My second full week of official club visits in Rotary District 6910 took me from Gainesville to Elberton, Athens, Dawson County, and Union County, finishing up the week in Ila, Georgia with the Rotary Club of Madison County. Here are some highlights from what I learned at each of those club visits. You may get some project or fundraiser ideas for your own club.
|Ramp #94 was for a Gainesville resident confined to a wheelchair due to diabetes.|
|Gainesville Rotary Club President Mike Giles is also President of The Georgia Poultry Federation.|
From Gainesville, the poultry capitol of the world, I went to the granite capitol of the world, Elberton. The Rotary Club of Elberton is 95 years old and ended the year 2015-16 with 41 members and a 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club. Truly an international club, the Elberton club has members who hail originally from Pakistan and Iran.
|With Elberton Rotary Club Members Pari Mehrabi, Suraiya Razzak and Shaheen Jalil|
The club's Foundation Centennial project is a food and necessity closet at the local high school, enabling disadvantaged students access to hygiene and food products with the club's Interact students participating in distribution. Active in the local schools, the club provides three to six scholarships annually for high school seniors with club members reading to elementary students to improve childhood literacy. Several club members expressed as to how meaningful it was last year to provide meals for nine needy families during the holiday season. Also, the club partners with local churches to provide winter coats for all ages in the community who are in need. The club's fundraisers include an annual golf tournament, a hot dog community dinner and a reverse raffle. The club also sponsors a GRSP student who attends Emmanuel College. One club member is a Major Donor of The Rotary Foundation and the club boasts three Bequest Society Members. A special treat was what the club calls 'Fellowship Time.' Fellowship Time involved club member Jackson McConnell introducing his daughter Mary Margaret, who is participating in Rotary Youth Exchange and a Youth Exchange Student from Spain. They both spoke on why the program was important for them and what they anticipated to gain from it. The Rotary Club of Elberton meets at the Elberton Country Club on Tuesdays at 12:10 pm.
|Youth Exchange Students Mary Margaret McConnell and Aina Casellas Erra of Vic, Catalonia in Spain with Mary Margaret's father, Jackson McConnell.|
|Historic downtown Elberton|
|With Past District Governor, Ed Benson, who served in 1955-56|
|With Athens Rotary Club President Will Hodges|
|In front of The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville.|
|Dawson County Rotary Club President Michelle Hester with Assistant Governor Vernon Smith|
|Members drop change every week in these 'piggy banks' for End Polio Now.|
|Kids of all ages enjoy Rotary Island. These kids happen to be my great nephews, Brooks and Owen Goodwin, of Dawson County.|
The Rotary Club of Union County is special to me partly because that is the club to which District Governor Gene Windham belongs. Gene was district governor the year I served as club president in 2010-11. He shared with his club that I'm the first of presidents serving that year to be a district governor. I'm sure there will be more, as his leadership inspired all of us in 2010-11. Supporting our Rotary Foundation at $174 per capita in 2015-16, the club recenlty achieved 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club. The club's project focus is area youth. Providing scholarships for high school seniors in a five county area (Towns, Union and Fannin in Georgia and Clay and Cherokee in North Carolina) and sponsoring an Interact club at Union County High School, the club's 31 members are all very much involved. President Joseph Goble says that the club is "focusing on youth today for our future tomorrow." Club member Denise Windham serves as Assistant Governor for the area and has received the Service Award for a Polio-Free World for her work to end polio, having championed two area Walk-a-Thons involving youth to benefit our Polio-Plus fund. The club has sponsored a drive-through rabies vaccination clinic that serves the community's pets, and it involved the participation members and Interact students. Providing wheelchair ramps for disabled veterans is a special way club members get involved to help those who have served our country in Union County. The club is currently working on a project with youth interviewing older area residents, including those in nursing homes, writing and publishing short biographies, preserving the legacies of area mountain folk. The club's annual gala is not only a successful fundraiser, but a popular community event recognizing not only an area teacher, but public servants such as law enforcement, health care workers and other volunteers as well. The club meets on Thursdays at noon at Southern Bank and Trust's Community Room in Blairsville.
|Club members direct traffic on Rabies Clinic Day that the Rotary Club of Union County sponsors.|
|Rotary Club of Union County members build wheelchair ramps for disabled veterans.|
|Club President Joseph Goble is leading by example in sponsoring new member Michelle Hughes. I had the honor of inducting her as a new member, and my good friend, Union County Commissioner, Lamar Paris was a special guest for my official visit.|
|Madison County Rotarians stand with the recipient of ramp #634.|
|The Rotary Club of Madison County provides a dictionary to every 3rd grader in Madison County.|
|Outstanding 2nd graders are recognized at the annual Christmas parade in Comer.|
At the conclusion of my visit, the club made a significant pledge of $2000 to our District 6910 Foundation Centennial project in Haiti. Not only making a tremendous impact locally, this club is changing lives internationally as well. Join the Rotary Club of Madison County on Friday mornings at 7 am at the Ila Restaurant for a warm welcome and a great breakfast.
|With Madison County's outstanding Rotary Club President Cindy Jones.|
District 6910 Governor