“Many groups reach out to us every year, wanting to help in some way, but only Rotary has actually shown up!”

“You did all of this for us?”

“I’ve lived in southeastern Utah for almost 90 years … and I’ve never seen anything like this outpouring of service.”

“This week has been a true Rotary experience. My wife (another Rotarian) is going to be so sorry she missed this!”

The tiny tribal community of Halchita – located on the northern border of the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners area of southeastern Utah – requires sacrifice and a good GPS to locate, but, the remote and rugged landscape, is a photographer’s dream.

On the weekend of Oct. 28-31, 75-100 Rotarians from 14 Utah clubs rolled up their sleeves to convert a long-abandoned school into a multi-purpose community center in support of Halchita’s 200 residents.  Members and friends of Rotary jumped in to tear out shelves and appliances, paint almost every square inch of the building – inside and out (in some cases, more than once) – install hundreds of ceiling tiles and new lighting, a microwave and beautiful, professionally designed cabinets in the kitchen (valued at more than $14,000), replaced sinks and toilets in three bathrooms, sorted thousands of books to create a community library, and improved a nearby baseball diamond, including a renovated dugout.

Rotarians then hosted a Trunk or Treat for kids excited to receive candy, toothbrushes, small toys, and books.  Some also took home warm winter coats, hats, quilts and other gifts … though sadly many didn’t come because they had no costumes.

“Why don’t more districts do district-level projects?” questioned IPDG Linda Sappington, who called Halchita “a perfect opportunity to address needs in this little community.”  But it was also a chance for Rotarians to do the kind of “bigger, better, bolder service” many clubs might not be able to accomplish on their own … and, best of all, new friendships were made at the breakfast table as well as on the work site.

Thanks to NAI Chair Paul Summers, our committee members who thought of everything and to all who shared time, talents and resources to benefit the people of Halchita!

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