From Rotarian Lorrie McVey: I’ve been asked to write a eulogy. A eulogy for a Rotary club. The Rotary Club of Lakes Area,
founded in 1946, has had a long life full of service, relationships, and fun. 
or Seventy-six and a half years, Lakes Area served the communities of Commerce Township, Walled Lake, Wixom and Wolverine Lake through growth, development, and change.
I’ve been asked to write a eulogy. A eulogy for a Rotary club. The Rotary Club of Lakes Area, founded in 1946, has had a long life full of service, relationships, and fun.  For Seventy-six and a half years, Lakes Area served the communities of Commerce Township, Walled Lake, Wixom and Wolverine Lake through growth, development, and change. Lakes Area sponsored new clubs, was one of the first supporting and developing what is now our Youth Exchange program, with members hosting exchange students immediately after WWII.  Members sold fruit cakes, coloring books, planned carnivals, and a variety of festivals over the years.  We worked with other Rotarians, learned from our sister clubs, sent a member to act as District Governor and have others who served our District as well as our club and community.
 
Serving a nearly seventy square mile area presented several cultural challenges and when “the center of the universe” moved from Walled Lake to Novi, the fledgling Novi club began to grow in prominence while Lakes Area, originally The Rotary Club of Walled Lake began to shrink.  Around the year 2000 the club settled at a membership level between 12 and 20.  This did not deter them.  Three Interact Clubs were established for the three high schools in their school district.  By inviting local organizations and community groups to work with them, a three-day carnival at one of the busiest intersections in Oakland County was developed and grew for several years until the property location became unavailable.  This signature fundraiser brought the club upwards of $25,000 each year and became the place to be the first weekend in June. As the carnival faded, the club build a Beer and Wine Tasting event at the popular Farmer John’s Greenhouse in Farmington, eventually welcoming over 150 people to the event annually. 
 
When COVID arrived in 2019 Lakes Area didn’t miss a beat.  A Zoom account was established and within one week the club was meeting online, hosting speakers from a variety of worldwide locations. When COVID trended toward endemic, Lakes Area returned as a hybrid club making it easier for members to attend meetings.  While several new members were attracted to the club, sadly, the club began to experience a drop in member’s ability to physically support club programming.  When membership dropped under ten the club reached a unanimous decision to return it’s charter to Rotary International.
 
Seven members joyfully spent their final holiday get together the Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce’s Jingle Mingle with many of the people they worked with side by side in many projects.  During the Jingle Mingle, President Lorrie McVey bestowed a  Paul Harris Fellow on Laura Bolyard, Executive Director of the Chamber.  After the event members retired to Pam Jackson’s home for a final toast to themselves.
 
While this is the eulogy of a club it is in no way a eulogy for the members.  Members did not want to leave Rotary, they simply recognized their ability to serve at this location under these circumstances was no longer sustainable.  Lakes Area Rotarians are in the process of transferring their memberships to nearby clubs where they will joyfully continue the great work of Rotary.  Several have already joined West Bloomfield as of this writing and others are in touch with Milford, Novi and Birmingham. 
The name of Lakes Area Rotary will live on in the form of a fund established by Michigan Youth Education Fund (MIYEF) for leadership.  MIYEF was founded by college student who recognized the need for to reduce barriers and costs for all Michigan student participating in extracurricular activities.  The connection with these students came to Lakes Area via an Interact student.  MIYEF is committed to working to help send students to RYLA as well as other leadership program.  The organization is young and growth with excellent guidance.  We encourage Rotary clubs to consider working with them.
 
It will take several more months to complete the proper closure of Lakes Area.  During that time Lorrie McVey will serve as President/Secretary and Paul McVey will serve as Treasurer.  This spring we will sponsor four youth from Walled Lake Schools to attend RYLA as our last official act. 
 
Writing this has been bitter/sweet for me.  My father-in-law was a charter member of this club the year Paul was born.  For 20 years I have laughed, loved, cried, and served all while having fun with my fellow Lakes Area Rotarians.  Lakes Area Club has reached an end but our Rotary world is not ending.  We look to new experiences with you and new Rotarians we will meet and love.  And so, I’ll say, “Tootles” but not farewell.
 
Please contact Lorrie at lorenemcvey@yahoo.com or 248-390-8572 if you are interested in:
  • American Flag with new stand/pole
  • Canadian Flag
  • Wheeled Oak podium with Rotary Wheel – 2 pieces (Top can be separated and used on a table).  Both top and bottom have combination/key locks for security
  • Membership Stock paper
  • Honorary Stock paper
  • Interact Membership and Service Citation Stock
  • Slightly damage rectangular name badge box
  • Meeting bell
  • Misc. Rotary officer and member pins (old and new formats)
 
 
Lakes Area Rotary Final Updates – June – December 2022
 
Service
Health Kits/School Supplies to Detroit Intercity Special Needs School
75th Anniversary Picnic – Six Paul Harris Fellows to Community
Peace Pole Installation – Clara Miller Park/Wolverine Lake, MI
Novi Beer Tent – Servers (3 days)
Hat-Coat-Mitten Collection for Grace Center of Hope
Team Turkey – Thanksgiving Dinners delivered to 49 Walled Lake families (198 people)
Youth & Children First (Nepal) – gift of an OWL (assist with learning/international connections)
 
Donations
Rotary International – SHARE$ 1,450.00
Rotary International – POLIO PLUS$ 2,750.00
Casa Colibri (Rochester/Davisburg) $    900.00
WL School’s Therapy Dog Program $ 2,020.00
Hospitality House food pantry   $ 4,790.00
Lakes Area Youth Assistance   $ 2,680.00
Marilyn Violet Foundation*    $ 2,090.00
Military Families United  $    570.00
Children Youth First (Nepal)   $ 1,600.00
Shelter Box     $    760.00
MI Youth Education Fund $ 4,500.00
*Four Students – RYLA   $ 1,000.00