Twin Club Connections
After the Iron Curtain came down in 1990, Rotary International reached out and helped get Rotary clubs started in the former Communist countries. Five members of the Rotary Club of Knoxville flew to Budapest in November 1995. The club had invited the presidents of the 12 new Hungarian Rotary clubs from all around Hungary to a special "Tennessee Rotary welcomes you to the world of Rotary" luncheon event. It was on Nov. 2 and a snow storm/blizzard occurred. The Knoxville travelers held their breath. Would the Rotarians make it to Budapest for this special gathering? Yes, they all made it! During this event the Knoxville Rotarians learned that Mateszalka Rotarians had a dream to rebuild a summer camp that had been used for training Communist youth, but that now the camp - called Camp Tridea - is envisioned as a place that could offer fresh air and a few weeks of happiness for refugee children, orphans and underprivileged children in the eastern area of Hungary. Social services had been drastically reduced, and there was little laughter and joy for poor children. The Mateszalka Rotarians wanted to change that and we, The Rotary Club of Knoxville, said we would help them. Thus we became partners and our Twin Club connections began.
Over the past 20 years, the Knoxville Rotarians have come to know and cherish every member of the Mateszalka club and the members of their families. By working together, sharing meals, toasting and getting to know one another and appreciating our different cultures, we have not only helped many children, but have reminded ourselves that goodwill, peace and better understanding in the world starts when we share our time, talents, meals and hearts together.