Status Awarded For Only Second Time in Club History

Earlier this fall, Rotarian Jim Barnes made the decision to retire from the Rotary Club of Rolla, of which he’d been a member since December 1985.  But his Club wouldn’t let him go that easily.

On October 21, 2018, the local organization bestowed upon Barnes an honor given to only one other member since the Rolla Club’s inception in 1935.  A Rotarian to his core, Barnes was awarded the status of Lifetime Honorary Member.

“My dad was a Rotarian with 51 years of perfect attendance, was president of this Club, and governor of our Rotary District in the early seventies,” Barnes says. “I joined this Club in December 1985 because I was asked.”

Barnes continues, “Bill Anderson asked me to be Club secretary during his 1986-87 presidential year, and I stayed on the job for the next 30 Club presidents who followed Bill.”


Barnes moved to Rolla with his family in 1947, graduating from Rolla High School in 1960.  He received a degree in Business from Mizzou, as well as Army ROTC training that led to his Private Pilot license and a commission as Army Field Artillery Second Lieutenant. He reported for duty in February 1965, entering helicopter flight school soon after.  “I earned my Army Aviator Wings and was rewarded with a 12-month, all-expenses paid vacation in a tropical paradise called Vietnam,” says Barnes, “where I was a noisy moving target known as a Huey gunship pilot.”

After his “vacation,” he became a helicopter instructor pilot, training young soldiers through their first 50 hours of flight.  During this time, Jim met his wife, Emily.  “I begged her all summer to marry me,” he says. “We celebrate 50 years this December.”

After another 12-month tour in Vietnam (“I flew the large twin rotor Chinook cargo helicopter, a HUGE noisy moving target this time.”), he “co-produced two sons at $10 each – base hospital linen charge.”  When Barnes’ father retired in 1985, Jim moved back to Rolla, bought his father’s business, and the house in which he lived before leaving for college.

Following his father’s legacy of perfect attendance, Barnes did not miss a week of Rotary for 28 straight years.  His attendance remained intact even while battling cancer, undergoing intense treatments in 2013.  Another recent bout with cancer found Barnes again receiving treatment, this time at Phelps County Regional Medical Center’s Delbert Day Cancer Institute, where “everyone is friendly, encouraging, and competent,” says Barnes. “You don’t need to leave town to receive quality medical care.”

Barnes reflects fondly and earnestly on his experience as a Rotarian in Rolla, MO.  “Why did I stay?  Good food, fun weekly meetings and great programs, I enjoyed my Club job, I met a lot of nice folks outside of my normal circle, and my belief in the good done by The Rotary Foundation, especially our Polio Eradication efforts.”

“Rotary membership is more than a resume enhancer or weekly ‘meet and eat.’  But it is only so when every member feels needed, works on a committee that is getting things done, and they are kept informed.”

Thank you, Jim, for the years of dedication, service, and humor you gave to this Club; and for your exemplary illustration of a truly proud Rotarian.  Congratulations!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s