ROTARY CLUB CELEBRATES WITH END OF YEAR EVENT AND INSTALLATION OF NEW PRESIDENT
RICHMOND HILL, GA – June 29th 2015 last Thursday evening saw the ending of one Rotary year and the beginning of a new one as members of the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill enjoyed a celebratory dinner at the Richmond Hill City Center.
Assistant District Governor Karl Bohnstedt commended outgoing President Lesley Francis (CEO of Lesley Francis PR) on her achievements in membership, fundraising and charitable giving, Rotary awareness and leadership during the previous twelve months and installed Rich de Long (Executive Director at the Suites at Station Exchange) as the club’s new President.
Awards were given to members of the club and community:
Rotarian of the Year was presented to Teresa Merritt, (Owner of Life Moves Dance Studio) for her service on the Rotary Board and to quote Francis “she has brought more potential and new members to our club during the last 12 months than anyone and really helped me with membership. She shows up – to most lunch meetings, board meetings, make ups and service opportunities, she is full of wise counsel about focusing on what is truly important in Rotary and life. She transformed the city center into a Greek night club for our Mamma Mia themed Fundraiser in February and she ran an amazing military night out for military families to leave their children to have fun and be cared for by Rotarians for no charge to enable military families to prepare for the holidays last December”.
Jim Bayens Rookies of the Year were presented by Lynne Bayens to honor her late husband’s memory and as there were 12 new members over the past 12 months, three new members were presented with this prestigious award – a baseball bat inscribed with their name – as all three had given a great deal of time, energy and skill to assist Rotary in numerous ways. Ashley Roberts – whose service for Backpacks of Love and PR in the club were especially noted, Evelyn Fallon for her commitment to website and social media management for Rotary and Beverly Cosmann who gave so much of herself to ensure the success of the annual fundraiser, were all delighted to receive their awards and personalized baseball bats.
The club’s Vocational Service Award which is awarded to a non-Rotarian every year was given to Barbara Eloi, a caregiver for Georgia Living Management, INC (The Suites At Station Exchange and Station Exchange At Home) for four years. Ms. Eloi is the epitome of the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self” as she creates and fosters a loving and caring relationship with both the people she serves and their family members.
The club’s second non-Rotarian award – the Community Service Award was given to Lou Gambill. Lou operates My Grandfathers Place in Richmond Hill and is a big volunteer with our recreation department who has coached numerous youth baseball teams. Recently he was recognized as the outstanding volunteer in recreation for the entire state of Georgia.
The younger generation has been a big focus for the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill especially over the last year and the club was delighted to welcome scholarship recipients from the Richmond Hill High School with their families. Sgt At Arms Gene Durante presented the $2,000 J.D. Gardner Scholarship to Zachary Balcomb and the $1,000 Mary Bean Scholarship to Maximilian Makhinson.
Rotarians receiving Paul Harris Fellowships included: Byron Atkinson, Brad Brookshire, Gene Durante, Rich de Long and Gary Stanberry. Blue badges to newer members who had graduated from this status through service to the club were presented to Sandra Elliot of Game Changers and Dr. Chris Lea. The new Board for 2015-16 was installed as follows:
President Rich de Long
President Elect Brad Brookshire
Secretary Lisa Ward
Treasurer Jon Seagraves
Sgt at Arms Gene Durante
Immediate Past President Lesley Francis
Director Byron Atkinson
Director Teresa Merritt
Director Derrick Smith
Rich de Long, the new Rotary President closed the meeting with some inspirational videos about the work of Rotary and a commitment to fulfil the new year’s Rotary mission to ‘Be A Gift to the World’.