Pam Craven welcomed members and guests as they joined the Zoom meeting.
President Joel Ivy opened the meeting. Mike Loudon led the invocation, pledge, and Four-Way Test.
Trey Harden handled introduction of visiting Rotarians and guests. Ryan McKellen was a guest of Gwen Allen, and our visiting Rotarian was Doug McCall from the Rotary Club of Wallasey, England.
President Joel called for Happy Dollars. Melody Rider was happy that she is close to being finished with paying for orthodontics for her daughter. Amanda Walls was happy because her home renovation project done by Sean Harper that has been ongoing for two months is complete and beautiful.  Brandon Clark was similarly happy because his new home his family has been building for 19 months is also complete. Michelle Ledford was happy to have participated in the virtual VISTE ball. Gwen Allen was happy about Champa Bay and the Bucs’ great Super Bowl LV win, and Bill Mutz was thrilled that he finally got to meet and snuggle his newest grandchild, Milo, for whom many of our Club members have prayed.
Gwen Allen then announced that the greeters committee is transitioning to a new chair and looking for volunteers. Look for an email from Gwen with information and instructions on how to sign up.
Scott LaRonde then announced that, due to COVID, the 5K event will not occur this year. Instead, it is going to be reimagined as a pure fundraiser to support the parks. Long-sleeve dry fit race shirts will be on sale for $15, and shirt sponsorships are available for $100 and up.  You can buy a shirt or a shirt sponsorship via link on the Club’s website.
Scott Reed announced that Spring Obsession is on March 13, 2021 at Lake Crago Park. He will be sending information about how to volunteer; there are many shifts and jobs available. Melody Rider also reminded everyone to like and share the Spring Obsession social media posts to help get the word out.
Jack Lowman announced there is going to be a club fellowship event on Thursday, February 18 at The Joinery starting 5:15 PM. Plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, everyone can grab a drink and a small bite, dinner, or ice cream. Hope to see many there!
Don Selvage introduced the speaker, Dr. Daniel Haight from Lakeland Regional Health. Dr. Haight shared that LRH currently has 117 COVID-positive patients in the hospital. That number has gone down from a steady 150-160 over the last few months. There are currently only 9 COVID-positive patients on ventilators right now in LRH. In the summer that number was around 25.
Dr. Haight believes both currently available versions of the vaccine are safe. There are some side effects which are not unusual (soreness, shivers, fever, etc). Even allergic reactions to other things, such as shellfish, have not been shown to cause any major reactions to these vaccines. As of today, 42 million doses of the vaccine have been successfully given. Dr. Haight recommends not switching between brands of vaccines between first shot & second shot. He also feels that there is no reason to believe that COVID will disappear, but as vaccination rates increase things will steadily return toward normal. Dr. Haight encouraged the Club, as leaders in the community and in our respective businesses, to be leaders on projecting positive messaging about the vaccine being a safe and effective strategy to help get past pandemic status.
Our program next week will be an update about Lakeland International Airport by Gene Conrad.