Zone Institute: September 5-10, 2017 in Springfield, Illinois

The Zone Institute is a yearly event scheduled in the Fall to conduct training and business for District Rotarians in  Zones 30 and 31.  District 6860 is in Zone 30.  Our Zone Director is Greg Yank, who is presently serving in his first year of a two year term as Zone Director.  This year, the Zone Institute was held in the Land of Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois – the capital city of Illinois.

Training is provided to District Governor Elects, District Governor Nominees, District Membership Chairs, Emerging Leaders.  District 6860 representatives included Carol Argo, DGE; Bill Petty, DGN; Lee Weinman, DMC; and Lori Moler, DEL.  Our District also has two members serving at the Zone:  PDG Pat Cross and PDG Tom Greene.  Also in attendance was Bo Porter, who served as a Sargeant at Arms and me, as your District Governor.

Business included being updated for the Foundation and Membership awards earned by Districts within the Zone.  Our District did not earn any recogniztion in Membership.  However, we were recognized by the Rotary International Foundation in 4 of the 5 areas.  Our district placed 1st in Total Contributions, 2nd in Polio Contributions, 3rd in Endowment Fund Contributions, and 2nd in Annual Fund Contributions.  Please see the picture below for additional information.  Congratulations goes to DGE Gary Andrew for his successful year of 2016-2017 at District Governor.

Zone Recognition.jpgThe Zone Institute in 2018 will be held in Montgomery, Alabama.

District Governor Sue’s visit to the Rotary Club of Talladega on Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday, August 31st I traveled to Talladega to visit the Rotary Club of Talladega.  This club meets at the Citizen’s Baptist Medical Center on Thursdays at noon.  Cindy Pennington is their president and Tommie Goggans is their assistant governor.  Below is a picture of Cindy with DG Sue standing by the 4-Way Test that is recited at the end of each rotary meeting at most clubs, including Talladega.  Talladega Visit.jpgOne of their service projects involves a fund raising event called a Reverse Drawdown.  $100 gets you dinner for 2 people and a chance to walk away with $10,000.   The proceeds from this event is split with the Talladega High School athletic programs and the band.  This year’s event occurred in July and raised over $6,500 to benefit area nonprofit organizations, primarily the city school system’s sports and band programs.  This year’s event was the third annual Drawdown fundraiser.  The event was held at the Champion Center of “C7C Camping” Cotton’s Campground in Lincoln.


District Governor Sue’s visit to the Rotary Club of Sylacauga on Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

I traveled to Sylacauga on Tuesday, August 29th to visit the Rotary Club of Sylacauga.  This club meets at the Coosa Valley Medical Center Conference Room at noon.  Randy Fields is their president and Lori Moler is their assistant governor.  Officers of the club (from left to right in picture) include Henry Nunnelley, Charles McGowan, Randy Fields, Bart Shaw, Jane Cobia and Carol Emlichbates.

Sylacauga Officers.jpgTwo projects that were discussed included the Christmas Basket Project and “Moments to Remember”, both of which are being planned now to prepare for the upcoming Christmas season.

Sylacauga DG Visit.jpgA great group of dedicated Rotarians in Sylacauga.  Thank you for your welcome and participation in describing your service to your community.

August 28, 2017 Official Visit to The Greater Shoals Area/ Sheffield Rotary Club

The club meets on Mondays at noon in Sheffield at Ronda P’s Restaurant.  Their president is John Pemberton and their assistant governor is Harold Lewis.  Ronda P’s opens for lunch with great home cooking.  This club was founded April 1, 1920 and is one of the oldest clubs in the quad cities area of North Alabama.

The service project that this club is most proud of if their Scholar Dollar program.  They partner with the Florence Rotary Club to raise money for scholarships awarded to students who plan to attend the community college in their area.  Both clubs are increasing the scholarships to include students who plan to continue their college experience by attending the area college, the University of North Alabama which offers 4-year degrees.  These scholarships go to graduating seniors who might not have the opportunity to attend college without this financial help.  These scholarships are based on need, as well as grades and leadership.

This club also recognizes Law Enforcement Excellence by identifying the “Officer of the Year” every year.

To raise money for their community service projects, they also partner with the Rotary Club of Florence in the Scholar Dollar Auction.  I attended this auction this year for the first time and came home with a $25 bottle of wine (it was good) and a necklace and earring set for my sister – wonderful value and I plan to return next year.  These two clubs together with other partners in the area of the quad cities raise over $300,000 for this scholarships.  Are they making a difference in their community and the world?  I definitely think so.  Thank you, Rotarians of the Greater Shoals/Sheffield Rotary Club.  I’m thankful for the work that you do to make a difference in today’s world and our future.

