RCOR President’s Message for September/October

The Rotary Club of Oak Ridge has been quite productive in the months of September and October.  Many thanks go to RCOR member Don Tillar, General Manager of Centennial Golf Course, for taking the lead for the Golf Tournament Fundraiser that was held at Centennial Golf Course on Friday September 23rd. Don Tillar, his staff and the Rotary committee that worked with Don on this event, Jack Bailey, Jim Charles, Steve Fielden, and Pat Row, did a great job organizing our first (hopefully annual) golf tournament fundraiser!  $2,600 was raised to provide funds for our Oak Ridge Community Garden project.  Our club submitted a 2016-2017 District Grant (as a substitute for our delayed Women’s Shelter grant) which, if approved, will increase this amount to $5,000.  These funds will support the development of a community Garden, which is intended to be a safe, educational place for children and the citizens of OR to come together to grow fresh produce for local food banks and personal benefit.  The plan is to have 24 plots located near the Spurgeon Chapel AME Zion Church in the Scarboro Community, with 3 of them being used to grow produce which will be donated to local Church food banks.

We really appreciate all the golfers that came out to play, the sponsors and Chick Filet for providing the delicious lunch.  Because of our efforts, people in our community who are hungry and in need will be fed with healthy food grown with loving hands.  Once again, RCOR is exemplifying “Rotary Serving Humanity”.

One of our other community outreach programs is our sponsorship of the Interact Club at Oak Ridge High School (ORHS). Carol Welch and Mary Jane White are co-chairing our Youth Services Committee and have done a wonderful job working with the leadership at ORHS and encouraging students to join Interact this year.  Our club sponsored five ORHS students to Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) at Camp Nakanawa in Crossville, Tennessee.  RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship, and personal growth in a one-day, hands-on, leadership skills development program, which is open to outstanding High School Juniors with demonstrated leadership qualities. 165 students from 45 different Rotary Clubs in District 6780 attended RYLA this year-the best attendance ever!

To recognize September’s theme of “Basic Education and Literacy,” our club is participating in the Dictionary Project with the Sunset and Breakfast Rotary Clubs.  RCOR members will be handing out dictionaries to every third grader in the Oak Ridge Schools in October.  Dictionaries help children build a fundamental skill needed for literacy.  We teach them how to look up words they come across but don’t know.  Suddenly, the sentence that they didn’t understand, has meaning.  That is literacy!

On Saturday October 1st, we held the annual Street Painting Festival at Roane State Community College.  The weather was perfect and our festival was a resounding success, bringing in some $11,000 for scholarships for Roane State Community College.  Accolades to Melinda Hillman and Nancy Harrison for organizing this year’s festival and to committee members Tom Row, Adolf King and Jennifer Enderson for all of their support.  My personal thanks to all of the ROCR volunteers that gave of their time to ensure smooth operations.  And of course, we thank all of the artists that came out to share their talents with us in their beautiful chalk drawings and Jim Dodson for serving as our judge.

To recognize the fact that October is “Community and Economic Development Month,” State Senator Ken Yager and Mayor Warren Gooch spoke to our club about our state and our community.  Thanks go to our program committee (Tracy Boatner, Stacey Pratt and Darrell Akins) which has brought us an excellent array of speakers so far this year.  If you have any ideas of programs you would like to seek, please share them with our program committee.

Next month is Foundation month, so please take a minute to see if you have met the giving goals of our Rotary Serving Humanity Campaign, in which we ask every member to:

  • Give at least $126.50 to the Rotary Foundation
  • Give $40 to Polio Plus
  • Give $100 to the Community Fund

If you haven’t yet done so, November will be an excellent time to make your donations!

Thanks to all of you that have made and are continuing to make our Rotary Club a vibrant, action-oriented club.  We have already achieved so much in the first 4 months of this Rotary year and I look forward to continuing to do all that we can to Serve Humanity and make the world a better place for all of us.



