Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rotarians Share Holiday Cheer

Take a look at how Rotary Clubs around District 6910 are making a difference...Rotary Serving Humanity.

North Oconee Rotary Club Provides Meals

Our club just provided 100 Christmas meals to ACTS--Area Churches Together Serving. These meals were distributed on Tuesday, December 20th to local families in need. This is the food bank that serves Oconee County. Our club is small in number--just 24 members but big in giving!!

Submitted by Kay Keller - North Oconee Rotary Club, President

Rotary Club of Cherokee County Provides Trees and Food

The Rotary Club of Cherokee County added Christmas Cheer to its weekly MUST Ministries bread delivery. Publix of Towne Lake generously contributes bread each week to MUST Ministries through The Rotary Club of Cherokee County. This season The Club delivered fourteen self lit Christmas Trees to MUST for those in need of Christmas Cheer.  

MUST Ministries is a non-profit, faith-based organization helping people in our community break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. MUST provides basic necessities such as food, clothes and housing, free of charge.

George Lopos presents MUST Thrift Store Operations Manager Dale Cooper with one of boxed trees.

Submitted by George Lopos - Rotary Club of Cherokee County, Public Image Chair

Braselton Rotarians Spread Holiday Cheer

When it’s holiday time in Braselton, which is hosting a year-long Centennial Celebration to mark the 1916 official chartering of the town, the Rotary Club of Braselton kicks it into high gear for the community.

Rotary Reverse Raffle
The Rotary Children’s Christmas Raffle, an idea that has grown in its 11th year history, was held Nov. 4 at The Venue at Friendship Springs, marking a change in location as well as an expansion of the fundraising raffle.

Martha Martin, the club’s 2005-2006 President, suggested to her successor Steve Clark that a reverse raffle similar to that of another organization in which she was involved could make a great signature event for the club and that is what the reverse raffle has become with $50,000 netted this year to purchase Christmas for hand-selected children and host a special holiday party for those children, their families and others. Proceeds also support other youth-related community needs including scholarships, the Interact Club at Mill Creek High School and the Georgia Rotary Student Program.

The club is also donating a total of $9,000 toward computers for Foothills Education Charter School’s Jackson County Campus, due in part to a Rotary District 6910 matching grant and a private donation of $3,000.

Initially for the raffle, Rotarians sold 300 raffle tickets at $100 each to bring in $30,000, and the person whose ticket number was drawn last would win $10,000. The remaining proceeds would be used to host a raffle party and purchase Christmas for hand-selected children.

At the party, 300 numbered ping pong balls would go into the cage with numbers drawn during a several hours-long party when barbecue and other eats and treats are enjoyed. The first number drawn got their $100 back.

This year, there were 500 numbered balls, and Stonewall’s BBQ catered the event which also included door prizes and a silent auction and two live auctions of travel opportunities: a Highlands, N.C., chateau stay and a trip to Italy. Happy winners!

The Rotary Reverse Raffle has become an evening of fun and fundraising. At the raffle event, periodic checks and balances are done. When there are only 10 remaining balls, an audit is conducted, knowing the end is near. When it’s down to five, phone calls are made to determine if those five agree to split the $10,000. If not, the drawing continues.

On many occasions, the pot has been split as was the case again this year with the reverse raffle winners agreeing to share the $10,000 top prize. Congratulations to Tommy Zilahi, Joe Hicks, Teresa King, Gail Hail and Sharon Bryan.

Braselton Tree-Lighting Night
Alvin and the Chipmunks made a return appearance to the Braselton tree-lighting event in the new Town Green on Nov. 12 wearing new costumes to entertain delighted children of all ages who also saw many groups performing holiday dance and musical numbers before Santa made his special appearance. The jolly old elf helped light the Christmas tree and, magically, snow began to fall (thanks to the efforts of the West Jackson Fire Department).
At the tree lighting, Rotarians and volunteers handed children bags containing an apple and orange and a couple of pieces of hard candy. Rotarians had prepared the town-supplied bags with town candy and fruit donated by Whole Foods Market distribution center in Braselton.
In the early days of the Braselton Brothers Department Store, times were hard in the rural area and the celebration of Christmas reflected the meager living families were able to make during the time. The Braselton Brothers annually hosted a holiday kickoff in the store parking lot with Santa Claus and other fun to be entertained and holiday arrivals inside the store could be showcased. Each child and senior received a fruit bag – and, for some, that was their Christmas gift for the season. That tradition is carried on, explained Rotarian Martha Martin.

