The Titusville Rotary Club celebrated an advancing nonagenarian status on Tuesday. The club officially turned 98. Club members celebrated with cake and a presentation by Titusville Police Chief Dustin LaGoullon.

Following the meal that accompanies each club meeting, as well as a few orders of business, LaGoullon gave those in attendance an update and glimpse into the future of the police department.

In his 12 years  in Titusville, he described the past few years as “substantial” for the department. Officers handled 4,638 incidents in 2018, according to LaGoullon. That number climbed to 5,760 in 2019, he said. The increase in incidents was handled with one less officer at the time, he added.

“It’s difficult to categorize the incidents,” he said. He was able to divulge that 15 of the incidents were felony/drug-related and six guns were retrieved.

LaGoullon credited his officers for their efforts. “They should be commended,” he said. 

He told the rotarians that the future of the department looks “promising.” His goal to collaborate with local government and other law enforcement agencies is coming to fruition.

Christopher Fiely, chair of the Rotary Foundation, as well as past district governor and past president, recently composed an overview of the club. He reviewed some of the history of the club during Tuesday’s meeting.

It all started when Attorney Paul Percy Harris, of Chicago, Illinois, invited three business associates “in fellowship and friendship” to a meeting at his office on Feb. 23, 1905. They met on a weekly basis rotating to each other’s place of business, naming it Rotary.

Local origins of the club trace back to 1921. In late 1921, some Titusville “pillars of the community” accepted an invitation from some business associates in Meadville to attend a luncheon of their newly-formed club. Hardware store owner, S.S. Bryan, led a small group of men to the County Seat. On Feb. 1, 1922, the Titusville Rotary Club was chartered and Bryan became the first president.

Long-time club traditions continue, including the Bottle Fund. Attendees typically donate $1 and write a note about that day’s program, welcome to a guest or a sports or news comment. “The Bottle Fund” is read as part of a meeting, with applause for any special comments and at the end for all donations. The funds are used annually for the Children’s Christmas Party. Proceeds provide a celebration, complete with gifts, for second-graders in the Titusville Area School District.

Another tradition that dates back to at least the 1960s is Farm-City Day. More than 40 local farm families are invited to attend a Rotary luncheon that includes a presentation, typically related to agribusiness.

Fiely went on to list numerous fundraisers the club holds throughout the year as tickets were passed out for the upcoming 43rd Annual Sweetheart Dinner planned for Feb. 21.

Having barely finished the cake in honor of the 98th birthday, Fiely is already busy brainstorming ideas for a celebration of 100 years, just a couple years down the road.

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