The Royal Palm Beach Rotary Club rededicated the commemorative clock at Veterans Park in Royal Palm Beach on Thursday, April 15.
The clock, honoring veterans, was originally donated to the village by the club on Veterans Day in 2004 as a remembrance of the 100th anniversary of Rotary, which was founded in Chicago in 1905. Rotary now has more than 1.2 million members in 35,000 clubs around the world.
The clock stopped functioning several years ago, and a group of Rotary leaders, including Mike Gauger, Selena Samios and Lynn Balch, led the effort to refurbish the clock.
The rededication ceremony included an invocation by Pastor Michael Rose, the current president of the Royal Palm Beach Rotary Club. Royal Palm Beach Councilman Jeff Hmara, a past president of the club, led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Master of Ceremonies Lynn Balch, also a club past president, introduced Mayor Fred Pinto, who delivered welcome remarks. Pinto recalled that he had been present 17 years earlier when the clock was first presented and dedicated. He thanked the Rotary for its many long years of service to the village.
Balch introduced the entire council and Village Manager Ray Liggins, who were in attendance, as well as Capt. Ulrich Naujoks, local commander of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and Battalion Chief Tony Tozzi of Palm Beach County-Fire Rescue.
Dan Splain, chairman of the NRI Institute of Health Sciences and a longtime Rotarian, was the guest speaker. Splain gave a brief history on tributes to veterans and recounted the origins of Armistice Day, which evolved into today’s Veterans Day. He pointed out that more than 650,000 American servicemen had died in all the wars fought throughout the nation’s history.
Splain drew parallels between the service of the U.S. Armed Forces and the contributions made by first responders during the current conflict, the war against COVID-19. This war, he said, is being fought not only by the regular military, but the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve and an entire cadre of first responders, including the police, fire, paramedics, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, grocery store workers, truck drivers and all others who have kept the system working and delivering all the medicines and supplies necessary to fight the virus.
For this reason, he announced that the Rotary decided to rededicate the clock to honor not only veterans, but all the first responders who have served during the pandemic, which has now killed almost 600,000 Americans. He announced that an additional plaque would be placed by the Rotary to commemorate this tribute.
The Rotary Club of Royal Palm Beach is 31 years old, and four charter members attended the ceremony: Joan Scherer, Tony Englert, Randy Dugal and Lynn Balch.