Crawling through Viet Cong tunnels during his Vietnam War service was always an exercise in potential danger, according to C.W. Bowman, Capital Rotary guest speaker for June 27 (at left in photo with club member Chris Myers). Bowman – a draftee shipped overseas in January 1967 – was a point man, demolition-man and tunnel rat who cleared and destroyed underground complexes that could conceal hospitals, training areas, storage facilities, headquarters and barracks. Bowman said the dirty duty’s hazards included not only booby traps and enemy troops, but also snakes, spiders, scorpions and ants. Typically, he faced these dangers armed only with a flashlight and a .45 caliber pistol, plus a healthy dose of caution. Bowman served two tours in Vietnam and earned a Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal, among other awards. He later was a drill sergeant at Ft. Jackson. A native of Bordentown, NJ, Bowman has lived in South Carolina since 1973.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary has recognized 13 new Paul Harris Benefactors for making substantial contributions to the Rotary Foundation’s international humanitarian and educational programs. Benefactors pledge to make a $1,000 Foundation donation through their wills or estate plans. Those honored at the club’s June 20 assembly include (from left in Photo 1) Mike Montgomery, Felicia Maloney, Lee Ann Rice, Ben Carlton, Andy Markl, EJ Newby, Austin McVay, Allyson Way Hank, Perry Lancaster, Betsy Best, Abby Naas, Paul Gillam; (not pictured) Carol Caulk and Daniel Winders. The club also recognized those named Paul Harris Fellows, signifying a $1,000 contribution to the Rotary Foundation. They receive a special pin, a certificate and a medal to honor their donation. The group included (from left in Photo 2) Walker Williams; Neda Beal – Paul Harris Fellow+4 (initial $1,000 gift plus four others of $1,000 each); EJ Newby – Paul Harris Fellow+1 (initial $1,000 gift plus another of $1,000); Austin McVay and Felicia Maloney; Frank Rutkowski – Paul Harris Fellow+1; Betsy Best; Stephen West – Paul Harris Fellow+1; and Alex Serkes (not pictured).
At a year-end assembly to review some of Capital Rotary’s 2017-2018 accomplishments, outgoing president Blake DuBose thanked members for achievement that included:
- Adding six new members.
- Donating 936 free dictionaries to third-graders in 14 Richland County District One schools.
- Awarding two college scholarships to deserving high school students.
- Reaching 110% of the club’s Rotary Foundation donations goal (total contributions $12,933).
- Adding 20 new Rotary Foundation Benefactors ($1,000 donation via will) in the past month; 95% of members are now Benefactors.
- Donating $8,000 to aid natural disaster victims in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
- More than doubling the goal for PolioPlus contributions (total of $3,480).
- Several club members are organizing a Columbia-area CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) gala to raise money for medical research.
- Sponsoring Christmas gifts for two families through the Families Helping Families organization.
- Holding five social events promoting member fellowship.
- Interaction with student leaders of the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club.
- Continuing community service projects – Meals on Wheels delivery and volunteering at Harvest Hope Food Bank.
- Excellent presentations at weekly club meetings, thanks to speakers committee efforts.
- Collecting 65 units of blood at the annual Red Cross Blood Drive. In the past seven years, the club has collected over 516 units of blood, impacting more than 1,548 lives.
- A Rotary District 7770 “Four-Way Test Award” nomination for past president David Boucher.
- A District “Service Above Self Award” for public relations committee chair Pete Pillow.
- A District “Public Image Award” and a leadership citation for the club.
- Reporting on club activities with70 website and social media posts; reaching 8,460 people through social media; 2,251 website visitors; 65 postings on District 7770’s website and newsletters; 91 press releases posted by local media; and 11 monthly club activity recaps e-mailed to members.
New 2018-2019 officers and directors for Capital Rotary were sworn into office on June 20. Pictured are (from left) Jack Williamson, at-large director and sergeant at arms; Ben Carlton, secretary; Andy Markl, at-large director; Abby Naas, president-elect; Neda Beal, at-large director and service chair; Gloria Saeed, membership chair; Paul Gillam and Ione Cockrell, at-large directors; Philip Flynn, president; Blake DuBose, past president and Rotary Foundation chair; and Bryan Goodyear, treasurer.
