Members of the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club got hands-on community service experience Feb. 13 when they joined other volunteers from Capital Rotary at Harvest Hope Food Bank for an hour of packing groceries for distribution to the hungry. Taking part were (from left in photo) Kara Owens, sophomore in marketing; Tina Sorensen, freshman in nursing; Alex Stevens, sophomore in biomedical engineering; Gioia Chakravorti, sophomore in international business/supply chain and operations management; and Rotaract president Joel Welch, a senior in accounting/finance. Also present but not pictured were Angie Church, freshman in international business/accounting and Mandy Spiegel, freshman in international business/finance. Rotaract clubs are open to adults ages 18-30 interested in community service, in developing leadership and professional skills, and who enjoy networking and social activities.
Foregoing their regular breakfast meeting, Capital Rotary Club members spent an hour of community service volunteer time Feb. 13 at Harvest Hope Food Bank’s Shop Road headquarters in Columbia. They bagged and stocked five bins with approximately 3,000 pounds of edibles destined for the Emergency Food Pantry. Harvest Hope, begun in 1981, works to meet the needs of hungry people in 20 counties in the Midlands, Pee Dee and Greater Greenville regions of South Carolina. Capital Rotarians traditionally volunteer at the facility at least once a year as a group.
New Capital Rotary member Le Frye (center in photo) is welcomed to the club by president Philip Flynn and sponsor Lee Ann Rice after induction ceremonies Feb. 6. Frye, a Saluda native, has spent her life in the Midlands and graduated in 2002 from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and mass communications, public relations. She is the managing partner at Starboard Communications, an advertising and public relations firm that specializes in political affairs. Frye has over 15 years of planning, managing and executing various aspects of successful political and advocacy campaigns in the Palmetto State.
Capital Rotary members Jay von Kolnitz (right in photo) and Jack Williamson (center) were recognized by club president Philip Flynn (left) on Feb. 6 for their latest donations to The Rotary Foundation in support of international programs promoting peace and world understanding. Von Kolnitz is a Paul Harris Fellow plus-four giver (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with four additional gifts in the same amount). He is a 30-year Rotary member and was a longtime sergeant-at-arms for the club. Williamson is a Paul Harris Fellow plus-one contributor (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with an additional gift in the same amount). He joined the Capital club in 2008 and currently serves as sergeant-at-arms.
In their Jan. 23 meeting Capital Rotarians were urged to help educate, inspire and encourage South Carolinians to participate in the nation’s 2020 census. Guest speaker Doris Greene (at left in photo with club member Daniel Moses) said the decennial population count data is used to determine federal funds for the state and in legislative and school redistricting. The 2010 numbers resulted in federal monies averaging $1,499 per year for each South Carolina resident for 10 years. Census Day is coming April 1, 2020, with results due by Dec. 31 of that year. Greene said the goal is “to count everybody residing in South Carolina whether they are a citizen or not.” She said “complete count committees” are being formed for community outreach to boost participation. The state’s 2010 response averaged 75 per cent, with every county reporting higher numbers. The 2020 census will offer and encourage people to respond via the internet so that the count can be accurate, secure and convenient. Greene is serving as a census leader for the third time. The Columbia native has been a CA Johnson High School teacher, a Midlands Tech faculty member, an adjunct professor at Benedict College and worked at the SC Department of Education. She is a magna cum laude Benedict College graduate with a master’s degree in adult education from the University of South Carolina and has been on the Habitat for Humanity International board.
Since its beginning in 1854 Columbia’s YMCA has aimed to be a community servant in the Midlands, helping families and individuals “grow in mind, body and spirit,” says Bill Price, the organization’s CEO since 2016. Price (shown at right in photo with Rotarian Jack Williamson) was Capital Rotary’s Jan. 9 guest speaker. He said the Y now operates in six locations – downtown, Ballentine, Irmo, Lake Carolina, Red Bank and Orangeburg – and expects to break ground later this year for a new full-service facility in Kershaw County’s Lugoff-Elgin area. YMCA programs range from swimming lessons to afterschool learning activities, from youth and adult sports to support for cancer survivors. The Y’s mission – to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all – remains unchanged, Price said, along with its core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility and faith. Price, a Wofford College graduate with a BA in government, was a longtime YMCA volunteer and board member before assuming the CEO’s post.
Capital Rotary member Mike Montgomery (left in photo) is congratulated by club president Philip Flynn for continuing contributions to The Rotary Foundation in support of international programs that promote peace, human development and world understanding. Montgomery has earned Paul Harris Fellow plus-seven honors (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with seven additional gifts in the same amount). Montgomery was an 11-year Spring Valley Rotarian before joining the Capital club in 2015. The University of South Carolina graduate has been a private practice lawyer since 1985 and formerly served on Richland District Two’s school board and on Richland County Council.
End Polio Now – the global polio eradication initiative supported by Rotary International – continues to make steady progress against the dreaded disease. That message was delivered by Dr. Jimmie Williamson (at right in photo with Rotarian Melissa Lindler), guest speaker for Capital Rotary’s Dec. 19 meeting. Dr. Williamson, a longtime Rotarian and former District 7770 Governor for clubs in eastern South Carolina, was part of a polio immunization team operating out of northern India earlier in 2018. He said last year there were wild polio cases in only three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Since 1988 there’s been a worldwide reduction in polio cases of 99.9%. But Williamson said immunization efforts are hampered now by cultural fears in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rotary International helps provide funding, advocacy and mobilization for End Polio Now’s partnership that also includes the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Capital Rotary Club adopted a local family and provided gifts for the holiday season (shown in photo) as part of the 2018 Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program, a Palmetto Project and WIS-TV initiative. Club members had the option of purchasing gifts or making a monetary donation. The adopted family included two adults and five children. One hundred percent of the club membership participated, according to Rotarian Catherine Mabry, who oversaw the project. The family also received a $100 Food Lion gift card. For 25 years, the Families Helping Families program has provided gifts, clothing, food and other essentials to thousands of Midlands neighbors in need, ensuring that all may share in the joy of the Christmas season.
The United States trails its peer developed countries in life expectancy and other health outcomes, despite spending more on healthcare. Some of this difference is due to genetics and behavior, but social factors are contributors, too, according to Dr. Sarah Gehlert, Dean of the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work and Capital Rotary’s Dec. 5 guest speaker. Dr. Gehlert (at left in photo with Rotarian Katherine Anderson) said research shows genetics and behavior help determine about 70% of a person’s health risks and outcomes. The “social factors of health” – things like lifestyle and social stressors – can have an effect up to 15%. Dr. Gehlert said social factors helping men live longer include being married, participating in religious activities and being affiliated with clubs or similar organizations. For women, longevity social factors include being married, frequent social contact and taking part in religious activities. Dr. Gehlert in November received the Insley-Evans Public Health Social Worker of the Year award for her leadership, advocacy and commitment in focusing on social environmental influences on health. The award was presented in San Diego by the American Public Health Association.