Under the guidance of president Julia San Roman, the Rotary Club of Memphis East began its 26th year with 134 members. The board voted in August to conduct our first professional member survey. More than two-thirds of our membership responded and commented to the online survey conducted by Research Dynamics, Inc. The study’s findings were presented to the board and to the club in early October. A steering committee was formed to analyze the results and recommend strategies for future club growth and development. That process continues. Areas of specific focus: Technology and Modernization; Membership; Speakers and Programs; Finance and Administration; and Service Projects.
Our support of White Station Elementary School continued with tutoring, Junior Achievement classes, as well as the ever effective “Girls in Pearls” and Guys in Ties” programs. Several of our members also have worked on an outdoor classroom and an attractive garden area for WSE, our adopted school.
The 13th annual Dunavant Public Servant Awards event was attended by about 450. Honorees this year were State Senator Mark Norris and Lisa Geater, Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Memphis. Keynote speaker was Spence Wilson, Chairman of the Kemmons Wilson Companies.
The club’s golf tournament took place at Windyke CC. Our well-attended newcomer’s reception was at the Great Hall in Germantown. Julia and Rick San Roman hosted a happy crowd in their home for the annual RCME Holiday party. We sponsored seven delegates to the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy. Member profiles began appearing in the club bulletin.
Gift of Life MidSouth (GOL) continued its valuable work with LeBonheur Children’s’ Hospital in providing no-cost pediatric cardiac care. Eight children have received life saving heart surgery at LeBonheur during this Rotary year, bringing to 67 the total number of patients brought here for help by GOL. The organization started as an International Project for RCME in 2007. It has since become a stand-alone 501(c3) and enjoys the support of many clubs in Rotary District 6800. During this Rotary year, GOL was recognized with a substantial cash award from the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation, an organization that is supported by Investment News, a national financial trade publication. RCME members who serve on the GOL board are: Bob Chance, Tracy Chism, Dick Cockrell, Jane Hanifin, Lynn Lanigan, Richard Large, and GOL founder, Bill Pickens.
The RCME Foundation raised $21,800 in its annual drive. Grants totaling $18,950 were made to such worthy organizations as: the Binghampton Development Corp., Common Sense, Inc., Gift of Life MidSouth, the Mid-South Food Bank, Neighborhood Christian Center, the Shelby County Crime Program and White Station Elementary School.
At the “Passing of the Gavel” meeting, six new Paul Harris Fellows were named; Dick Swett, charter member and longtime supporter of RCME was signally honored for his many years of club service and Bob Chandler was selected as Rotarian of the Year. Sadly, during this year, David Richardson and Ed Myrick, two of our club members, passed away. At year-end, RCME membership totaled 124.