Outgoing Capital Rotary Club president Blake DuBose presents the 2018 Rotarian of the Year plaque to public relations chair Pete Pillow (left) in recognition of his dedicated service and loyal devotion to the ideals of Rotary. Pillow, a retired journalist and public information officer, joined Capital Rotary in 2006. He’s been a Rotarian since 1980 and is a past president of clubs in Beaufort and East Spartanburg. He’s also a past president of the SC Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association and a College of Charleston graduate.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s Project Lifesaver team aims to “bring loved ones home” safely when electronic tracking is needed to find at-risk wanderers – clients with Alzheimer’s, autism, Downs Syndrome or traumatic brain injury. Deputy Amanda Jordan (shown at left in photo with Rotarian Daniel Moses) briefed Capital Rotary on June 13, noting that 44 local clients and their families are enrolled in the program founded in Virginia nearly 20 years ago. Project Lifesaver began in Richland County in 2006 with only eight deputies and three clients. Today 80 deputies are trained, certified specialists in locating missing persons via electronic searching – a process that usually takes less 30 minutes as compared to a normal physical search lasting up to nine hours and sometimes involving hundreds of officers and volunteers. Jordan said Project Lifesaver is cost effective for law enforcement and provides better protection for lost individuals. Richland County does not charge its residents or their at-risk loved ones for receiving a transmitter and joining the program. Jordan, a University of South Carolina graduate, has served with the Sheriff’s Department for 14 years. She coordinates Project Lifesaver for the State of South Carolina, where 18 counties have signed on. There are 1,300 participating agencies across the US, Canada and Australia. To date more than 3,400 client rescues have been reported.
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 held a club social event June 6 at the new Hunter-Gatherer brew pub located in Columbia’s historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar at Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport. The steel and glass hangar was built in 1929 by the Curtiss-Wright Co., one of 30 or so located across the country. It was dedicated as Columbia Municipal Airport in 1930. In its brew pub configuration, the 13,000-square-foot hangar houses a 527-gallon brew house, a bottling and kegging line, a 1,200-square-foot tap room and a 1,000-square-foot event space, plus a pizza kitchen. An outdoor rooftop Observation Deck seats 40-plus, with views of the airport and, through windows, down into the brewery. Rotarians enjoying an evening of fellowship included (from left in photo) Philip Flynn, Ann Elliott and Jay von Kolnitz.
Blockchain – the technology behind Bitcoin – has potential uses far beyond digital currencies. That’s what Capital Rotarians heard from May 30 guest speaker Dr. Dirk Brown, shown with club member Walker Williams (left in photo). Brown is faculty director of the University of South Carolina’s McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise. He has extensive experience in digital media and electronic technologies, operations and marketing. Brown said that currently, most people use a trusted middleman such as a bank to make a transaction. But blockchain allows consumers and suppliers to connect directly, removing the need for third party validation. Using cryptography to keep exchanges secure, blockchain provides a giant spreadsheet or “digital ledger” of transactions that everyone on the network can see. This network is essentially a chain of computers that must all approve an exchange before it can be verified and recorded. Brown said blockchain technology can work for almost every type of transaction involving value, including money, goods and property. Its potential uses are almost limitless, and blockchain could also help reduce fraud because every transaction would be recorded and distributed on a public ledger. It’s also virtually impossible to hack. “We now have a secure way to make value exchanges with strangers without a central authority,” Brown explained. “The future is here for blockchain and cryptocurrency, but most of us are just now realizing it.” Brown has a bachelor of science from Queens University in Canada, with post-graduate degrees from San Jose State and Cornell University, where he earned a doctorate in materials science.
Capital Rotarians were briefed on life in China when former club member Qing Wang was May 23rd’s weekly guest speaker. Wang – now a member of Five Points Rotary – is a Chinese citizen living and working in the US. She prefaced her remarks by noting that although she still has friends and family living in China, it’s been four years since her last visit. In that time, she said, there has been rapid economic development along with changes in what she called the key elements of daily living – food, housing, transportation/commuting, shopping and education. She also noted that China’s population of 1.4 billion is not evenly distributed throughout the country, but heavily concentrated on its east coast and in approximately 15 megacities cities, each with a population in excess of 10 million. Wang is a bridge engineer with the SC Department of Transportation. She has a structural engineering doctorate from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and earned undergraduate degrees from China’s Beijing City University and Yanshan University.
Capital Rotary members got the “straight poop” about Riverbanks Zoo’s composting success from guest speaker John Davis on May 16. Davis (left, in photo with Rotarian Bud Foy) said the “bottom line” is that animal manure can be a profit-maker instead of a wasted byproduct. He holds a degree in wildlife biology from Kansas State University and has run the composting program since 2009 as Director of Animal Care and Welfare at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The zoo must contend with about 1,200 pounds of excrement daily, mostly from its elephant, giraffe and zebra populations. After collection, the manure decomposes and cures in a special storage area while being monitored for temperature and moisture. When it reaches the stage where it’s ready to be called “natural soil amendment,” the compost can be distributed at Riverbanks Garden and sold. It’s available for gift shop purchase or by the pick-up truckload during spring and fall bulk sales. Some of the sale proceeds go to the zoo’s conservation fund that supports projects to save wildlife and wildlife habitat all over the world. Each year Riverbanks converts 13,418 cubic feet of dung into money-making compost.