New Faces - 01/22/2015 Membership Meeting

One of the realities of Rotary is that some members will be in our club until it's time to go to breakfast at the big O'Henry in the sky and others are only around until life gets in the way. It seems like over the last year, we've had a LOT of life getting in the way. Some of our members have faced great adversity and taken leave for serious personal reasons. Others have changed jobs, gotten engaged, moved or found another club closer or more convenient for them.

We hope the ones who leave will always be Rotarians, because there simply is no better organization in the world that does the sort of things Rotary does. Our club is a living thing and with it comes change. It is our duty to recruit new members that reflect the values and standards of OUR club. Yes, we are a triple crown club. Yes, we win lots of awards at the District and National level. But, even more than that, we are a sweat equity club. We don't look for members that seek out networking opportunities or simply want to write a check and come to breakfast. We want members who get out there and Ring the Bell or hammer nails. Members who build lasting friendships and make our community and even our world a better place through Service above Self. Our Rotary club makes a difference and the awards and accolades are just the icing on a cake we already made from scratch. We are Gate City Rotary.

This morning we got a little glimpse into the lives of three new members. The Happy Dollars were flying again and there was a great mood in the room. One of our favorite meetings is "New Member Talks" and we had a great one today. Watch the video to find out who writes music, who likes "Old People" and who really needs a girlfriend (because he likes to go to Fish Shows!?!). It was a great meeting and I hope these guys have a long and rewarding "career" in Rotary! Hope to see everyone next week!

Jeff Tillman

Paul Zuccchino

Alex Pham

The Importance of Family - 01/15/2015 Membership Meeting

Well, twice now I've lost my write-up of this week's meeting. I'll try it one more time and that's it. I might have to find a new place to host our site!

We had a good crowd for this morning, but it was a very strange day indeed! Here we are only two weeks into 2015 and we get one (1) Happy Dollar! What in the world is going on? Let's hope people hit the lottery this coming week or at least have their kids do something great! One dollar. Buster's stories alone are worth more than that!

We inducted another new member this week. Reach out a hand and welcome Robert Gray to the club. And while you're at it, welcome ALL the new members to the club and maybe introduce yourself to some old members you don't know!

Probably the one group closest to each of us that we take for granted a lot of times is our very own family. We know they will always be there for us, so we simply expect it. Well, there are a LOT of kids in North Carolina alone who don't have that luxury. Brian Maness, President and CEO of the Children's Home Society of North Carolina, gave an emotional, yet inspirational presentation featuring some kids that want just one thing - a family. If you've ever been interested in helping kids that really need it, please talk to Brian or contact someone at the Children's Home Society through their website:

They have so many volunteer and funding opportunities and there is a real need for anyone willing to be a foster family or better yet, adopt. Such a wonderful presentation and a most worthy cause.

Next week, let's break the bank with Happy Dollars. I've been told it's New Member Talks! Don't miss it. Come out and bring a guest!

Our newest member, Robert Gray

Brian Maness talks about the Children's Home Society of North Carolina

A Brand New Year - 01/08/2015 Membership Meeting

Our first meeting of the year was a busy one! A very cold morning had us all bundled up, but we still had a great program.

First off, Kelly Harrill introduced Kim Strable who gave us an update on the US Figure Skating Championships being held in Greensboro, January 17 - 25, 2015. If you're free on any of these dates, head out to the Coliseum for this great event.

Marion Goldwasser is a very special Rotarian who has championed the cause of the underprivileged people of Uganda for many, many years. She's leading the way again and gave a wonderful presentation on her fundraising efforts for a District 7690 Global Grant. Thanks Marion for all your dedication!

We also inducted a brand new member into Gate City Rotary. Please make sure and give Alex Pham a big welcome to our club!

Well, it looks like the weather will be better next week. Hope to see everyone at the next meeting!

A Very Special Day in History - 12/04/2014 Membership Meeting

Some days you just don't feel like getting out of bed. And then there are those days you are so thankful you did get up and made it to your Thursday morning Rotary meeting!

What a day! A meeting that was chock full of great stuff - A new member, a record number of guests and great fellowship. And to top it all off, one of the best programs I've seen since joining Rotary. This is one that will not soon be forgotten.

