Kerry Powers

Columbia Rotary: Past President John Johnston and Jack Sloan recognized for their work on Leadercast 2015!

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Sep 052015
Jack Sloan and Elliott Powell Elliott Powell and Past President John Johnston On August 24, 2015, Past President John Johnston  (RY 2014-2015) and Jack Sloan were recognized by the Board for their leadership efforts for Leadercast 2015: The Brave Ones, the annual fundraiser for the Columbia Rotary Education Fund. Leadercast 2015: The Brave Ones brought in a net of $30,000+ to benefit local Rotary Scholarship recipients.  Great work, gentlemen!

Columbia Rotary: Chip Wile from Darlington Raceway will speak to the club on August 3, 2015.

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Jul 312015
UnknownPresident-Elect John has an exciting program lined up for us on Monday, August 3rd.  Chip Wile, President of Darlington Raceway, will address the club.  Whether you’re a NASCAR fan or you just appreciate the southern roots of stock car racing, you don’t want to miss this speaker.  Members are encouraged to bring a guest so we can fill up the room and give Mr. Wile a warm Columbia Rotary welcome! For more information about Darlington Raceway including the history, traditions, current schedule and a great multimedia experience, please click here to visit The Lady in Black! 1101034

The final meeting of the 2014-2015 Rotary year is now ONLINE!

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Jul 022015
Columbia Rotary would like to thank President John Johnston for a successful and dynamic year of Rotary service and leadership.  Go Rotary! Good luck to President Mark Sullivan as he takes the lead for the 2015-2016 Rotary year! If you missed the meeting, you can make it up online.  Remember to email Debbie ( so she can adjust your attendance.

SC Attorney General Alan Wilson to address Columbia Rotary on June 8, 2015

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Jun 112015
DpkiwWdh_400x400On Monday, June 8, 2015, Columbia Rotary will welcome South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson to the podium.  Columbia Rotary meets on Mondays at 12:30PM at Seawell’s in Columbia.  Guests are welcomed and encouraged.  We’re expecting a large attendance so get there early for some lunch and Rotary fellowship.   Alan Wilson was elected South Carolina’s 51st Attorney General on November 2, 2010, and took office on January 12, 2011, becoming the nation’s youngest Attorney General. During his first term, Alan has focused on keeping South Carolina’s families safe, defending their freedom and protecting their futures. PROVEN LEADERSHIP He has assembled an unprecedented coalition consisting of the Attorney General’s office, the State Law Enforcement Division, every sheriff, the Police Chief’s Association, and all 16 solicitors. Together, they are actively advancing legislative priorities to ensure South Carolina is the safest place to live, work, and raise a family. This coalition has been successful in passing crucial public safety legislation, such as the Ashley Hall bill and Emma’s Law. As Attorney General, Alan has defended the Constitution and the laws of this state even if it means challenging the federal government. He has protected South Carolina’s right-to-work; helped lead the 26-state challenge to the federal health care mandate; and successfully safeguarded South Carolina’s voter identification and immigration laws in court. Alan works closely with other Attorneys General across the nation to protect the rule of law and defend the constitution on issues such as Obamacare, Dodd Frank, EPA overreach, Yucca Mountain, MOX Facility, Religious Freedom and many others. In 2012, Alan worked tirelessly with local legislators to strengthen South Carolina’s human trafficking laws. During that process, a Human Trafficking Task Force was established, which is chaired by the Attorney General’s office. Because of these efforts, South Carolina has gone from having one of the worst statues in the country, to one of the best. In November 2013, Alan was elected as Chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). FAMILY VALUES Alan and his wife, Jennifer, have a six-year-old son, Michael, and a four-year-old daughter, Anna Grace. As a father and a family man, Alan’s desire to keep South Carolina safe is both personal and part of a values system instilled in him by his parents at a young age. As a member of Columbia’s First Presbyterian Church since his childhood, duty to God and country have been paramount to Alan and the entire Wilson Family. Alan is the grandson of two World War II veterans – his paternal grandfather flew planes over the Pacific as a Flying Tiger, while his maternal grandfather survived a sniper’s bullet in Okinawa. Alan’s mother Roxanne and his father Joe, who is a retired member of the South Carolina National Guard with 31 years of service, have passed the family tradition of serving a cause greater than one’s self onto Alan and his three brothers. Each brother is an Eagle Scout and currently serves in the military. MILITARY SERVICE Immediately following his graduation from Francis Marion University in 1996, Alan joined the South Carolina National Guard where his first assignment was as a platoon leader, commanding 36 fellow soldiers and millions of dollars worth of firepower as a field artillery officer. Today, he continues his military service by providing legal support for soldiers and assisting in the prosecution of military crimes as a Lt. Colonel in the Judge Advocate General Corps. Prior to his election, Wilson served as an Assistant Solicitor and as an Assistant Attorney General before entering private practice with the Columbia firm of Willoughby & Hoefer, P.A. He began his legal career working for the late Judge Marc H. Westbrook. Picture and bio courtesy of

