September 29, 2008 Rotogram

LITERACY BETWEEN THE LIONS

Marie Antoon, executive director of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, will introduce us to our long-range literacy project. “Between the Lions,” produced by MPB, teaches reading and numbers skills to preschoolers.

 FALL SOCIAL

Help raise a Rotary Roof for Habitat for Humanity at the silent auction next week. Our annual fall fellowship begins here at the country club with social hour at 6:00 p.m. next Monday. A cookout and bingo follow.

LAST WEEK

Invocation and Pledge: Grant Arinder

Attendance: There were 114 members (34 exempt, 1 honorary) present, and 88 (21 exempt, 9 honorary) absent.

Guests and visitors: Rotarian Michael Robinson visited from the Macon-Brooksville Club. Members’ guests included Brad McKenzie of Gery Cummings, Charlie Guest and Robert Maddox of Jack Forbus, Doug Moore of John Robert Arnold, and Tommy Prince of Roy Ruby. Club guests were Toni Clements, wife of the district governor, Nia Romero and Taka Sato, Youth Exchange Students, and Jarrod Reneau, Ambassadorial Cultural Scholar.

Makeups reported: Larry Mullins in Macon, Sandra Harpole in West Point, and Jeff Donald and Loren Zimmerman at a board meeting.

Club notes: President Chip welcomed Rotarian Ren Crowell back after an extended leave.

He reminded members to check their tables for the guide for the Starkville Reads push for the Big Read of Jack London’s Call of the Wild.

Peggy Mullins, chair of the membership development committee, complimented the Club on identifying 55 possible members during the previous week’s brainstorming session.

David Vanlandingham, co-chair with Brent Fountain of the literacy committee, explained the goal of the newly formed committee is to help lay the educational foundation for 3 and 4 year olds in Oktibbeha County. As today’s program stresses, we will lead District 6820 to work with selected childcare providers over the next several years.

Rotary Minute:  Within the first year of the chartering of the Starkville Rotary Club in 1924, our founders recognized the good fit between Rotary values and Scouting values and founded BSA Troop 14.

As the chartering sponsor, our Club not only supports the unit, we own it. We own the tents, the lanterns, the equipment trailer, and the patrol boxes. That ownership is the distinctive difference between our relationship with Scouting and the other worthy organizations we support.

“When we present a check to our troop, the money is still ours,” said Mark Guyton, scouting committee chair. “It’s just transferred into their account. But, we own the account also.”

Troop 14 and Cub Scout Pack 14 are widely considered to be two of the best units in the ten-county Pushmataha Area Council.

BABY BOOMLET

Sara and Joe Fratesi became Starkville Rotary’s first member couple to welcome a newborn when Nate (7 lbs 8 oz, 19½  inches) arrived on Sept. 17.

Rotarian Chance McDavid and his wife Kayla welcomed son Brayden (8 lbs 0 oz, and 20½ inches) on Sept. 23.

ROTARY MAKES DREAMS REAL

Last week’s annual district governor’s visit was a homecoming of sorts. DG Joel Clements of the Waynesboro Club is a past member of our Club.

Clements, a veteran Mississippi banker, is president and CEO of First State Bank.

Echoing a refrain of many Rotarians, Clements said, “I spent 15 years as a member of this Club; and I was just that. I only become an active Rotarian in the last few years.”

At this point in his term, he has visited 25 of the district’s 44 clubs, located between U.S. Highways 82 and 84. Noting the differences in clubs, he said, “Your Club sets the bar.”

With 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries, Rotary International is the world’s largest single service organization. The “big family” includes 533 districts.

Under the leadership of RI President D. K. Lee of Korea, the organization’s 2008-2009 theme is “Make Dreams Real.” Health, hunger, water and literacy comprise the ongoing RI focus.

With more than 26,000 children under 5-years-old dying daily from preventable diseases, Lee is drawing attention to child mortality.

Over 23 years, RI has spent $600 million to eradicate polio worldwide. Cases are down 99 percent. Only 4 pockets remain in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria. With an additional $100 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the push is “not just to control, but to wipe out the disease.”

Polio is not the only focus. Shelter boxes are rushed to disaster sites such as the 2004 tsunami. Something as simple as mosquito net is made available to vulnerable populations. More than 200,000 wheelchairs have been given worldwide.

Hundreds of water projects are bringing safe hydration to millions. Our own Carey Hardin is the district 6820 water chair and is seeking projects. Among our international partners are Engineers Without Borders and Doctors Without Borders.

“The final area of emphasis is literacy,” said Clements. “It’s impossible to do anything about the cycle of poverty if we do nothing about education.”

Rotary International and local clubs must pay attention to M&Ms to stay viable. Membership growth is critical to an organization’s life. U.S. membership, on a recent slide, is turning around.

The other M is money. Most of our dues go to feed ourselves. However, Rotary has money to fight polio and illiteracy because members participate in RI Foundation giving. Starkville’s Club is one of the few in the district that reached the Every Rotarian Every Year mark of a $100 contribution per member.

“Rotary has enough money to fund all worthy projects,” said Clements. “The problem is that we’re sitting on it in our wallets.”

This year, the district gets back $50,000 for projects.

NEW MEMBER

Starkville native William Hilbun, son of Ben F. and Roseanne, continues a family tradition as he joins our Club. Married for 3 years to Cathleen Caldwell, he has a son Walker and is expecting a daughter in January. In a varied career, he has operated a commercial hunting operation and worked with Farm Bureau insurance. Back home in Starkville, he is with the Galloway, Chandler and McKinney agency.

PROPOSED MEMBER

Doug Moore, Choctaw District Executive for the Boy Scouts, has been recommended by the membership and classification committee. His sponsor is John Robert Arnold.

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