My father was a Sergeant in the Army Infantry on a very special day in history. June 6, 1944 was quite possibly the most important date in the modern world's history, from a strictly non-Religious viewpoint. He was part of the allied forces that stormed the beaches of Normandy. The only stories I ever got to hear about it are from my older brother who has much of the memorabilia, medals of honor and assorted items my Dad was able to bring back from Europe. Even though I barely knew him, I've always been proud of the fact that he served our country in the fight against tyranny. He was a highly decorated World War II veteran and although that is not how he lost his life, he was wounded and received the purple heart as well.

Today's program is why we all love Rotary. People in the room this morning "get it". You see people nodding their heads when someone talks about "freedom" and "patriotism". You hear someone say "that's right" when they here the words "honor" or "service". You see people wiping a tear away when talking about something that happened 70 years ago. And that's why we meet and work together. We are of like minds and we "get it". An absolutely fabulous presentation today by Doug Copeland. I can't do it justice by writing about it. Watch the video. I hate we had to rush through it a little bit because we were so busy this morning!

No meeting next week. Well, the meeting is at Mike Conrad's house. Hope to see everyone there!

New member, Paul Zucchino, gets pinned by Cheryl David. Everyone give Paul a huge Gate City Rotary welcome!

One of the best presentations ever at Gate City Rotary. He had to rush it a little, but Doug Copeland's program was fantastic!

A Focus on the Children - 10/23/2014 Membership Meeting

With all the Fundraising and other stuff that's been going on, it has really been hard to catch up my meeting blog!  And this was a very special meeting that deserves a write-up.

You can certainly tell how much Nancy Letteri loves the "Children of Vietnam" organization. Nancy is the Executive Director for "Children of Vietnam" and a passionate advocate for this wonderful group that has so many ties to Gate City Rotary. It's no secret that Gate City Rotary also loves "Children of Vietnam" and Nancy was here to tell us just how much our club has done to improve the lives of a group of people who wouldn't have basic necessities if it wasn't for donations that stretch farther than we can possibly imagine. Her heartfelt gratitude and stories of how much of a difference we have made in the lives of these children are what it's all about. Service above Self. It's why we are Rotarians!

Unfortunately, Nancy could not get her slide show to work, but she passed some pictures on to me. You can see them in the gallery below (which may take a few seconds to come up, but will be located under the pictures from our meeting). Just click on the arrows to see all the pictures. They are well worth it!

To learn more about the great work of "Children of Vietnam", visit their website here:    

Taxation and Conservation - 10/16/2014 Membership Meeting

We had a very busy meeting Thursday morning with presentations, new badges and a very big prize giveaway.

First up was a presentation in favor of the quarter cent sales tax increase that proponents claim will benefit our schools. I write this blog and give my opinions on the meetings. If you want my opinion on the quarter cent sales tax increase, ask. Enough said.

No doubt there was a lot of anticipation about who would win the coveted "golf for four" and other amenities at Grandover offered by Kelly Harrill at the last meeting. Anyone taking a block of raffle tickets got entered in the drawing. Well, anyone except Buster who got his extra tickets just before the meeting started. After chants to put Buster's name in the hat, we finally got down to the winning Rotarian. Well, who won? Watch the video and find out! And log a makeup while you're at it!

Sean Roberts finally got his blue badge as did John Nosek. Sean only beat my time by about ten months!

There were lots of announcements with the fundraiser just around the corner and barely had time for Happy Dollars. That always makes me sad, so I didn't give a Happy Dollar. I did get recognized for picking the Cowboys over the Seahawks in the football pool. I don't remember why I did that, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the only game I got right. But, I must have found a few more acorns because I didn't get the zero bar.

Anyway, once we got to the presentation, we had about four minutes left and it was kind of rushed. Kind of a shame, because I've actually seen a Preservation Greensboro program before at another Rotary club meeting. It's very interesting to hear how they are protecting what little heritage Greensboro has left! And good for them for doing it. Of course, the star in our crown is and always will be Blandwood. Get more information about Preservation Greensboro and help support this valuable organization here:

Okay everyone. Only one more meeting before the fundraiser! Don't forget, we will be at the Proximity next week. Sell those raffle and party tickets!


