Capital Rotary members put in a solid hour of community service Feb. 21 when they volunteered at Harvest Hope Food Bank’s Shop Road headquarters in Columbia. Rotarians sorted and stocked 1,363 pounds of bakery items; bagged 611 pounds of snacks and 1,714 pounds of produce; and bagged and stocked 443 pounds of dairy goods – all destined for the Emergency Food Pantry. Harvest Hope, begun in 1981, works to meet the needs of hungry people in 20 counties in the Midlands, Pee Dee and Greater Greenville regions of South Carolina. Food Bank executive director Denise Holland is a Capital Rotary member. In photo at top right below, the work detail includes club members (from left) Chris Ray, Jay von Kolnitz, Paul Gillam, Austin McVay and John Guignard. In photo at bottom right below, club members on work detail are (from left) Ione Cockrell, Trey Boone, Frank Rutkowski, Ben Carlton and Ann Elliott.
President Blake DuBose and sponsor Ann Elliott welcome Betsy Best (left) to Capital Rotary Club membership. Best, a Charlotte, NC native, is a partner in Blume Franklin-Best & Young, a Columbia criminal defense law firm. She has undergraduate and advanced degrees from the University of South Carolina and University of Wyoming, and previously worked for the SC Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense and the Richland County Public Defenders Office. She was the 2012 Public Defender Association’s “Public Defender of the Year” and is incoming chair for Justice 360, a non-profit organization that promotes criminal justice system equality and fairness. She’s a member of the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Palmetto Club and Rockbridge Club, Inc.
The University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine works to serve the Palmetto State through exceptional education, research breakthroughs and world-class health care. That’s the message executive dean Dr. Les Hall brought to Capital Rotarians as their Dec. 13 guest speaker. Dr. Hall also serves as CEO of the Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, which became active in April 2016. That group combined medical school faculty and local Palmetto Health System physicians to become the largest and most comprehensive set of health care providers in central South Carolina. Dr. Hall came to USC in 2015 from the University of Missouri. His academic work has focused on professional education, especially in the areas of quality improvement, patient safety and teamwork.
Capital Rotary members held their fall social at River Rat Brewery on Shop Road in Columbia. The brewery was founded in 2013, currently offers 15 craft beers and includes a tap room and outside covered deck. Shown enjoying the evening’s fellowship are Rotarians Jimmy Gibbs (in light blue shirt) flanked by Allison Brumfield (left) and Abby Naas; club president Blake DuBose (blue striped shirt) and Jay von Kolnitz; (wearing vests, from left) Clint Yarborough and Tommy Phelps; and (group photo, from left) Tommy Gibbons, Jack Williamson, Bud Foy and Andy Markl.
As the largest health care system in South Carolina’s midlands, Palmetto Health is focused on improving the physical, emotional and spiritual health of all individuals and communities it serves. That’s according to John Singerling, Palmetto Health president and Capital Rotary’s guest speaker on Oct. 4. Singerling (shown with Rotarians Chris Ray at left and Blake DuBose at right) said the locally owned, not-for-profit system is committed to (1) improving access to health care, (2) making care more affordable, (3) ensuring safety and quality of care, (4) enhancing each patient’s experience, and (5) seeing that no one in need is left behind. Health care challenges include changing demographics, expanding technology, politics, price structures and escalating drug costs. Singerling said many recognize that today’s health care system is dysfunctional and not sustainable. Improvement needs to be built on accessibility – some kind of insurance coverage for all people – and on setting – delivering care in the appropriate local setting at the appropriate time. Singerling has been with Palmetto Health since 1996 and became its president in 2010. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University and a master’s degree in health administration from the University of South Carolina.
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose recognizes at-large director and service chair Neda Beal for continuing Rotary Foundation donations that support world understanding and peace programs. Beal is now a Paul Harris Fellow plus-three giver (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with three additional gifts at the same amount). The club previously honored Beal as 2016 Rotarian of the Year for guiding local community service, literacy and volunteer projects.
As long as politics continues to overshadow sound policy, it will be difficult to pass meaningful health care reform in the United States. That’s what Capital Rotarians heard from their Aug. 23 guest speaker – Thornton Kirby. Kirby (right), shown with club member and human resources professional Trey Boone, is a health care attorney and former hospital executive. Noting that health care is one-sixth of the nation’s economy, Kirby said reform is also complicated by the public’s “three wishes” – (1) to have the world’s best health care, (2) to have someone else pay for it and (3) to not be responsible for changing their personal behavior to ensure better health. Kirby said a more “intelligent design” for reform would focus on affordability for employers, employees and government; on the clinical effectiveness of drugs instead of their marketability; and on promoting wellness behaviors in place of “sick care” emphasis. Kirby is president and CEO of the South Carolina Hospital Association, a private, not-for-profit organization created in 1921 to be a collective voice for the state’s hospital community.
In March of 2016, Capital Rotary Club members assisted volunteers helping to rebuild a Columbia-area residence damaged during heavy rains and flooding in October 2015. That effort was coordinated by the St. Bernard Project, a national leader in family recovery following natural disasters.
Now, about a year later, this same partnership has completed repairs to another flood-afflicted home – one occupied by Inez Pempleton and her family. Capital Rotary “adopted” the family as a Christmas project, contributing to their 2016 holiday celebration and helping them get their house back in order in February and March of this year.
Repairs included removing damaged items from the home, demolition, mold remediation, putting up insulation and drywall in the basement, plus painting and digging a drainage ditch. A skilled volunteer group recruited by the St. Bernard Project was able to be on-site consistently for about two weeks to complete the work.
In a letter, Ms. Pempleton thanked the St. Bernard group and Capital Rotary, saying that “I am so grateful to all of you for what you’ve done for us … We are so blessed to have you all in our lives. I pray God will be with you all throughout the coming year and all his love and blessing be with you.”
Felicia Maloney, executive director of the Columbia Empowerment Zone, Inc., joins Capital Rotary Club following induction ceremonies by president Tommy Gibbons. Maloney, a Baltimore, MD native, is a Limestone College and S.C. Economic Development School graduate. She formerly worked with the City of Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunities and with Columbia Housing Authority. Maloney was named the Greater Community Relations Council “Outstanding Volunteer of the Year” and has been a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Cooperative Ministries, Junior Achievement, City Year, Palmetto Health Foundation and Together We Can Read Initiative. Gloria Saeed was her Rotary member sponsor.
Past president David Boucher (left) and sponsor Darren Foy (right) join in ceremonies inducting Walker Williams into the Capital Rotary Club. Williams, a portfolio designer for Anchor Investment Management, is a Columbia native who earned a finance degree from the University of Georgia and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina. He was a banker, securities trader and small business owner for 11 years. Williams is married to the former Laura Pinnell of Augusta; the couple has three children. Williams also has been active in the Boy Scouts, the Hammond School board of directors, the vestry at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and the Executives Association of Greater Columbia.