South Carolina United FC is the Palmetto State’s largest youth soccer club and aims to make a positive impact on the lives of the 4,400 children and young adults active in its programs. That’s what Capital Rotary members heard when Ron Tryon (shown with Rotarian Felicia Maloney) was their Oct. 17 guest speaker. Tryon – a former attorney – has been CEO of the soccer non-profit since January 2014. His goal is to offer quality youth recreational soccer in all neighborhoods and to any child regardless of race, religion or socio-economic background. South Carolina United FC attracts players from 250 schools in 17 counties and last year had 43 of its “alumni” players bound for competition at the college level. Three of the club’s former players are now in the professional ranks. South Carolina United FC’s cultural exchange program with a “sister state” in Germany has involved over 600 student-athletes and coaches since 2003. Its two annual tournaments attract some 200,000 players, coaches and parents, resulting in a $7.6 million economic impact in the Columbia area. Tryon also detailed progress on the club’s new 24-acre, five-field soccer training complex located near the intersection of I-20 and Monticello Road.
When Columbia hosts the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Regionals next March, that could bring 20,000-25,000 visitors to town and generate a potential $9 million economic impact. Scott Powers, executive director of Experience Columbia SC Sports, is working alongside the University of South Carolina to make that experience welcoming, user-friendly and enjoyable for players, coaches, media and fans. Powers (shown at left with Rotarian Alex Serkes) was Capital Rotary’s Sept. 19 guest speaker. He said the event – to be held March 22-24, 2019 at Colonial Life Arena – is the first time Columbia has been an NCAA Regionals host since 1970. The eight college teams slated to compete in first and second round games won’t be announced until March 17. How well the tournament draws will be influenced by which teams will be playing, where they’ll be traveling from, each team’s fan base and their fans’ willingness to travel. Powers is encouraging the Midlands to get involved by offering community events, fun things to do while in town and food/drink specials. “All eyes will be on Columbia to determine whether we will be selected to host again,” he said. Powers has been Experience Columbia SC Sports director since 2004. He’s a USC graduate, a Leadership Columbia gradate and a founding member of the South Carolina Sports Alliance.
South Carolina’s 20 electric cooperatives have a big stake in financial fallout from the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant abandoned a year ago by Santee Cooper and SC Electric & Gas. That’s according to Lou Green, communications executive vice president for the Electric Cooperatives of SC. Green (left in photo with Rotarian Tony Thompson) was Capital Rotary’s Aug. 22 guest speaker. He said co-ops are focused on financial impacts that resolution of the $9 billion failure might have on their 1.5 million customers. They are especially concerned about Santee Cooper’s fate since co-ops are the state-owned utility’s biggest customer base. Twenty-three lawsuits plus various legislative actions complicate the issue, but Green noted that a special committee is meeting now to study the idea of selling Santee Cooper to pay off its nuclear debt. “The state needs to come up with a process and bring options to the legislature,” Green said. “They’re the only ones who can make a decision about Santee Cooper.” Green joined the state co-ops organization in 1992 after working in radio and television. He is a University of Georgia graduate with a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina.
Rotary clubs in South Carolina’s Midlands will hold a gala fund-raiser in Columbia Friday evening, Aug. 17 to benefit the CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) Fund. Tickets are now available, along with sponsorship opportunities and item donations for life and silent auctions.
The black tie optional event will be held at the historic event venue at 1208 Washington St. from 7 to 11 p.m. Advance tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple. Tickets at the door will be $125 per person or $200 per couple. Admission includes live music, heavy hors d’oeurves, open bar and free valet parking.
Sponsorships range from $250 to $5,000 and include a pre-event champagne reception, event tickets, advertising listings and additional promotional considerations. More information about tickets and sponsor information is available at www.cartgala.org.
Gala organizers hope to raise $40,000 for the CART Fund. One hundred percent (100%) of CART donated funds go to grants for cutting edge, high-impact research aimed at preventing or finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The CART initiative began in South Carolina over 20 years ago and has since been adopted by Rotary clubs throughout the United States. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and South Carolina ranks number 1 in deaths from the disease.
