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San Marcos Rotary continues serving after 100 years

By Megan Becker

SAN MARCOS — Dr. Bruce Smith became a Rotarian 30 years ago in Fairbanks, Alaska. Currently, he’s the president of the Rotary chapter in San Marcos during the service organization’s centennial year.

Dr. Bruce Smith

Dr. Smith said he appreciates the high value of Rotary as a group that builds character and selflessly serves others. He fondly recalls early fundraising experiences in Fairbanks that would drive important community programs.

“During the Alaskan winters we would sell hundreds of a dozen long-stem roses,” he said. “A jet would fly in filled with roses. It was quite a sight and people would look forward to the arrival of this plane during the long, cold winters.”

The retired chair and professor emeritus of Texas State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication joined the San Marcos chapter in 2000 when he came to Texas.

His current term as president in San Marcos is actually his second time to serve as a Rotary president. His first term at the helm was in Vermillion, South Dakota, where his academic career continued to develop.

He expressed with great pride during his first Rotary presidency in promoting bike safety for every second grader. “The Vermillion chapter thought it important that every second grader have a helmet to ensure greater safety,” he said.

Dr. Smith’s academic career follows two decades as a journalist, producer and general manager of broadcast stations in Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota, Michigan, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Anchorage and Fairbanks. Along with 40 years of experience in academic and media organizations, Smith has published a public relations textbook, numerous articles, and other publications.

He has a special research interest in Native American radio, particularly as it binds communities and preserves indigenous languages and cultures. An avid world traveler with a wonderful eye for photography, Dr. Smith also has experience in four languages including Spanish, German, Italian, and Japanese.

Smith looks forward to the constant change that Rotary will experience over the next 100 years in order to stay relevant and helpful in the spirit of Rotary founder Paul Harris.

“The story of Rotary in San Marcos is rich in history and service,” he said. “Our Club is healthy, vibrant and growing as the community continues to grow. It’s heartwarming to be with a community that is eager and committed to bettering the community.”

The most recent service effort pairs the San Marcos Club with the Mission de Candelilla in Fredericksburg. Volunteers are meeting to pack and deliver school supplies for children in seven impoverished villages in Mexico as an international project.

Dozens of school supply packets will also be donated to the Hays County Women’s Shelter and the Youth Service Bureau in San Marcos for needy children locally. San Marcos Rotarians, friends and family are meeting 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 27 at First Christian Church on Ranch Road 12 to organize and pack supplies for distribution. Ben Duncan, Sean Locker are co-chairing this project, and Kenny Johnson also is a leader in the effort.

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