Columbia’s Capital Rotary has recognized three members for contributions to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable arm that funds programs for world understanding and peace. Honorees include (from left) Mike Montgomery, a Paul Harris Fellow plus-six donor, representing an initial $1,000 donation, plus six additional gifts of $1,000 each; Hal Peacock, a plus-two Fellow with an initial $1,000 donation followed by two more for $1,000 each; club president Blake DuBose; and Tommy Gibbons, a plus-three Fellow with an initial $1,000 donation followed by three at $1,000 each.
President Blake DuBose and sponsor Ann Elliott welcome Betsy Best (left) to Capital Rotary Club membership. Best, a Charlotte, NC native, is a partner in Blume Franklin-Best & Young, a Columbia criminal defense law firm. She has undergraduate and advanced degrees from the University of South Carolina and University of Wyoming, and previously worked for the SC Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense and the Richland County Public Defenders Office. She was the 2012 Public Defender Association’s “Public Defender of the Year” and is incoming chair for Justice 360, a non-profit organization that promotes criminal justice system equality and fairness. She’s a member of the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Palmetto Club and Rockbridge Club, Inc.
The Boeing Company is proud to build the “airplane of the future” – its 787 Dreamliner – in South Carolina, and looks forward to continuing a rewarding partnership here for years to come. Tommy Preston Jr., Director of National Strategy and Engagement and Government Operations at Boeing South Carolina, was Capital Rotary’s Jan. 10 guest speaker. Preston is a native South Carolinian, a USC graduate, and formerly practiced law at Nexsen Pruet, LLC in Columbia. He said Boeing’s aerospace campus in Charleston was made possible by commitment to workforce training, by the state’s non-union labor environment and by government flexibility in working together to solve any problems. Boeing supports an estimated 9,000 direct and indirect Palmetto State jobs, works with 300 suppliers across the state, and invested about $2 billion in the Dreamliner final assembly and delivery facility. The company also partners with local schools, the technical college system and the University of South Carolina to expand job opportunities and to advance aerospace products and services. (Boeing Company photo)
Commercial banker Austin McVay (second from left in photo) and healthcare professional Jon Belsher (second from right) have been inducted into Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club. McVay – shown with sponsor Denise Holland – is a Greenville native with undergraduate and graduate degrees from Clemson University. He is a commercial relationship manager with TD Bank and previously worked at Verizon Wireless and ScanSource in Greenville and for GE Energy in Atlanta. Belsher – shown with sponsor Tommy Gibbons – is president and chief operating officer of UCI Medical Affiliates, Inc. A native of Palo Alto, CA, he was educated at Amherst College, the University of Arizona and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He has worked for the Mayo Clinic and Scott & White Healthcare and spent 13 years in the Air National Guard. He’s a former Big Brother and Special Olympics clinical director.
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose receives banners from clubs in Nairobi and Ireland from Catherine Glen, a former Rotary Global Grant Scholar studying in the field of peace and conflict prevention. Glen recently received a master’s degree from Queen’s University in Belfast. She’s currently a visiting research associate at the university’s Center for Evidence and Social Innovation. Global Grant scholarships support graduate level study in one of Rotary International’s six areas of focus: peace, disease prevention, water and sanitation, maternal/child health, education, and economic/community development. Glen is a 2011 University of South Carolina graduate and has worked with young people within high-needs communities in the US, Japan, Northern Ireland and Kenya.
Westwood High School principal Dr. Cheryl Guy told Capital Rotarians that she achieved a 30-year dream when she appeared as a contestant on the game show “Jeopardy” earlier this year. Guy, the club’s guest speaker Dec. 20, started her “Jeopardy” quest in 1986. A successful audition in Charleston – her fourth try over the years – resulted in a trip to Culver City, CA for videotaping in September 2016. Her “Jeopardy” episode aired in January 2017. She was the top winner that day with a prize of $20,600, but lost to another contestant in a subsequent appearance. Her total winnings were $22,600. Guy noted that the daily syndicated “Jeopardy” is TV’s top quiz show, attracting 23 million viewers a week and winning a record 33 daytime Emmy Awards. Since its premier in September 1984, the program has been hosted by Alex Trebek (in photo with Dr. Guy). Guy, a 1984 University of South Carolina graduate, worked at Camden High and at Spring Valley High before moving to Westwood when it opened in 2012. (Photo courtesy Jeopardy)
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.
The University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine works to serve the Palmetto State through exceptional education, research breakthroughs and world-class health care. That’s the message executive dean Dr. Les Hall brought to Capital Rotarians as their Dec. 13 guest speaker. Dr. Hall also serves as CEO of the Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, which became active in April 2016. That group combined medical school faculty and local Palmetto Health System physicians to become the largest and most comprehensive set of health care providers in central South Carolina. Dr. Hall came to USC in 2015 from the University of Missouri. His academic work has focused on professional education, especially in the areas of quality improvement, patient safety and teamwork.
Since opening earlier this year, the University of South Carolina’s new School of Law has become the anchor for a “law corridor of Columbia” running along Gervais Street, says dean Rob Wilcox. He told Capital Rotary members on a tour Nov. 29 (he’s at far right in photo) that the legal district also includes the S.C. Supreme Court, the State House and the National Advocacy Center, which trains attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department. The three-story, $80 million law school features 17 classrooms and two realistic courtrooms. Wilcox said its design has a purpose and an impact that goes beyond mere aesthetics. “It’s designed to send a message to our students – it’s not just college anymore,” he explained. “It’s the beginning of your profession. Different things will be expected of students here. There are responsibilities that come with this.” USC’s School of Law is one of the nation’s oldest and the state’s only nonprofit law school. Its new home occupies nearly an entire city block at Bull and Gervais streets. Capital Rotary’s tour was part of the club’s Fifth Wednesday program featuring local field trips in place of a regular meeting.
Social media and the Internet make it easier to spread “fake news” today, but there are several key factors for judging the reliability of what we hear and see reported locally and nationally, according to John Monk, a writer for The State newspaper since 1997. Monk was Capital Rotary’s Nov. 15 guest speaker, sharing what he’s learned after some 40 years as a journalist in South Carolina. To judge a story’s merits, Monk suggested readers or listeners should: (1) see if the story comes from a major news organization that carefully checks facts before publication; (2) consider the personal reputation and reliability of the reporter; and (3) remember that news is a “continuing conversation” that “hopefully is not the final word.” He told Rotarians that “there is a good deal of evidence that propaganda spreads through fake news.” Monk is a Maryland native, attended Davidson College and spent five years as Washington correspondent for The Charlotte Observer.