Boiling n Bragging – the District 6860 Event to raise funds for the Critical Care Transport of Children’s Hospital

Boiling N’ Bragging is a football season kick-off party and low country boil.  This was our 9th year to help in hosting this event with Children’s.  This was the first year that the Rotary District was primarily responsible for the planning for this event.  Guests enjoyed live music, $1 drink specials and kids’ activities.  Entertainment was provided by Lance Taylor and Rockstar from WJOK’s Roundtable.  This event was held at Otey’s Tavern in Mountain Brook on Saturday, August 19 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm.  Families were welcomed to this event.  Guests were encouraged to wear their favorite college football team colors.  SEC Football teams were well represented as where schools within other conferences.  Over 15 school tents were set up to support their teams.

This yearly event benefits the Critical Care Transport program at Children’s of Alabama.  This team transports more than 1,000 critically ill and injured children each year, and serves as a mobile extension of the hospital.  The team members include highly trained registered nurses and respiratory therapists with the knowledge, understand and skills necessary to provide age-appropriate care.

Tickets to attend were $25 in advance or $30 at the door.  Children 10 and younger were admitted free.

In order to publicize this event, Jason Peterson representing the Critical Care Transport and I were invited to attend several public appearances at local radio and TV stations.  On Wednesday, August 16th, we were at Fox 6 for a TV appearance.  The UAB cheerleaders accompanied us as did Blaze, the UAB mascot.  On Thursday, August 17th, we appeared on TV at ABC 33/40.  On Friday, August 18, we completed a radio interview at Talk 99.5.  These appearances were coordinated by Jody Seal, Coordinator of Media Relations at Children’s of Alabama.

More to come

Wednesday, August 23 Official Visit to the Rotary Club of Boaz

This is my first visit to the Boaz Rotary Club, but not my last.  Steve Burgress , the club president, welcomed me to Snead State Community College where they meet.  While there, I asked about all of the service that they do.  Here’s what I learned.

The members of the Rotary Club of Boaz Alabama are concerned about environmental degradation, illiteracy, world hunger and children at risk. The Boaz Rotary club members travel to countries like Haiti after a devastating earthquake and are still returning year after year helping that country rebuild.  Club members answered the need of flood victims in Pakistan along with those that suffered the aftermath of Katrina where Rotarians throughout the world raised $19 million in donations and grants for the relief and recover in the New Orleans area.

The Boaz Rotary club established a Peace Camp in West Africa offering scholarships to people in third world countries and hosting “Friend Exchanges” with other Rotarians to bring different cultures together from around the world so that everyone can learn from one another and continue toward the world someday living in peace.

On their website, the have this comment:  “The motto “Service Above Self” holds true as Boaz Rotarians answer the needs of so many people who would be overlooked or pushed back because “maybe somebody else will do it”. “  A true description for the Boaz Rotarians who are Making a Difference in their community and the world.

The last question that I asked was about Fund Raising to support their service projects.  They shared a story with me entitled “The Lemon Shake Story”.  It seems that one of the Rotarians has a recipe for a Lemon Shake.  His family uses the recipe to make money for various needs.  The club members decided to do the same for an event in Boaz.  They set up a serving truck, purchased the required supplies, then asked for the Lemon Shake recipe.

Here it is:  Fill a jug full of water.  Add lemons and sugar.

Wait a minute, the members said.  This is lemonade!  Yes, the Rotarian said, but see, you shake the jug – hence the name, “Lemon Shake”.

I did get their permission to share this story.  I laughed so much during my visit – what a great club, doing so much, to make a difference in their community and our world.

August 22, 2017 Official Visit to the Rotary Club of Fort Payne

Fort Payne Rotary Club was chartered in February of 1947, and is the oldest civic club in DeKalb County.  The club’s President is Phillip Smith and the club’s Assistant Governor is Bubba Masters.  Today, Tim Davis, the club’s president-elect, conducted the meeting.

The club is active in the community and sponsors several area high school students each year with college scholarship assistance.  The club annually gives a Christmas party complete with Santa and gifts for the clients of the ARC of DeKalb County, and also annually recognizes a lady in the community for outstanding service as the Rotary Rose for the year.  I have had the privilege of attending the Rotary Rose celebration for the past 2 years.  It is wonderful to see all of the winners of this award – a very special time.  The club has been doing this since 1966, combining this event with its annual meeting.  The club spearheaded the successful effort to raise $1.1 million to equip every classroom in the Fort Payne School System with an interactive white board and subsequently assisted in funding iPads for every student in middle and high school.  Most recently the club succeeded in establishing a Rotary license plate in  Alabama and uses the funds from this program for its ongoing scholarship efforts.  Other projects include Boy Scouts of America, the city of Fort Payne Pavilion, the Women’ Care Center, United Givers Fund, African Clean Water Project, the Summit of Fort Payne and the Tennessee forest fire relief fund.

The club is proud to have supplied two past District Governors as well as several District officers and plans to continue as a valuable resource in the community for service to others. The Rotary Club of Fort Payne Rotarians are also proud to be a part of the Polio Plus campaign to rid the world of this disease.