Columbia East Rotary Club Awards Donations to Local Charities

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Mar 192014

Columbia East Rotary Club Awards Donations to Local Charities

COLUMBIA, S.C. February 2014

Columbia East Rotary Club allocated more than $13,000 in charitable gifts to 11 nonprofit agencies serving their community.

Donations were made to the following:

  • Camp OK
  • Carolina Children’s Home
  • Cure San Filippo
  • The Dictionary Project
  • Federation for the Blind
  • Harvest Hope Food Bank
  • Humane Society
  • Goodwill
  • Oliver Gospel Mission
  • Senior Resources
  • Sister Care 

Columbia East Rotary President, Rowland Alston announced these donations at a recent club meeting stating that he is proud of our local club and the impact we make in our community.  “These donations are evidence of our Club’s continuing commitment to community service and to improving the lives of all people in our community” stated Alston.

Columbia East Rotary Club raises monies every year through the sale of Vidalia Onions.  Each Rotarian is asked to sell 30 – 25 lb bags of onions.  Proceeds from the onion sales are used to support the charitable endeavors of the club.

The Columbia East Rotary Club is proud of their efforts to support local community organizations and wants to recognize each of these agencies for the work they do to make the SC Midlands a great place to live and work.

Columbia East Rotary Club Recognizes Three Paul Harris Fellows

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Mar 032014

Rotary 001 2014 (2) Rotary 002 2014 (2)COLUMBIA, S.C. February

Columbia East Rotary Club recognized three members for their generous support to the Rotary
Foundation. At the February12th
meeting, Rotarians Dr. Joseph Cheatham, Dr. Joe E. Brantley,
and Kay McClanahan were awarded Paul Harris Fellow lapel pins for their generous support to
the Rotary Foundation.

Rotary asks each member to strive to be a Paul Harris Fellow by donating $1,000.00 to the
Rotary Foundation. Paul Harris Fellows are given a lapel pin to wear, recognizing their
commitment to the charitable work of Rotary. Multiple donations are recognized by adding a gem
stone to their lapel pin for each additional $1,000.00. Cheatham has now received two gem
stones and Brantley has received 3.

These generous gifts present Rotary with the opportunity to do even more good in the world
through the Foundation.
For more information about Rotary or to arrange an interview regarding the Rotary Has Heart
program, contact Wayne Brennessel at 803-767-6381.

Columbia East Rotarian, Dr. Joseph Columbia East Rotarian, Dr. Joseph Brantley
poses with Club President, poses with Club President, Rowland Alston
Rowland Alston after receiving after receiving recognition as a Paul Harris recognition as Paul Harris Fellow, Level 3
Fellow level 2.

Feb 122014

columbia eastColumbia East Rotary Club partnered with Harvest Hope Food Bank in an effort help feed hungry families in our community. Over 100 boxes of food for the needy were packed by Rotarians at Harvest Hope’s headquarters in Columbia on Tuesday, December 17, at 1:00 PM as part of the Rotary Has Heart Campaign.

The “Rotary Has Heart” program was initiated by Rotary International Vice President, Dr. Anne Matthews. “Dr. Matthews is from right here in Columbia and a member of our Columbia East Rotary Club. To recognize her and kick off the project, we wanted to be one of the first in the Southeast to participate in Rotary Has Heart, which culminates on Valentine’s Day 2014” stated Columbia East Rotary President Rowland Alston.

President Alston went on to say that, “putting food on an empty plate, filling an empty stomach, and bringing a ray of hope to families throughout the community is our primary goal for this program.”

In addition to having its members spend the afternoon packing boxes at Harvest Hope Food Bank, the Columbia East Rotary also donated over $1,500 towards feeding hungry families.

For more information about Rotary or to arrange an interview regarding the Rotary Has Heart program, contact Wayne Brennessel at 803-767-6381.

Rotary International V. P, Dr. Anne Matthews and Columbia East Rotary Club President, Rowland Alston

Anne Matthews

Columbia East Rotarian Jim Hudson Honored with Order of The Palmetto, SC’s Highest Civilian Honor

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Feb 022013

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA (January 28, 2013) – Jim Hudson, founder and principal of Jim Hudson Automotive Group, and Charter Member (1981) of the Columbia East Rotary Club was recently presented with the coveted Order of the Palmetto by South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley.

