Wanderlino Arruda
Djalma Souto


The Montes Claros Rotary Club

Wanderlino Arruda

Now that we are approaching the completion and commemoration of eighty portentous years of Rotary in Brazil, Rotary being founded at Rio de Janeiro, in 1923, it now seems opportune to expound upon the creation of the first Rotary founded at Montes Claros in 1926. This was the same year that Antonio Augusto Teixeira, a Montes Claros pharmacist, excitedly returned from a Rotary Club reunion in New York. Enthusiastically contaminated by the ideas and prestige of Paul Harris, who was he? he immediately embraced the Rotarian philosophy of brotherhood. Whenever he would talk about his trips, he would always tell of how he was greatly impressed by the protcol and other virtues that he had witnessed and observed during the Rotary meeting, which had completely enthralled him. In other words, it was love at first sight.

Being a traveler by vocation, Antonio Augusto - better known as Niquinho Teixeira – knew many people and had innumerous acquaintances, and among them was Robert Shalders, diplomat of the American Embassy as well as secretary of the Rotary Club at Rio de Janeiro. At the time, he was really interested in visiting Montes Claros, to see and taste the best of what the little city had to offer: sun-dried beef and a native tropical fruit, the pequi, which is a staple food rather than succulent and sweet. Antonio Augusto Teixeira was in Rio and didn’t want to return to Montes Claros without first visiting his friend, and so he did, as soon as he got off the ship. He told of his many adventures in these last two months of travel, highlighting what he had seen at the Rotary meeting. Shalders, upon witnessing his friend’s enthusiasm, smiled and made his friend a challenge. He challenged Antonio Augusto to found a Rotary Club in Montes Claros and, if he had the courage and perserverance to do this, Shalders himself would be there, traveling the thousand miles from Rio, to preside at the first directory’s inauguration. Intense discussion there followed and soon the details were decided and the day set for the inagurational party.

Honoring his agreement with his friend Shalders, that is, to found a Rotary Club in Montes Claros, was his immediate mission on Niquinho’s arrival in Montes Claros. Once the principal leaders of the city were brought together – a city of little more than five thousand inhabitants – the Rotarian philosophy was presented along with the advantages of having Rotary international representation in Montes Claros. Adhesion was enthusiastic and immediate. “If the Rotary was good for Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, it would be even better for Montes Claros”, exclaimed the lawyer Alfredo Coutinho, immediately applauded by all present. A distant city, Interior and isolated, always eager for news from the outside world, Montes Claros would never dream of letting a chance like that slip through their fingers. A dream more than a dream that fell out of the clear blue sky, the first act of proceedings of the foundation was pronouncedly recorded in the noble penmenship of professor Cicero Pereira.

The first board of directors was of the most representative and underlined the social importance of the new institution. It could even have been enhanced by the presence of Cyro dos Anjos e Darcy Ribeiro, if they hadn’t been so young and penniless at the time. The elected were: President – Jose Correia Machado; Vice-president – Antonio Augusto Teixeira; Secretaria – Alfredo Coutinho; Subsecretario – Jose Proenca Costa; Treasurer – Cicereo Perreira; Director of Protocol – Rubens dos Reis Teixeira; Directors – Jose Tomaz de Oliveira, marciano Alves Mauricio and Mario Versiani Veloso; Substitutes – Artur Vale, Froes Neto and A. Ferreira de Oliveira. Doctors, pharmacists, laywers, judges, journalists, teachers, store keepers, farmers and bank managers. Without a doubt, citizens of great prestige, today represented as names of streets ans squares throughout our and other cities. At the inauguration party of the club, and the installation of the first Director, the event was immortalized by the Rotarian Robert Shalders representing the Rotary Club of Rio de Janeiro, who photographed the first board of directors meeting next door to the Hotel Sao Luiz, on Doctor Carlos square.

The daring of the brave people of Montes Claros of 1926 continues…In the newspaper Gazeta do Norte, in its edition of July fourteenth of that year registered: “steeped in great solemnity was last Sunday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Montes Claros, created to motivate development of the city. The goal of the session was to elect the definite board of directors, which was realized with the presence of twenty-one members, including those admitted on that same day by unanimous vote.”

“The election, which was done by means of secret vote, and majority of two thirds, had second and third votes for some positions. On the agenda was programmed a luncheon for the refreshment of the members after the voting. The voting, having terminated at five p.m., obliged the luncheon to be postponed until nine that night. This circumstance gave the new club a fortunate opportunity to receive in its seat, the illustrious engineer, Alvaro da Silveira who was passing through our city on his way to the north of the state. Many topics were brought to discussion that night and not lacking in importance was the toast proffered by president Correio Machado, who vigorously responded in turn, followed by a speech from co-members Antonio Augusto Teixeira, Alfredo Coutinho, Jose Maria Fernandes and A. Ferreira de Oliveira.”

Continues, the Gazeta do Norte:

Wanderlino Crônicas
Wander Poesias
Academia de Letras
Automovel Clube
Elos Clube M. Claros
Espiritismo Online
Folclore Brasil
Fundacao Marina
História de M. Claros
História M. Claros
Links Espíritas
Montes Claros
Poema Virtual
Poetry Poem
Rotary Club