Exchange Club giving back, recognizing others
The West Fargo Exchange Club may have started out small in 1973, but the now 101 member club has given back to the community big time.
The club recently announced it has raised and distributed more than a half million dollars to the community of West Fargo since it started.
This year’s mid-April annual Fun Night – the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year held at the Speedway Event Center – raised roughly around $55,000, surpassing last year’s fun night which raised about $52,000.
Chuck Driscoll, Exchange Club President said exact totals were not available.
“We surpassed last year which was the all-time high,” Driscoll said.
“(Fun Night) keeps growing every year,” Exchange Club member Larry Lubben said. “I think it grows because we have a loyal following coming to the Fun Nights and they have a good time when they are there.”
Lubben said 100 percent of fundraising efforts are donated back to the community from the annual Fun Night.
The West Fargo Exchange Club is linked to a national organization that emphasizes Americanism, youth, and community service. The Exchange Club focuses it philanthropy efforts primarily on youth programs and those that work to prevent child abuse. It has been an advocate of the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo Moorhead, Angels Wings and ShareHouse, among other local organizations. The club works with the school district to provide RealCare babies, which are computer operated dolls that are programmed to behave like infants. The RealCare babies help teenagers learn what it is like to care for newborn baby. The Exchange Club has also purchased a shaken-baby-doll which is available for public use. The technological advanced doll can be used to teach caregivers what shaking a baby can do to an infant’s body, Lubben said.
Next week, the club plans to recognize individuals in the community who have also given back this year during the West Fargo Exchange Club’s annual community awards ceremony.
Chris Papenfuss has been named the 2014 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year, and Karen Huber will be awarded the 2014 West Fargo Civic Excellence award during a luncheon at the Speedway Events Center on May 13.
Arland Rasmussen was named the police department’s 2014 employee of the year.
The awards luncheon is open to the public. The luncheon will be held at noon on May 13 at the Speedway Steakhouse and Events Center, 680 Main Ave.