June is one of my favorite months. As a child, it was because we were out of school. As an adult, it is because the weather is warm, but generally not yet sweltering. As a Rotary member, it is because it is a time to reflect on the year and to celebrate accomplishments.
The Rotary year started in July 2017 when Kimberly Kitchens assumed the role of President of the Rotary Club of Newberry. Actually, her vision for the year started in the spring of 2017 as she developed her vision for the year and submitted it to our District Governor. She also worked with our Grant Committee to secure a district grant from Rotary to expand the picnic shelter at Pride Park. Her vision included adding members, engaging current members, increasing donations to the Rotary International Foundation, and completing a project to improve our local community. In looking back, it was a very successful year.
This year, The Rotary Club of Newberry added 12 new members, completed eight projects (four of which were new), recognized eight teachers and 40 students, performed 339 volunteer hours and raised almost $20,000 to use for club and community projects. Additionally, the club awarded seven Paul Harris Awards (individuals who have contributed more than $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation are recognized as Paul Harris Fellows) and eight Governors of Excellence (the criteria of the Governor of Excellence pin is (1) induct a new member, (2) participate in a service project, (3) and give to the Foundation). Friday night The Rotary Club of Newberry held their annual awards dinner. Along with all the successes I’ve mentioned above, we also honored three of our members.
This year we had the pleasure of honoring John Rucker as our club’s Veteran Rotarian. He been a Rotarian for 50 years! John’s dedication and commitment to Rotary is an inspiration!
Each year we honor a Rotarian of the Year. This year, Sam Hart was honored because of his dedication to our service projects, having one of the highest number of service hours, and being the Committee Chair for Meals on Wheels. He was very dependable for his Sergeant at Arms duties and he worked with the Scouts to earn the merit badge for Flying. He is not a board member nor officer, but was truly an unsung Rotarian. The Rotary Club of Newberry is very grateful to Sam for his dedication and support this year.
We also had the opportunity to honor Gordon Henry with a Service Above Self award. Gordon became a Rotarian in Hays, Kansas and upon moving to Newberry joined the Rotary Club of Newberry. He has been a member of our club for 48 years with a combined membership of 50 years in Rotary! During these years he has served the club in several capacities, was honored with the Rotarian of the Year award in 2000, and most importantly, has been our treasurer for past 22 years. He actively participates in every Rotary event from The Children’s Christmas Party to attending the annual Gala. Even the Bier Garden had him present and accounted for; counting the money of course! The Rotary Club of Newberry is very grateful to Gordon for sharing his time and talent as our treasurer for 22 years.
July starts a new Rotary year and Mike Reid is the incoming President of the Board. He, like Kimberly, has been working on his vision for the coming year for the past six months. I’m looking forward to seeing his vision in action!