Update on the Ogeechee River

Pictured with Lesley Francis, Rotary President; Ogeechee Riverkeeper Emily Markesteyn and Watershed Outreach Coordinator Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman.  They updated Rotary members about Ogeechee Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect, preserve and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin in the aftermath of the fish kill crisis. To accomplish this goal, Ogeechee Riverkeeper strives to amplify the voices of concerned citizens and strengthen their efforts to protect their rivers and their communities.

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RICHMOND HILL, GA – February 16th 2015 last Saturday evening on Valentine’s Day the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill not only brought a fantastic evening to the Richmond Hill City Center but also raised around $25,000 to help our local community.


Over 250 people of all ages attended, many of them in 1970s costumes, and danced the night away to the legendary Abba Girlz Tribute Band.  They had left snow bound New York to perform live in concert at the City Center in three amazing sets interspersed with a delicious three course buffet, signature 1970s style cocktails, wonderful raffle prizes and exciting live and silent auction action.


Many Rotarians worked extremely hard to make the event a success. Rich de Long, President Elect was masterful as emcee and fundraiser co-chair.  Teresa Merritt and her team transformed the City Center into a 1970’s nightclub with a Greek flair in honor of the Broadway musical and Meryl Streep/Pierce Brosnan movie, Mamma Mia.  Auction Directors Beverly Cosmann, Ashley Roberts, Brianne Yontz and Sandra Elliot created their own magic to raise vital funds assisted by charismatic auctioneer Ted Flake.  Highlights included generous members of the community making a real difference – Toby Roberts and Michele Henderson provided an extra dinner cruise so two bidders at the live auction could both enjoy the experience, Gulfstream and Gary Freeman provided an amazing jet plane simulator experience worth $8,000 and Carl Francis donated back over $428 he won in the 50/50 raffle challenging the audience to match this amount again by passing the hat, therefore tripling the worth of this raffle to generate income to help the community.


Lesley Francis, President of the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill said “This year Rotary’s theme is to ‘Light up Rotary’ and we really did light up Richmond Hill this Valentine’s Day.  The event brought in over $40,000 which is a record breaking amount and we hope to net around $25,000 after all expenses are paid.  About 18 months ago past President Larry Barker and I brainstormed ideas and we took a calculated risk to bring in Abba Girlz as we needed to attract great support, publicity and ticket sales.  I am delighted to say that the plan paid off so we can do more to support people in need in our community.  I am personally thrilled and so grateful to the core team of Rotary members who worked so hard for many, many volunteer hours to make this come together.  They are too many to mention but they put Service Above Self to raise these funds – every cent of which goes back to help our community.  I moved here from London, England six years ago and the generosity of people in Richmond Hill never ceases to amaze me; businesses and individuals sponsored our event and provided wonderful auction items and many people bought tickets and chose to spend Valentines night at the City Center for which I thank them all”.



Event sponsors, in addition to Title Mamma Mia $2,000 sponsors The Richmond Hill City Center, included Dancing Queen $1,000 sponsors: The Suites at Station Exchange and Station Exchange at Home, Lesley Francis PR, Life Moves Dance Studio, Coastal Endontics, Keller Enterprises, Ameris Bank, South State Bank, Coastal Electric Cooperative, First Bank of Coastal Georgia, James R.Gardner LLC, Henderson Law Firm, McDonalds, Powertrain Inc. and Roberts Shooting Preserve and The Bryan County News.


Waterloo $500 sponsors included Megateeth Fossils, Michael Roberts Construction, Waterways Township, Southeastern Bank, Canady’s Heating & Air, ReMax Accent, Whit & Debbie Hollowell, Tom Sawyer and Reflections Magazine.


SOS $250 sponsors included Wards Auto Painting and Bodyworks, Ways Company Inc., Crossroads Center LLC, Thomas & Hutton Engineering, Paper Chemical Company, Barker & Associates and Magnolia Coastal Properties.

  • ENDS –


Media enquiries to [email protected] or on (912) 429 3950 or [email protected] or on 912-220-2976



  • ENDS –

Media enquiries to [email protected] or on (912) 429 3950

Or Ashley Roberts at [email protected] or on (912-220-2976)

January Rotary Club Make-Up Meeting

‘Last Friday at the Richmond Hill City Center’s first Festive Friday of the new year, Florida based VOICE Festival singer and American Traditions Competition contestant, Jessica Ann Best sung a wonderful range of Broadway hits and opera arias accompanied by talented pianist and Savannah resident Tim Hall.  The City Center provided drinks, free snacks and wonderful music as well as a return of the popular themed drink – the Diva Delight – a champagne and peach cocktail.  The Richmond Hill City Center donated  20% of proceeds raised to the Savannah VOICE Festival – a registered 501(c) 3 organization in the State of Georgia.  Jessica also performed earlier in the week at the Suites At Station Exchange for its senior residents”

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Rotary Gives Back to Richmond Hill’s Athletic Project!

At our last Rotary meeting of the year the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill awarded a grant of $250 to the Richmond Hill High School to support the Richmond Hill Athletic Project – a community project for a cross country running trail, equipment for the track facility and pavilion.  In the photograph (left to right) is Coach Sybert and Collette Hammesfahr from the High School with Club President Lesley Francis awarding them the check.