At a year-end assembly to review some of Capital Rotary’s 2017-2018 accomplishments, outgoing president Blake DuBose thanked members for achievement that included:
- Adding six new members.
- Donating 936 free dictionaries to third-graders in 14 Richland County District One schools.
- Awarding two college scholarships to deserving high school students.
- Reaching 110% of the club’s Rotary Foundation donations goal (total contributions $12,933).
- Adding 20 new Rotary Foundation Benefactors ($1,000 donation via will) in the past month; 95% of members are now Benefactors.
- Donating $8,000 to aid natural disaster victims in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
- More than doubling the goal for PolioPlus contributions (total of $3,480).
- Several club members are organizing a Columbia-area CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) gala to raise money for medical research.
- Sponsoring Christmas gifts for two families through the Families Helping Families organization.
- Holding five social events promoting member fellowship.
- Interaction with student leaders of the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club.
- Continuing community service projects – Meals on Wheels delivery and volunteering at Harvest Hope Food Bank.
- Excellent presentations at weekly club meetings, thanks to speakers committee efforts.
- Collecting 65 units of blood at the annual Red Cross Blood Drive. In the past seven years, the club has collected over 516 units of blood, impacting more than 1,548 lives.
- Rotary District 7770 “Four-Way Test Award” nomination for past president David Boucher.
- A District “Service Above Self Award” for public relations committee chair Pete Pillow.
- A District “Public Image Award” and a leadership citation for the club.
- Reporting on club activities with70 website and social media posts; reaching 8,460 people through social media; 2,251 website visitors; 65 postings on District 7770’s website and newsletters; 91 press releases posted by local media; and 11 monthly club activity recaps e-mailed to members.
New 2018-2019 officers and directors for Capital Rotary were sworn into office on June 20. Pictured are (from left) Jack Williamson, at-large director and sergeant at arms; Ben Carlton, secretary; Andy Markl, at-large director; Abby Naas, president-elect; Neda Beal, at-large director and service chair; Gloria Saeed, membership chair; Paul Gillam and Ione Cockrell, at-large directors; Philip Flynn, president; Blake DuBose, past president and Rotary Foundation chair; and Bryan Goodyear, treasurer.
Capital Rotarians were briefed on life in China when former club member Qing Wang was May 23rd’s weekly guest speaker. Wang – now a member of Five Points Rotary – is a Chinese citizen living and working in the US. She prefaced her remarks by noting that although she still has friends and family living in China, it’s been four years since her last visit. In that time, she said, there has been rapid economic development along with changes in what she called the key elements of daily living – food, housing, transportation/commuting, shopping and education. She also noted that China’s population of 1.4 billion is not evenly distributed throughout the country, but heavily concentrated on its east coast and in approximately 15 megacities cities, each with a population in excess of 10 million. Wang is a bridge engineer with the SC Department of Transportation. She has a structural engineering doctorate from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and earned undergraduate degrees from China’s Beijing City University and Yanshan University.
Dr. Daniel Moses (left in photo) was inducted into Capital Rotary Club by his sponsor, club president Blake DuBose, in late April. Moses, a native of Hartsville, SC, received graduate and undergraduate degrees from Kennedy Western University and Coker College. He has extensive experience in human resources management/consulting and has been recognized as an author, poet, lecturer and vocalist. Locally he performed with the SC Philharmonic Chorus, Columbia Choral Society and Town Theatre’s Show Stoppers. He was named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky and has been active in a number of academic, community, business and political organizations.
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose congratulates Andy Markl (left), the club’s most recent addition to the ranks of Paul Harris Fellows, signifying a $1,000 contribution to the Rotary Foundation. Paul Harris Fellows receive a special pin, a certificate and a medal to honor their donation. Foundation gifts help fund international programs promoting world understanding and peace. Markl is a Lexington native who operates The Graphics Source, a firm specializing in print, marketing and advertising materials. He joined Capital Rotary in April 2017.
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.