By Brenda L. Holmes
AVON — They gather each week to network and discuss service projects they might want to be involved with. They promote patriotism, work to prevent child abuse, and do what they can to make America a better place to live.
They’re members of the Hendricks County Exchange Club. They meet at noon each Wednesday at Charbonos restaurant in Avon, and they’re looking for new members.
Jerry Cary, a member of the Exchange Club of Speedway and immediate past district president for Indiana, is working with the Hendricks County group to help it establish its charter.
Cary, along with other Speedway club members, have been helping the local group create interest and plant a new charter here.
“Our number one priority is to get 20 members,” Cary told club members at a recent meeting. “Once we have 20 members we can get a charter and become an official Exchange Club.”
Once it is chartered, the club will be part of an extensive network under the umbrella of the National Exchange Club. The national group is a community service organization of nearly 800 clubs and 26,000 volunteers throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Exchange Club members focus on helping youth and community service.
The Hendricks County group currently has 15 members.
“It’s a lot of work to start a group,” Cary said. “I’ve been a member of Exchange for quite some time.”
The Exchange Club also has a long history of promoting Americanism and does so by honoring businesses who fly the American flag each day.
“In the next few weeks, I want you guys to look around and see those businesses who proudly fly their flags,” Cary said.
He encouraged members to go into those businesses and find out why they fly the flag. They will then nominate businesses to be honored at a special meeting of the club.
“It’s also another way to get out into the community and talk about Exchange,” Cary said.
The organization provides leadership training for members and opportunities to use those new skills. Members can put their training to use at the local, district, or national level within the club or in other community involvement projects.
The Speedway chapter has a 25-year history and was named one of the Top 25 Money-Raising Clubs in the country in 2009.
The American Red Cross recently signed a first-of-its-kind national partnership agreement with the National Exchange Club to collaborate on projects. The national club will be celebrating its 100th year of service in 2011.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Hendricks County club is invited to attend a weekly lunch meeting.