Vestavia Hills Rotary Club

Vestavia Hills, AL  35216


May 29, 2015
Claude B. Nielsen, President & CEO
Coca Cola Bottling Company UNITED
Jun 05, 2015
Fred Spicer, Executive Director
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Jun 12, 2015
David Sher, Blogger
Birmingham, The Comeback Town
Jun 19, 2015
Scott Myers, Executive Director ASHOF
2021 World Games in Birmingham
Jun 26, 2015
Scott Selman
Rotary Year in Review
Jul 10, 2015

Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

Vestavia Hills

Service Above Self

We meet Fridays at 12:00 PM
Vestavia Hills Board of Education
1204 Montgomery Highway
Vestavia Hills, AL  35216
United States
District Site
Venue Map

TeachApp2010 034

Vestavia Hills Rotary Club Teachers of the Year 2010

Pictured from Left to Right:  Denise Brundege (Vestavia High School), Pay Ogle (Pizitz), Angie Amrine (Cahaba Heights Elementary), Jonathon Jeff (Liberty Park Middle School), Judy Stopplebein (Vestavia East). Jan Montgomery (Liberty Park Elementary), Catherine Hicks (Vestavia West), Adrian Smith (Vestavia Central).


Home Page Stories


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Greg Jeane, who retired in 2007 as a professor of geography at Samford University, taught classes about Africa for 15 years at Auburn University and then for 18 years at Samford.

He always hoped he’d get a chance to travel there one day. “To me it was always one of the most intriguing areas of the world,” he said.

Jeane went to Africa for the first time in 2003, on a mission trip with members of Independent Presbyterian Church, which he attends.

He’s now been to Africa 11 times. Most recently, he attended a Jan. 9 dedication for a school he planned and coordinated construction for in the village of Sikuzu, Zambia. “There were 70 children there for the dedication,” said Jeane, who returned last Saturday.

The children will start attending school there when it opens next month, he said.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” Jeane said. “The opportunity just fell in my lap.”

Jeane was attending a wedding in Atlanta in August 2010, a day before he was scheduled to leave on a trip to Africa.

A new three-classroom cinder block school will open next month in the remote African village of Sikuzu, Zambia. (Greg Jeane)

A relative of a friend became interested in his discussion of the mission work in the village of Mwandi, Zambia.

“I had never met him, but he was a successful commercial developer in Baltimore,” Jeane said. “We chatted two and a half hours over lunch.”

The businessman expressed an interest in funding a worthy project in Zambia and asked Jeane to report back to him on the most pressing needs in the region. “I talked to everybody in the village about what the most critical need in the village was, and it was education,” Jeane said. “Education is the key to everything there.”

Jeane told the donors that the construction of a school would cost $40,000. Within six weeks, Matthias and Rosetta DeVito, their DeVito Family Trust, and DeVito’s nephew, Frank Timlin and his wife, Neenah, had donated the cost of the project.

Jeane then went about raising additional funds to add items like classroom furniture, latrines, a water system and solar panels to provide power in the village that has no electricity.

The Rotary Club, Vestavia Hills High School and Jeane’s current fellow employees at Barnes & Noble contributed to the project.

The village of Sikuzu is on the Zambezi River, 90 miles above Victoria Falls. Up until now, children in that area who wanted to attend primary school had to walk five miles through the bush to Mwandi, the home village of the Lozi tribal chief. “That’s a 10-mile trek every day for 6-year-olds, and it’s not always safe,” Jeane said.

Opportunity to learn

Now they can attend through fifth grade in their own village, and continue their education in sixth grade at Mwandi when they are more able to make the trip. A five-mile walk is common at that age, he said.

“Everyone walks everywhere,” he said.

Zambia’s National Ministry of Education provided specifications for the three-room, cinder-block building and will provide a head teacher and curriculum. The village will provide assistants for the teacher.

“To go to that part of the world, it’s a real gut check on who you are and where you are in life,” Jeane said. “These people have nothing, no resources, no skills, no education. They live in mud huts and have no clean water. They get their drinking water from the Zambezi River, which is hideously polluted. They’re acclimated to the bacteria. You see people surviving with absolutely nothing. And yet they have a joy about them that is hard to understand.”

Several years ago, Jeane nearly died on one of his mission trips. He believes he inadvertently consumed contaminated water as part of a meal there.

“I have never been so sick in my life,” he said. He had to be flown for emergency treatment in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Still, Zambia remains a treasured place for Jeane. The people of Sikuzu, many of them Christians, gather to worship in a small mud hut chapel that was built by mission teams from Independent Presbyterian.

“I’ve been privileged to travel widely,” Jeane said. “Africa is the most rewarding place I have been. It’s changed my life.”




