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Toledo
Charles Feilbach­ A Starting Point

Prepared by Past President Clint Mauk Remarks presented at DG Chuck Stocking's Inauguration Dinner at Glendale-Feilbach School on June 24, 2000 "It is difficult for me to remember to be brief, whenever I review the honorable and wonderfully far-reaching history of Toledo Rotary."

Charles Feilbach, a wholesale grocer, was just one of those early Toledo Rotarians who not only made a tremendous impact on our club, but truly set the direction of Rotary International and its 27,000-plus clubs worldwide. He was Toledo Rotary's third President, serving in 1915-1916. There are a lot of men both in and out of Rotary who were Rotarians in heart long before Rotary was ever heard of. Charles Feilbach was one of them, exemplifying the fundamental ideals of Rotary.

The Toledo Rotary Club was formed in 1912 as Club No. 44 and began serving crippled children almost from its very beginning. By 1915, in the term of Charles Feilbach, considerable efforts to serve these children were already being made in partnership with the District Nurse Association.

In 1917, nurse Emma Roberts of the D.N.A. found a 14-year-old boy born without arms or legs, whose only wish was to go to school like everyone else. Nurse Roberts approached Rotary with the idea of a special school for crippled children. Under Feilbach's leadership, and with the help of the superintendent of schools, a special school was started, in October 1917, with six boys and girls. In 1922 Charles Feilbach proudly presented diplomas to its first graduates.

When he died two years later (in 1924), the school was promptly renamed the Charles Feilbach School. A brand new school was built in 1931 and the children moved into the current Glendale-Feilbach building when the two schools were combined in the 1970's.

The point is that the determination and leadership of one man, Charles Feilbach, set the theme for the Toledo Rotary Club: a theme that spread throughout the Rotary world to every Rotary Club to serve the handicapped. The culmination, of course, is PolioPlus, Rotary Internationalšs 100th Anniversary Gift to the World, a $500 million effort to eliminate a crippling disease that is still a scourge in Third World Countries. ­ And it all came about because of a nurse, Emma Roberts, a Toledo Rotarian, Charles Feilbach, and a 14-year-old boy born without arms and legs, who simply wanted to go to school, like everybody else.


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