John Nosek and Sean Roberts trade in their badges.

Benjamin Briggs talks about preserving our architecture.

John Graham gives some interesting facts about Blandwood mansion.

New Members, Pet Pigs and Raffle Ticket Heaven - 10/09/2014 Membership Meeting

Wow, it's nice to be back writing a story about our Thursday morning meeting! I'm probably the only one who reads this blog, but hey, it's good therapy no matter what. How often do you get to write about a pig who happens to be the mascot for a BBQ festival?

We started off this past Thursday as always. Breakfast. A prayer. The "Pledge of Allegiance". And of course, the Four Way Test. Then it got a little crazy!

I'm not sure if Jeff Tillman knows what he's getting into! Jeff is the newest member of Gate City Rotary and all I can say to him is, "We have fun and make no apologies about it!". Everyone welcome Jeff to the club. He's a friend of Ralph Jones, but let's not hold that against him!

Judge Robbie Hassell is our man when it comes to the solemn, stately and very serious dedication and charge to our new members. His eloquent delivery is always something to behold as he goes through the ceremony with ease. Imagine doing that without your notes! Well, Robbie just walked through it like he wrote the dang induction speech himself! I hope I never owe this guy money because he doesn't forget a thing!

Okay, so let's talk about Sean Roberts. Sean gave a very moving speech back before he was a member of Gate City Rotary and today he gave his new member talk. For such a young man, he's quite a veteran (actually, he is a military veteran!). This kid (if you're over 50, you can call him that), has seen more than most of us and I'm very proud to call him my friend. Look up enthusiasm in the dictionary. Look up dedication. You'll find Sean Robert's picture there.

Sean has a lovely wife, a dog and a pet pig that has a name. I don't remember the pig's name, because once I found out he's the official mascot of PigStock, well, I just don't care what his name is. That pig is alright with me!

You think that's all? You think that is ALL that happened at the meeting? Okay, so raffle ticket sales are a little slow. Sure, Rob Midgett can send out Emails and sell them like Hot Cakes! I've sold all mine, get off my back Chris! But, that's not the point. Here is where it all got crazy.

Like something from the old west, Kelly Harrill stood up and the room went quiet. Right in the middle of stories on how to sell raffle tickets and where we stand, he just stood up. I thought I heard in the distance the whistle from "the good, the bad and the ugly".  I'm not sure, but I do believe I heard it.

Anyway, the place got real quiet.

Kelly Harrill gets our attention!

So, here is what Kelly says. He says that anyone selling another block of raffle tickets will go into a drawing for a prize he came up with on the fly. It had something to do with Golf at Grandover, dinner for four, a suite at the resort with a French name and maybe meeting Paul McCartney. Hell, I don't know what all he said. I missed about half of it trying to move the camera over to record it. Check out the video to learn more. All I know is that it's one helluva prize!

So, as I'm taping the meeting, three tables flipped over on top of me as people ran over to get more raffle tickets to sell. So, next week, some lucky Gate City Rotarian will win a prize worth more than their car! Well, worth more than my car anyway.

I'm writing this late on a Friday. PigStock is tomorrow. And Gate City Rotary rocks! You just can't get any better than this club!

And, here are the pics!

Our newest member, Jeff Tillman!

Sean Roberts gives his new member talk.


A Special Treat - 09/18/2014 Membership Meeting

I had the pleasure this morning to be joined at breakfast by one of the Executive Chefs from arcBarks. Her name is Jordan, and she certainly eats a lot healthier than me! While I had bacon and eggs with a biscuit, she enjoyed two bowls of Cheerios and gradually began smiling more and more until she brightened up the entire room!

I'm not going to write a lot about this morning's program. It's not manly to cry at work. I'll just say that it's a shame so many people missed it because we had a rather sparse crowd on hand. Sarah Ray, Executive Director of the arcBarks Company here in Greensboro, was just tremendous. Her outlook on life and how much she's learned from these special people really goes to the heart of what Rotary is all about. I encourage everyone to watch the meeting video from today and go by the bakery whenever you get a chance. It's truly one of the best meetings we've had this year. So, if you couldn't make it, you missed out, because they also gave away free Dog Treats!

