Posted by Wes Brooks on Jul 02, 2018
President Paula Brahan presided over today’s meeting. Jamey Mitchell gave today’s invocation and Mallory Donald led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Jamey who also served as our greeter today.
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Mike Ratliff then introduced today’s guests. Mike McPhail has Cole Gressett, a prospective new member as his guest. Steven Utroska has his wife April as his guest. Jamey Mitchell has his friend Charlie Prouse as his guest and Maura McLaughlin Melissa Phelps as her guest. Mike thanked club members who volunteered throughout his year as Sergeant at Arms. He wished Brandon Hodges “good luck” during his year of service in that position.
Paula thanked club members for their support and encouragement throughout the year. She created and read a poem that numbered many of the events, activities, service projects and challenges throughout the year. Paula then presented the annual award recipients.
The Milam S. “Sonny 34” Cotton New Rotarian Award is presented to a dedicated Rotarian who has been a member of the club for less than three years. This award is named for Dr. Milam “Sonny 34” Cotton, a dedicated Rotarian who lived to serve. Dr. Cotton was the last member of this club to rise to the level of District Governor. For her eagerness and enthusiasm in taking on club responsibilities, this year’s New Rotarian Award goes to Mallory Donald.
The Joe Spell Spirit of Rotary Award is presented to a club member for their service, not only to the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg but to the community as well. This honor is named for Hattiesburg Rotarian, Joe Spell, who displayed a consistent, enthusiastic passion for the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg and Rotary International. Joe was often heard to say, “Being a member of Rotary is not the same as being a Rotarian”. This year’s Joe Spell Spirit of Rotary Award goes to Shane Germany.
The T.C. Hannah Rotarian of the Year Award is given in recognition of a Rotarian for outstanding service and unwavering dedication to the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg. T.C. Hannah was a charter member and the first president of the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg. By serving on the board of directors, management of our Clubs involvement with the Rotary International Foundation and taking care of things that often go unnoticed, this Rotarian does it all. This year the T.C. Hannah Rotarian of the Year is Erin Granberry.
The Bill Gwyn Non-Rotarian Service Award is our club’s best attempt to look beyond our membership. It is our opportunity to recognize someone from our region who exemplifies our club’s values, our commitment to service, and the empowerment of those less fortunate. This year the Bill Gwyn Non-Rotarian Service Award goes to Robert St. John. In addition to a plaque of recognition, this club is also providing a $1,000 contribution to the Rotary International Foundation and naming a Paul Harris Fellowship for Mr. St. John.
Robert thanked the club for the service our club provides to the community. He thanked us for recognizing his community efforts, including The Extra Table non-profit organization he put together to feed the hungry. He began The Extra Table project in 2009. The organization now serves 27 food pantries and soup kitchens statewide, shipping 15 tons of food each month. He says 100% of all the money raised for The Extra Table is spent on affordable, healthy food. St. John says the need is great. Mississippi has 670,000 food insecure residents and 250,000 of those are children. Another 125,000 are senior citizens.
Brandon Hodges then installed the new officers and directors for the coming year.
As our new president, Jamey thanked club members for putting their trust in his abilities to lead our club in the coming year. His goal is to make our club an exciting and fun opportunity for members and potential members. His challenge to members is to bring one potential member to a club meeting each month.
With no other business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned by Paula with our motto, “Service Above Self.”