Former Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee plans to attend a milestone birthday event in his hometown of Hope, Arkansas, early next year.   The Hope Rotary Club will celebrate its Centennial Anniversary with a banquet on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, at 6:30PM., and Hope’s favorite son, Huckabee, will be the featured guest for the Centennial Celebration.

According to a press release, the banquet will be held in the Hempstead Hall Conference Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Hope, where Huckabee announced his bid for the Republican Party Presidential candidacy in 2015.

The Hope Rotary Club, sponsored by the Hot Springs Rotary Club, was organized by Hope citizens on February 10, 1918, in a meeting at the then-prestigious, but no longer in existence, Barlow Hotel. The original club charter represented thirty-eight local businessmen who took part in weekly meetings discussing “vocational talk.”  The original Rotary motto, “Service Above Self,” remains the club’s motto to this day and the Hope Rotary Club has impacted the Hope community through a multitude of service projects over their 100-year span.

Funding college scholarships has been a focus of the Hope Rotary Club for many years, and Governor Huckabee, a graduate of Hope High School, was honored to receive the Rotary Scholarship in 1973.   That scholarship was a benefit to Huckabee in his first year at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia.  Governor Huckabee agreed to participate in the Centennial Celebration in order to “give back” to the Rotary Club in appreciation for the scholarship he received years ago.

During the upcoming Centennial Celebration, the Hope Rotary Club will award the “Hope Rotary Club Governor Mike Huckabee Servant Leadership Scholarship” to one graduating senior at each of the Hempstead County high schools -- Hope High School, Blevins High School, Spring Hill High School and Garrett Memorial Christian School.  Scholarship applications and criteria are available in the Counselor’s Offices in each school.

Other traditional Hope Rotary projects include donations to the Rotary International Foundation, funding for local youth programs, funding for Girls State and Boys State, providing dictionaries to third graders in Hempstead County schools, and funding for local students to attend Rotary Youth Leadership Academy.  Hope Rotarians have also participated in the construction of walking trails at both Medical Park Hospital (now Wadley Regional Medical Center) and Huckabee Lake in Fair Park, and in the installation of windmills at Huckabee Lake, all in Hope.

Everyone is invited to celebrate this 100-year milestone with the Hope Rotary Club.  As Hope Rotarians celebrate their Centennial, Hempstead County will begin to celebrate its Bicentennial in 2018.  January will kick off a grand year for celebrations throughout Hempstead County Arkansas.

Tickets for the banquet are available at hempsteadhall.com or by calling 870-722-8565.  Individual tickets are $50 each.  A sponsor table of eight seats with preferred placement is $500.