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Rotary Club of Byron working to improve the community and the world

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BYRON (WREX) — Nearly 1.2 million people around the world are members of Rotary Club International.

337,000 of them are in the United States, Canada and the Bahamas.

Thousands of chapters span across the U.S., including multiple in the stateline.

Rockford, Loves Park, Oregon among others all feeling the impact of Rotary in their communities.

This includes the city of Byron which adopted a rotary chapter in 2008.

The chapter is on the smaller side, with only 16 active members, but club president Kay King is hoping her passion for the cause will help bring more people on board.

"My heart believes in rotary. I believe in community service and world service. I have seen what we do around the world and the impacts that we have made," King said.

King, originally from the suburbs of Chicago, lives in Byron and, for many years, commuted into Rockford every day for work.

She eventually retired from her job to stay closer to home and found herself involved in Rotary.

So much so, she became the lead of the Byron chapter.

"It's exciting and terrifying," King said.

"Being a leader in a way that involves everybody and gets everybody excited is a challenge and it's one that, so far, I've been enjoying."

Rotary Club of Byron has been making the rounds recently, highlighting people making an impact in the community.

In November 2019, the club donated a $2,000 grant to the Byron High School Food Pantry which helps provide resources to low-income students.

The club also does its part to support education in the community, recently delivering dictionaries to third graders in the area.

Being able to see how the children reacted to getting the books is something that brings King a lot of satisfaction.

"I was amazed. Those kids were so excited and we're ready to sit down and look up the words in the dictionary and I could see those dictionaries were going to get used in very positive ways," King said.

While the club is doing what it can to lift the community up, it's hoping to continuing growing into a larger fixture in Byron and bring more people in to be a part of service to the place they call home.

"I believe in a better world. I believe that each one of us can have a part in making this a better world by being a little generous, a little kinder, a little more understanding," King said.

Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at eleake@wrex.com or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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