This was one of the best presentations I've seen at Rotary, and that's saying a lot, because we have some amazing speakers every Thursday morning. Hope everyone has a great weekend. Don't forget "Big Sweep" on Saturday.

For more information about arcBarks, visit their website here:

Sarah Ray, Executive Director of arcBarks, gives a wonderful presentation.

Chef Jordan takes a bow!

A big thumbs up for the meeting this morning! It was a Special Treat!

A serious amount of Green - 09/11/2014 Membership Meeting

I'll go ahead and say it. I like the Green Valley Grill just fine as a restaurant, but it is a logistical nightmare to have a breakfast meeting there. I'm not sure who all was there this morning because we were spread out all over the place! But, we still had a great program and I certainly learned a lot about some great things going on downtown.

Being a native of our fair city, I often hear visitors talk about how nice it is that we have so many "Green" spaces. From Bryan Park to Guilford Battleground, we've done a pretty fine job in our outlying areas to preserve and protect. Anyone going out to Battleground or Bur-Mil park can certainly find plenty of places to do some serious mountain bike riding or just take a leisurely walk or jog on the myriad of trails and greenways available.

Still, in downtown Greensboro, a lot of the landscape has become neglected over the years. With major revitalization efforts in place to get people to live, work and socialize in downtown Greensboro, what a great time to put some "Green" back in the downtown area! Well, there is no doubt about it, it takes some "Green" to make some "Green".

The Greensboro Downtown Greenway is a unique 4-mile walking and biking trail that forms an urban loop that surounds the City and will eventually connect to other Greenways throughout the area. With a projected cost of $26 million in public and private funds, it ain't cheap, but Greenways like this one have proven time and again to be great investments in our future. Nobody wants to invest in downtown Greensboro if it's a dilapidated, unsafe area to work and play in!

The Greenway loop provides a unique opportunity for Greensboro to have the only one of its kind in the stateand one of the few in the country. With an emphasis on public art, the Greenway will tell stories and engage trail users in a unique and authentic way. In addition, with the connections to the extensive existing and planned trails systems in both the city and the county, this loop will connect residents from all parts of the community and beyond.

Does it really help to revitalize our downtown? Well, our presenter this morning certainly provided a lot of facts and a great progress report on what I think is a wonderful project. Dabney Sanders, the Project Manager for the Downtown Greenway Loop, did a great job of showing us what has already been done and what is happening in the near future. Is it worth it? I think so. Based on national statistics, every dollar we invest in the Greenway could see a   $5$12 return in additional private investment. There are more than $200 million dollars of planned or completed projects along the Greenway that credit it as one of the criteria for making that investment! Plus, it looks really cool too, with very hip artwork along the route and a facelift for some areas of the city that really needed it. Check it out here, or better yet, go and take a walk on what is open now!

Dabney Sanders talks about he Downtown Greenway

Something Old, Something New - 08/28/2014 Membership Meeting

It's funny, but you tend to forget a lot of things having to do with school as you get older. Sure, you remember the big football game or that first dance you took a date to. But, one of the things I certainly remember from my younger days is going to Old Salem back when I was in middle school.

Ragan Folan, the CEO of Old Salem. was our presenter this morning and that was one of the first questions she asked. "Have any of you ever been to Old Salem?" And of course, most of the people in the room raised their hands. Well, her next question was, "How many have been since that field trip in the fourth grade???" I'm ashamed to admit, I had to put my hand down.  

I think what I remember most about my trip to Old Salem in middle school was how great it smelled. The aroma of fresh baked bread seemed to be everywhere. And I remember there were lots of people wearing funny clothes and making things by hand. It certainly had an impression on me and now I want to go back! I've got a lot of places I want to visit after all the great presentations this year. The tunnel under the railroad tracks at UNC-G, the Greensboro Science Center and now the New Old Salem. For more information about Old Salem, visit their website here:

On a sad, but moving note, about twenty of our members met prior to the visitation for Sheila Barth on Wednesday evening. It really was a very emotional outpouring of support that made me even prouder to be a member of this great organization. When you don't know what to say, the best thing you can do is just be there.

