Rotary Club celebrates the year

Published 6:31 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rick McCaskill, standing with Rotary president Kim Walden, received the President’s Award.

Rick McCaskill, standing with Rotary president Kim Walden, received the President’s Award.

It was a time to celebrate the events of Rotary 2014-15, while recognizing those who helped make them happen when Bainbridge Rotary held their annual awards meeting Tuesday noon.

Outgoing President Kim Walden gave a review of accomplishments for the year, giving special recognition to those Rotarians who served in various capacities.

The local club celebrated along with Rotary International, 110 years of Rotary, and 30 years of Rotary working to eradicate Polio worldwide. They promoted the Rotary motto of the year, “Light up Rotary,” by projecting it in lights on the wall of the Bon Air building one evening. They created 27 new Paul Harris Fellows, thus making the club a 100 percent club; produced a Rotary photo directory; assisted at Rivers Alive; supported Boy Scouts; supported RADD – “Celebrate My Drive” a safe driving promotion of State Farm Insurance; purchased a 3-D Rover for Hutto Middle School from the proceeds of the Rotary Casino Night; held a Rotary career day at the same school; sent three students to RYLA, the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp; supported the Interact Clubs; sponsored the Georgia Laws of Life Essays with Bainbridge High School; awarded four Rotary scholarships; hosted Miss Georgia at a meeting; acquired eight new members in the year; funded and hosted a Georgia Rotary Student Program (GRSP) student from Mexico; packed food in backpacks to help fight student hunger;  established a Little Free Library on the square; and won, for the second year in a row, the Salvation Army’s Civic Challenge for raising the most money as bell ringers during the holidays. They also were recognized at the annual Rotary convention with a Governor’s Citation for the year’s accomplishments.

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Several senior Rotarians were recognized for their longevity of membership: Mayo Livingston for 61 years, Harold Lambert for 53, George Herring and Ramsey Simmons for 59 years each and Paul Trulock for 46 years.

Special awards presented were: Rookie Rotarian of the Year, Melinda Taylor; President’s Award to Rick McCaskill; Service Above Self award to Gerard Kwilecki; Rotarian of the Year to Dick Youmans. Other awards were given to those who had perfect attendance, had multiple Paul Harris Fellows Awards and those who received Will Watts Awards for supporting the GRSP program financially.

Bo Jones gave a brief history on the founding of the GRSP, established following World War II in 1946 by Will Watts. Watts, Rotary District Governor from Thomasville, visited the war-torn cities and villages of Europe and looked for ways to help develop peace among the nations. He asked that each Rotarian in Georgia donate $1 to start the GRSP that allows clubs to host a foreign college student to study in Georgia each academic year.

At the close of the meeting, Kim Walden passed the gavel to Threasa Hall, who takes the helm as President for 2015-16.