When The Salvation Army came to Warsaw in 1921, one of its first supporters was the Warsaw Rotary Club. Eighty-three years later, that relationship continues with Rotary raising a record $53,632.24 for the Tree Of Lights campaign.

The annual Phillipson-Howe Day, celebrating its 39th year, has raised more than an estimated $500,000 since 1965 for The Salvation Army.

"The Rotary Club raised around $1,000 on that first 'Brice's Day' in 1965," said N. Bruce Howe, founding chairman of the event, at the weekly meeting on Dec. 17. "Brice was always overwhelmed by the response of Rotarians to help others in need. I wonder what he would think of this."

Brigadier Brice Phillipson, Salvation Army officer, was a long-time resident of Winona Lake and active Rotary member until his death in 1972. Phillipson conducted the capital campaign to build the present home of The Salvation Army at 501 E. Arthur St. in Warsaw in 1957.

Brice's Day was changed to Phillipson-Howe Day in 1990 to honor Howe for his many years of chairing the event. Fellow Rotarian John Hall has served as co-chairman since the mid-1980s. On Howe's motion, the members unanimously voted Dec. 17 to change the name of the event from Phillipson/Howe Day to Warsaw Rotary - Salvation Army Day for the annual fund-raiser in 2005.

Along with the monies raised for the Tree Of Lights campaign, the Warsaw Rotary Club also conducted its 77th annual Rotary Toy Day, which was first held in 1927. The toys collected at the meeting support The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program, which will help more than 600 children this year.

According to Capt. Matt Osborn, Salvation Army director, the requests for services in 2004 have increased about 10 percent.

"Many persons are still unemployed due to lay-offs or loss of jobs," Osborn told Rotarians. "The financial gifts you have given will enable the Army to meet the as many needs as possible presented not only at Christmas but throughout the year by residents of Kosciusko County."

"The Phillipson-Howe Day total represents 36 percent of The Salvation Army's Tree Of Lights goal for 2004 which is $145,000," said Ken Locke, Rotary Club president. "When The Salvation Army came to town back in 1921, it found a friend indeed. Thanks to Rotarians, businesses and friends who have made this total possible!"

The Warsaw Rotary Club was founded in 1919 and meets every Friday, at noon in the Ramada Inn. The motto of Rotary is "Service Above Self."