The president of Rotary International expects polio to be gone by 2013, as the organization continues its efforts to eradicate the disease, he said during a Birmingham visit today.

Kalyan Banerjee -- a member of Rotary since 1972 -- is a director of United Phosphorus Limited, the largest Indian agrochemical manufacturer. He's also the chair of United Phosphorus (Bangladesh) Limited. Banerjee, who spoke at the Rotary Club of Birmingham's weekly luncheon at the Harbert Center, focused his speech on Rotary's efforts to rid the world of debilitating disease around the world. Four countries remain in which polio is still endemic: India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, he said.

In June of this year, the New England Journal of Medicine published a paper explaining a vision for a post-polio era, he said. So far this year there have been 358 cases of polio worldwide, Banerjee said. Last year there were 638 cases.

"Thirty years ago, such a paper would be laughed out into the hall by a review board," he told the Rotarians. "It would have been nothing but science fiction. today it is where we are and where the world is."


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For many years now the Vestavia Rotary Club has honored many of the men and women who teach our children in Vestavia.  On Friday, November 19th eight of those individuals were recognized during a lunch honoring their service.  Photos of the event can be viewed in the photo journals section of the website.



The RI Foundation Two-for-One Benefit for the Polio Plus Challenge has been extended until October 29, 2010.  See message from RI below.  Remember, the website address to make your donation is  You must made a donation of at least $100 to be eligible for RI and VH Rotary matching points.


Club Executives & Directors

President Elect
Immediate Past President
Club Administration
Public Relations
Service Projects
Iron City Chef
The Rotary Foundation


Rotary, USAID collaboration improves sanitation facilities in Ghana
According to a 2012 report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, Ghana has made great strides in providing its people with clean drinking water. But access to better sanitation has lagged. Only about 14 percent of Ghanaians have access to improved facilities, compared with the 54 percent target set for 2015 by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Addressing the issue isn't simple, as pit latrines need emptying, toilets need maintenance, and promoting hygiene requires education. The H2O Collaboration, a partnership between Rotary and the U.S. Agency for International...
How a simple school project in India became a global grant
Two years ago, U.S. Rotary members in Maine set out to improve the education system in Bikaner, Rajasthan, an Indian city near the border of Pakistan. The Rotary Club of Kennebunk Portside chose Bikaner because club member Rohit Mehta was originally from the area and had connections there. Mehta put the club in contact with Rotarians in India to provide desks for four government-run schools. But when community leaders returned with a request for more desks, the Maine Rotarians decided they had to think bigger. The Rotary Foundation had rolled out its new grant model, which required that the...
Korean sailor makes waves for End Polio Now
Enjoying calm winds and peaceful Pacific waters, Seung Jin Kim dove off his 43-foot sailboat, the Arapani, to swim with some dolphins nearby. The serenity that day near the equator was a stark contrast to the 60 mph winds and 23-foot waves he had to fight around Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America. But Kim, a veteran sailor and member of the Rotary Club of Seokmun, in Chungcheongnam, Korea, expected such challenges when he set out in mid-October on a 25,600-mile journey around the world. In addition to fulfilling a lifelong dream, Kim is using the trip to raise awareness and funds...
Monrovia club’s Ebola fight not finished
After the first cases of Ebola reached Liberia's capital, Monrovia, last June, local Rotary members feared that the city's limited health care system wouldn't be able to contain the highly infectious, often-deadly disease. Those fears were realized when infections quickly multiplied, underscoring the speed with which Ebola can spread in an urban center. It was the first time the hemorrhagic fever had threatened a major city since it erupted in West Africa last March. Now, after months of crisis-level response, and with the number of new cases declining, club members are looking to the long...
Rotary member takes fundraising to new heights -- the summit of Mount Everest
Despite his longstanding interest in polio eradication, polio was not on Joe Pratt's mind as he prepared for a mid-April 2012 climb of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth. But that changed in late 2011, when the resident of Nottingham, New Hampshire, USA, participated in a polio immunization project in Pakistan with fellow Rotary member Steve Puderbaugh. Moved by the efforts of the Pakistanis to battle the crippling disease, and by the vulnerability of the young victims, Pratt reset the focus of his climbing adventure. Pakistan is one of three countries where polio has never been...


May 29, 2015
Claude B. Nielsen, President & CEO
Coca Cola Bottling Company UNITED
Jun 05, 2015
Fred Spicer, Executive Director
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Jun 12, 2015
David Sher, Blogger
Birmingham, The Comeback Town
Jun 19, 2015
Scott Myers, Executive Director ASHOF
2021 World Games in Birmingham
Jun 26, 2015
Scott Selman
Rotary Year in Review
Jul 10, 2015
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