Retired Navy Capt. Chuck Mull lives with his wife Sally of 66 years at the Thornton Oaks Retirement Community in Brunswick. He represents his Naval Academy classmates in their class column for the monthly Alumni magazine “Shipmate.” He is currently developing the Naval Academy’s contributions to the history of Naval Shipbuilding during the period 1950-2000. Here, he sounds off on his experience as a Rotarian:

Why do you belong to Rotary?

While I was growing up in Catskill, NY, my dad owned and operated a magazine wholesale business that distributed most of all the magazines published by the major publishers to retailers throughout three counties surrounding Catskill along the upper Hudson River. On one occasion, when I was about 12 or 13 years old, I delivered a bundle of magazines to the old Saulpaugh Hotel in downtown Catskill. I noticed an emblem on the hotel’s front door that said, “Rotary meets here on Tuesdays at noon”. My curiosity was aroused, so I asked the hotel clerk at the check-in counter what was meant by the emblem. He briefly explained that the Catskill Rotary Club did good things for the town of Catskill, such as recreation programs. I never forgot that.

A second experience was when I was ending my plebe or first year as a midshipman at Annapolis. I was home on summer leave after having just completed a “Youngster” two-month cruise to Europe, my indoctrination to life at sea as a deck seaman aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63). My dad had accepted an invitation for me to speak at a Ravena New York Rotary Club luncheon. Speaking to about 20 Rotarians was my first Rotary experience.

Some 30 years later when I was on duty in Bath as the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Overhaul and Repair administering all Navy contracts at Bath Iron Works, I was asked by Bath Rotary Club president Jack Hart to be an Honorary Member of Bath Rotary. By Navy policy active duty personnel could not join civilian clubs, but could accept honorary recognition. I did so, and attended occasional meetings when I could do so.

Thus, when I retired from the Navy in 1981 after 35 years active service, my wife Sally and I decided to stay in Brunswick. With my arm immediately being twisted by my close friend and Rotarian, retired Army Colonel Ed Ryan, I joined the Brunswick Club. Sally and I were in the process of purchasing the Stowe Travel Agency from Brunswick icon 90-plus-year-old Mary Baxter White. With the little background I had about Rotary in general and Brunswick Rotary in particular from Ed, I decided

I wanted to become friends and share business interests with club members, and actively participate in the community activities of the club.

I continued to belong to the club for 35 years until age 89 in 2016 when aging and other demands were catching up with me. The club did “good things”. I chaired the membership committee for two years and later the Brunswick Area Pride and Heritage committee for many years. The speaker programs were excellent and informative. The location of meetings had to be changed periodically, and I had some influence there. I served on the BOD for several years. I assisted in the fundraising efforts. I did the advertising arrangements for the club’s annual talent stage competition one year which broke attendance records. Club projects were many. With dedication and continuity, in general, I belonged!

What is the value to the community?

The value to the community is immense. With full membership of some 50-plus supporting, the club fulfills many needs in the Town. It supports town youth programs, including sports teams. It recognizes potential historic sites and to date has provided 17 bronze plaques appropriately located at these historic sites. They provide educational and cultural, as well as the historical description of each site to residents and visitors of all ages in the midcoast region of Maine. It sponsors and conducts “fun and games” on the Mall during the July 4th holiday every year. For the last eight years, it has sponsored and produced “Midcoast Maine’s Got Talent”. These are only the highlights of club programs.

What did you find most rewarding?

Probably most rewarding has been the friendships created and sustained among the membership. Yes, and certainly fulfilling the responsibilities assumed for specific projects or tasks performed is very satisfying. I also believe each club member has been proud of being a part of the Brunswick Rotary Club! I certainly was!

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