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Dot Jeger has graciously agreed to serve out my term as president, and Steve Miller will begin ramping up for his year in June. I am deeply thankful for the depth of leadership in this club and for the willingness of so many to step up and lead.
As we look toward the end of the 2013-2014 Rotary year, we still have a number of activities ahead of us in the late winter and spring.There will be some other activities and events in addition to the ones noted below, so plan to take full advantage of the various offerings of our club.
On February 28th we will host a blood drive at the Rotary Center from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Please sign up to give if you are able and help spread the word to your friends, associates and family. The severe winter weather has caused a supply shortage, so the timing of our event is particularly important. We will be partnering with the Okatie club in this day-long event so please give it your full support.
Also, coming up on March 28-30 is our district conference in Charleston at the downtown Marriott. This is a fun event to celebrate our successes for the current year with the other clubs in our district. For the first time and for those who can only attend a portion of the conference, there is the option of attending the (1) opening luncheon on Friday, (2) the opening dinner on Friday evening, and (3) the Saturday evening dinner and awards ceremony. Please let me know if you would like to attend all or a portion of the conference. The early registration deadline is March 10.
Finally, the organizational team for the 36th annual Bluffton Village Festival is off and running in planning for this year’s event set for May 10, 2014. Chairman Mike Covert recently held his first meeting with his leadership team, and he will do an outstanding job in pulling this event together. Please give Mike and his team your full support as it does take a “village” of Rotarians and other volunteers to make this a successful festival.
I look forward to watching this club continue to flourish and do great things in Bluffton and around the world. I wish each of you and your families the very best, and please know how much I have enjoyed being a part of this community and the Bluffton Rotary Club!
Yours in Rotary,
I trust that each of you had a wonderful holiday season! With Christmas and New Year’s falling in the middle of the week, it seems that our last Rotary meeting was a long time ago.
We finished the calendar year with a flurry of activities including our Christmas Angels program and our annual commitment to ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. I want to thank Megan Mack for her leadership with the Christmas Angels program and Sandy Graves for coordinating our efforts with the Salvation Army. And, thanks to each of you who help make these programs successful and beneficial to the recipients.
We now turn our attention to our club’s signature event, the Bluffton Rotary Oyster Roast, to be held on Saturday, January 25, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Oyster Factory Park. Scott Mutterer and his team have been working hard on this year’s event, and we were able to get tickets and posters out before Christmas. I would ask each of you to focus on selling as many tickets as possible prior to the event. If the weather is good, we will have a large crowd with many showing up the day of the festival. It really helps in the planning phase to have as many tickets sold prior to the event so that we can accommodate those who purchase before the event and to take care of those who make a “game day decision” to come out and enjoy the festival.
This is our club’s only fundraiser that helps us cover our operating expenses for the entire year, so it is important that we make this event as successful as we possibly can. I know I can count on you to sell tickets and to show up and work hard to deliver another outstanding evening for our residents and visitors who look forward to this wonderful event. You can direct interested persons to our website (www.blufftonrotary.org) to purchase tickets, and there are several local businesses that have tickets available as well. You will see some advertising and media focus on the Oyster Roast as we get closer to the big day.
On January 18, we will have our annual Holiday Party from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. at the Rotary Center. Cindy Owens and Shellie Hodges are planning a nice evening with good food, drinks and entertainment. We will have signup sheets at the next two meetings and look forward to celebrating the season together during this fun evening.
We look forward to welcoming Christopher Epps and Bill Epps into our club as new members this week. Both of them have already been active in club activities and will be great additions to our group.
I also will announce the proposed 2014-2015 board of directors at tomorrow’s meeting.
We have lots coming up in February as well with our “Rotary Has Heart” Day on February 14 and the Blood Drive at the Rotary Center coming up on February 28.
Welcome to 2014! I look forward to working together with you in the new year!
Yours in Rotary,
District 7770 Paul Harris Foundation Chair David Tirard presented the Bluffton Rotary Club with two new banners that commend members for their charitable giving to Rotary’s charitable arm, the Rotary Foundation.
“This is a very generous club,” Tirard told Bluffton Rotarians, “and these banners are a testament to that.”
The “Every Rotarian Every Year” banner signifies that every Bluffton Rotarian gives to the foundation every year. The larger “100% Sustaining Member” banner signifies that every Bluffton Rotarian gives at least $100 to the Rotary Foundation every year.
Tirard said that of the more than 34,000 Rotary clubs worldwide, only 2,244 can boast “Every Rotarian Every Year” banners, and only 1,184 are “100% Sustaining Member” honorees.
Tirard said that 50 percent of the foundation’s charitable donations go abroad to support the work of organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
The Board approved the donation of $1,000 to purchase a “shelter box” for Filipinos left homeless in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Each shelter box supplies an extended family with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless. That will include blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items. For more information, visit Shelter Box.