Running Elves 5K and fun run
The Running Elves 5K and fun run, planned as an annual fundraiser by the Rotary Club of Braselton, was held Nov. 19 with more than 100 ­­registering to participate in support of the club’s charitable and community service efforts which include a Christmas party and holiday love for 100-plus area children, Rotary scholarships for high school graduates and support for local schools.
The race began and ended at Braselton’s new Town Green.
The top three schools with the most participation received financial support of $750, $500 and $250, while the Boys & Girls Clubs of Jackson County also was presented a check to further the clubs’ support of youth.
West Jackson Elementary had the most runner/walker participation, followed by Mill Creek High School and Jackson County Comprehensive High School.
“Rotarians are happy to support our schools,” said President Chad Bingham, who noted that Foothills Education Charter Schools was the beneficiary of support from Rotary which included $6,000-plus to go toward computers for the use of students at the East Jackson Comprehensive High School location thanks to a matching grant from Rotary District 6910.
The top Running Elves 5K finishers were 14-year-old Paul Pollock of Buford winning the 5K with a time of 17:31.8 with Crystal Hamilton of Jefferson as the female winner with a time of 23:24.1. Hamilton was the 10th-place overall finisher. Overall fourth-place finisher was Hoschton’s Brayden Stewart, 11, with a time of 20:23.1.
Second overall finisher was Gary Willie, followed by Gage McKay, Stewart, Nathaniel Hutchison, Ben Wiley, Joshua Smith and Steven Smith. Brice Branton, 11, of Hoschton, was the No. 9 finisher and the youngest of the top finishers.
The club had been sponsoring the Run the Vineyard 5K for the past several years, however, the Chateau Elan Vineyard Run for Hope, benefiting the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter, was a schedule conflict so Rotarians took advantage of its being Braselton’s Centennial Celebration and provided a 5K and fun run on the morning of the town’s Celebrate the Holidays in Braselton festival and parade. The festival moved to the new Town Green this year.
With the race change of venue and holiday time frame, Aimee Souto, Rotary 5K chairman and club treasurer, and her committee selected the Running Elves theme which carried through with the logo, mile markers, Christmas ornaments as award medals and an elf costume contest. Prizes went to the best dressed female elf, best dressed male elf and best dressed elf family. They were judged by Rotary President Chad Bingham.
Rotarian Shawna Anderson of Anderson Physical Therapy Associates provided hot cocoa and cookies. Representatives of the Jackson County Boys & Girls Clubs manned the water station at the 5K’s halfway point.
Sponsors of the event, in addition to Anderson Physical Therapy Associates, were Fit Body Boot Camp of Braselton, Colbie & Co., the Braselton Visitors Bureau Authority, Dental Care of Braselton, Funari Realty, Howard Hardaway State Farm of Braselton, Wilco Printing, Anytime Fitness and Georgia Transmission.   Whole Foods Market distribution center in Braselton provided bananas for the runners.
Runners Fit Race Works of Braselton was in charge of results. Final results posted here.

On Nov. 19, Alvin and the Chipmunks were back to participate in the Braselton "Celebrate the Holidays" parade which featured Rotarian Martha Martin, a former Braselton Brothers Department Store employee and Jackson County's first Woman of the Year, as emcee alongside Robbie Bettis, who owns and operates Braselton Antique Mall, located in the former Braselton Brothers Store building in historic downtown Braselton.
The crowd lining the parade route along Highway 53 ­­­loved the Chipmunks thanks to the antics of Rotarians Michele Rasmussen, Monica Jackson and Tundi Massey Jones whose daughter, Makinley, helped a Rotary elf toss out candy. President Chad Bingham and driver Don Carroll, husband of immediate past president Leigh Carroll, tossed out candy, under the supervision of Makinley’s grandmother, Julie.

