Feb 272014
 

ghana

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

I am at a loss for words.  I’ve spent the last week leading a team of Rotarians from all over the East Coast of the United States in Ghana in West Africa.  I spent months planning this trip, writing a guidebook that answers every question about what to expect on our trip.  I planned for lost luggage, lost team members and much more.

We had one eager team member who applied for the Ghana Visa too early and was almost left in New York City.  Fortunately, we were able to get her on the airplane to Africa and to buy a new Visa once we landed in Accra.  So far, I haven’t lost any team members!  They are all relatively healthy as well.  We are having a great time.

What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It is probably one of the most rewarding thing in my life.  I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips.  A large trip is a real blessing because each person on the team sees Ghana and our work in a different way.  It is like having eighteen different eyes in which to see our work.

I was moved that the team loved my “favorite villages” in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern Region.  They also learned that almost every village in Ghana where we’ve worked is my favorite.  A highlight for the team was greeting the chief of Sagadugu.  It was good to see the pastors of most of our eight churches.  I had to explain that we were just passing through on our way to Bolgatanga.  The team got excited about buying goats and food for children in the villages where I support eight churches.

The vastness of the work that Rotary has done in Ghana is almost beyond my imagination.  It takes having a big team to slow me down long enough to realize what we’ve accomplished.  It is a real joy to have the Rotarians in District 7550 in West Virginia.  They were some of the first Rotarians to believe in me and what could be done in Ghana.  We are transforming lives and making a difference.  We have friendships that will last a lifetime.

Rotary International Vice President Anne Matthews and the rest of the team have been very encouraging of our past and future efforts.  We drilled two boreholes in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region with a grant led by PDG Ben Coe and Sam Purington of the Watertown, New York Clubs and funded by the Davidson County Community College Rotaract Club in North Carolina and Chatham and Rocky Mount Rotary Clubs in Virginia.

We spent Sunday as a day of rest at the Mole Game Park.  The Domango Road is not as bad as it used to be so it only took two hours to travel 60 miles instead of four hours!  The pace of the trip is fast, but I’ve had to slow down with eighteen people traveling together.  It has been good.  You’ll have to hear from the team members whether they’ve enjoyed the journey of seeing Ghana with me.

We have a grant for over $115,000 that we need funded for new and repaired boreholes near Techiman, Ghana.  We also want to improve the Holy Family Hospital that services this region.  We also want to continue our work to help people with Buruli Ulcer which is a flesh eating disease.  The Techiman Rotary Club was chartered in May 2013, but they already have a huge list of new projects.  I’m hopeful that I can get that grant funded in the next few weeks so that we can be making a difference in central Ghana.

I was touched by the speech from a woman at a basket weaving center near Bolgatanga.  She passionately told us that because Rotary located a well near the basket weaving center in 2009, 600 girls have the opportunity to go to school.  The mothers use the income from the basket weaving to fund their daughters to go to school.  I never understood that clean water could lead to a better education for girls.  The woman’s speech will remain in my heart for a very long time.

What do you say about a journey that has changed my life?  I also received word that our first borehole in South Sudan hit water.  We need prayers that the drilling contractor can hit water on even more boreholes (deep wells) in South Sudan.  Life is crazy, but I’m reading wonderful updates from Makoy Yibi who is a Rotarian in South Sudan who is excited to see Guinea worm disease decrease again in 2014.  We are traveling all over Ghana and yet I’m dreaming of peace and prosperity in South Sudan at the same time.

I appreciate all of you.  You are on this distribution list because you’ve helped to give a child water to drink or improve their health through better knowledge and care of Buruli ulcer and guinea worm disease.  The celebration of the end of Guinea worm disease in Ghana was wonderful in Tamale.  Thanks for your support, encouragement and prayers.

I’d like to recommend team member and Past District Governor Sue Poss’s blog which can be viewed at:  http://experiencerotaryghana.wordpress.com/about/ .  It has been difficult to write when I need to take care of the team, pay the bills and figure out what happens in the morning that comes so quickly.  Sue Poss is weaving a fascinating story that tells what we are trying to accomplish.  I realize that I can tell you the stories later.  Right now, I need to give my time to the Ghanaian Rotarians and this team from the USA.  All the best.