Columbia Rotary: Dot Ryall named 2014-2015 Rotarian of the Year

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Jun 072015
  M77705983 Special thanks to Elliot Powell for this write-up about Ms. Dot. Congratulations to Dot Ryall, the 2014-2015 Rotarian of the Year.  Dot joined Columbia Rotary in 1989.  She is the President/CEO of Art Insights, LLC.  Born in Elgin, where her father was Mayor, Dot is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow/Sustaining Member. Rotary Achievements This Year: Dot has sponsored (at least) 4 New Members this Rotary year.  She has been a major contributor to the Leadercast Effort where she serves on the organizing committee, has played a key role in selling tickets within and outside of our club, and she is chairing the Food and Beverage Committee for the event. Additionally, Dot has used her influence to advance Columbia Rotary in many ways… especially with USC. She is the Co-Chair of the Awards Committee (…BUT DIDN’T Know About This One!) Life Achievements Include: Dot has devoted her life to advancing the arts,  first as a volunteer, then as director of the Cultural Council and now as a consultant to local and world leaders. Volunteer Activities: Dot worked with the city of Columbia on many events, with the United Way and directly with artists to promote their advancement. She is in the Capital Senior Center’s Hall of Fame for her work with seniors and was awarded the THENA Award for mentoring women… among many others… While director of CCC: In 1990, under Dot’s Leadership, the CCC was awarded the state’s highest honor for an arts organization, The Elizabeth O’Neil Verner Award. Dot helped put Columbia in the news with efforts like the first ever tri-services concert to entertain our military troops at the Koger Center during Desert Storm. We all remember her “Palmetto Tree Project”, her “Open Doors Project”, and her $1 million Cancer Survivors Garden in Maxcy Gregg Park, as well. Consulting Achievements:  Dot has made connections with world famous artists and local leaders to bring special works to Columbia. Her relationships with USC President Harris Pastides and others have brought much attention to the arts in Columbia, and those efforts continue… And finally: In 2010, Gov Mark Sanford awarded Dot with our state’s highest honor for volunteer and community service, The Order of the Silver Crescent.    

Columbia Rotary: Senator Joel Lourie will address the club on Monday, May 11, 2015.

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May 112015
1124999865Please join us at Columbia Rotary on Monday, May 11, 2015.  Senator Joel Lourie will speak to the club.  As always, guests are welcomed and encouraged. Senator Lourie was born and raised in Columbia and is the son of Susan and the late Senator Isadore Lourie.  He and his wife Becky have two children and a feisty miniature schnauzer.  His son and daughter attend the same public schools Joel attended over 30 years ago. Joel is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. The Louries have deep roots in South Carolina as Joel’s grandfather opened the first Lourie’s Department Store in 1912.  Joel and his family have been actively involved in the civic and business community in the Midlands for decades.   Joel was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998 and the State Senate in 2004.  He is following the footsteps of his father who served in the South Carolina Legislature for 28 years. Joel Lourie carefully balances his time between his family, business and public service. In addition to working in the Senate, he is involved with many local boards and commissions. Throughout his career at the State House, he has been recognized by numerous organizations for his work in education, public safety and healthcare.

Columbia Rotary surpasses goal of 500 guests!

 Making Connections  Comments Off on Columbia Rotary surpasses goal of 500 guests!
May 032015
At the beginning of the 2014-2015 Rotary year, President John challenged the club to bring 500 guests to Columbia Rotary.  President-Elect Mark has done an outstanding job this year of booking timely, high-profile speakers for our meetings and our club is known for our speakers. As of the March 23rd meeting, Columbia Rotary has welcomed 547 guests to the club this Rotary year and we still have 3 months to go!  Many thanks to the Board for pushing this initiative and to every member who has reached out to guests and potential members this year.  #GoRotary

Obituary and Arrangements for fellow Rotarian George Simmons

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Apr 162015
George-Simmons-1428500164President John passed along the sad news that our friend and fellow Rotarian, George Simmons, passed away on April 8, 2015. George began serving our community as a Columbia Rotarian in 1984.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Sabie and his entire family.   Services will be held at Trinity Cathedral (1100 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29201) on Friday, April 10th at 11AM.
Obituary for Mr. George E. Simmons
George Edward Simmons, husband of Sabie Moorer Simmons, died on April 8, 2015. George, son of the late Sue Pressley and George Garland Simmons, was born on November 16, 1948 in Spartanburg, SC. George graduated from Darlington School in Rome, GA and the University of South Carolina, Class of 1971, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order. George enjoyed hunting, fishing, and attending USC athletic events over the years. He especially enjoyed playing golf with a select group of friends for many years at Forest Lake Club in Columbia. He enjoyed socializing with many friends and had longtime memberships at The Towne Club, Columbia Rotary Club, Pine Tree Hunt Club, and The Camellia Ball. George served in the in the U.S. Air Force and The S.C. Air National Guard. He was honorably discharged in 1976. He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia and Trinity Episcopal Church of Edisto Island. George was a founding principal of Capital Advisors, Inc., a multi-state commercial mortgage banking company. He is survived by Sabie, his loving wife of 46 years; his daughter, Murray Simmons Yanker and husband, Randy, of Bluffton, S.C.; his son, Dr. George Heath Simmons and his wife, Chilton, of Beaufort, S.C.; five wonderful grandchildren, Mary Margaret Yanker, Caroline DuPree Yanker, George “G” Waring Simmons, Grace Evelyn Simmons, and Harrison Love Simmons; sisters Jo Simmons Aiken of New Bern, NC, Jane Simmons Painter and her husband, Robert, of Gaffney, SC, Mary Ann Simmons Heath and her husband, Cantey, of Columbia, SC; and brother in law, Robert Horger Moorer and his wife, Tammy, of Bowman, SC; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, good friends; and his dogs, Scooter & Izzy. The service for Mr. Simmons will be held 11o’clock, Friday, April 10th, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 1100 Sumter St, Columbia, with a reception following in Satterlee Hall. A private committal will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery, Edisto Island. Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, is assisting the family. In honor of George’s love for all animals, donations may be made in his name to Pets, Inc., 300 Orchard Dr, West Columbia, SC 29171.    
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