Children’s Christmas Party
In December, Rotarians will host a party with pizza, burgers, cookies and more for the children matched with Rotarians by Jackson County Holiday Connection. The kids and their families are invited to be entertained by face-painters, a magician as well as Alvin and the Chipmunks. The special guest of the evening will be Santa.
While children are entertained and Santa is busy, Rotarians, as special elves, assist family members in getting bags of holiday cheer for the children, a ham donated by Polaris Aviation, Higher Grounds Coffee House and Two Ladies in the Attic and a food box for the family into their vehicles.

Community support, including individuals shopping and wrapping gifts, makes this signature project a true giving experience. West Jackson Elementary School provides the venue for the party gathering.

During Dec. 13's annual Braselton Rotary Club's Christmas Party for Children, President Chad Bingham presented a check for $2,500 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Jackson County with Executive Director and Chief Professional Officer Michael Williams, a Braselton Rotary Club member, accepting the donation. The Rotary Club has a long history of supporting the organization and sponsored construction of the kitchen at the Jefferson club. Rotarian Paul Maney also assisted in the presentation.

Children enjoyed pizza, burgers and cookies, activities including a magician and face-painting and then got to visit with Santa Claus.

Rotarian Tracy Woodall helped serve up pizza and burgers to children and families selected through Jackson County Family Connection to be assisted during Christmas. In addition to clothing and toy gifts secretly wrapped up, the families received food boxes and a ham and gift box from Polaris Aviation.

The Interact Club, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Braselton, accepted a $500 check to go to the Mill Creek High School Care Account for school families. The donation represents the school’s second-place finish in number of participants in the Rotary Club’s recent Running Elves 5K and Fun Run held in downtown Braselton prior to the town’s Christmas parade. Rotarian Carolyn Smith coordinates with the Interact Club at the school. Interact President Madeline Gann accepted the check from Rotary President Chad Bingham.

Submitted by LeAnne Akin - Rotary Club of Braselton, Public Image Chair


For the third year in a row, the Rotary Clubs of Area 16 in District 6910 (Canton, Jasper, Woodstock, Cherokee County, and Towne Lake) came together for a joint sponsorship of a light display at the now-preeminent holiday light show in Cherokee County to benefit one of the leading nonprofit organizations in the community.  This year, for the second year in a row, the Rotary Clubs' holiday light display was an illuminated Rotary Wheel to support the Anna Crawford Children's Center's major annual fundraiser, the Holiday Lights of Hope.  

Anna Crawford helps children who have been victimized by sexual abuse by providing counseling and a forensic interview venue to avoid the multiple interviews and depositions that re-victimize sexually abused children going through the criminal justice system.  The five Rotary clubs contribute not only their funds but also their sweat equity, each volunteering during one night of the two-week outdoor holiday light display to help run the event.  The Rotary Wheel was fabricated by the metallurgy class at Cherokee High School exclusively for the Holiday Lights of Hope and serves as an emblematic representation of Rotary's presence in the Cherokee County community.

Submitted by Peter Gleichman - Rotary Club of Canton, Public Relations Chair

Monday, December 19, 2016

Rotary District 6910 Governor Message - Dec 2016

Can you believe we are halfway through the Rotary year? It is simply amazing to consider all the good that the clubs in District 6910 have accomplished so far this year. Having visited now with every club in the district, I can affirm that lives and communities are being changed by Rotarians throughout the 59 counties which our district encompasses. 

My fellow District Governor, Fred Heitman, serves District 6780 in Tennessee. That district includes the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area that suffered terribly during the tragic wild fires. District Governor Fred has been posting daily updates on their district website. The five area Rotary clubs have manned and staffed a support center serving as many as 3000 people daily. The need is still great for dollars and volunteer hours. If you are interested in helping, monetarily or otherwise, please visit Rotary District 6780 for a daily update as to their most critical needs. Having celebrated husband David's birthday in Gatlinburg the weekend after Thanksgiving, we left just hours prior to Gatlinburg's evacuation, not dreaming of the devastation that was about to take place. We love the Great Smoky Mountains and her people, and hope to get up there during the holiday season to volunteer at the Boyd's Bear site.