I didn't know Kevin's wife Sheila personally, but from all the things I read about her, she was an amazing person. Let us all keep Kevin and his family in our prayers and continue to reach out to them with helping hands in this most difficult time. 

I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend. I know I'm looking forward to it. Hope to see everyone next week! Anyone want to buy a raffle ticket? 

Light it Up! - 08/21/2014 Membership Meeting

What a great crowd we had today! A large contengent of Rotarians from all over gathered at the O'Henry Hotel this morning. There was a large crowd from Gate City, lots of visitors and several District Officers as well. Everyone was ready to Light Up Rotary!

We started off with an excercise in positive feedback that Emily introduced. Everyone had to tell another person how something that person did had a positive impact on them personally. The concept is called SBI which is short for Situation, Behavior and Impact. You tell another person how a certain Situation brought about certain Behavior and what Impact that had on you or others involved. I don't supposed it always has to be positive, but Emily wanted members to give feedback to other members about a positive experience. It was a great way to kick things off and put everyone in the right frame of mind!

We then moved on to some fantastic awards given out to several of our Gate City members who are now part of the Paul Harris Society. It's great honor and we are proud of Mid, Dale, Chip and Emily who join Mike Conrad from Gate City!

Next, we got around to the man of the hour, District Governor Patrick Eakes. Patrick has a resume that's a little too long to read, so just the highlights of his career, both in and out of Rotary, were enough to boggle the mind. When does this guy sleep? Patrick told some great stories and related Rotary back to friends and family in a presentation that was right on time! We need to spread the word about the wonderful things Rotary does as an organization, and also bring new and diverse members into Rotary. As Partick reminded us, there are a LOT of Rotarians out there that just don't know it yet! A great presentation Patrick, we really appreciate you coming out this morning!

Let's keep this great attendance up next week! Bring a guest and come out for great fellowship and the best breakfast meeting in town!

On a very, very sad note, Danny Farley gave an update on Kevin Barth's wife, Sheila, who has been taken off life support. Please keep Kevin and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Contact Danny if you would like to help the family during this most difficult time for them.  

Past District Governor David McCoy talks about the Rotary Foundation and the Paul Harris Society.

Our newest Paul Harris Society members!

District Governor Patirck Eakes Lights up our Meeting!

Patrick told some great stories and encouraged us to get more involved in all apsects of Rotary.

Our current President, Emily Hoole and District Governor Patrick Eakes share a laugh about "pinning".

A standing "O" for District Governor Patrick Eakes.

Gate City Rotary's 2014-2015 Board of Directors.

Gate City Rotary's 2014-2015 Board of Directors.

She Blinded me with Science - 08/14/2014 Membership Meeting

I hope everyone else gets that song stuck in their head now that it is stuck in mine. It was bad enough having to hear it all the time back in the 80's!

Speaking of Happy Dollars, there were a LOT of them today. We were just about to run into our speaker's time when Buster called the question, but collected two more quick dollars at the last second. It was also a classic "Grand Pappy says" day, so don't miss that one!

We had a really packed house this morning. Everyone keep an eye on Facebook for upcoming events. I'm trying to keep things posted on there. If you aren't "following" the Gate City page on Facebook, go to it and hit "Like". That will update you whenever something is posted on that site.

After we got through announcements, which included a very sweet recap from our District Cultural Rotary Scholarship winner, Aenia Amin, we moved into the marathon of "Happy" Dollars mentioned earlier. Finally, we got down to the business at hand. Aquariums. Science. Fun Stuff. A most impressive success story right here in our back yard. How many of you remember going to the old Natural Science Center as a kid? They always had some snakes in old aquariums and some pretty cool stuff going on along with a small petting zoo. Well, I'm going to have to revisit the new Greensboro Science Center, because it is not the same place!

We have a SciQuarium (who doesn't want to see that?!), a brand new Animal Discovery area and the old museum is getting a facelift as well! Oh, but that's not all. Beth McAlhany, Vice President of Donor Relations, let us in on a secret at her wonderful presentation this morning. There are all kinds of new things in the plans as well! 

