What a wonderful evening at the Carolina Country Club in Raleigh? Nearly 80 Rotarians and family members gathered to share the Holiday season on Wednesday, Dec. 18th. The evening began with a social hour with a cash bar to be followed by dinner.
President Steven Nelson called upon Rotarian George McGill to lead the gathered in grace prior to the meal.
The program included several presentations to members of the club with Past Presidents Mack Parker and Erik Grunwald being honored as Paul Harris Society members, which means they have committed to donate at least $1,000 a year to the Rotary Foundation.
Next, District Foundation Chair Tim Mannix presented Warner and Ellen Hall and Mack and Wanda Parker as major donors to the Rotary Foundation. Following these special recognitions, Mr. Mannix presented President Nelson with two banners for the club…a $100/member club and a Sustaining Member Club presentation where every member gave at least $100 to the Rotary Foundation.
Following this presentation, President Nelson made a special presentation to a Past President of both the Asheville Rotary Club and the North Raleigh Rotary Club. Past President Jake Jolliff was recognized for his many years of service and commitment to Rotary and our club. He joined Rotary in 1950 before moving to Raleigh and joining our club in 1985. As a member of our club, he and a fellow member, Jack Andrews, hosted a hospitality room to the District conference for several years while making the commitment to set up the Raleigh room at the Sertoma Arts Center every week prior to our meetings. Nelson commented that “we are still trying to find a replacement for these two gentlemen”.
Past Presidents Dr. Ed Smallwood and Terry Hutchens added comments about Jake. Each pointing out their fondest stories of they years of service with Jake. They each recognized his lovely wife and fellow member, JJ Jolliff.
Following the presentation, Dr. Rich Adelman introduced our speaker for the evening, Melissa Guzman, who spoke about the moon and the little known moon, Europa. It topped off a great evening with family and friends.
Prior to adjourning the meeting, President Nelson presented Warner and Ellen Hall with a gift from the club for hosting us again this year at the Carolina Country Club. It was one of the largest attended Holiday parties for the club and one of the more memorable ones.
If you missed this year’s Holiday party, I would encourage you to make your plans to attend next year. It is always a great way to interact with the spouses of our members.
In other news, six Rotarians and their spouses/families delivered Christmas to the seniors at the Total Life Center on Departure Drive. This is a tradition that the residents look forward to every year. This year, every patient received two sweat shirts and socks. The response from the members was so great that we have extra funds to purchase a gift basket for the staff of the Total Life Center. Everyone enjoys themselves and Stella Ray, the director at the center, told us that the residents start asking about when Rotary is coming in early fall. Rotarian Scott Tarkenton, who headed up this project this year, ensured that it ran smoothly and efficiently.
On a sad note, I learned that a past member of our club passed away on December 11th. The memorial service was on Saturday, December 21 at the Glenaire Community where Walt Newman moved in 2002 after a stoke. His wife preceded him in death, but his two daughters gave moving eulogies about their father. President Nelson, who had never met him, attended the memorial on behalf of the club. “He sounded like a man I would have love to have known”, commented Nelson after the service. He was known to always have a story (joke) to tell and remembered everyone’s name. Though he had been away from our club for eleven years, we will mourn his passing and he will be missed.
As we approach the Holiday season, we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, and Happy Hanukkah or whatever applies to you. Whatever your faith, this is the season to spend with family and friends and to create lasting memories. Have a special Holiday season and enjoy the time you have with your family.