Rotary Club of Brandon: A Tradition of Making A Difference
 
 
Club Executives & Directors
President
Vice President/President Elect
Immediate Past President
Treasurer
Secretary
Sergeant at Arms
Director
Director
Director
Director
Director
Brandon Rotary Charity Fund
 
Bulletins
 
 
 
Stories
It was a Bull Court Press this past Tuesday for Rotarians in Brandon as the University of South Florida's Head Women's Basketball Coach, Jose Fernandez visited to share about the current and future success of his phenomenal program. The club was treated to an extremely dynamic and passionate educator and coach that our community can truly be proud of!
 
We started with Sergeant at Arms Fred Schwabe paying homage to all of our past Rotarians that have passed away, most recently George Anello. It was a moving tribute to so many great, community-minded individuals that have shaped our club over the years. With that, we moved right into Happy Dollars, and who better to get the good vibes rolling than our very own Larry Fassett. Larry wanted to acknowledge all of the time and hard work that John Dwyer has put in at the Rotary Event Center. He also shared a story about his six year old grandson who was thought to have been lost at school, but it was because of a mix-up in communication. Larry stressed the importance of clear communication to our children on rules and guidelines! 
 
Jeff Reynolds was happy that Jose Fernandez was here as our guest speaker. Jeff was also happy/sad since he and Patty took their son, Jason, to the University of Virginia. His son was the 1st kid in the 1st class in the newly renovated Rotunda which was designed by Thomas Jefferson.  And in the "I want to stay out of the doghouse this week" department, John Gardner was happy that he remembered he had to leave early to pick up his wife at the airport. Hope you got there on time and didn't have to sleep on the couch, John!!
 

Maria Lewis continued the good vibes as she was happy as she is going to be a grandmother again. Congrats, Maria! Coach Fernandez was thankful for the start of school and the new class of students that he gets to work with this year. Go get 'em, Coach!

After we shared all of the happiness we could stand, it was time for the main event and Coach Fernandez! Coach started out by saying he has known Jeff Reynolds for 16 years (which we said we wouldn't hold against him, even though this may be questionable judgment on his associations). His wife and Jeff’s wife went to the same High School in Hawaii. It was truly an example of what a small world it is!

Coach Fernandez is beginning his 17th season with USF. He started coaching when he was 27 years old. His first year coaching, they won four games, his second year they won 14 games, and now under his guidance, USF has advanced to 12 postseason tournaments, including four NCAA Tournament berths, one of which being the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament during the 2005-06 season. As a sign of the team's success, Coach Fernandez let us know that the USF Women’s Basketball Team outsells the Men’s team in average attendance. They average 2,500 fans for their games. The program's success has led to four women being drafted by the WNBA! The USF Women's Basketball Team is also very academic focused as the team has had a 100% graduation rate proving that they are winners on both the basketball court! 

Coach Fernandez also discussed the international impact the team has had as they have eight student athletes on their team from all over the world. They offer 15 scholarships and recruit worldwide! 

 

Susan Thomason ended the day by winning the chance for the 50-50 drawing, but drew the seven of hearts. We all knew she had a lot of heart!!

This week we'll be celebrating Troy Dimsdale's birthday, Leila & Chris Papp's 5th Anniversary, Norma & Derrell Curry's 23rd Anniversary, Troy Dimsdale's 16th Club Anniversary and President Elect Dave Brown's 5th Anniversary!!

Key Upcoming Dates:

  • August/September Key Dates:
    • 6th - Guest Speaker - Dawn Hayes - “Labor”
    • 13th - Guest Speaker - TBD
    • 19th - Rotary Club of Brandon Monthly Board Meeting
    • 20th - Club Assembly/Fundraising Event Preparation
    • 24th - Bustin’ Clays - Fundraiser - Fish Hawk Sporting Clays
    • 27th - No Meeting!!
    • 29th - Quarterly Social - Stein & Vine
 

 
The Rotary Club of Brandon lost a true friend and community leader this past week with the passing of longtime Rotarian George Anello. George's short battle with pancreatic cancer came to an end on Tuesday, August 16th. For years George lifted up our club and community through his leadership roles, hands on involvement and financial support which extended to the many and diverse organizations in which he was involved.
 
