040; 2006, Boys and Girls Club van, $5,000, Madras Disc Golf Course, $5,000, and MHS school-based clinic, $5,000.
   In 2007, phase II of the Sahalee Park improvement project received $30,000, Jefferson County Food Bank expansion, $5,000, and Sanctuary youth horse club in Warm Springs, $4,000; 2008, Culver Special education computers, $5,100, hospital hospice equipment, $4,700, and Court-Appointed Special Advocates office equipment, $10,500.
   In 2009, the money went toward the $25,000 needed to help construct a base for a veteran's memorial featuring a statue in the likeness of local fallen soldier Pfc. Thomas Tucker; 2010, $22,000 was raised to purchase Jaws of Life equipment for the fire station, new computers for the library, and to support Community Read events; the 2011 events raised $10,000 to support improvements at the Jefferson County Fair Complex.