When Dr. Hudgins came to Rotary in 1993, he was given one piece of advice from his mentor, sponsor and friend, Roy Palmer. The advice was that should he decide to join Rotary, he should join to “help my community and fellow man”, not simply to garner business. That simple lesson has transitioned into a tremendous amount of business from his fellow North Raleigh Rotarians without having to “solicit” the membership for that business. It is often a difficult lesson to learn and implement as most business people are always selling their products, but learning it was a hugely successful for Donathan. “They started coming once they got to know me,” he recalls.
Over the years, he has come to use his fellow members for their “wealth of knowledge and experience” on various occasions. He stated that, “When I have a business or professional issue, the first place I look for an answer is among my fellow Rotarians.” A true test of any organization is its members and having this level of expertise has been beneficial for him.
Like many of the members of this club, Donathan had visited several clubs attempting to find one that met his needs with a culture that he found welcoming. He quickly determined this club would fit the bill after reaching out to Roy Palmer to visit. As a result, he had developed several lasting friendships and strong relationship among the members and some lasting memories.
His most memorable experience with the club was the five years he chaired the Triangle Uncorked fundraiser. As President in 2005-06, he decided it would be a positive thing to have an annual fundraiser so future presidents would not have to formulate a new one every year. With his fixation on wine, it became a natural fit to develop the Triangle Uncorked and the partnership with the Frankie Lemmon School. That relationship continues to this day with the Ed Shook Golf Classic.
As chair of this event, he quickly learned how many members work silently behind the scenes receiving little or no recognition for their efforts on behalf of the club. “There are a number of members who are unsung heroes that do a lot for our club simply out of their own drive to support our club and its membership,” he recalled of his experiences.
As with many members of this club, Donathan has served in several different capacities at the club beginning with his first endeavor as the Chairman of the fund raising committee. This gave him valuable experience to later launch the Triangle Uncorked while also serving as a catalyst for the Roy Palmer Endowment Fund.
He had created a golf tournament, which had “decent success, but required a lot of work,” he recalled. After it was over, he spoke with Roy who made the determination that the club should not be captive to fundraising to support its charities and pledged that the club would never have to rely solely on a fundraiser. Mr. Palmer set aside a substantial monetary investment into a fund with the instructions that once this fund grew to $100,000, the club could utilize any money above that level for its charitable efforts. Currently, that fund is in excess of $150,000 and the fundraisers are a complement to this endowment.
He points to another moving experience that demonstrated the level of commitment from the members of this organization. While Chairing the Triangle Uncorked one year, Jack Andrews, whom we lost a little over a year ago, had volunteered for this wine tasting event. That particular year, the club did not have as many volunteers as they would have liked and of course, Jack was always volunteering. In his advanced years, he couldn’t do much physical labor, but his mind was sharp and he could utilize it. He approached Donathan and asked him to hold his nitro glycerin pills and to slip one under his tongue if he passed out. “I asked him if he was nuts and told him to go home if he felt bad,” Donathan remembered. Of course, Jack refused to go home…he was committed to assisting the fundraiser. He was placed in a shaded area and assigned the task of checking armbands and stayed to the end.
Donathan pointed out that the club has become like a family for him. A perpetual bachelor, he is committed to attending every meeting he can to celebrate life with his friends. He informs new members that building these relationships come with a “caveat”. He warns to “gain that close relationship with your fellow members, you do need to get involved and work with them.”
He continues to serve at the North Raleigh Rotary Foundation Chair, designed to determine the distribution of the annual donation to charities this club supports.
Donathan is one of the few Raleigh resident who was actually born here and grew up here. He attended East Millbrook Junior High and Sanderson High School. He attended college at Appalachian State University with a BS in Biology in the Pre-med program in 1989. In 1993, he graduated from the University of Houston-College of Optometry with a Doctorate in Optometry.
He worked as an assistant to the surgeon at Aesthetic Facial and Ocular Plastic Surgery, PA for sixteen years. Currently, he is an owner of Drs. Moser and Hudgins.
His mother lives in the Brier Creek area and he has two sisters.
“Donathan was one of the first to congratulate me when I became president of this club and has been very supportive of all of my ideas,” recounts President Steven Nelson, “Whether the ideas were successful or not…he supported and encouraged them.”
“As president, I want to personally thank him for his service to this club,” continued Nelson, “He is a strong example of the type of members we enjoy at this club. It is only through their continued commitment to this club and this community that we can accomplish any good,”
“I never looked back,” announced Donathan about his joining this club twenty-one years ago. “He is the type of man you want to know and I am proud to call him a friend,” Nelson said of Donathan. Though he has yet to get Donathan over to taste some of his wine, Steven believes, “He is the type of man you want to know…not for what he can do for you, but because he is genuine.”