To family and friends, George was a gentle giant who always had a kind word to say and gave you his undivided attention whenever you were in his presence. His impact will be lasting, and his absence will definitely leave a huge void for his family, friends and community. Our club will definitely mourn our loss of George, but we are also grateful for the time that we shared with him from weekly meetings to service projects to major fundraisers.
 
A big thank you to all that took the time to attend his viewing and/or celebration of life service this past weekend. His wife, Sharon, wanted to pass along her sincere thanks and appreciation to the entire club! Per the family's request, donations in  George's name to the Rotary Club of Brandon in lieu of flowers is appreciated.
 
 

 
Another great week at the Rotary Club of Brandon, and lots to celebrate and be thankful for! Fred Schwabe kicked things off with some Happy Dollars, and the club responded in style. Shelia Donaldson had a happy dollar for her grandson who was awarded his first Bible at Bell Shoals Baptist Church. Chris Myers was just happy that school is back in session, and he can get back to more of a "normal" life. John Gardner was happy because his trial that was set in Inverness was rescheduled which allowed him to attend today's Rotary meeting!
 
Community stalwart Betty Jo Tompkins made a special visit to the Rotary Club of Brandon this week to introduce us to the Hillsborough 100 Conservation Challenge. Betty Jo is the Executive Director of the Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation District. She is also a long time Rotarian- Past District Governor, 2016 Representative to Rotary’s International Council on Legislation and a member of the Rotary Thursday Evening Virtual Club. Some of her key points included:

 

  • Two million people die annually and 20 million are debilitated due to polluted water.
  • The focus of the Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation District is to educate and give local residents the responsibility to conserve our soil, water and other natural resources in an effort to prevent the problems that arise from over use and depletion of our local natural resources. 
  • They reach out to all types of organizations and encourage them to get involved in conservation efforts:  local chambers, Hillsborough County Schools, Colleges, Civic and social organizations and even Bush Gardens in involved. They encourage and help support efforts to add more green space by planting trees and gardens which helps preserve both water and soil. 
  • The success of conservation initiatives depends on human behavior. By raising awareness, inspiring concern, building knowledge and skills and creating opportunities for action, education initiatives can prepare local people to fully participate as partners in conservation.
Our club also celebrated Ron Marshall's birthday!
 
August/September Key Dates:
  • 29th - BRCCF Board Meets to determine recommended charities
  • 30th - Club Assembly - Charities Announced
  • 6th - Guest Speaker - Dawn Hayes - “Labor”
  • 13th - Guest Speaker - TBD
  • 19th - Rotary Club of Brandon Monthly Board Meeting
  • 20th - Club Assembly/Fundraising Event Preparation
  • 24th - Bustin’ Clays - Fundraiser - Fish Hawk Sporting Clays
  • 27th - No Meeting!!
  • 29th - Quarterly Social - Stein & Vine
 

 
Major life accomplishments, a passionate guest speaker and an engagement all came together at this week's Rotary club meeting to make it one of the best attended and fun meetings of the year. Sergeant At Arms Fred Schwabe kicked things off with Happy Dollars, and boy were they happy!! John Gardner tossed in a buck to celebrate his son Scott's passing the fourth and final CPA test thus making him an official CPA! Congrats, Scott on behalf of the entire club! JJ Massaro announced that his middle son just graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in Advertising. Way to go! Maria Lewis was not to be outdone and announced that she passed her CFRE exam and is now a Certified Fundraiser. We are so proud of you, Maria, and all of that hard work finally paid off! And speaking of hard work, Chris Myers announced his engagement to Melissa Salvo, and we know how hard he had to work for that! Congrats Chris and Melissa!!
 
