East County has a long history of established Rotary clubs, dating back to the early 1900s — and on May 29, the latest addition to the area and newest Rotary club in the world was charted in Oakley.
“There have been conversations for years,” said David Wahl, Rotary Club of Oakley’s president. “We felt a city of 45,000 could support a new club.”
Wahl is a longtime Brentwood resident who is “on loan” to the Oakley club, bringing his past experience to help get it started. Many leaders from the Rotary Club of Brentwood were key in organizing the Oakley club’s formation.
“I have been a Rotarian in other communities and saw firsthand all the great work that can be done,” said Bryan Montgomery, Oakley city manager and club membership chair. “When asked by leaders of the Brentwood club to be a part of it, I eagerly jumped in, knowing what Rotary can do to help Oakley be an even better community.”
Local business owners and community individuals first held an informational meeting at an Oakley Chamber of Commerce mixer, and the Rotary Club of Oakley was officially chartered by Rotary International with 25 members less than two months later.
Wahl and Montgomery said they hope to steadily grow the club, encouraging each member to bring in a family member, friend or colleague they feel upholds Rotary’s value of “service above self.” Their goal is to double membership numbers over the next year.
The new club already has several plans on its docket, including delivering dictionaries to Oakley’s third graders — a project previously performed by the Brentwood club.
“Education is a large component of Rotary International that fits into our avenues of service,” Wahl said.
Oakley Rotary is also talking with Big Break Regional Shoreline about working with them on their dune restoration project, and they will help Freedom High School’s boosters with cooking and serving food at its Back to School Night barbecue, Tuesday, Aug. 13. And every other month — along with the Brentwood Rotary Club — they will participate in Home Team, during which they visit local seniors and help with light home and lawn maintenance.
Wahl said a great strength of the Rotary Club of Oakley is the different perspectives the individual community members bring, emphasizing Rotary’s principle to use one’s business as an avenue for service.
“The meetings are fun,” he said. “The more individuals are interacting back and forth, the better.”
The club will hold its charter gala Saturday, Sept. 28, which includes a comedy show starring Michael Mancini, “The World’s Funniest Cop.” The event will be held at the Oakley Recreation Center on O’Hara Avenue at 6 p.m., and tickets are $50. Call Vera Martinez at 925-639-9194 to reserve tickets.