Friday, November 29, 2013
Diamonds are tough, hard substances that can shed light, add a sparkle to a room, help deal with a lot of pressure and last for years and years.
That’s what the Georgetown Rotary Club has done.
Organized during the Great Depression, members helped their community through World War II, the Korean War, Cold War and Viet Nam war.
They’ve helped in a multitude of local, national and international service projects, and they’ve helped the Rotary ideal spread and grow around the county.
To commemorate their 75th or diamond anniversary, members of the club gathered recently at the Stewart-Parker House in Georgetown.
Standing in the historic house, Mayor Jack Scoville read an official City of Georgetown proclamation honoring the Georgetown Lunch Rotary Club’s 75th anniversary, Tuesday night, Nov. 19. Proclamations also came from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Georgetown County Council.
Mayor Scoville said he has a greater understanding of Rotary because of recent perceptions gained from his son, John Samuel Scoville, who is president-elect for the Rotary Club of Beaufort. Rotary District 7770 Governor Lou Mello also spoke, recognizing the club for its 75 years of “Service Above Self” in Georgetown.
A June, 1938 Georgetown Times article said, “Twenty members of the Rotary Club were present at the first official function held Wednesday at the Screven Hotel.” That first Rotary Club was chartered by the Sumter Rotary and its first president was Ralph M. Ford. The club also sponsored the Rotary Club of Andrews in 1967, the Rotary Club of Pawleys Island in 1977 and the Georgetown Breakfast Rotary in 1981.
There was a need for these other service organizations, said long-time member Glennie Tarbox. “Past President Charles Schooler asked me to help get the Pawleys Island group started,” he said. “I intended to be there temporarily, but I ended up as the first charter president and stayed for 30 years before returning to Georgetown to be closer to my business. I really enjoyed going to Rotary meetings because it is so varied.”
Tarbox was asked to chair the 75th anniversary event by current President George Chastain, who said, “I thank the community for its many decades of support, so we can continue giving back to causes that help people in our community and beyond.”
Chastain said the club has assisted a variety of local charities. “These included the Georgetown County United Way, the Georgetown YMCA, the Salvation Army, Outreach Farm, Friendship Place and the Mitney Project,” he said. “We also delivered a dictionary to each third-grade student in Georgetown County in all public and private schools.”
The main fundraising event has been the Rotary Shag Festival, Chastain said. “It is advertised around the southeast and is held annually in April to raise funds to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “Since 1996, the club donated more than $100,000 — an amount that is second-highest of the 78 District 7770 clubs in 25 eastern counties from the Midlands to the coast. The 2014 Shag Festival will be Saturday, April 26, in downtown Georgetown.”
Past Rotary District 7770 Governor Alan Walters is from the Georgetown Lunch Rotary Club. “Even though Rotary is a worldwide organization, it remains community-based, which is why it’s important we have several clubs in the county,” he said. “Each club, just like the community it serves, is unique.”
“During my year as district governor we distributed nearly half a million dollars in scholarships and for club projects here in South Carolina in addition to the programs in each club. It’s literally millions of dollars each year. “The bottom line is more clubs mean more opportunities to help others.”
“Our club has been a leader in supporting the Rotary Foundation with donations of over $220,000 to date,” Walters said. “In addition to scholarships, Group Study Exchanges and clean water projects, Polio eradication has been strongly supported by our club.”
“I was in the room when Bill Gates donated $255 million for Polio eradication and he said the reason he did it was that he trusted Rotary to get the job done. I think people in Georgetown feel the same way.”
Past president and 54-year member Jim Forrester explained why he joined in 1959. “Because it was and it continues to be representative of the crucial people in the community,” he said. “I thought this would be a nice experience to get to know these people while giving me new opportunities,” Forrester said.
Bill Doar, who joined in 1962, said, “I got involved because of the networking and back then leading men in the community were members and it was good to be affiliated with such a group. I’ve stayed involved because it is always doing good community work, and I enjoyed the fellowship.”
Past president and member since 1976 Charles Schooler said, “I joined Rotary to stay involved after Jaycees, because I had to get out of the Jaycees when I turned 35. I thought Rotary was the next direction to take to stay civically active. Things I saw started are still going on and are being done well in the community. It makes you proud to be a member of an organization like that.”
The Stewart-Parker House, a federal-style home and one of the oldest homes in South Carolina, was once owned by a successful Georgetown businessman, Daniel Tucker, who was said to have entertained President George Washington, when the first President visited Georgetown on his 1791 Southern tour.