Visiting Rotarian Jim Daniel from the Palmetto Club got to witness it all as did Monica Savage who works for John Gardner as a paralegal. The club also welcomed six guests from hands of Hope- Ethel Ward, Sheryl and Leon Bellamy, Cecelia (CICI) Mitchell and William Gaylord.
 
The club will hold its first quarter of the Rotary year service project on Saturday, August 20th from 8:00AM - noon at the Rotary Event Center to do some expansive landscaping. President Chuck announced the Charity Fund meeting will be held on August 29th at 5:30 at Roger Rivard’s office to determine the charities that the club intends to support this year.
 
Flyers for the 2016-2017 Rotary Club Fundraisers and Sponsorships were passed out. They included two new sponsorships: Community Legacy Sponsorship and Rotary Impact Sponsorship which will allow sponsors to bundle sponsorships for all four events. Our first event will be the Clay Shoot which will be held on September 24th at the Fish Hawk Sporting Clays. The club is looking for goodie bag items and help selling raffle tickets. Tickets for the event were passed out to all Rotarians in attendance.
 
Guest Speaker Cici Mitchell from Hands of Hope- a non-profit  organization whose mission is to raise sickle cell awareness, educate the community about possible treatment and pain management while building a healthier quality of life through advocacy, education, fundraising, and supporting the Tampa Bay sickle cell community.  Cici is very passionate about educating and spreading awareness of this inherited disease as she has two family members ( a sister and a grandson) who have the disease.  She explained that this inherited disease affects all ethnic types and the effects of this disease can include extreme pain, strokes, pneumonia, blindness and hearing loss. Hands of Hope holds two fundraisers  per year– a walk that will be held in September and a fashion show which features models who have the disease. The funds raised are used to purchase $25.00 gift cards which are given to patients to help ease the financial burden that comes with lengthy hospital treatments for this disease.
CiCi’s sister Cheryl Bellamy spoke about how difficult and painful living with this disease can be and is proud to be involved and have the support from Hands of Hope. It was truly an inspirational and passionate presentation!
 
This week we celebrate Ron Marshall's birthday on August 20th. Happy Birthday, Ron!
 
 
 
 

 
 
Newly elected District Governor Joyce Gunter paid a visit to the Rotary Club of Brandon this past week to share her vision for the Rotary year and get the club up to speed on the latest and greatest from Rotary International and District 6890. It was a jam-packed agenda as three of our nominated charities presented along with DG Gunter's presentation.
 
Several guests joined the week's festivities including William and Candy Corsi- BSAC Trident Program, Jeff Rock – Boy Scouts, Past District Governor Gary Gunter and Assistant District Governor Clayton Jenkins. 
 
After some quick announcements, the charity presentations began. First on deck was the Boy Scouts and Jeff Rock. Jeff Rock representing Gulf Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts of America, asking for Club support to help them fund the Alafia River Canoe/ Kayak Project. They are in the process of developing a Primitive campsite with boat docks, pavilions and restrooms on acreage they own on the Alafia River. It is a $400k project and they have raised $75k. It was noted that the Boy Scouts help support the Rotary Fundraisers in several ways.  
 
Our very own Debbie Meegan from The Outreach Clinic was up next to share stories of the patients whose lives have been impacted by the ability to secure much needed healthcare. She is requesting money to continue providing healthcare services for the low income uninsured. Debbie also discussed the importance of The Outreach Clinic and its longstanding place in the community based on the growing needs of individuals and families that are still unable to afford "affordable" healthcare.
 
Our final charity speaker was William Corsi from the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center's special needs program TRIDENT. William gave a wonderful testimonial of his involvement as one of the team members in BSAC’s Trident Program and the impact the program has had on his life. BSAC is  requesting money to help build classrooms for the ever growing Trident Program. President Chuck also commented on how this population is desperately underserved and has very little funding in Eastern Hillsborough County.
 