Hudsons and Haley

Pictured from L – R:  Governor Nikki R. Haley with Sybil & Jim Hudson (Photo credit – Clark Berry Photography)

“On behalf of the people of South Carolina, I am pleased to award Jim Hudson the Order of the Palmetto – our state’s highest civilian honor.  This award is in recognition of his extraordinary work and dedication to the citizens of our state,” said Governor Nikki R. Haley.

The Order of the Palmetto is considered to be the highest civilian honor first awarded in 1971 to recognize a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina.  Past recipients of the Order of the Palmetto include singer James Brown, author Pat Conroy, tap dancer Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, Civil Rights activist Septima Clark, among many others including past governors.

A native of Turkey, North Carolina, Hudson moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1961, where through hard work and experience, he successfully built a portfolio of automotive dealerships known today as Jim Hudson Automotive Group.

Hudson’s dedication to customer satisfaction is indisputable.  For ten consecutive years, 2001-2010, his Columbia Lexus dealership ranked number one or two in the nation for customer satisfaction.  Hudson’s consistently high customer service rating was a major factor in Toyota’s selection process when it came time to award another dealership in Columbia.

Hudson’s dealerships have received many awards, including the Lexus Elite highest honors for the past ten years, the President’s Award highest honors for Toyota, and Cadillac Buick GMC highest award for Excellence.

Among the most important things in Hudson’s life is his family.  He and Sybil, his wife of 49 years, have two sons, Ken and Keith, and six grandchildren.

Hudson believes it is important to monitor laws and proposed legislation that might affect the many employees of the automotive industry and their families.  “We must be one voice on the local and national level to protect our free enterprise system and the small business people of America,” he says.  Backing up his beliefs with action, Hudson has been active in industry organizations and has been an automobile dealer spokesman for political issues in South Carolina and in Washington, DC.  In 2008, he was the Chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association and lobbied in Washington, DC for import dealers throughout the United States.  Hudson continues to be involved in lobbying Washington, D.C. on the behalf of small businesses not only in South Carolina, but nationwide.

Hudson has served on several dealer council boards for his franchises, advertising boards, SCADA (past president) and other state associations.  He has received the Rotary Foundation President’s Award and is a Paul Harris Fellow.  In 30 years of membership, he has perfect attendance.

Hudson works with the state’s community colleges on automotive training and funds scholarships for high school seniors.  He has been awarded #1 new car dealer in South Carolina and voted #1 by the State newspaper for the past 10 years.  He has been featured in Time Magazine three different times and most recently in the September 2008 issue as the Time Magazine Quality Dealer of the Year.  He has been awarded Motor Trend Quality Dealer of the Year and is listed in the Automotive Hall of Fame.

He has served the Columbia community in many ways, including as member of the Chamber of Commerce board, Cultural Council board and Rotary Club.  He has also served as a sponsor for such charities as Sunshine for Children, the Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, the Salvation Army and Woodyard Fund, the Oliver Gospel Mission, Meals on Wheels, Harvest Hope, and the Boy Scouts of America Indian Waters Council.

Hudson’s commitment to his community has been demonstrated through acts of kindness in providing numerous cars and trucks to countless of families in need.

As a devoted Christian businessman, Hudson is keenly aware of life’s trials and tribulations.  That’s why Hudson Automotive Group has partnered with Corporate Chaplains of America to administer to the needs and fellowship on a voluntary basis to more than 500 employees.

At all his stores – over 500 employees have access to a minister on a moment’s notice, a service that will always remain personal and confidential.

As a result of Hudson’s leadership and the talented individuals that comprise his team, Automotive News Recognized Jim Hudson Automotive Group as one of the top 125 dealership groups in The United States.

District 7770’s Dr. Anne L. Matthews to Serve as Vice President of Rotary International!

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Oct 222012

Dr. Anne L. Matthews, Rotary International Vice President Elect, 13/14

It has been announced by Rotary International President-Elect Ron Burton that he has appointed our own RI Director Anne Matthews to serve as the Vice President of Rotary International for the 2013-14 Rotary year. What a great honor for Anne and for our district!

