July 23, 2007 Rotogram


Robbie Ward, MSU University Relations, has been leading the drive to get a pardon for the late country music star Johnny Cash, who spent a night in our local jail. His offense: picking flowers from a local private homeowner’s lawn. Fans of the country music idol have joined the charge resulting in plans for a Flower Pickin’ Festival in November. He’s here to tell us about it today.


Our guest next Monday will be Rocky Felker, Asst. Football Coach for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. He’ll give us a first glimpse of what to expect when the Dawgs take to the field in the season opener against LSU Thursday, August 30.


Invocation and Pledge: Tommy Prentice.

Attendance:. There were 124 members (87 active, 37 exempt) present and 48 active, 17 exempt, and all 10 honorary members missing. Two active members are on leave.

Guests:.Stu Vance’s guests were his wife, Mike, and his daughter Lisa Knight. Other guests were Bobby Eiland (new Starkville Academy Headmaster) of Jeff Read, and Jim McPherson of Lynn Zimmerman.

Makeups: Larry Box in Macon July 3; Gary D. Jackson in Winona July 6 and Louisville July 11; Jack Forbus in Philadelphia July 9; Andy Gaston in Aberdeen July 9; Eddie Keith, Seaside, OR July 11; and Keith Remy in Wooster, OH July 2 and Louisville (program) July 11.

New Member Trey Breckenridge greeted Rotarians as they arrived, then gave a brief bio-sketch. A Mississippi native, Trey grew up on a farm near McComb. He has been in Starkville for 20 years. He’s computing and operations administrator for the High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC), formerly the ERC. He and his wife Sharon have two young daughters. He is a hunter and pilot and serves as commander of the GTR Civil Air Patrol Squadron.

Kudoswere issued to Rotarian Brian Lesley and his wife Emily on the birth of John Scott Lesley Monday, July 9. Grandfather is Rotarian Terry Kemp.

Meeting Notes: President Ned Browning reminded new members of the July 17 member orientation.

He announced that the Club has been named to the Red Cross Clara Barton Society for its contribution. He noted the Rotarians and their family members who serve on the Red Cross Board and thanked them for their service.

Ned said the new microphone was not part of the new administration, but was the last act of the old program committee chaired by Carey Hardin. It’s a great improvement in the sound system.

Rotary Minute: Peggy Buckley, membership chair, thanked Rotarians for last year’s highly successful membership campaign that has continued to result in adding more new, younger, enthusiastic members than ever before. She urged us to continue to seek potential Rotarians. “We all have he opportunity to attract and propose new members.”

Nothing to Do About Rotary Minute was a surprise presentation by a duo of Roy Ruby and Carey Hardin. They presented “peculiar people” awards to Rotarian clergymen. The awards were mugs with special inscriptions which were read by Carey with appropriate Roy Ruby asides that kept everyone laughing.

For Grant Arinder and Gary Jackson, Gourmet Baptist Coffee “especially good for dunking.”

For Episcopal Lay Reader Mike Vance, Gourmet

Episcopal Coffee “Tastes better with liquor.”

For Catholic layman Bob Wolverton, Gourmet Catholic Coffee “Not instant but ‘perc’atory’.”

For Olin McBride, Gourmet Presbyterian Coffee “predestined to be brewed decently and in order.”

For Pentiss Gordon, Jim Orman, and Bob Whiteside, Methodist Gourmet Coffee “we change spots every 4 years.”


It finally was President Ned’s turn to give us his enthusiastic report of this year’s Rotary International Convention, held last month in Salt Lake City.

Ned was among 16,500 Rotarians from 147 nations participating in what was the largest convention ever held in Salt Lake City. Rotarians filled the new Salt Palace that has auditorium seating for 13,200 and a half million square feet of exhibit space. Two opening sessions were held to accommodate all the Rotarians and guests.

“I’ve attended dozens of conventions and professional meetings in my career. This is the only time I found I wasn’t ready for the meeting to end.

“What did I gain from this amazing experience?” he asked. He listed four major things.

  1. A better understanding of Rotary. It was a great educational experience.
  2. Ideas for our Club.
  3. Contacts for more effective service projects.
  4. Inspiration for a long-term commitment.

Ned said the plenary sessions all had multi-cultural emphases. “It was apparent to me that Rotary’s goal is to achieve peaceful coexistence among cultures.”

Rotarians heard a number of extraordinary speakers, including past president Bill Boyd from New Zealand, Bill Gates, Sr. (“a great motivational speaker”), and a number of testimonials.

A young lady from India, born with no arms, has artificial limbs furnished by Rotary and is now a well-known author.

Several quotations were especially meaningful to Ned.

“Decide when you have enough then use the difference between that and your income to get it done.”

Gates said “Rotary takes small town values and applies them to the world’s vexing problems. “

”It wasn’t the program, but the people,” Ned said. Networking happened everywhere, at meals, in transit (the city ran 13 bus routes to get Rotarians to and from the convention), in workshops, in fellowship and group meetings, and even as tourists after the convention.

“After the convention, Mary and I went down south in Utah to visit Bryce Canyon. We’d been there years ago. We met four busloads of Japanese Rotarians who had been at the R.I. Convention.’

At a remote bed and breakfast near a town of only 800 in northern Utah, four of the eight rooms were rented by Rotarians.

The International House of Friendship was especially helpful. He described this as a combination trade show and show and tell. It also had a House of Peace for young people attending the convention.

Ned was especially attracted to the Fellowship and Action Group Meetings. Currently R.I. has 84 International Fellowship groups and 14 Actions groups. His interest in scouting led him to join the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians.

He said there are similar fellowships for Rotarians for all sorts of interests and hobbies ranging from flying Rotarians to wine connoisseurs.

One idea Ned has already put in place is long range planning. Chip Templeton and all succeeding president-elects will chair this committee to give continuity and direction to the club as it meets the changing needs of the community and the world in the years ahead. Ned hasn’t named the membership of the committee yet – let him know if you have an interest in serving the club on this committee.

“Governor Jack Forbus has listed literacy as one of the goals for District 6820, challenging each club to teach at least one person to read. Our club’s projects to improve literacy in our community include giving dictionaries to third graders. Since we didn’t get dictionaries in time for distribution last year, we will give them to every third AND fourth grader in all the schools in the community and county,” he said. The Club will also give books to school libraries.

On the international scene, Ned is especially interested in water, which is critical for health and survival of all people. For example, he’d like to help the village in Macedonia where he’s been on several mission trips, solve both their water supply and sewage disposal systems.

It was obvious that the R.I. Convention had a significant and lasting influence on our new president. Hopefully, some of his enthusiasm and excitement about Rotary and its potential to help solve problems at home and around the world will rub off on Starkville Rotarians.

In closing, he reminded Rotarians that upcoming Rotary International Conventions will be held in Los Angeles June 15-28, 2008, and Birmingham, England June 21-24, 2009.

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