In other Board action, Christopher Epps and Bill Epps were proposed as new members, and the resignation was accepted from Rob Lowery, who will be moving to a Beaufort-area club. A slate of officers will be proposed for 2014 in December.
President Patrick Wright reported that Steve Miller had stepped in as interim club treasurer to replace John George, who stepped down to take on additional responsibilities in his business.
Linda Powers of the United Way of the Lowcountry thanked Bluffton Rotarians for supporting the United Way and its partner agencies that provide direct services to local people in need.
“We sponsor very specific projects and programs that are out-come based, whose results are measurable,” Powers said.
Among those projects is a tutoring program that placed 170 volunteers in eight elementary schools to tutor students and help build their reading skills. So far, students who have worked with United Way-sponsored tutors have improved their reading abilities.
Powers encouraged Rotarians to help the United Way in achieving this year’s $2.3 million campaign goal.
Michael C. Riley Elementary School teacher Doris Beishir helps a student pick out a pair of shoes on Saturday at the Bluffton Rotary Club’s annual “Happy Feet” event at Payless Shoes. Rotarians treated more than 163 students at Michael C. Riley, Red Cedar and Bluffton elementary schools to free pairs of shoes.
At the 1917 national Rotary convention, outgoing President Arch C. Klumph proposed an endowment "for the purpose of doing good in the world." In 1928, the Rotary Foundation became a distinct entity within Rotary International, and one year later it made its first gift of $500 to the International Society for Crippled Children, which grew to become Easter Seals.
When Rotary founder Paul Harris died in 1947, so many contributions poured in that the Paul Harris Memorial Fund was created in order to help build the Foundation. That same year, its first program was established – the Fellowships for Advance Study, later known as Ambassadorial Scholarships.
Other key program additions followed in 1965 (Group Study Exchange) and 1985 (PolioPlus).
Since its first donation of $26.50 in 1917, the Foundation has received contributions totaling more than $1 billion.
For more than 100 years, Rotarians from around the world have joined together to take positive actions in their communities. Those actions reflect a strong commitment to achieving lasting change, empowering youth, enhancing health, promoting peace and advancing local communities.
While Rotarians can serve in countless ways, Rotary has focused its efforts in six areas that represent some of the world’s critical humanitarian needs:
• Peace and conflict prevention and resolution.
• Disease prevention and treatment.
• Clean water and adequate sanitation.
• Maternal and child health.
• Basic education and literacy.
• Economic and community development.
It’s about “doing good in the world” – from eradicating polio, to providing clean water and adequate sanitation, to procuring educational materials and life-saving medical supplies, to carrying out local club service projects funded by district grants.
Our dollars – and our hard work – are doing wondrous things all over the world and in our own backyards.
Jay Cook, November 6, 2013
About 1.9 billion people – a quarter of the world’s population – drink unsafe water every day. About 2.5 billion people – a third of the world’s population – live without adequate sanitation.
Jay Cook, a 28-year Charleston Rotarian who serves as Director of Operations for Water Missions International, told Bluffton Rotarians that the biggest cause of illness world-wide is unsafe water and inadequate sanitation.
The mission of Water Missions is to tackle that massive problem one village and sometimes even one family at a time. The organization has worked in 49 countries on five continents.
Cook, who came out of retirement to take on his current job, said that Water Missions takes a comprehensive approach to combating the crisis. They don’t simply place a water system in a community and leave. Instead, they customize safe water and sanitation solutions to meet the needs of individual communities. Then they monitor the project to make sure it continues to work.
“Local communities assist in building their own water and sanitation facilities,” Cook said. “Community development, hygiene training and sustainability are some of the most important things we do.”
Cook said that every water system his organization installs is built by a volunteer.
“That enables us to lower our costs significantly,” he said. “Charity watchdog groups give us high ratings, and that’s one reason why.”
District 7770 has taken a significant role in supporting Water Missions since its inception, Cook said.
“Thanks to Rotary, we’re moving the needle,” he said. “But we’ve still got a long, long way to go. There are many ways to help, including joining forces with other clubs.”
“Progress for Piura” is an ambitious Rotary-funded project to bring safe water and sanitation to 100,000 people in the Piura region of Peru by 2018. Water Missions International's work in the Department of Piura first began in 2011 as a result of a Rotary Foundation Matching Grant between South Carolina District 7770 and Peru District 4460. Last year, a Rotary Group Study Exchange team from South Carolina went to see the now six-completed sustainable safe water projects in the area.
“There’s a difference between clean water and safe water,” Cook said. “Just because water appears to be clear doesn’t mean that it’s safe to drink. Is it improved water, or is it safe water? We only do safe water.”
In addition to his work with Water Missions International, Cook served on the District 7770 Youth Exchange Committee for 24 years and has been a Rotary Reader for the past seven years. Cook has also been named as Rotarian of the Year for both his Charleston Breakfast Rotary Club and District 7770.