The president and executive director of the S.C. Commission on Higher Education is Capital Rotary’s newest member. Rusty Monhollon (at left in photo with sponsor Bryan Goodyear) moved from Missouri to the Palmetto State in 2019. He previously served as assistant commissioner for academic affairs in Missouri’s Department of Higher Education. A native of Topeka, Monhollon taught U.S. history at Washburn University there and at the University of Kansas. He also taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia, at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Friends University in Wichita and Hood College in Frederick, MD. He was a summa cum laude Washburn graduate and earned his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Kansas. In addition to service on a number of academic boards, committees, commissions and organizations, Monhollon has been a Scout leader, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and a member of Missouri’s Columbia South Rotary Club. He was a welder/machinist before attending college.
Local clubs are the “heartbeat” of Rotary International, but need training to grow stronger and more effectively serve their communities. That’s the message Capital Rotarians heard Nov. 20 from guest speaker Tom Ledbetter (shown with Capital member Neda Beal), head of District 7770’s Rotary Leadership Institute programs. The institute is a learning experience consisting of separate sessions in three parts: (1) exploring Rotary’s roots, engaging members and creating service projects; (2) strategic planning, team building and attracting members; and (3) public relations, effective leadership strategies and club communications. Developing leaders is key for service clubs to get and retain younger members. Ledbetter said District 7770’s Rotarians average 58 years old. “Aging out” impacts a club’s ability to conduct events and projects that advance the goal of “service above self.” Noting that “it’s not your father’s Rotary anymore,” Ledbetter said persons ages 25-45 must be engaged in worthwhile activities before they’re willing to make a commitment. He believes Leadership Institute training would benefit every new Rotarian in his or her first two years of membership. Ledbetter is a charter member and past president of the West Metro-West Columbia club and is associate vice provost with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Educational Support at Midlands Technical College.
Capital Rotary past president Blake Dubose (standing at right in back row) and his team of club members delivered new paperback dictionaries to third-grade students at Gadsden Elementary recently. For 15 years Capital Rotary has donated the free books to 12 Richland District One grade schools as part of the Dictionary Project – an effort begun by a non-profit organization in Charleston in 1995 to help young people become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers and resourceful learners. Locally, the Rotarians have given out more than 14,000 dictionaries over the years, while a number of other clubs in South Carolina and throughout the country also are Dictionary Project sponsors. One of Rotary International’s worldwide goals is improving basic education and literacy for adults and young people.
Organ, eye and tissue donations from a deceased loved one not only improve and save lives, but also offer hope and healing for donors’ grieving families. That’s the message Capital Rotarians heard Aug. 28 from We Are Sharing Hope SC, the state’s only organ procurement organization. Guest speakers Pamela Eyring (left in photo) and Kristine Neal came to talk about “donor heroes” who make possible the success of transplant recipients. Eyring – whose son was a tissue donor after an untimely death – said his legacy lives on in more than 300 people whose lives were touched by his gift. Neal is communications director for We Are Sharing Hope SC. She said 472 lives were saved in the state in 2018 by 181 organ donors and 292 tissue donors; a total of 550 organs were transplanted. But she noted that over 113,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list – more than 1,100 in the Palmetto State – and 22 people die daily while waiting. Any person of any age or with any medical history can register as an organ donor at no cost. All major religions support organ donation, Neal said, adding that although 95% of people say they support the idea, only about half are registered donors. We Are Sharing Hope SC focuses on educating the public about the importance that a “yes” to organ donation can make.
Staff member Kaytee Watson (in blue shirt, center of picture) led Capital Rotary club members on a July 31 tour of LRADAC’s Colonial Drive campus. The agency – formerly known as the Lexington/Richland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council – has provided alcohol and drug abuse prevention, intervention and treatment in the Midlands for 40 years. Services include drug screening, individual/group counseling, behavioral therapy and life skills training. In the 2019 fiscal year, LRADAC admitted almost 8,500 clients; 50% successfully completed treatment and 95% reported satisfaction with services. Nearly 2,500 clients were served in community-based programs. Watson said LRADAC takes a proactive approach to fighting addiction and drug abuse in local schools, businesses and neighborhoods. Capital Rotary’s “fifth Wednesday” tour was part of the club’s community outreach, substituting field trips to local sites in place of a regular club meeting.
