UFOs give Texas club chance to help community
Rotary club president Amy McDonald answers questions from reporter Matt Smith, of the Cleburne Times-Review
, and Jane Pratt, correspondent to the Abilene Reporter-News
and Stephenville Empire-Tribune
Both local and international reporters gathered in the Dublin Rotary Building in mid-January to interview witnesses of purported unidentified flying objects seen by hundreds of people near Dublin, Texas. The gathering allowed members of the Rotary Club of Dublin to bring Rotary hospitality to the attention of media around the world. Photo by Lynn Smith
The four Avenues of Service just grew by one for the Rotary Club of Dublin, Texas, USA, which can add extraterrestrial to the list now that it has gained international attention through recent UFO sightings in the area.
What some are calling the largest cluster of sightings in the United States since the mid-1990s provided the opportunity for club members to host 500 visitors, ranging from UFO investigators, witnesses, the media, and the curious, for a daylong gathering in their own historic building in downtown Dublin, 90 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Eyewitnesses, including a constable, schoolteachers, and business owners, reported bright lights that silently hovered near the horizon. Spokespeople from a Fort Worth military base originally denied having aircraft in the county at the time of the sightings but later said a dozen F-16s had been practicing maneuvers then. But most witnesses remained unconvinced that they had seen conventional aircraft.
The Dublin Rotarians’ involvement began 15 January, when club discussions turned to the Mutual UFO Network, scheduled to meet five days later in a cattle auction barn in Stephenville, 12 miles from Dublin. The Rotarians, however, thought the setting was inhospitable.
Network representatives accepted an offer for free use of the century-old Dublin Rotary Building, with club members and the local Dr Pepper Bottling Company (the oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant in the world) serving as hosts.
Rotarians expected about 50 attendees, but given the international attention, that number grew to more than 500, including representatives from major networks such as MSNBC and National Public Radio.
“This was the most unusual event we have ever hosted,” said club president Amy McDonald. “We had fun with it, and we accomplished a lot for the community and our organization. We saw an opportunity to draw attention to our small town of 3,800, and it gave local businesses the chance for increased traffic and sales.
“We also had the opportunity to tell the amazing story of our building, the original home of the Knights of Pythias fraternal order,” McDonald continued. “When the local KP group disbanded four years ago, we purchased their building. We have invested hundreds of hours in sweat equity to restore it. We use the downstairs for our weekly Rotary meetings and rent it out for public gatherings. With the rental income, we are restoring the second floor for a community facility. It will be magnificent with its original metal ceiling, hardwood floors, and a stage for theatrical performances.
“The restoration is an expensive process, although our 21 members sand floors, recaulk rock walls, and replace windows,” she said. “When finished, the building will fill a huge gap for local rental facilities. And we will proudly display the Rotary name as a symbol of what a few people can do when they are willing to get dirty – and are willing to be hospitable to even the most unusual of audiences.”
Read more on the Rotary Club of Dublin’s Web site .