Dr. Ben Carson Addresses Historic Rotary Club of Charleston

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Jan 262016

The City of Charleston was the site of national politics last week hosting debates by both major political parties, sponsoring fund-raisers large and small, and providing venues for “meet and greet” opportunities with candidates vying for a Presidential nomination.  The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston had its own political event when Dr. Ben Carson, one of the Republican candidates for the nomination, spoke at our lunch meeting. Rotarian Charlie Palmer introduced Dr. Carson and briefly reviewed his extensive, remarkable resume. Highlights of an internationally acclaimed life and career include winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 (the highest civilian award given in the US), being recognized by the Library of Congress in 2001 as one of 89 “Living Legends,” and being awarded 67 honorary doctoral degrees. As the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins, Dr. Carson is one of the most well-known physicians in the country and around the world. He has written 6 books, one of which, Gifted Hands became a bestselling book and was made into a movie.


Addressing our membership, Dr. Carson began his remarks down-playing his illustrious life by noting that his resume also included early work as a bus driver, lab technician, and other unglamorous jobs to help pay for his education. His upbringing was managed by a single mom who struggled to take care of her two sons and insisted that he and his brother prioritize their homework and read 2 books a week. His mother’s discipline and focus on education provided the learning experiences that led to Dr. Carson’s love of science and medicine. He was an outstanding student in the medical studies he pursued at Yale University, the University of Michigan School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University. Years after completing his internship at Johns Hopkins, a 33-year old Dr. Carson returned as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, the youngest U.S. physician to ever hold such a position.


With all of his success and celebrity, Dr. Carson said that he is often asked why he would “get involved in the slimy work of politics.” The answer lies in his dedication to the lives, health and opportunities of children, a love that has successfully affected thousands of children globally. The other driver leading to Dr. Carson’s entrance in the political arena is his consternation over “what’s happening to our country.” Noting that Martin Luther King Day was celebrated on Monday, Dr. Carson reminded his audience that Dr. King was not content to “do nothing” when he also saw conditions that were harmful and unfair to people. But it is not easy to “be the someone” who tries to change those conditions and those who try are often hated and ridiculed. By entering the social and political fray of racism, the effort to make an impact “cost Dr. King his life.” Also contributing to Dr. Carson’s decision to leave an academic life and pursue politics is his deep spirituality and commitment to Christianity. Dr. Carson pointed out that another courageous change agent, Jesus Christ, also worked to make a positive impact in an environment he felt was damaging to all, especially children. He, too, paid with his life. Rather than focusing on their deaths, however, Dr. Carson spoke of how the lives and work of these two extraordinarily kind and peace-loving people did, indeed, have a profound impact on the world. These two examples inspired Dr. Carson to “do something” to change the course of America.


Dr. Carson said he worries that America has become a place where “Americans don’t take care of Americans.” He posed the question “Are we really people who hate each other? Why is there so much racial, religious, gender and intergenerational hatred? We didn’t used to be that way.” Invoking another great man, Dr. Carson reminded us that a house divided against itself cannot stand and “we cannot continue to allow the purveyors of hate to guide our country.” He believes that as a “pinnacle nation we must lead, and lead in a way that inspires confidence” against existential threats like ISIS.


In response to Rotarian questions, Dr. Carson stressed that “unity is our strength and we must emphasize what we have in common” not what divides us. No matter his world-renowned profession or degree of success, Dr. Carson’s believes that he “won the lottery” simply because he was “born in the United States and knows the Lord.”


The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston was honored to have Dr. Carson share his time and thoughts with us. Clearly, Dr. Ben Carson has a message to relay to the people of the United States and he hopes to do it as the Republican nominee for the Presidency.


Contributed by Cheryl Kinard, Keyway Committee

Historic Rotary Club of Charleston Gives the Gift of Warmth!

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Jan 022016

The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston participated in its annual Operation Warm project which is funded by the RCCF. It provides children at their partner school, James Simons Elementary, with winter coats. The RCCF was also able to fund hats, gloves and socks last year, but due to the increase in the number of students needing coats we were unable to fund those items this year. However, a big thank you to Operation Warm Chair, Cheryl Kaynard, who was able to secure a donation from the Ackerman Foundation to purchase the additional items needed!

Over 200 coats were distributed to children just in time for the holidays and cold weather!

Special thanks to the Rotarians and their friends and family members for assisting in the distribution!



Historic Rotary Club of Charleston Welcomes Youth Exchange Student

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Aug 172015

This past Tuesday night Historic Rotary Club of Charleston members Barbara Kelley Duncan and Richard Sidebottom joined our Rotary host families at the airport to welcome Sara KJÆR, our club’s youth exchange student from Denmark. Sara will be hosted by the Kapeluck and Miles families and will attend First Baptist School. We look forward to fostering global understanding through the ideals of Rotary over the next year by sharing Charleston and American culture with Sara!


Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. speaks at the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston

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Jun 092015

June 2, 2015: Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., joined us with an update on City of Charleston initiatives. Elected in 1975, Mayor Riley is serving his tenth term and is na-tionally recognized as a leader in urban design and liva-bility issues. Recipient of many honors and accolades over the years, he was recently presented with the Na-tional Medal for Design Leadership by the American Ar-chitecture Foundation.

After thanking club members for their engagement in service, the Mayor commented on a number of new and existing projects. Here are some highlights:

Gaillard Center – this $142 million performing arts center will open October 9th and include 1,800 seat performance hall, convention space, and city offices for one-stop permitting and planning services .

West Ashley focus includes a new 16,000sf Senior Center, completion of the West Ashley Circle (at Glenn McConnell Blvd), and revitalization of the Citadel Mall area.

International African American Museum –Mayor Riley calls one of the most important institutions the city and county could develop; to be housed at the former location of Gadsden Wharf, this is projected to cost $75 million, 1/3 of which has been committed to by the City and County, 1/3 pledged by the State Legislature, and 1/3 hoped for from private funds.

Drainage Improvements – $200 million total budget for multiple projects under-way, including East Bay/Calhoun Street, Ardmore, Avondale, Byrnes Down, Market Street, and the Cross Town; all phases of the Cross Town project have been funded via the State Infrastructure Bank.

West Edge (formerly the Horizon Project), a City and MUSC project will create a new mixed-use neighborhood; the first three projects will be apartments, office, and parking and cost approximately $210 million.

Police Department – three new initiatives are focusing on community engage-ment and reduction of recidivism rates through counseling and job place-ment within the City.

When asked to name some Spoleto moments, the Mayor suggested the very first one, the public events that transformed Marion Square, and the free concert at the US Custom House. Asked for advice for his successor, he suggested infra-structure (I-526 completion, bike/ped paths) is critical and urged the new Mayor should work hard, listen to the citizens (“hear their words, see their hearts”), and seek to excel at something better than any other city.

Submitted by Tammy Coghill, Keyway Committee

Photo by Historian Fred Sales


Historic Rotary Club of Charleston Votes on Upcoming Leadership

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Jan 262015

This past Tuesday, the Board of the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston voted Alissa C. Lietzow as President Elect-Elect to serve for the 2016-2017 Rotary year. She will follow the current President Elect, Paul Stoney, who will begin his term later this year. Paul was elected last year to serve as President after current President Digit Matheny.


Photographed to the left: Current President Digit Matheny; ’16-’17 President Elect-Elect Alissa Lietzow; ’15-’16 President Elect Paul Stoney.



Paul L. Stoney has been a member of the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston since 2007. He served as Chairman of the education committee for 4 years and is heavily involved in many of the club’s programs such as Rotary Windows, Y-Achievers, and Tennis for students at James Simmons.  In 2014, Paul was elected as Club President to serve beginning July 2015.

Paul is the youngest of five children, and is a native of Queens, New York. He attended Queens College in New York and is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC.  Upon graduation Paul began his 29 year career in the YMCA of Greater Charlotte.  In May 2006, Paul accepted the position as President/CEO of the YMCA of Greater Charleston in and is currently working on the development of a strategic plan and financial development with his Board of Directors.

​​Paul Stoney is married to Allison Stoney and they have one daughter, Amber, who is currently working in Charlotte, North Carolina.



Alissa has been a member since September, 2011, and was sponsored by her boss and long-time Rotarian, James A. Stuckey. Last year, Alissa served as Board Secretary and she is now serving as an elected Board member. Alissa is also responsible for all of the club’s public relations, including keeping current on social media sites likes FaceBook and Twitter.

Alissa is a practicing attorney with the Stuckey Law Offices. She started with Stuckey Law Offices in 2005, as a sophomore at the College of Charleston. She was accepted into the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army JAG Corps, but decided to continue at Stuckey Law Offices, where her focus is on governmental defense, including Tort Claims Act, Constitutional matters, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 litigation. She is a Board Member of the Charleston School of Law Alumni Association and the Law School Transition Eleemosynary Corporation, and a member of the James L. Petrigru Inn of Court.  She also Chairs the Charleston Cinderella Project.

Alissa married Christopher Lietzow in April, 2014.

Rotary Club of Charleston Awards Perfect Attendance

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Nov 152014

Congratulations to Rotarians Rob Dewey, Alissa Lietzow, and Patterson Smith who were recently recognized for their perfect attendance. Rob has 21 years of perfect attendance,  Alissa has just completed her 3rd year of perfect attendance, and Past President Patterson Smith has 5 years of perfect attendance. Their commitment and dedication to Rotary is to be commended.

