Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club is gearing up for the annual summer blood drive to be held Wednesday, July 25, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scheduled donations and walk-ins are welcome at the donation site – first floor conference room, CB Richard Ellis Building, 1333 Main St. in downtown Columbia. The goal is 75 pints of blood, according to Red Cross staff member Libby Wright (at center in photo with president Philip Flynn and drive chairman Paul Gillam at left). Wright said the club over the past nine years has collected 516 units of blood, helping to save the lives of more than 1,500 patients. Because of high demand and lagging blood donations in summertime, Wright said the Red Cross is making an “emergency appeal” now for participation by prospective donors.
Paul Gillam (left in photo), a member of Capital Rotary’s scholarship selection committee, welcomes College of Charleston graduate Victoria Bailey to the June 13 weekly meeting. Bailey, recipient of a four-year scholarship from the club, graduated from Dreher High in 2015 and majored in biology/molecular biology. She plans to attend medical school and is eyeing a career as a surgeon, anesthesiologist or obstetrics/gynecology practitioner. Capital Rotary has been supporting higher-education opportunities for local high school students for more than 20 years. The club’s scholarships are based on a combination of academic performance, extracurricular activities and economic need.
Capital Rotary is awarding scholarships to two college-bound Midlands students following 19 applicant interviews in late March. Club members on the selection committee included (from left in photo) Paul Gillam, Allyson Way Hank and Darren Foy, plus Pete Pillow (not pictured). A $20,000 scholarship – $5,000 annually for four years – is going to C.A. Johnson High School senior Amariyah Ayee, while Ben Lippen School senior Claire Davis is getting a $10,000 scholarship – $5,000 annually for two years. Ayee, second-ranked in her class, plans to attend Claflin University and hopes to become a pediatric surgeon. Davis will seek to major in engineering and plans to use that knowledge to solve clean water problems in third-world countries. Capital Rotary has been supporting higher-education opportunities for local high school students for more than 20 years. The club’s scholarships are based on a combination of academic performance, extracurricular activities and economic need.
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.
Capital Rotary Club members adopted two local families for the holiday season in partnership with the 2017 Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program, a Palmetto Project and WIS-TV initiative. Each family had a single mother and six children. Youngsters ranged in age from two to 17 years old. The Christmas wish lists included clothing, toys, personal care items, small household appliances, groceries and furniture. The club’s goal was to raise a total of $1,000 in order to purchase each family’s gifts. The club offered to match donations made by members. Presents were purchased, gift-wrapped and delivered to a warehouse for distribution. Capital Rotarians who led their club’s participation included Neda Beal, Carol Caulk, Felicia Maloney, E.J. Newby (at left in photo with Sandy, a Families Helping Families volunteer) and Qing Wang.
Current Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose has been recognized for his achievements and community involvement by Columbia Business Monthly magazine. DuBose, 33, is featured in the magazine’s second annual class of the “Best & Brightest 35 And Under.” The class is composed of 29 young professionals who work for success in the Midlands community. DuBose, a graduate of Newbery College, is president of DuBose Web Group, a website design and development firm he began in 2007. In his Business Monthly biographical summary, DuBose noted that this year’s Rotary International slogan is “Making a Difference.” He said his definition of success includes “selfless acts of kindness, building genuine relationships, doing what you’re passionate about, and making a difference in the lives of others. The bottom line is for all of us to work together to make the world a better place.”
Capital Rotary members Carol Caulk and John Guignard have tips for Arden Elementary School third-graders on how to use the new paperback dictionaries they received as part of the club’s participation in The Dictionary Project. The project – begun by a non-profit organization in Charleston in 1995 – aims to help students become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers and resourceful learner. Capital Rotary donated dictionaries to some 850 students in 12 Richland County District One schools for 2017. Over the past 13 years, the club has distributed personal dictionaries to more than 13,000 students in the Columbia area. A number of Rotary clubs in South Carolina and throughout the country are Dictionary Project sponsors. One of Rotary International’s major goals is improving basic education and literacy for adults and young people.
Transitions Homeless Recovery Center CEO Craig Currey (standing) briefs Capital Rotary members on what they’ll see during an Aug. 30 tour of the facility. Transitions aims to help the homeless stabilize their lives, increase their income and secure permanent housing. Currey said about 260 people can be housed at the site. Transitions serves more than 240,000 meals yearly while providing assistance with clothing, education and literacy skills, health, community resources, financial stability, safety and fun. Its day center program handles up to 150 clients. Transitions has moved over 1,700 people to permanent housing in the past six years and helped almost 6,000 achieve a more positive living situation. Capital Rotary’s tour was part of the club’s Fifth Wednesday program substituting local field trips in place of a regular meeting.
In the middle of an emergency appeal facing critical blood shortages, Capital Rotary’s summer blood drive collected 65 units to benefit up to 195 people. Rotarians (from left) John Guignard, Chris Ray, Blake DuBose and Bryan Goodyear await their turn to participate in the service project that’s supported the American Red Cross with 516 blood donations – potentially saving 1,548 patients’ lives – over the past seven years. “Thanks to our volunteers and donors, we lived up to Rotary International’s 2017-18 motto of ‘Making a Difference’,” said DuBose, president of the Columbia-area club.
At the annual club assembly to review Capital Rotary’s accomplishments for 2016-2017, president Tommy Gibbons thanked members for achieving highlights that included:
- Earning a Leadership Citation badge for participation in local/district community service projects plus contributions for international humanitarian outreach.
- Donating dictionaries to third-grade students in 12 Richland County District One schools. Over the past 12 years, the club has distributed personal dictionaries to12,150 youngsters.
- Collecting 61 pints at the annual Red Cross Blood Drive, each donation helping to save the lives of up to three people.
- Raising $2,100 at a Lake Murray charity fishing tournament and over $18,000 in holiday wreath sales to benefit college scholarships; club stipends currently go to four students.
- Contributing almost $40,000 in charitable funds to The Rotary Foundation, to Polio Plus efforts to eliminate the crippling disease worldwide, and for the CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) Fund to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease.
- Supporting The Rotary Foundation with 54 Paul Harris Fellows ($1,000 donation), 46 Benefactors ($1,000 donation via will), four Bequest Society members ($10,000 donation upon death), four Major Donors (donation greater than $10,000) and eight Paul Harris Society members ($1,000 donation yearly) in our ranks.
- Providing $1,000 for flood assistance in Louisiana as well as $585 from individual members.
- Helping a local family with Christmas gifts and working with the Saint Bernard Project to repair the family’s house after flooding.
- Adding six new members and getting them involved and engaged early in club activities.
- Continuing community service projects with Meals on Wheels and Harvest Hope Food Bank
- Publicizing club activities with 60 website and social media posts; reaching 8,609 people through social media; 3,002 website visitors; 30 press releases to local media; and mention of our club in 14 district e-newsletters.