January 7, 2008 Rotogram


Our guest today is Brig. General J.  Erik Hearon, Commander of the Mississippi Air National Guard.  Gen. Hearon  is responsible for directing the state’s  ANG operations and ensuring mission readiness of an air refueling wing, airlift wing, combat readiness training center, air support operations squadron, air control squadron, and a civil engineering squadron.  In 2002-2003, he served in southwest Asia as Director of the Regional Air Movement Control Center for Afghanistan and Iraq.


For weeks, we’ve watched with interest and curiosity, the site preparation for the new facility at Starkville’s outstanding Sportsplex. Next Monday, Architect Gary Shafer will be our guest. He’ll tell us what the facility is going to be like and give us an update on the progress.


Rotary will not meet on Monday, January 21, in observance of Martin Luther King Day.


Attendance: It’s been 3 weeks since our December 17 meeting. Thanks to a number of guests, we finished out the year with a good crowd. There were 99  Rotarians  (71  active and   28 exempt) present. Missing were 62  active, 29 exempt, and all 10  honorary members.

Invocation and Pledge: Melissa Dixon.

Special Club Guests were school administrators and family members of students being recognized. They included Hellen Polk (Principal of SA Elementary); Bobby McClelland (Principal of SA High School); James Stidham (Principal of Millsaps); Hub and Nancy King (Caroline’s parents).

Other Visitors and Guests: Visiting Rotarians were Bill Overstreet of Pascagoula and Eddie Longstreet of West Point. Member guests were Jennifer Blackbourn of husband Richard; Rick Smith of Larry Mullins; Ty Abernathy of Brent Fountain; Walter Gonsoulin of Phil Burchfield; Warren Box of his father Larry; and Zach Rowland of Trey Breckenridge. Club guests were Guy Hargrove (Nancy’s husband); exchange students Negrita Caicedo and Maryna Melnik; and Shoshanna Brackett, Starkville Daily News. All were introduced by Vice President Chip Templeton.

Makeups: Julia Hodges made up on line; O.A. Cleveland, Dec. 7 in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia; Dave Boles, Dec. 10  in Tuscaloosa; and Stu Vance, Dec. 13 in  West Point.

Rotary Minute: Ann Mitchell’s Rotary minute was the good news that Starkville Rotary Club’s proposal for a District 6820 simplified grant had been approved. The grant of $1,000 will be matched by the Club, making a total of $2,000 for the Father’s Child Ministry. Ann said the funds will be used for educational and personal development of children who have no father in the home.


The slate of officers presented by the Nominating Committee of three immediate past presidents (Larry Mullins, Ed Clynch, and Larry Box) was unanimously elected.
Club leadership for the year beginning July 1, 2008  will be
President: Chip Templeton
Vice President-President Elect: Martha Wells
Secretary: Jeff Donald
Treasurer: Nellah Taylor
New Directors (2008 – 2010): Bob Daniels, Joe Fratesi, Tommy Prentice, Janette Self
Continuing Directors (2007-2009): Nancy Hargrove. Mike Mazzola,  Melanie Mitchell, Loren Zimmerman


Omis Avant, a member of the Excellence in Education Committee, presided for recognition of star teachers and students from three remaining area schools – Starkville Academy Elementary, Starkville Academy High School, and Millsaps Vocational and Technology Center.

Hellen Pope, Principal of SA Elementary, introduced Jesse Yates, band director for all the Starkville Academy bands. Yates introduced two star students.

Evan McBroom has the distinction of being the first and only 6th grader to play in the high school marching band. Evan said he loves to play the drums and someday wants to be a marine biologist.

Madisyn Lincoln’s favorite subjects are art and band and she aspires to becoming a professional musician and artist.

SA Principal Bobby McClelland  introduced his star teacher Debi Valentine, who, in addition to teaching, serves as counselor and cheerleader coach. She introduced the two SA seniors recognized as star students.

Caroline King is on the soccer team, in her 6th season on the tennis team, is an excellent student, and has been awarded a scholarship by MSU, where she plans to major in accounting.

Chris Carpenter is also planning to attend Mississippi State next fall to major in chemical engineering. In addition to being a good scholar, Chris plays soccer and basketball (he’s proud that the SA hoopsters were Div. II state champs last year).

James Stidham is principal of Millsaps Vocational and Technology Center that serves all schools in the city and county.

Star teacher Patty Newsome said Millsaps  ranks as the top career and technology center in the state. More than half the teachers have national board certification. She introduced the center’s two star students.

Neyell Plair, a SHS senior, wants to be a history teacher. This is her second year in the program. Last year she took state tests and was second out of 38 programs in the state.

Katie Berry, also in her second year at Millsaps, said she’s learned many things to prepare her for different levels of teaching. She plans to attend EMCC for 2 years then transfer to MSU. She wants to be an elementary school teacher.


Chip Templeton (on the keyboard) teamed up with vocalists Linda Karen Smith and Guy Hargrove to wind up our year with an enjoyable and most appreciated program of familiar Christmas music.

Solo numbers by Linda Karen were The Christmas Song and Winter Wonderland.

Solo numbers by Guy were I’ll Be Home for Christmas and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Chip gave us a demonstration of his keyboard skill as he innovated several versions of the familiar carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

Linda and Guy teamed up for duets of Silver Bells  and Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer and closed with White Christmas with everyone joining in.


Rotarians with birthdays in January include Bill Bost, Phil Burchfield, Bobby Eiland, Victor Evans, Rodney Faver,  Bill Foster, Clyde Herring,  Cindy Marsh, P.C. McLaurin, Andrea Myles, Clyde Pritchard, Roy Ruby,  Bill Simmons, Bill Stark, Stuart Vance, and Mark Williamson.


We will be sponsoring our second annual Rotary Rodeo next month (Feb. 15 and 16). Mark your calendars and be ready to volunteer to help.

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