By Brenda L. Holmes
PLAINFIELD — A small group of people have come together to create Exchange Club of Hendricks County. The group of 21 celebrated this week with an official Permanent Organizational Meeting (POM).
Members are now part of a national community service organization whose main focus is youth, Americanism, and preventing child abuse.
Helping to organize the club were members from the Speedway chapter, Jerry Carey and Duane Wade.
“In the beginning I just showed up and got hooked,” Carey said. “I have always been patriotic and feel really blessed to be in a country that gives the opportunities that America offers people.”
He started out at the Speedway Exchange Club when he was living in the area. Since then he has moved to Hendricks County and was surprised there was no local chapter.
So he enlisted the help of Duane Wade, a fellow Exchangite from the Speedway Club. Together they started hosting weekly meetings.
The group has grown over the past several months and recently found enough members (20) to charter at new club.
“This is a good group of people and I am proud to enter into the covenant of service with you,” Carey said. “Without Duane, none of this would have been possible.”
Mark Izzi, the director of club and district services for National Exchange Club, attended the POM and spoke to the budding organization.
“You are getting involved during a special time,” Izzi said. “The most important part of Exchange Club is that it is not a top down organization. It is a bottom up organization. So it will be what you make it.”
He said all of the national projects have come from the different clubs around the country. Often clubs will come up with an idea and share it with the national headquarters in Toledo, Ohio. Other clubs then jump on board and take the projects to their local chapters.
Other than service opportunities, Exchange Club offers its membership leadership development, business networking, new friends, and training and educational opportunities.
“I tried to talk my way out of district training,” Carey said. “But Mark (Izzy) told me to stop coming up with excuses and go. It ended up being one of the best trips I took.”
Carey said the training he’s received as a member of Exchange Club has been invaluable in his professional and personal life.
The first Exchange Club was founded March 27, 1911, in Detroit. The organization will be marking its 100th birthday in the spring.
The Exchange Club of Hendricks County currently has 21 charter members. Any new members who join within the next 30 days will also be considered charter members and receive a special pin.
The club has elected officers and directors for the new group.
This chapter is one of two that has been founded this year. In the Indiana district there are now 19 clubs. There are more than 22,000 Exchange Club members nationally.
The club meets at noon each Wednesday at Charbonos in Avon. This meeting is open and first-time guests will be treated to lunch.