ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Because of coronavirus concerns, the Robertsdale Rotary Club both celebrated the successes and the challenges of 2019-20 outdoors at a private home in Rosinton instead of at inside a public place as in years past.
The successes included raising more than $32,000 for local charities and organizations, including $10,500 to send 20 campers to Camp ASCCA, $8,000 for ARC of Baldwin County, $5,000 to the William F. Green Veterans Home in Bay Minette, provided five $1,000 scholarships to local high school graduates and completed a matching grant program totaling more than $5,000 with Rotary International which installing five benches at various locations around Robertsdale.
While the club was able to hold its annual rodeo just days before a mandated shelter at home order by the governor, it was forced to cancel the annual Doc’s Hot Trot for ARC in June and meetings were suspended from mid-March until late May amid the threat of COVID-19.
“It was a very challenging year,” said 2019-20 President Cheryl Russell. “But we were able to accomplish a lot of great things for our community.”
Rebecca Mills, who began 2019-20 as club secretary before stepping into the role of treasurer in January when Erin Kinney moved out of state, was awarded the Rotarian of the Year Award for 2019-20.
“She was always there for me,” Russell said, “and really stepped up when I needed her and when the club needed her.”
Rotarian of the Year is voted on by the members of the club.
Mills also received a Paul Harris Fellow Award for 2019-20, along with club members Ryan Frolik and Linda Buck, who received the award for the fourth time.
A Paul Harris Fellow Award was also presented to Lisa Brodie with Maji Hope/Brodie’s Cream & Bean in Silverhill.
According to rotary.org, the Paul Harris Fellow is named after the club’s founder and is given to “individuals who meet high professional and personal standards set for by Paul Harris.”
A $1,000 donation is given by the Robertsdale Rotary Club in the name of each individual. Paul Harris Fellow awards are also given to individuals who have contributed more than $1,000 to the Annual Program Fund, the Polio Plus Fund or the Humanitarian Grants Program of the Rotary Foundation.
A Paul Harris Fellow receives a special certificate and a gold pin. At the discretion of the Fellow’s club, the Fellow may also receive a gold medallion on a blue-and-gold ribbon.
A total of nine Rotary Club members received recognition for perfect attendance in 2019-20. They are Linda Buck, Margaret Cooper, Joe Kitchens, Sylvia Mattingly, Jeff Plato, Gail Quezada, Cheryl Russell and John Underwood.
Russell recognized officers and board members for the past year, including David Kitchens, who served as vice president and will serve as president for 2020-21; Ryan Frolik, secretary, who will serve as treasurer for 2020-21; Mills, who will serve as vice president for 2020-21 and incoming president for 2021-22; Jeff Plato, Linda Buck, Howard Harper and Dennis Young, who will all continue to serve on the board in 2020-21.
Kitchens presented the Rotary theme for 2020-21, which is “Rotary Opens Opportunities.”
“I think it is a very fitting theme at this time,” he said. “We need to take this time to figure out and take advantage of what new opportunities we have to serve our community.”
Kitchens announced his grant project for the coming year, which is to install swing sets at Oscar Johnson Park and the Kid’s Park in Silverhill, where he serves as branch manager of United Bank.
Kitchens recognized all the incoming officers for 2020-21. In addition to the returning officers, Kitchens announced that Tony Baggett would serve as secretary for the board in 2020-21.
A special recognition was also presented to Program Chair Sylvia Mattingly.
Founded in 1948, the Robertsdale Rotary Club is a member of Rotary International which boasts more than 1.2 million members in more than 35,000 clubs worldwide and operates by the credo of “Service above self,” and under the motto of the 4-way test, “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? And Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
Locally the club meets at noon every Tuesday at Mama Lou’s Restaurant on Pine Street in Robertsdale.
Through the Robertsdale Rotary Foundation, the club has donated money for local scholarships, schools and charity organizations.
For more information visit rotary.org or the Robertsdale Rotary Club page on Facebook.