Regards,

Walter Hughes

Ghana 3 (2) Ghana 4 (2) Ghana 5 (2) Ghana 6 (2) Ghana 7 (2) Ghana 8 (2) Ghana 9 (2)

Murrells Inlet Rotary Helps Restore Oyster Habitat

 General News, Newsletter Content, Serving Community  Comments Off on Murrells Inlet Rotary Helps Restore Oyster Habitat
Sep 032012
 

Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Murrells Inlet, from left, Lee Hewitt and Paul Suter, are helping transport more than 350 bags of recycled oyster shells from Hobcaw Barony to create a reef in Oaks Creek, Tuesday, May 22. It is a cooperative Oyster Recycling Project of Rotary, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Waccamaw Chapter and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) SCORE or South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement program.

Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Murrells Inlet earlier this year worked side-by-side with natural resource specialists to build oyster reefs using more than 10,000 pounds of recycled shells.
   They helped transport more than 350 bags of recycled oyster shells from Hobcaw Barony to create a reef in Oaks Creek, Murrells Inlet, Tuesday, May 22.  It was a cooperative oyster habitat recycling project of Rotary, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Waccamaw Chapter and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) SCORE or South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement program.
   Rotary President Elect Eric Gray said he thinks his members made a difference in giving back to the community. “During the work day I sensed a collective feeling of good spirit throughout everyone involved,” he said.  “A group of individuals doing together what none of us could do alone. Hopefully, being good stewards of our surroundings will encourage others to do the same.”
    In addition to Gray, other primary Rotary volunteers were Paul Suter, Hunter Brown, Chris Hucks, Matt Burroughs, Rod Swaim, James Jordon, Patrick Queen, Jay Hoodenply, Joey Ray, Billy Nichols, Richard Huggins, Lee Hewitt and son, Cloeman Hewitt, Andy Justice and Chris Hawley.
    Most members met at Inlet Sports Lodge at 10:30 a.m. and then drove to Hobcaw Barony where they bagged shells.  “Upon completion, we proceeded to Murrells Inlet shell landing around 12:30 p.m. where we had pizzas from Donato’s provided by Rotary and beverages donated by CCA,” Gray said.   “A Rotary food delivery crew and support staff of Kari Collins, Sherry Maloni, Bobby Sunday, Denise Brown and Stoney Cantor helped during the lunch break.”
   After lunch, Rotarians assisted in loading more than 10,000 pounds of recycled oyster shells into boats and barges, but had to wait for a thunderstorm to pass.  Around 2 p.m., they were able to push off for Oaks Creek with five boats loaded down with volunteers.  “The reef building was the easiest part of the day,” Gray said. “We laid the bags approximately five to six feet from the high water mark in Oaks Creek. We made it back to the landing around 4 p.m. and were able to stay dry.”
   “It’s time civic-minded groups and individuals to help preserve the environment for future generations,” Gray said.  “Wouldn’t it be a sad day if our children were not able to enjoy the waters of Murrells Inlet because of water quality.”

Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Murrells Inlet, from left, Lee Hewitt and Paul Suter, are helping transport more than 350 bags of recycled oyster shells from Hobcaw Barony to create a reef in Oaks Creek, Tuesday, May 22. It is a cooperative Oyster Recycling Project of Rotary, Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Waccamaw Chapter and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) SCORE or South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement program.

   The head of the SCORE project was Mike Hodges who was the Rotary Club of Murrells Inlet luncheon guest speaker at the Inlet Sports Lodge, Tuesday, May 15. Murrells Inlet native Chris Hawley is the chairman of the Waccamaw Chapter and state board member of Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina.
   Chapter activities include working in pluff mud, oyster beds and Spartina grass to establish new oyster reefs as part of CCA’s “Topwater Action Campaign” to also improve water quality and provide an educational opportunity for students and citizens.
   Oyster shell is a natural surface for spat or oyster larvae to attach to and help create new oysters and, in turn, new oyster beds, which are the foundation of the marine ecosystem in Palmetto State’s estuaries, according to DNR literature.
   “While the intertidal oysters of South Carolina may still appear to be abundant, there is increasing evidence of negative effects from anthropogenic or man-made stressors such as non-point source runoff and wakes from increasing recreational boat traffic,” says the DNR.
   “Planting of bare shell can also help trap sediments and absorb wave energy, reducing erosion of adjacent salt marshes. With careful site selection, replanting of the shell can restore oyster habitat by providing substrate for juvenile oysters, which grow to form a self-sustaining reef.”
    Environmental officials say after the reefs are constructed, volunteers are trained to monitor water quality, reef development and reef/shoreline interactions. More than 15,000 bushels of oyster shells have been recycled since 2009.
   The CCA group acquired equipment needed to both recycle and distribute oyster reef material in isolated locations of the state’s estuaries, including two 18-foot johnboats and two tandem axle trailers.  For more information, contact Hawley at 455-0371 or chawley24@gmail.com