With the charity presentations completed and handed over to the Charity Fund Board, it was time for District Governor Joyce Gunter to present.Special Guest District Gov. Joyce Gunter :
 
Joyce talked about being a second generation Floridian who grew up in Sebring Florida. She and her husband Gary live in New Tampa and own an Allstate Insurance Company in Wesley Chapel.  She and Gary met several years ago while on a Rotary International Project in Costa Rica.  She shared a story from one of her many International Rotary Project trips about a woman who had to carry her crippled son everywhere because he  could not walk . She was overcome with tears of joy upon receiving one of the wheelchairs the mission team brought with them.
 
Rotary is Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Rotary Foundation, and she challenged all Rotarians to contribute. Joyce invited  all Rotarians to attend the Rotary International conference in Atlanta next June.  A bus will be available to help with transportation. DG Joyce also announced that the District Conference in April will be on a cruise ship and will include an international project. Finally, she shared Rotary President John Germ's 2016 message of the importance of Rotary Clubs involvement in their local community.  
 
In closing, as a special treat, DG Joyce presented the Rotary Rising Star Award to Chris Myers for his immediate contributions and impact to the club and the Shining Star Award to Fred Schwabe for his continued dedication to making the Rotary Club of Brandon and District 6890 better through his daily service.
 
This week's speaker will come from the Hands of Hope.
 
August Upcoming Key Dates:
 
16th - Weekly Meeting
20th - Club Service Project @ The REC
22nd - Monthly Board Meeting
23rd - Weekly Meeting
30th - Club Assembly (Supporting Charities Announced)
 
 
 

 
After a long month of fundraising, eight community events and lots and lots of phone calls and personal asks for support, Rotary President Chuck Burgess became the newest Honorary Mayor of Brandon at 8:00AM on July 4th. President of the Community Roundtable, Janine Nickerson, and longtime board member B. Lee Elam presided over the traditional "handing in of the checks" at Lee's office. Three candidates battled the entire month putting on more than 30 fundraising events in 33 days. In the end the results were record-breaking on all fronts.
 
Craig Beckinger, owner and operator of ABC Event Planning, raised over $24,000, George Shea, owner of the George Shea Realty Team, brought in over $36,000 and President Chuck, Executive Director of the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, and being sponsored by the Rotary Club of Brandon came in with an astounding $100,500. President Chuck's campaign total surpassed the previous record of $75,001. Combined the three candidates raised over $161,000 and broke the overall record by a mile!
 
President Chuck made sure to let everyone know that the credit goes to the community. "It was an amazing feeling and overall, just surreal," President Chuck said after winning the title of Honorary Mayor. "I am so humbled by our community's support, especially from my Board of Directors at BSAC and the Rotary Club of Brandon who really came out strong in support this year."
 
Representing the Rotary Club of Brandon, the Boys and Girls Club of Brandon and BSAC, President Chuck was able to bring a ton of exposure and awareness around several charities, their causes and their missions throughout the campaign. "The number one reason I ran this year was to bring more resources whether they be dollars, volunteers, awareness or exposure to all of the non profit industry," President Chuck said. "I cannot express my gratitude for this amazing opportunity to represent the Rotary Club of Brandon throughout the campaign."
 
After getting his name on the infamous Lee Elam sign and riding in the annual 4th of July parade, President Chuck is now geared up and ready for the year ahead to work with the Community Roundtable and use the Honorary Mayor platform to do more good in the community. "Being a Rotarian and living the mantra of service above self, this opportunity will allow me to impact even more of the non profit sector. I can't wait!"
 
President Chuck follows in the footsteps of past Rotarians to take the title of Honorary Mayor including Alan Feldman, Vince Ferraro and Jeff Reynolds to name a few. All right, Rotarians, who's next?!!
 

 
The Rotary Club of Brandon kicked off its 2016-17 Rotary year with some special guests, a charity presentation from the Family Promise of Brandon and the new Honorary Mayor of Brandon. With 30 plus Rotarians attending including some very special visitors in Brandi McMullen who has relocated from Delaware and is looking to join the club, Edwina Reddick, the Executive Director of Family Promise of Brandon and the infamous Linda Chion Kenney who presented Lee Elam and President Chuck with some framed photos of the 4th of July Parade and Mayor's Race, the meeting was a huge success.
 