Blake DuBose (right in photo), immediate past president of Capital Rotary, receives a plaque from current president Philip Flynn after being named the club’s Rotarian of the Year for 2018-2019. The citation recognizes DuBose’s leadership for a Global Grant Project to construct an elementary school in Africa. Capital Rotary is partnering with the Rotary Club of Sunyani East in Ghana on the building that’s being funded by a combination of local donations, a Rotary District 7770 contribution and a matching grant from The Rotary Foundation. DuBose, a graduate of Newberry College, is president of DuBose Web Group, a website design and development firm he began in 2007.
Claire Davis, currently majoring in computer engineering at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, was an honored guest at Capital Rotary’s June 19 breakfast meeting. Davis (in photo with Rotarian Darren Foy) is a Ben Lippen graduate who received a $10,000 scholarship from the club in 2018. She plans to enter a three-semester work/study apprenticeship program with a business in Boston, MA. Capital Rotary helps support higher-education opportunities for local high school students through scholarships based on a combination of academic performance, extracurricular activities and economic need. Foy is scholarship committee chairman.
Capital Rotary president Philip Flynn (center in photo) congratulates Jimmy Gibbs (left) and Bud Foy for earning Paul Harris Fellow Plus-Four honors recognizing their continued contributions to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable arm that supports programs for world understanding and peace. Gibbs and Foy have each made an initial $1,000 donation to the fund, followed by four additional gifts of $1,000. Gibbs, an insurance broker, is a past president and past assistant district governor who joined Capital Rotary in September 1995. Foy, a retired dentist, joined the club in March 2015 and was a member of the Rotary Club of Monterey, CA for 24 years before relocating to South Carolina.
John Sherrer, Historic Columbia’s director of cultural resources, recounted how the capital city’s history has been chronicled in a new book – Remembering Columbia – when he addressed Capital Rotary members on May 15. Sherrer (at left in photo with Rotarians Jay von Kolnitz and Tommy Phelps) said the city was physically transformed during the years from 1860 to the 1960s. Research into those changes was accomplished by combing through old newspaper stories, fire insurance maps, city directories, photographs, postcards and other sources. He noted that the Palmetto Club, where Capital Rotary meets weekly, was granted a construction permit in July 1960. It is located behind the state’s Supreme Court building – a former US Post Office neo-classical structure dating from 1917 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sherrer has degrees from both Clemson and the University of South Carolina. In addition to his work for Historic Columbia, Sherrer has experience at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, the National Trust’s Drayton Hall Plantation, Old York Historical Society in York, ME and Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH.
Columbia is planning for a future that is innovative and progressive, but also aims to maintain quality of life. That’s the message guest speaker Krista Hampton brought to Capital Rotary on April 24. Hampton (shown with club president Philip Flynn) is the city’s planning and development director. She previously created, launched and led efforts to streamline construction review and permitting. Her current priority is rewriting Columbia’s outdated zoning and land development ordinances that go back to 1977. Goals include (1) making codes more flexible so that future development doesn’t negatively impact existing neighborhoods; (2) promoting walkability and sustainability with more green spaces and green buildings; and (3) dealing with the impact that micro-mobility (such as bike sharing, standup scooters and/or hoverboards, drones and robot cars) might have on future traffic and parking needs. Hampton has over 20 years of local government experience and was the city’s historic preservation planner. She has a BA in American Studies from Miami University, an MA in Public History from the University of South Carolina, and is a graduate of the Urban Land Institute’s South Carolina Sustainable Leadership Institute and Leadership South Carolina.