Murrells Inlet Rotary President Eric Gray Receives Four-Way Test Citation

 Family of Rotary, General News, Newsletter Content, Serving Community  Comments Off on Murrells Inlet Rotary President Eric Gray Receives Four-Way Test Citation
Sep 032012
 
5.2-Min. Video, Rotary Approach To Ethics:
Ed Duryea Murrells Inlet.mov http://youtu.be/633lCfN_LxU 

   District 7770 Rotary Governor Ed Duryea gave Gray this citation during a luncheon at the Inlet Sports Lodge, Tuesday, Aug. 21.   Gray also becomes a district nominee for a Four-Way Test award Duryea will announce in the Myrtle Beach Marriott at a three-day “Rotary Roundup” conference, beginning March 22.  Gray earned MI Rotarian of the Year honors for 2010 and 2011, when he ran a MI flounder and off-shore fishing tournament.

   As a 20-year member of the State Ethics Commission, Duryea is used to dealing with moral and ethical issues.  He said he keeps in mind the Four-Way Test, “Of the things we think, say or do–Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
   Gray is owner of Graycrest Realty of Pawleys Island. He moved to the Grand Strand In 1983 and quickly settled into the restaurant business.  After bartending and managing area restaurants, he said he decided a challenge was needed so he purchased a one-way ticket to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, staying for seven months.
   Gray said his life started getting busy in 1992.  “I married my beautiful wife, Ashley, whom I proposed to on the front porch of her mother’s Murrells Inlet creek house four months after our first meeting.  During the first year of marriage, we moved to her hometown of Marion and purchased our first restaurant, Thursday’s Bar & Grill, and we were expecting our first daughter, Ashton.”
    He said his second daughter, Lindsay, was born three years later.  “Along with her came another restaurant, Squealer’s BBQ,” he said. “Listening to our Rotary Club of Murrells Inlet President Eric Gray, right, receives recognition pin exemplifying the ideals and purpose of the Four-Way Test from Ed Duryea, District 7770 Governor for 2012-13, during his visit to the luncheon Inlet Sports Lodge meeting Tuesday, Aug. 21.hearts, we sold both restaurants and moved back to Murrells Inlet in 2004.  That year I entered the real estate business and opened Graycrest Realty in 2007.”
Governor Duryea, a Rotarian for 37 years, told about being a polio National Immunization Day volunteer to Nigeria to assist in the delivery of oral polio vaccine to children in their first year of life. “I saw streets filled with bruised and thickly calloused polio survivors who lived their entire lives on the ground,” he said.  “And then as we placed the vaccination drops into the mouths of the children, I saw a peace on the faces of their mothers that came from knowing that their children would not suffer and possibly die from the disease.”

A family day of July 4, 1990, picnicking turned out to be the worst day of Duryea’s life.  “I took my eight-year-old son, Huntley, with me to put my 13-foot Boston Whaler in the water to check it out,” he said. “We were both thrown into the water, and the boat–an older one without a kill switch–continued to circle us…and hit my son, splitting his face open with the prop.  After an ambulance trip to Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), he underwent a day and night of surgery to put brain tissue, skull, eyelid and macrimal glands back together.”

   “My friend and fellow Rotarian Curt Copeland put us in his corner’s car and followed the ambulance to MUSC…Sitting in the hospital surrounded by my Rotary friends, I felt a keen sense of peace.”
  “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t mentally thank retired Lt. General George Forsythe for (asking)…me…to be a Rotarian.  How fitting that the Rotary International theme for this year is ‘Peace through Service,’ three words that reflect exactly my experience in Rotary.”
   Duryea quoted John Wesley as a challenge for Murrells Inlet Rotarians.  “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
© Copyright 2013-2017 by Rotary District 7770 Rotary International District 7770, Eastern South Carolina