Posted on Jun 27, 2018


50 years ago on May 24, 1968, the West Oklahoma City Rotary Club received their official Charter. They were sponsored by the North Oklahoma City Rotary Club and held their first Installation banquet the last Wednesday in June.

On June 27, 2018, the club celebrated its 50th Installation Banquet with incoming President Todd Krout, Immediate Past President Becky Ferguson, and current members with none other than Jim Moon, a West Oklahoma City Rotary Club Charter Member who was the club's 5th President in 1973.

Our History

In early 1968 Bill McNutt, a seasoned, bald-headed Rotarian, fondly referred to as the Bald-headed Nutt by his colleagues, wanted to start another Rotary Club. Firmly embracing Rotary's vision with a passion to see Rotary grow, he contacted his friend and former Ohio State college buddy, Hal Almen about starting a new club. After all said, Hal agreed to become the Charter president and the West Oklahoma Rotary Club was born.

To build a foundational membership, McNutt asked Almen to furnish a list of potential members who were visionaries and would adopt Rotary's motto: Service Above Self. McNutt personally visited each of the men Hal recommended, Moon being one of those men. 

The West Oklahoma City Rotary Club's first Service Above Self project occurred unexpectedly when the warehouse housing Oklahoma City's Salvation Army Christmas gifts burned to the ground in November, 1968.

President Hal Almen jumped into action. He contacted all of the other Oklahoma City Club Presidents and together they undertook the massive job of helping the Salvation Army prepare for Christmas.

Members jumped into action and through their networking, Oklahoma newspapers and radio stations made several announcements to encourage gift donations. Various local trucking companies parked trailers to collect the gifts. Santa Fe Railways donated a free warehouse to house collections. The project was so massive and successful that the Rotarian Magazine featured their story, being the first for the West Oklahoma City Rotary Club.

Because of their zeal, the club grew to around 30 members from 1968-1972.

In the spirit of Service Above Self, these 30 members of The West Oklahoma City Rotary club raised significant amounts of money.

Member Jerry Bernardy, a commercial banker who was a board member of the Cancer Society, initiated a Bike A Thon for cancer. The original route for the event (for four years) was around Lake Hefner before Highway 74 was built. They raised $6000 the first year. On year 5 they moved the event to a racetrack at SW 8th and Council and the event was sponsored for another two years.

Another project held was at the Children's Center in Bethany. . . Oklahoma City's largest-ever garage sale! The West Rotary Club collected and stored donated items for one year. One of their members, an electrician, repaired all the electrical devices. Larry McAtee, current 2018 Ward 3 City Councilman, kept the books. And the Rotary Anns (wives) pitched in to help.

Spin the Wheels was an ongoing project for 15 years. Devon Energy, Kerr McGee and Moon Chemical were sponsors with their company name printed on T-shirts. Bicyclists paid a $15 entry, kids rode for free and the project raised $45,000!

The Club later went on to sponsor the Dale Rogers Training Center, The Children's Center in Bethany and a host of others.

Hal Almen, a generous leader who believed in benefiting others, passed away at the age of 95 in October 2002. In 2004 The West Oklahoma City Rotary Club received an endowment of one million dollars from his estate to be used for $4000 college scholarships.

Jim Moon is one of the two overseers for the Hal Almen Scholarship program with member Jim Hampton.

In 2018, twenty-four $4000 Hal Almen Scholarships were awarded, bringing the total since 2004 to 281 ($1,124,000.00).


The first group of Hal Almen Scholarship recipients in 2004

Hal Almen's legacy of Service Above Self endures, building upon what so many Club members before us have initiated.