The big news of the day was the announcement by Jeff Reynolds to the club that President Chuck Burgess was the winner in the Honorary Mayor’s race. President Chuck's campaign raised $100,500 dollars which broke the existing record of $75,001! Chuck thanked all of the members for their support, sponsorship, participation and attendance at all of the events and behind the scenes. It is exciting for the club to have its president be the Honorary Mayor as well which should bring more exposure and recognition to both the club and the charities it supports!
 
Happy dollars came in by the boatload as Derrell Curry gave a Happy Dollar for John Dwyer and his work in getting the walls up in the Rotary Event Center. Roger Rivard added a dollar because he is no longer "Trailer Trash" as he and Kimberly finally moved out of his travel trailer into his new home in South Tampa. Alan Feldman chimed in with a Happy Dollar for being able to spend time with his Granddaughter and her stepsister, and finally, B.Lee Elam put in a dollar because he was happy that the Mayor’s Race is finished and he still has money left over!
 
Edwina Reddick then presented to the club as our first nominated charity to speak on behalf of the Family Promise of Brandon. Family Promise is a collaboration of local area Churches who goal is to assist families who are homeless and help them transition into a stable housing situation. They do not separate family members  They provide lodging, meals, counseling and a safe place to stay during the day at their day center for up to 90 days. Average stay in the program is 72 days.  They assist with job applications and financial literacy training and provide a temporary address so they can receive mail. They have one full time employee and one part time employee who assists with transportation. They used the money received from our Rotary Club this past year to assist with materials for their Financial Literacy Program. 
 
Dave Brown won the 50/50 opportunity, but left with nothing to show for it with his 10 of diamonds. Keep putting those dollars in; the Ace of Spades is still in there!
 
This week the club celebrates several important dates:
 

Birthdays

  • Bill Handley - July 23rd 

Anniversaries

  • Grace and Vince Ferraro - July 21st - 48 Years!!
  • Erika and Bland Eng - July 24th - 17 Years
  • Kathy and Bill Handley - July 24th - 40 Years!

Club Anniversaries

  • Cade Rivard - July 14th - 1 Year
  • David Sigler - July 14th - 1 Year
  • Chris Papp - July 23rd - 3 Years
  • Bill Handley - July 25th - 13 Years
News & Notes for the Week:
  • Strategic Planning Session next Tuesday prior to meeting for Rotarians that want to have input and get involved in planning the next several years of the club
  • Saturday is the District 6890 Membership and Public Image Seminar (Imperial Swan Hotel, Lakeland beginning at 9:00AM - 12:00PM) - Register on DACDB.com in the Calendar section
  • This week's charities presenting will be ECHO, Boy Scouts, Women's Resource Center of Tampa Bay and Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
  • Next week's program will consist of our monthly Club Assembly and strategic planning session.
  • August 2nd the club will host our newly elected District Governor, Joyce Gunter, as well as hear from our remaining two charities, The Outreach Clinic and BSAC.
  • All of our events, fundraisers and meeting dates have been put into the calendar for everyone's planning!!
 
 

 
 
You know your Rotary Club is tops when the Supervisor of Elections comes to visit because he's heard all of the great things you're doing. Well, that and he wants to make sure you vote! It was an awesome weekly meeting this week as we inducted Hillsborough County Sheriff's Major Bob Ura into our club, welcomed our own bionic man, Fred Schwabe, back from his short surgery and rehab break and had our newly appointed AG, Clayton Jenkins, visit us. Maria Lewis even shared that she completed the CFRE Exam and is embarking on a new career all while celebrating the birth of her new grandson, Luke!
 
The star of the day was definitely Craig Latimer, though, as he talked about Hillsborough County's election system for its over 800,000 registered voters. Educating the club on the Supervisor of Election's responsibilities and the make up of the office, Mr. Latimer told us about how 42 full time employees and over 4,000 part time employees make up the staff during the voting process. They also operate on a budget that is 1/3 of one percent of the total Hillsborough County budget. They were also a recipient of the prestigious Governor's Sterling Award which is based on strict requirements of excellent organizational performance.
 
