South Carolina treasurer Curtis Loftis briefed Capital Rotary members on his role as the state’s “private banker” when he was the club’s guest speaker Aug. 1. Loftis said his office manages, invests and maintains custody of tens of billions of dollars in public funds. As “the taxpayer’s friend,” Loftis said he is committed to transparency and accountability in improving cash flow and eliminating fraud, waste and abuse. He touted the success of the Unclaimed Property Program that has returned more than $137 million in unclaimed funds to state residents. Loftis also praised growth in South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan, where he has overseen an increase in the number of enrollees to 145,000 accounts and total assets of $3.34 billion. A 1981 University of South Carolina graduate, Loftis is a member of Cayce-West Columbia Rotary and serves on a number of state and national boards and commissions.
The City of Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunities director has joined Capital Rotary. Melissa L. Lindler (shown at center in photo with sponsor Gloria Saeed and club president Philip Flynn) took her city post after more than 20 years of experience in government and non-profit work. Most recently she was district planning and outreach director for Congressmen Jim Clyburn. Previously she was a staff member at the SC Department of Education and at South Carolina State University. She received her BA in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of South Carolina, and earned graduate certification in public management from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. Lindler’s volunteer activities include board service for the International African American Museum, the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics, the Columbia Chapter of the Society, Inc., Jack and Jill of America Foundation, Inc. and the Total Care for the Homeless Coalition.
New Capital Rotary member Catherine Mabry (center in photo) is welcomed to the club’s ranks by president Philip Flynn and sponsor Chris Myers. Mabry, who handles community outreach for Shives Funeral Home, received a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Alabama. She previously worked in retail positions and in physician services at Baptist Medical Center and Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. A member of and current elder for Eastminster Presbyterian Church, she is married to commercial realtor Hank Mabry, a former Rotarian, and the couple has two adult children.
Rotary clubs in South Carolina’s Midlands will hold a gala fund-raiser in Columbia Friday evening, Aug. 17 to benefit the CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) Fund. Tickets are now available, along with sponsorship opportunities and item donations for life and silent auctions.
The black tie optional event will be held at the historic event venue at 1208 Washington St. from 7 to 11 p.m. Advance tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple. Tickets at the door will be $125 per person or $200 per couple. Admission includes live music, heavy hors d’oeurves, open bar and free valet parking.
Sponsorships range from $250 to $5,000 and include a pre-event champagne reception, event tickets, advertising listings and additional promotional considerations. More information about tickets and sponsor information is available at www.cartgala.org.
Gala organizers hope to raise $40,000 for the CART Fund. One hundred percent (100%) of CART donated funds go to grants for cutting edge, high-impact research aimed at preventing or finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The CART initiative began in South Carolina over 20 years ago and has since been adopted by Rotary clubs throughout the United States. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and South Carolina ranks number 1 in deaths from the disease.
Working to overcome effects of significant childhood trauma leads to better lives for youngsters and their families but requires “a lot of human capital,” according to Achieve Columbia executive director Robert Lominack, Capital Rotary’s July 11 guest speaker. Lominack (shown with Rotarian Ione Cockrell) co-founded the non-profit program in 2012 after working as a defense lawyer and high school teacher. Currently embedded at Hand Middle School, Achieve Columbia builds long-lasting and deep relationships with at-risk students and families beginning in 7th grade and continuing through high school graduation. Lominack said mitigating trauma’s negative impact “gives our students a wider window into the world and helps them find their place in it.” With a combination of group and individualized mentoring, tutoring, resource coordination and counseling, Achieve Columbia successfully deals with issues including student behavior and academics, homelessness, transportation and life beyond high school. Lominack is a Greenville, SC native and was educated at the University of the South in Tennessee and at Northeastern Law School in Boston.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club is gearing up for the annual summer blood drive to be held Wednesday, July 25, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scheduled donations and walk-ins are welcome at the donation site – first floor conference room, CB Richard Ellis Building, 1333 Main St. in downtown Columbia. The goal is 75 pints of blood, according to Red Cross staff member Libby Wright (at center in photo with president Philip Flynn and drive chairman Paul Gillam at left). Wright said the club over the past nine years has collected 516 units of blood, helping to save the lives of more than 1,500 patients. Because of high demand and lagging blood donations in summertime, Wright said the Red Cross is making an “emergency appeal” now for participation by prospective donors.
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.