Union Democrat staff

At the recent Rotary District 5220 Conference in Modesto, Sonora Sunrise Rotary was named Outstanding Club for Rotary Year 2011-12.

The district consists of 54 clubs from Central California communities including Stockton, Merced, Modesto and Tracy totaling some 2,300 members. Sonora Sunrise Rotary received its charter Dec. 23, 1987.

Julie Kline, president of Sonora Sunrise Rotary, said this is the first time in the club's 25 year history to receive this honor.

"I am unbelievably proud of our club and the contributions it makes to our community" Kline said.

Sonora Sunrise has 45 members - including Del Hodges and Don Frazier, who are charter members. It's the largest of the five Rotary Clubs in Tuolumne County.

The club is nearing completion of Sunrise Rotary Park on Covey Circle in Sonora. The park has 17 community garden boxes, large and small dog runs and a children's play area.

The club also renovated the children's area of the County Library on Greenley Road which included a 70-foot mural. Sonora Sunrise also supports Interfaith, WATCH, Sierra Foothills Residential Care; cuts and delivers firewood; conducts the annual Orient Express Run for the benefit of TC Special Olympics and gives five $1,000 scholarships each year to the most improved students from Sonora High, Summerville and Cassina.

The club's Celebrity Waiters' fundraiser at Seven Sisters Restaurant at Black Oak Casino raised $18,000 in support of Railtown 1897.

The club also participates in several International projects in Guatamala, India and the Phillipines.

Rotary District Governor Dave Mantooth said there are a number of of great clubs in the district but "this club's total positive impact on their community was extremely impressive."

He noted that the club has extensive track record of successful projects going back several years. "This award is a culmination of years of work by Sonora Sunrise Rotarians and will be a source of tremendous pride for club members," Mantooth said.