Rotary celebrates Alaska's 50th with roses

Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2009

To mark Alaska's 50th anniversary of statehood, the Rotary Club of Juneau is selling at least 1,959 roses to commemorate 1959, the year Alaska was welcomed as the 49th state.

Courtesy Of Mary Lou Gerbi
Courtesy Of Mary Lou Gerbi

Roses are available from Rotary members or at Rotary's secure Web site at for $30 a dozen or two dozen for $50. The last day to order is March 31.

Fresh roses will be flown in, wrapped in tissue, nestled in attractive boxes by the Plant People, and delivered free of charge by Rotary members to any home or workplace in Juneau on Wednesday, April 8. Out of town, Wings of Alaska, Alaska Seaplanes and Ward Air will deliver roses free of charge to Angoon, Hoonah, Haines, Skagway, Tenakee Springs, Pelican, Kake, and Gustavus.

Since 1986, Rotary rose sales have helped finance University of Alaska Southeast scholarships, Rotary international youth exchange programs, youth leadership awards, and countless community projects, including the upcoming Southeast Outdoor Survival project. In conjunction with Gastineau Rotary and Glacier Valley Rotary clubs, Juneau Rotary provided dictionaries to every third grader in Juneau last fall.

Incoming president and rose sale chairman Warren Russell credits the people of Juneau for their support of Rotary projects. "The annual Rotary Rose sale is key to our success in being able to put so much back into our community in service and support," Russell said. "Thanks to the generosity of our friends and neighbors, we hope to continue this 22 year commitment."

Established in 1935, the Rotary Club of Juneau has been at the forefront of a number of projects benefiting the community, including the Auke Bay shelter and the Mendenhall Wetlands Viewing Station, Empty Bowls and the Food Bank food drive.

Restoration of totem poles is a 50-year Rotary tradition. Rotarians financed restoration of the Old Witch totem from Belle Simpson's Nugget Shop, which now stands in the eighth floor atrium of the State Office Building. Juneau Rotary and the Alaska State Museum sponsored restoration of the Four Story totem in front of the Juneau Douglas City Museum. Juneau Rotary also sponsored moving the Aak'w Kwaan totem to Juneau Douglas High School.

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