The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill held their annual meeting on June 30 at Richmond Hill’s City Center. The Rotary year runs from July 1st to June 30th and this meeting is when the new President and Board members are voted on by the members. These officers were voted on and appointed:
· President - Rebecca Schmidt
· President Elect and Secretary - Doris Purser
· Treasurer - Jim Gardner
· Sergeant At Arms - Kathryn Johnson
· Past President - Emily Kurilla
· Officer - Susan Lyon
· Officer - Coby Royal
· Officer - Ray Gaster
Emily Kurilla, outgoing President, presented three Volunteer of the Year Awards to individuals who went above and beyond in their service and commitment to Richmond Hill and the Rotary Club. Ray and Connie Pittman both received Volunteer of the Year awards for hosting Sofie Bohl, our GRSP Student from Sweden for the last year. Ray and Connie opened their home with loving arms to Sofie as she studied at GSU’s Armstrong campus for the school year. Ray and Connie fed Sophie, housed her when she tested positive for Covid (asymptomatic), and entertained her with boat outings and ski trips.
The second award was presented to Doris Purser, club secretary, whose service and hard work goes well beyond taking attendance. Emily said “Doris Purser has been instrumental in this Club and on the Board for several years now. She has given so much of her time ensuring our events and service projects go off without a hitch including finding musicians for evening socials with less than two hours to spare” Emily then reminded the club of a quote from the founder of the Rotary Foundation, Arch Klumph, “We should not live for ourselves alone, but for the joy in doing good for others”. In 2021-2022 the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill gained three new members: Steve Scholar, Krista Phillips, and Hannah Valentine, and an honorary member – Michael Ribuffo.
Emily gave an overview of some of the highlights of her year as President with the goal of engaging and giving back to the community after the challenges of the pandemic, including:
· The club gathered needed supplies for Family Promise’s home and health kits as the Rotary year’s first community service project.
· In October the club raised money for grants and scholarships by selling fall mums.
· In December the club donated to the RH Middle School’s Winter Wonderland Project, which promotes excitement in literacy. As part of the project, the club donated 125 books for the book reading from Santa.
· In January the Rotary Club decided to collect supplies to re-stock the schools.
· The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill was one of seven Georgia clubs to participate in a “Healing Little Hearts” global grant project in India. Over $125,000 were raised to perform pediatric heart surgery for 63 children suffering from congenital heart disease. India has the highest incidence of this disease in the world with over 400,000 children suffering from congenital heart conditions.
· In February the club hosted the seniors of Bryan County at the first annual Valentine's Day luncheon offering music, food, table gifts, and fellowship. It was a huge success and enjoyed by all who attended and Rotarian, Nikki Haborak, was thanked for spearheading community service projects this year.
· In the Spring of this year, Rotarians judged and awarded the RHHS Interact Club’s Earth Day Recycled Art Project and hosted them for a beach clean up day. In addition, Rotary awarded Laurel Bixler the Jay Gardner Scholarship and gave out nearly $1,000 for monthly Junior Rotarian recipients.
· The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill, reinstated the annual Raffle and Fundraiser at Bubba’s Bistro 3 and turned it back into a social event with food, music, and silent auction.
· The past year the club also implemented an evening social on the last Thursday of each month in order to gather at different venues including Love’s Seafood, the City Center, and Bubba’s Bistro.
Rotarians contribute their time, energy and passion to sustainable, long-term projects in local communities across the globe. Rotary Club of Richmond Hill gives back to our community throughout the year with initiatives like the Senior Citizens Programs, educational sponsorships such as the J.D. Gardner Scholarship, good causes like the Presidents Fund which help our local schools. They also focus on international Rotary initiatives such as Alzheimer’s Research and Polio eradication.