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L-R: Alissa Lietzow, Rob Dewey, and President Digit Matheny

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L-R:  President Digit Matheny and Past President Patterson Smith

Historic Rotary Club of Charleston Served Up “Shoe Guys” at Wine Women & Shoes

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Nov 112014

The 2nd Annual Wine, Women & Shoes Event on November 2nd was a resounding success. Well-heeled guests sipped, shopped, and supported Florence Crittenton Programs services for young pregnant women and their children. Volunteer “Shoe Guys” (many Rotarians) encouraged them to partake of local vendors. Local celebrity models strutted their stuff in a fashion show overseen by clothier Rapport, featuring shoes from Bob Ellis and Shoes on King. Inspired by speaker Jessica Watkins, generous donors helped ensure these young women would have the housing, education, medical care, and counseling they need to become self-sufficient mothers.

Flo Crit Mission Statement: To provide young pregnant and parenting women comprehensive services to help them become self-sufficient and responsible mothers.

Serving as Shoe Guys, these Rotarians helped show off vendor’s merchandise, poured copious amounts of wine, and charmed the VIPs.



Photograph above includes Past President Mark Smith (2nd from left), Trey Lucy (3rd from left), Past President Jermaine Husser (5th from left), President Digit Matheny (3rd from right), Ken Caldwell (2nd from right), and Shoe Guy Coordinator (tough job!) Alissa Lietzow (far right). Present but not photographed was Rotarian Myers Jordan.


WWS2Photographed above L-R

Past President Mark Smith, Past President Jermaine Husser, President Digit Matheny

Rotary Club of Charleston Lights Up the Night for RCCF

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Oct 072014

For the 2014-2015 Rotary year, the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston is switching up its annual fundraiser.  In the past, the club has hosted an annual gala at the Francis Marion Hotel, relying on a live and silent auction for its RCCF fundraising. This year, President Digit Matheny is spearheading a new direction.

The first annual Light Up the Night Holiday Parade of Boats on December 13, 2014, combines two of the Lowcountry’s most beloved traditions – the allure of the harbor and twinkling holiday lights. The event is presented by the historic Rotary Club of Charleston and the City of Charleston in conjunction with the Charleston Sail and Power squadron.

A viewing party filled with the sounds of the season and captivating lights will be held at the Charleston Maritime Center on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. Boats adorned with colorful, twinkling lights will promenade past the viewing docks while guests on shore fill the air with their favorite holiday carols and feast on the scrumptious tastes of the season. This family-friendly event is sure to become a holiday tradition for young and old from far and near.

As an added bonus, you can make a $100 donation to the Rotary Club of Charleston Foundation for a chance to win a brand new Sea Fox boat! (See photo). With a retail value of $36,469, the Viper 180 Bay Boat features a 90XA HP Yamaha motor, Magic Tilt trailer, Infinity stereo Garmin Echo 50, Pro Package accessories and a 48-quart cooler.

And remember, all funds raised through this event will continue to benefit dozens of local non-profit organizations.

For more information, visit www.CharlestonParadeofBoats.com



Historic Rotary Club of Charleston Escorted Students & Parents to the Family Circle Cup

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Apr 082014

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On Sunday, March 30, 2014, the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston escorted James Simons elementary school students and parents to the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina on Daniel Island. Children participated in tennis lessons, rock climbing, a magic show, ropes courses, and other fun events. Students and their families were also treated to lunch and the qualifying rounds of tennis at the Daniel Island Family Circle Cup facility.

This is the second year in a row students and their families from James Simons were treated to family day by the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston, which has been the adopted school of the Rotary Club for several years. Tennis lessons and educational field trips are just a few of the other activities provided by our club throughout the school year. A very special thank you to our Rotary volunteers and staff members at James Simons Elementary who made this trip possible.

Historic Rotary Club of Charleston Participated in Water Missions International’s Annual Walk

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Mar 302014

Water Missions WalkThis past Saturday, Rotarians from the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston participated in Water Missions International’s Annual Walk for Water. The funds raised will support safe water community development projects. It was a family-friendly, non-competitive event. Rotarians began their walk with an empty bucket symbolizing the trek that millions take each day to fetch water. Halfway through the walk, buckets were filled with water and the journey was completed.


Pictured above (L-R) Rotarian Ruthie Ravenel, President Elect Digit Matheny, his wife Danielle Matheny, Karrie Saboe, Rotarian, Mike Saboe, President John Tecklenburg, Rotarian Peter Shahid, Sandy Tecklenburg, Rotarian Tom Brown, and his wife Nancy Brown.

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