With the 2016-17 Rotary year winding down, President Chuck thanked everyone that attended the Installation Banquet and reminded everyone that charity nominations for the upcoming Rotary year are going to be taken from the floor at next week's meeting.
 
The club will be celebrating Chris Larson's birthday on June 25th as well as Sharon and John Sellers' 38th anniversary on June 24th! Congrats!
Key Upcoming Dates:
June 21st - Charity Nominations for 2016-17 Rotary Year taken from floor
June 23rd - Monthly Social at Top Golf
June 28th - Club Assembly - approval of 2016-17 Calendar of Events/Budget
July 1st - Charity Applications Due
July 5th - No Club Meeting
July 12th - Charity Presentations
July 18th - Board of Directors Meeting
July 19th - Charity Presentations
July 26th - Club Assembly
 
 
 

 
 
What a year! The Rotary Club of Brandon celebrated a ton of success on all fronts with raising over $70,000 for local charities, getting the Rotary Event Center started, adding 14 new members to the club, having four great community service projects and making a huge impact on the community throughout the year.
 
Past President Craig Oldham inducted current and new President Chuck Burgess, and in turn, Chuck inducted our club's new officers/directors for the 2016-17 Rotary year. Congrats and thank you for your service to: Dave Brown (President Elect), Debbie Meegan (Secretary), Justin Northcutt (Treasurer), Fred Schwabe (Sergeant at Arms), John Dwyer (Events), Scott Carter (Fundraising), John Gardner (Club Admin), Ryan Burley (Service Projects) and Chris McGuire (Public Relations).
 
The evening began with Emcee Justin Northcutt pinch-hitting for Fred Schwabe who is currently on the Injured Reserve List rehabbing his brand new bionic knee. Kathy Curry kicked off the celebration and awards by bestowing a Paul Harris Fellow award to one of our members that displayed the true heart of Rotary and embodied the spirit of Rotary and Paul Harris. And the Rotarian was.... Debbie Meegan!! Congrats, Debbie and thanks for all that you do for our club.
 
Dinner was next on the agenda with The Tampa Club not disappointing with the main course and dessert spread. Jeff Reynolds took the mic to give everyone an outstanding update to our Rotary Event Center and recognizing all of those Rotarians that have donated funds to its renovation and completion. Jeff then thanked all of the Past Presidents in attendance and introduced the new Brandon Rotary Club Charity Fund board - Derrell Curry (President), John Sellers (Vice President), David Magann (Secretary), Roger Rivard (Treasurer), Susan Thomason (Director), Joe Campoamor (Director) and Jeff Reynolds (Director).
 
The festivities got kicked over to President Chuck to recognize all of the officers and directors of the board. He and Past President Craig handed out thank you gifts to each and thanked them for their hard work and service over the past year. Chuck then introduced a new award to be handed out each year as he recognized this year's Rotary Rookie of the Year for his outstanding work throughout the year with our fundraisers, service projects and events. This year's Rotary Rookie of the Year was none other than Cade Rivard. Congrats, Cade!
 
The next award presented went to an outstanding Rotarian who went above and beyond this year. Besides serving his duties as a board member, this Rotarian organized our entire year's guest speakers, helped organize the Steinhatchee fishing trip, worked his tail off at all of our fundraisers, service projects and events and was always available to go the extra mile. The Rotary Service Above Self Award went to Larry Fassett! Way to go, Larry and thanks for being so dependable!
 
This year's President's Award went to a Rotarian that really stepped up in an area in which our club needed some accuracy and accountability. This Rotarian was constantly behind the scenes working for others and even with some adversity outside of Rotary was a true leader. The President's Award went to Justin Northcutt. Thank you, Justin for all you do!
 