Phase II of renovations will include SkyWild Adventures, set to open next Spring. It will take the visitor experience into the trees on a series of platforms, rope courses and zip-lines that provide cardio fitness training, team-building exercises and eye-to-eye wildlife viewing over the Animal Discovery grounds.

And there's even more! The centerpiece of Phase III is Sanctuary Station, an endangered species collection that will double the size of Animal Discovery with such species as gibbons, Komodo dragons, orangutans, pygmy hippos and tree kangaroos.

They have certainly turned this into a World-Class Science Center and quite a gem for Greensboro. Thanks Beth for the great presentation!

Next week is a REALLY BIG meeting. Our new District Governor, Patrick Eakes, will be visiting, so let's have a great showing of Gate City Rotary attendance and spirit! Don't forget, tomorrow is our first service activity of the year!

District Cultural Rotary Scholar, Aenia Amin is introduced by Jim Kennedy

Aenia Amin gives us an update on her travels.

Our guest speaker, Beth McAlhany, Vice President of Donar Relations a the Greensboro Science Center

New Exhibits!

Beth McAlhany tells us about future projects at the Greensboro Science Center

Greener Pastures - 08/07/2014 Membership Meeting

Our meeting this morning had a lot of facets to it. I could skate over a lot of them and just talk about the speaker, who happened to be wonderful. April Harris is a long-time advocate of Greensboro and has done so much to help put us on track when it comes to Community Development and letting people know about the great things we have to offer. She talked about a lot of positives and showed us how "Green" the pastures are in Greensboro right now!

There are people collaborating. There are workshops, meeting places and joint efforts that cater to the Business Owners and Entrepreneurs that will lead us into the future. Greener pastures. Greensboro is on the verge of great things. It's our time to break free of constantly being compared to Raleigh, Charlotte and Durham. 

Learn more about some of the work April does here:

I've only been in Rotary for a little over a year. Last weekend, I was talking to our new District Governor, Patrick Eakes. When he found out I was in Gate City Rotary, he looked at me and said, "Gate City is simply amazing. You don't get any better than Gate City. You guys are what Rotary is all about. The Gold Standard."

He's right. We are Gate City Rotary!  Triple Crown, Gold Club, Number ONE in the District in attendance. We set the standards that other clubs want to emulate. I am PROUD to be a member of Gate City Rotary. That's enough commentary from me. I'll drop off my Happy Dollar to Buster when I see him.

If you were not at the meeting, please watch the video and see Mid Middleton! Max Kern, there is a song for you. Don't miss it!  And Mid has even more big news to share!

We have a BIG year ahead of us. Lots of exciting projects coming up. Be a part of it! Hope to see everyone next Thursday!

April Harris putting the "Green" in Greensboro.

Bright Futures - 07/31/2014 Membership Meeting

It was nice to see some young people this morning! Ahhh, the future. Aren't we all a little guilty of thinking our generation did it better than these kids today? Well, I got news for ya, if Rotary has anything to say about it, we are in good hands with some of our future leaders!

We started off the meeting recognizing a new member. I don't know how many of you were at the meeting where our guest speaker was Sean Roberts, but I was. It was one of the most memorable meetings I've been to as a Rotarian. Sean's incredible story of courage and patriotism is in our video archives and I would encourage those of you who have not seen it to have a look at the character of this young man. We are proud to have him as the newest member of Gate City Rotary. Everyone please thank him for his service to our country and give him the Big Gate City Welcome!

Our newest member, Sean Roberts.

Before I forget, I got my permanent badge today. That was a nice surprise. And it only took me a year!

Okay, moving on to the future. We got to hear from four very impressive young men and women this morning. First up was our Page High School scholarship recipient, Treaure Willams. She is on her way to becomming a Tarheel at UNC Chapel Hill. She is a very gracious young lady and we excpect great things from her!

Scholarship recipient, Treasure Williams

Next, we had three guest speakers who participated in our Rotary Youth Leadership program this summer. RYLP is a joint effort between the Greensboro Chapter of Rotary International and the Center for Creative Leadership. It is designed to cultivate leadership potential among young people in the Triad. They had some great stories to share and there is no doubt it was a great experience.