This was taken as we left Gatlinburg around 11 am the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend.

Here in District 6910, we currently have 631 Rotarians registered for  Atlanta's Rotary International Convention with a total of over 33,000 already registered from around the world. This convention will offer not only entertaining events, but also very informative breakout sessions, not to mention riveting world class speakers during the general sessions. You don't want to miss it. We are anticipating a need for approximately 1500 volunteers. If you're not yet registered, I hope you will register soon and also sign up as a volunteer, as communications to volunteers will begin early 2017. Volunteers can serve as little as a four hour shift and will receive a commemorative hat and vest with the Atlanta convention logo.  

I would be remiss if I didn't remind you of our District 6910 goal to reach 100 Paul Harris Society members this Rotary year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Our Rotary Foundation. To make your gift to The Rotary Foundation in this calendar year, please visit Rotary.  It is super easy with a credit card, and it will make you feel good, doing good in the world (and in your own community with a gift to The Annual Fund).

Finally, I am excited to share Rotary's recent announcement that husband David Stovall was recently selected as one of eight director-nominees who will be elected at the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta. How ironic that just as my year of service as district governor culminates in Atlanta, David's journey of serving as a Rotary International Director during 2018-2020 will be beginning. We are very grateful and honored to have this opportunity.

David and I wish for you and your family a happy and safe holiday season and a Happy New Year. 

Yours in Rotary,

Kim Waters
District Governor

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gainesville/Hall Rotarians Join in on Peace Project

Nearly 300 Rotarians from three clubs (Rotary Club of Gainesville, Rotary Club of Hall County and the Rotary Club of South Hall) joined together more than three years ago to honor their Public Safety Community by Donating / Dedicating and Celebrating our Public Service Community.

The vision was brought to the three clubs by Past District Governor Dianne Cammarata and Past District Governor Lona Pope after visiting the Rotary Club of Canton and viewing their wonderful Memorial for Public Safety. After reviewing and visiting all the tributes and monuments in our community, we realized we have never honored this special group of men and women who put on their uniforms, badges and credentials to Serve and Protect the people.

All three clubs approved the project and gave the seed money to begin the journey. Along with a Rotary Foundation funded Rotary District 6910 grant of $2,500 applied for by the Rotary Club of Hall County, we were ready to begin. A local artist and fellow Rotarian, Jane Hemmer was commissioned to design and sculpt along with Kevin Chambers, KLC Studios Owner & sculptor from Atlanta, the medallion that is the center piece to our tribute. The people on the medallion are actual pictures of public safety people to include the Sheriff’s Department, 911, Operator, Fire and Police. Around the Medallion….the words “Service Above Self”.  As well, we wanted to personalize the project by selling personalized bricks to honor the Public Safety Community. Over 425 bricks were sold to parents, friends and neighbors of Public Safety. These bricks will circle the granite piece with a pool of water cascading and surrounding the monument. The business community wanted to be included in honoring this special group and purchased a limited edition of 10 benches to add $27,000 to the project.

While this project was moving along the City of Gainesville gave the Rotarians a wonderful area to display the tribute (in Roosevelt Square where President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited twice after the 1936 tornadoes). The city council felt the area was tired and needed refreshing. They began the process of budgeting a renewal of Roosevelt Square which put our project on the back burner for about a year in order to move through the process. In the end our little $90,000 project spurred the renewal of a $900,000 project for our entire community to enjoy!

IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE…Thursday, December 8, 2016 will be the long awaited Celebration / Dedication of this wonderful long awaited project and we couldn’t be any prouder! And the timing couldn’t be any better than to honor this group of Public Servants that epitomize the Rotary Motto…”SERVICE ABOVE SELF”.

More pictures to follow of the celebration in later edition of Rotations.

-Submitted by Past District Governor Lona Pope, Rotary Club of Hall County