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RCOR President’s Message for August

August is Membership and New Club Development Month.  The District’s goal for this year is to increase membership by 5%, with 50% of the new members being women and 75% being less than 50 years old.  As President Elect, Jeff Cheek is our Membership Chair and he and I are meeting soon to finalize our membership strategy for the year and will be looking for committee members to support our plan.  We also need our members to think of friends and colleagues that would make good Rotarians and ask them if they would like to join other leaders to share ideas and make a difference in the world.  Many people have no idea what Rotary does, but once they find out, they often want to be a part of it.

On the morning of Saturday August 20th, District 6780 will hold a free training seminar for club members interested in Youth Services, the Rotary Foundation, and Membership.  This is a great opportunity for a club’s leadership team and other interested club members to attend a learn more about attracting and retaining members; about The Rotary Foundation and why and how funds are returned to the District/Clubs for grants; about Youth Service and the many ways Rotary and our District serves the youth of the world. To learn more and register, see the calendar for this date on DacDb or click here:   Membership, Foundation & Youth Services Seminar

As we move into the second month in the Rotary Year, our club is already doing so much to fulfill this year’s RI President’s theme of “Rotary Serving Humanity.”  Nancy Harrison is our Community Services director and has a project planned for every month.  Our club has already been very busy – we have made a contribution to Hunters for the Hungry to make meals available to those in our community who are in need of food, we are collecting gently used shoes for “Soles for Souls” and our $96,000 RI Global Grant for our Medical Mission to Ghana is well underway.   RCOR member Elanie Bunick is the lead for this grant.  She and Adolf King, also of our club, were members of the team that recently spent time in Ghana where the team treated over 1,800 patients and set the wheels in motion to begin work to equip and renovate the Medical Center in Wurupong.

Anne Dunthorn, our club Secretary and Elaine Bunick are planning to join Rotary’s Heart 2 Heart (H2H) trip to Mexico on November 2-9.  If you would like to join them on this trip to see Rotary’s service projects first hand, let Anne know.  More infromation is available at:  Heart 2 Heart Mexico Trip

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the OR Women’s Shelter Facility, the Board decided to return our District Grant to the District this year, with the intent of slipping it to Rotary Year 2017-2018.  Instead, we are now undertaking a service project that will develop an Oak Ridge Community Garden to be located in the Scarborough area.  The Garden will be divided into plots which people will be able to use to grow food for themselves and for the community.  PDG Jack Bailey is taking the lead for this project and can be reached at jbaileyjr@aol.com if you want to get involved or know more about it.

In addition, we have awarded 2 Vocational Scholarships to ORHS students and Jennifer Enderson, Vocational Services Director, has several other vocational awards planned for this year.  Jan Melcher has announced that our exchange student has arrived from France and will be attending ORHS this year.  We look forward to getting to know him!  Carroll Welch and Mary Jane White are co-chairing Youth Services this year and have already gained a lot of momentum working with ORHS to get support for the Interact Club and RYLA.

Of course most of this good work requires funding, so we have an exciting fundraiser planned for next month.  Don Tillar is the General Manger of Centennial Golf Course and a member of our club and he has taken the lead for our Golf Tournament Fundraiser to be held at Centennial Golf Course on Friday September 23rd.  So start working with your golfing friends now to get up a foursome and let Don know if you are willing to help out with this club initiative to raise funds for our new Community Garden project.  We will need folks at the Golf Course to help with registration, direct the golfers, serve food, etc.   For more information, Don can be reached at dtillar@centennialgc.com .

We continue to make efforts to utilize electronic media to improve our club operations.   Jeff Phillips is our Treasurer this year and will be happy to answer any questions you may have associated with paying your dues or making contributions to the Foundation via our new payment portals.  Charlie Jernigan has been working hard to re-vitalize our website (Rotaryor.org) and Naomi Asher has been sharing our successes on our Facebook Page.  If you haven’t seen our Facebook Page yet, check it out at The Rotary Club of Oak Ridge on Facebook.

As you can see, the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge is being led by a vibrant board of directors and with the help of our club members and support from District 6780, we are making a difference in the lives of people in our community and in the world this year!  I am honored to be a part of this great club!




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