More than 80 Richmond Hill Rotary Club members and their guests gathered June 27 at Love’s Seafood Restaurant to celebrate the end of the Rotary year and the beginning of the new one July 1.
Outgoing club President Bill Eberlein thanked the board for their years of service and recognized retiring directors Jimmie Norris, Aimee Harris, Laura McGee and Ray Pittman.
Eberlein awarded the Jim Bayens award for rookie of the year to Vance Askew.
“Vance was wonderful as he helped Laura with the treasurer role, taking up much of the workload, and next year will be treasurer of the new board,” Eberlein said.
Community Service Director Ted Flake said the standard of applications for the annual Rotary scholarships and the caliber of students were high this year. He presented the Mary Bean Scholarship of $1,000 to Richmond Hill High School graduate Erica Thacker and the Jay Gardner Scholarship of $2,000 to the mother of winner Kristen Mixon, who already graduated Richmond Hill High School and is in college in South Dakota.
Jill Kelsey presented the annual Interact Student Award to Kristina Kreb as the young Interact member who had done the most for her club and her fellow members this year.
Briane Yontz presented the Community Service Award and a donation of $300 to Lisa Freeman of the Matthew Freeman Foundation.
Yontz spoke about the foundation, named in honor of a soldier who died three years ago in Afghanistan. Lisa Freeman, his mother, set up the foundation to raise money for school supplies for children in Afghanistan. Her son once told her that children there wanted pens and paper more than food.
Club secretary Lesley Francis presented the vocational service award to Beth Logano of the Richmond Hill City Center.
“The City Center is a wonderful facility for our community and everybody there works so hard to give us excellent service, food and facilities,” Francis said. “If we ever want something changed, they do so promptly and professionally. Beth looks after the Rotary Club at our weekly meeting and is always there to help the club out with a willing smile and amazing service.”
Eberlein awarded the special status of Paul Harris Fellow to eight members: Askew, Lynne Bayens, Mark Griffin, Whit Hollowell, Dell Keith, Brice Ladson, Teresa Merritt and Dr. Amy Pearson. In addition, George Haborak received the highest Paul Harris Fellow status of the three-rubies award and pin.
“I am very proud of our club’s achievement,” Eberlein said. “The Paul Harris Fellow is given in recognition of the amount donated by our club to funding important Rotary International work including the eradication of polio. The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill now has over three quarters of our members who have achieved this status.”
Four Rotarians marked their 15th years with the club. Linda Barker, James Gardner, Laura McGee and Charles Teel were each recognized for this length of service with special awards.
Aimee Harris, immediate past-president, recognized perfect attendance from Linda and Larry Barker, Gene Durante, Eberlein, Ted Flake, Francis, Michele Henderson, Jack Hyde, Dick Kent, Ladson, McGee, Teresa Merritt, Norris, Trace Palmer, Nevin Patton, Pittman, Alice Steyaart, Yontz and herself.
Officers and directors installed for 2012-13 were: President Brice Ladson, President- Elect Larry Barker, Immediate Past President Bill Eberlein, Secretary Lesley Francis, Treasurer Vance Askew, Sergeant-at-Arms Ted Flake, and directors Dell Keith, Marie Murphy and Gary Stanberry.
Ladson took the mantle of president from Eberlein and told the club his planned theme for the year ahead “CRUISE,” which stands for Community service, Renewal/Rebirth, Unity, International Service, Strength and Stability and Energy.
Ladson thanked Eberlein for his service and said he was honored to be president.