Through this appointment, Anne continues to make history. She is the first woman elected to serve as Vice President of Rotary International. She is also the first woman to be elected to serve both as Trustee of The Rotary Foundation and of the RI Board of Directors.

Congratulations Anne! We are so proud of you! It’s a well-deserved honor!

Rotary District 7770 is proud to have Dr. Anne L. Matthews as a member – her home club is Columbia East.  She is only the second woman Rotary Foundation Trustee and the third woman elected to serve as a Rotary International Board Member (2012-14).  She is also the first woman Foundation Trustee and the first woman Rotary International Board member from Zone 33.

The following transcript was taken from an introduction provided by Tin Tin Nu Raschid, Governor 1996-97, RGHF Board Member for Zone 33: (

If you had the opportunity to speak with Anne Matthews of Columbia, SC, you would  know what a charming Southern lady  she is. Takes you right back to the “Gone with the Wind” movie. My husband and I had the pleasure of dining with her at the Zone 33-34 Institute in Raleigh, NC in October 1998, when she was the Governor Nominee from District 7770. Ever since, we have been meeting at the Zone Institutes and also when she came to speak at our District Foundation Seminars.                                   

Dr. Anne L. Matthews is president of Matthews and Associates, an educational firm in Columbia, SC. She has three earned degrees, including a doctorate from the University of South Carolina. She is an educator by profession, an author of business texts, and a public speaker. She served as president of several national educational organizations and served on numerous boards, including her undergraduate alma mater, Coker College. She is the recipient of several honors including ones from the YWCA, Girl Scouts of America, key to Lake City, SC, Distinguished Alumni Award, Hall of Fame from Florence County School District 3, National Business Education’s Distinguished Service Award, and Leadership SC. She received two appointments from President Ronald Reagan. Anne has spoken and/or consulted in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and 20 foreign countries on educational issues and/or the Rotary Foundation. 

Anne is the past president of the Rotary Club of Columbia East and served as District Governor of D7770 in 1999-2000. She completed a three-year term as the District’s Foundation chair in June, 2006, and during the 2006 Rotary year, D7770 was ranked as number one in the world in Annual Giving and number seven in total giving to the Foundation. Anne initiated the Paul Harris Society in 2005-06, the Centennial year, and District 7770 secured 125 chartered members.  Anne completed a three-year term as the Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator for Zone 33 June, 2009.   

Anne served: as a National Adviser for the Rotary Foundation Permanent Fund; was appointed by the presidents of Rotary International to Zone Chair for  the Hunger Task Force and the Rotary Community  Corps Task Force; served in 2004-05 and 2005-06 as a trainer for incoming governors  at the International Assembly in Anaheim; represented D7770 as a delegate to the Council on Legislation in 2004; served as the Moderator for the Interfaith Service for the COL in Chicago in 2004; served on the  Zones 33 and 34 Executive Committee in 2004-05 as the Program Chair and as General Chair for the Atlanta Institute in 2006; represented the President of Rotary International as a President’s Representative at several district conferences; spoke and/or facilitated sessions at Rotary International Conventions and   Pre-Institutes, and served as chair of the Findings Committee for the 2010 International Institute in Montreal.  

Anne was appointed by RI Presidents D. K. Lee and John Kenney to serve as the Lead Seminar Trainer at the International Assembly in San Diego in January, 2008, and in 2009. She is presently serving as a member of TRF’s Future Vision Plan Committee during ’09-’12.  In May 2010, Anne was nominated by RIPE Ray Klinginsmith and elected by the RI Board to serve as a member of The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees. In September 2010, Anne was elected by the Zone 33 Nominations Committee to serve as Rotary International Director for Zones 33 and 34, effective July 1, 2012.

Anne is a sustaining member, multiple Paul Harris Fellow, Major Donor, charter member of the Bequest Society and the Paul Harris Society, Benefactor, and a Ten Star Rotarian. 

Anne received The Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service, The Rotary Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award, and Rotary International’s highest honor, the Service Above Self award. In 2006, she was honored as District 7770’s Rotarian of the Year.            


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