Katie Quinn

Wilder Person

Sam Elliott

A great meeting to finish up July, 2014. Hope to see everyone next week!

There's only one word to describe it: Big! - 07/24/2014 Membership Meeting

It's hard to believe, but we only have one more meeting left in July, 2014! Even with all the vacations and the slow down in attendance during these hot summer months, we still had a lively crowd this Thursday. Emily was back from riding camels all over Europe and Africa. I'm surprised she didn't run into Danny Farley who was also back after an extended vacation across a multitude of countries. Makes my trip to Kure Beach seem rather lame.....

Don't miss the video of what Grandpappy had to say this week. It's a good one.

Okay, so we got down to business, and this meeting was all about BIG Business. Rebecca Byerly was back to give us some more information about her "Women of the Mountain" KickStarter campaign. Rebecca is finishing up edits to her documentary told through the narratives of six women: three who run the world’s longest ultra-marathons through the world’s highest mountain ranges, and three who live in those rugged terrains. It's a BIG endeavor on her part and she's reaching out to groups like ours for much needed funds to bring this labor of love to fruition. Check it out and donate here:

Next, we had Larry Aiken who is also raising money for the biggest Global Grant project we've ever attempted in our Rotary District. It's a joint effort between District 7690 (ours), and District 4170 in Mexico City. The project also will receive funding from the Mexican water authority.  This is a water purification project that will ultimately cost over a million dollars. In other words, it's BIG! It is also taking place in the Mountains, so everything about this meeting was on a large scale. Larry has set goals for clubs within our district based on their size and is hoping we will join his efforts to raise enough money to put in the application for a Global Grant from Rotary International. Check out the meeting video for all the details.

Just one more meeting before we get into the dog days of August. Hope to see everyone next Thursday!

Dale Hopkins receives the Rotary Benefactor award.

Rebecca Byerly brings us up to date on her "Women of the Mountain" documentary.

Larry Aiken talks about Big things going on in Rotary District 7690.

Two for One - 07/17/2014 Membership Meeting

As Lawrence Welk would say, "It was a wunnerful, wunnerful morning to be a Rotarian".

We began the day going all the way to the Speaker of the House to lead the meeting. Chris Justice did a great job filling in with Emily and Dan both out. Chris is the President-elect for 2016-2017, so it was good practice for him!

There were lots of Happy Dollars about the Green Valley Gators winning City Meet. It's been a long, long time and what a way for them to finish up for their great coach, Scot Budde, who is moving and will not be back next year. Green Valley was undefeated this season and finally chomped those Frogs from Friendly.

We had a two-part program, with an update from Rebecca Byerly on her documentary entitled, "Women of the Mountain". Rebecca is a former Rotary Ambassador Scholar who used that scholarship as a springboard to become an international journalist and now a film maker! We're very proud of Rebecca and all her achievements. For more information about her work to help empower women, visit her site here:

If you've ever wondered what all those commercials for Reverse Mortgages are about, we had the person to give you the scoop as our second speaker of the day was Vicki Pope, a Reverse Mortgage Specialist with Yadkin Mortgage. There were a lot of questions about this interesting financial option for qualified homeowners. There is a lot of misinformation out there about Reverse Mortgages, so give Vicki a call if you're interested!

Well, it's a beautiful day this Thursday. Hope everyone has a chance to get outside and we'll see everyone next week!

A New Year Begins - 07/10/2014 Membership Meeting

A sparse, but lively crowd showed up for our first meeting of the 2014 - 2015 Rotary year. Next year's President, Dan Quinn, had double duty both running the meeting and also introducing Mike Byers, our guest speaker.  Mike is the Associate Vice Chancellor at my alma mater, UNC-G, and he was on hand to tell us about some exciting new developments at the school and to assure us that Yum Yums has not been displaced!

We kicked things off with a report from our Sergeant at Arms and Buster Lewis immediately reminded everyone that we were out of order. The invocation, pledge and rotary moment comes first. Old traditions are hard to break! Finally, when we got things back on track, we got down to the real business at hand - Happy Dollars!

