January 14, 2008 Rotogram


Our guest today is Starkville Architect Gary Shaffer. We’re looking forward to his report on the new facility  at the Starkville Sportsplex and an update on construction progress.


Rotary will not meet next week in observance of Martin Luther King Day.


You won’t want to miss our next meeting Monday, January 28. Tommy Raffo, MSU assistant baseball coach, will be our guest to give us a preview of the 2008 Diamond Dawgs and expectations for the upcoming season.  Dave Boles will introduce the program.


Attendance:. There were 125  Rotarians  (89  active and   36 exempt) present. Missing were 48  active, 21 exempt, and all 9  honorary members.

Invocation: Betty Black.

Visitors and Guests: Visiting Rotarians were  Bill Overstreet of West Point and Erik Hearon (speaker) of North Jackson. Johnny Thompson, Mississippi Development Authority, was guest of David Thornell. Guests of the Club included Negrita Caicedo (RYE student) and her new host sister Victoria Follett; Maryna Melnik (RYE student) and her new host mother Carol Jones; Haley Heath (mentor scholar) and her grandmother Jane Keirs; Raquel Macon (mentor scholar); and media guests Paul Sims (Starkville Daily News) and Skip Descant (Columbus Commercial Dispatch). They were introduced by Chip Templeton.

Makeups: Julia Hodges logged two on-line makeups; Greg Stewart made up in Columbus Dec. 7; Jeff Donald and Mike Hainsey made up West Point Jan. 3.

First Timers: Zach Rowland, William Hilbun, and Rick Smith were recognized as attending their first meeting as new members.

Condolences: President Ned Browning, on behalf of all Rotarians, issued condolences to Rotarians Pat Lane and Buddy Staggers on the death of their father, Erie Staggers, who joined this Club in 1952.

Condolences were also extended to Rotarian Matt Cox and his wife Lady at the unexpected death of Lady’s father, Melvin Rhodes, former city alderman and good friend of many Rotarians.

Kudos: Ned congratulated a number of Rotarians in the news over the holiday season. Kudos went to Rob Leach, Bob Daniels, Ernie George, and Phil Burchfield for professional honors. Also congratulated were Rotarians recognized among Oktibbeha County’s “Top 40 under 40″: Michelle Amos, Brian Lesley, Lee Beck, Briar Jones, and Melissa Dixon.

Rotary Minute: Bill Foster’s Rotary Minute focused on Rotary’s program to eradicate polio. “The job is not done,” he  said. The virus still is virulent in four countries (India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan) where warfare and other circumstances have made it difficult to inoculate children. Rotary is committed to completing the job and it will be costly.  “The Bill Gates Foundation has given a Rotary a $100 million challenge grant which Rotary has agreed to match” Foster said. “It’s described in the current issue of The Rotarian Magazine – I challenge you to read the two articles.”
They are on pages 30-34 in the January issue.

Meeting Notes: Eddie Keith announced that the renovated Colvard Union was complete and the Union had opened that morning. He invited Rotarians to come to campus to see the new facility.

Roy Ruby chose an “absolutely nothing to do about Rotary minute” that turned out to be quite  appropriate for the day!

January Birthdays: January birthday celebrants not included in last week’s bulletin are Betty Black, and new member Zach Rowland. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


Larry Box, chair of the Mentor Scholarship committee, introduced winners of two of the three Rotary Mentor Scholarships, awarded to local high school graduates enrolling as freshmen at Mississippi State. The recipients are chosen by the University Scholarship Committee.

Haley Heath, a Starkville Academy graduate, is a freshman in biological engineering and in the Honors College.

Raquel Macon, from East Oktibbeha, is a freshman studying biological science and computer art.

The two young ladies expressed their appreciation to Rotary, saying the scholarship “was really needed.”

The other winner, Steven Durr, a Starkville High School graduate, was unable to be present.


The mission of the Mississippi Air National Guard (ANG) is to organize, train, and equip members to serve our state, nation, and the communities in which they live and work. While it’s a challenging task to hold down a civilian job and stay proficient and ready to serve at a moment’s notice, it’s well worth the commitment of time and effort.

Brig. Gen. Erik Hearon, commander of the state’s ANG, is a CPA in civilian life. He said he put his CPA pencil to work and came up with an estimated lifetime total of tangible benefits of serving in the ANG at $431,000 (figuring retirement at age 60 and life expectancy of 82).

In recruiting new members for the ANG, Hearon emphasizes the technical training in a wide range of skills as invaluable for service both in the member’s military and civilian roles. ANG members drill one weekend a month and serve a minimum of 15 days of active duty per year.

The ANG federal role is to support the nation’s security objectives, responding when needed in times of war and national emergencies.  The state role is to protect life and property and help preserve peace, order, and public safety. As civilians, ANG members are productive workers and good citizens, involved  in community affairs and service activities.

Hearon said Mississippi ANG “has everything it takes to be ready for deployment.” Currently, there are 2,500 dedicated and patriotic men and women at three locations. He estimated that the ranks are 18-20% women and 30% minorities.

The ANG Headquarters and the 172nd Airlift Wing are at Jackson International Airport.
The 186th Air Refueling Wing and 238th Air Support Operations Squadron are located at Key Field in Meridian.

The Trent Lott Combat Readiness Training Center is located at Gulfport along with the 209th Civil Engineer Squadron and the 255th Air Traffic Control Squadron.

The ANG played a key role when Hurricane Katrina hit the Coast because more than 3,500 of the Army National Guardsmen were deployed in Iraq.

The 172nd Airlift Wing in Jackson has been evacuating injured from Iraq and is now delivering the armored MRAP vehicles (assembled in West Point) to IRAQ in the C-17 Globemaster III’s. When asked how much the C-17 can carry,  he said the aircraft’s cargo hold has 18 pallet positions. Depending on many variable factors (weather, temperature, distance, etc.), this would be  about 200,000 pounds of cargo. The newer C-5 has twice as many pallet positions (36).

Before concluding his presentation, Gen. Hearon said that he had the opportunity to attend a Homeland Security Conference a year and a half ago in Israel. “Those folks are 50 years ahead of us in homeland security,” he said. “But I hope we never have to live with that level of security in our country.”

As a military pilot, Hearon has logged more than 5,700 hours of flying time in a wide range of aircraft and has a long list of military awards and decorations.  From November 2002 until July 2003, he served in a forward deployed location in Southwest Asia as Director of the Regional Air Movement Control Center for Afghanistan and Iraq. He is a graduate of Millsaps and a member of North Jackson Rotary Club with 29 years of perfect attendance.

Carey Hardin introduced the program.

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