The Exchange Club of Rome celebrated the founding of their club 85 years ago during their business meeting Friday at the Palladium.
Club President Lee Roberts and former state Rep. Paul Smith cut the cake marking the special occasion. Smith, 93, is the club’s oldest member with 67 years of service.
The club began with 25 male charter members. No women were allowed until the 1980s. It has grown to be the largest Exchange club in the Georgia District and the second largest in the nation.
Exchange is a service club dedicated to work within the community. Its Programs of Service activities are divided into Americanism, Community Service, Youth and, the national project, Prevention of Child Abuse.
The Rome club created the Exchange Club Family Resource Center in 1991 to address child abuse locally. It uses the Exchange Parent Aide model and is the only center in Georgia accredited by the national organization.
Exchange members also produce the Coosa Valley Fair each year during the first week in October, which raises funds for the club’s programs. They also recognize members of the community for achievements in agriculture, the arts, community service and other areas.