On a sad note, Steve Brannan informed us about a terrible accident involving the nephew of one of his co-workers. He is currently paralyzed in his arms and legs with just a little movement in his left arm and is struggling with a collapsed lung as well. If anyone would like to help with this tragic event, please see this website for information:

A lot has changed at UNC-G since I used to park illegally in my rush to get to class on time back in the.....hmmm, was it really the 1980's???  Those changes include plenty of new student housing, a brand new Police Headquarters and get this, a tunnel under the railroad tracks near Lee Street! I rode by that thing on the way to meet my wife downtown after work last night and I HAVE to go back and walk through it. Very cool. UNC-G has done a lot to improve the landscape in a pretty blighted part of Greensboro and it's only going to get better with a new Recreation Building coming soon. Hopefully, this will finish out everything and they will stop calling this pool old alumnus for money!

Hope to see a big crowd next week. Everybody stay cool!


Intestinal Fortitude - 06/19/2014 Membership Meeting

Well, it's finally here and what a great year it has been! Our final regular membership meeting for 2013-2014 was at the O'Henry and we ended just as we started - with another fantastic morning of fellowship and another tremendous presentation!

David Crabtree is my hero. A fellow Gate City Rotarian who has never listened to the words, "You can't do that",  David's Hope Ride has become an unbelievable test of perseverance and conviction. I can't do it justice with words, so I'll steal and paraphrase what Hope Ride is all about from the website you will see linked below.

History of HopeRide

Pastor David Crabtree founded HopeRide in 2011 as a bicycle epic to raise funding for missions projects in the Southern African countries. Past HopeRides have crossed three nations, drawing attention to changing culture by positively affecting the lives of children with the gospel and resources for a better life. Last years journey began at Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia, and continued south through the Chobe wilderness of Botswana; an adventure complete with wild animal encounters, thirty-three flats, and seven exhausted team members.

David's presentation at our meeting was about HopeRide 2014, his longest and toughest ride yet. A continental crossing in excess of one thousand miles! Crippled by a terrible case of food poisoning, David still managed to finish the ride that raises funds for water projects and ministry development on the western Zambezi River in Zambia. This work continues under the direction of Reaching a Generation (see

It's never too late to help HopeRide bring clean water, eternal hope, and needed resources to this impoverished part of the world. There are links off the website to make a donation. This latest ride has approached the $100,000 mark in donations. Amazing!

David Crabtree is a member of Gate City Rotary and serves as lead Pastor at Calvary Church, an Assemblies of God fellowship in Greensboro, North Carolina.

HopeRide 2014 honors the memory of Rev. David C Crabtree who went to his eternal reward March 24, 2014.

For more information or to make a contribution, follow this link:

Well, we start a new year this Thursday night at The Proximity. Remember, no Thursday morning meeting! Hope to see everyone there!


Defining Moments - 06/12/2014 Membership Meeting

Well, the dog days of summer are here as we wind down Bobby's year as President. Only one more meeting at the O'Henry before Emily takes the reigns! Don't forget, the last meeting in June will be Thursday night at The Proximity. Bring a date, it's only $20 a person for a great evening!

Today's meeting was a perennial favorite - New Member Talks. There were supposed to be two, but only one could make it, so Mike Conrad graciously stepped in to tell us about the Rotary International Convention he attended in Australia. We learned that Mike can dance with the natives and he doesn't care much for Kangaroos! Well, at least not when it comes to having them for dinner. It sounded like a fabulous trip!

Our new member who could make it this morning was one of my oldest friends, Ben Brackin. Ben told a lot of stories, some of which might even hold to the four-way test! He is a great addition to the club and has already gotten involved in several projects. We got to hear about Ben's journey through life, his Defining Moments, his transformation through Christ and how he hopes to give back through Rotary!

Well, we're winding down to the Changing of the Guard. The Changing of the Guard was the first big project I attended when joining Rotary last year and it's just hard to believe we are only two weeks away. Check your Email for signups and let's get 100% attendance on June 26th! Hope to see everyone next week and stay cool!