It was then time to recognize and celebrate this year's Rotarian of the Year for our club. This person was an unbelievable example of leadership, service, going the extra mile for everyone and always putting the club above all else. His selflessness, dedication to making us great made us all look better every week. He organized all of our events and socials this year, played an integral part of the process on the Rotary Event Center and just plain worked his tail off. Congrats to this year's Rotarian of the Year - John Dwyer! Thank you just doesn't do justice to the appreciation we have for you, John!! Great job!
 
Past President Craig then swore in (or at, we weren't sure) Chuck as this year's president, and Chuck then inducted the new officers and directors for 2016-17 - Dave Brown (President Elect), Debbie Meegan (Secretary), Justin Northcutt (Treasurer), Fred Schwabe (Sergeant at Arms), Roger Rivard (Membership), Scott Carter (Fundraising), John Dwyer (Events), John Gardner (Club Admin), Chris McGuire (Public Relations), Ryan Burley (Service Projects) and Craig Oldham (Past President). 
 
After the new board was sworn in, President Chuck presented a new award that will be given each year in recognition of some of our Rotary Club and community's pioneers. This will keep our club connected with those leaders of the past that worked so hard to pave the way for us today. This year's recipient left an indelible mark in the Brandon community with his service on the Chamber of Commerce, Center Place and other organizations he touched in his decades of impact. This year's Legacy Award went to George Anello. Thank you, George for you constant leadership and example!
 
After this outstanding evening, it was time to have some fun, laugh at ourselves and each other and leave with some happiness. Our year-long journey was documented in pictures with some funny commentary and crowd interaction. The evening was adjourned with a toast to success, and the work for the 2016-17 year is off to the races!
 

 
 
The Rotary Club of Brandon recognized eight local charities this past week in a celebration of its fundraising efforts over the past Rotary year. Over $60,000 was distributed to some of the top grass roots non profits in our area as well as college scholarships to three outstanding, local high school seniors. "This is what we work for our entire Rotary year," said club President, Chuck Burgess. "The Rotary Club of Brandon is all about making a difference in our community, and today we REALLY made a difference!"
 
Charities receiving funds included Rotary's Camp Florida, the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, ECHO, the Outreach Clinic, Family Promise of Greater Brandon, the Boy Scouts, Women's Resource Center of Tampa Bay and the Brandon Rotary Club Charity Fund. From serving the special needs community to providing healthcare to those in need to feeding the homeless and beyond, these charities are so important to the Greater Brandon community. The Rotary Club of Brandon's impact on hundreds of lives will be the end result of all of its efforts.
 
In addition to providing resources to local charities, the Rotary Club of Brandon also provided three major scholarships to some deserving seniors. Jason Reynolds of Jesuit received a $2,500 scholarship toward his education at the University of Virginia, Hannah Pridemore (Newsome High School) received a $1,500 scholarship to Duke University, and Grant Denham (Brandon High School) received a $1,500 scholarship to the University of South Florida. All three seniors are exceptional examples of achieving academic success, leadership in and out of their schools and community impact through volunteerism and service.
 
While giving was the theme of the day, it was only appropriate the future District Governor Dr. Nick Hall spoke to the club regarding his courageous trek from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic on a 1960's bicycle to bring awareness and resources to the Rotary's Polio Plus program. Nick captivated the crowd with his stories of meeting folks along the way, missteps in his journey, how he maintained his focus and composure while riding his bike 15 hours a day and the fulfillment of his journey as he touched the East Coast in St. Augustine capping the 50th anniversary of the same journey he made in the 60's. It was truly a remarkable story with an even more remarkable purpose.
 
The Rotary Club of Brandon will turn its attention to celebrating the hard work of the club this week at its Annual Installation Banquet at the Tampa Club on Thursday, June 2nd starting at 6:00. The new club officers and board members will officially be inducted as will the Charity Fund board and officers. This is a special evening as the baton is handed to the next year's leadership team to continue the long and storied tradition of excellence for which our club is know.
 
The club will also be celebrating the the birthdays of Lee Elam (June 4th) and Bob Solano (June 5th) along with Rudy and Sherri Liddell's 31st wedding anniversary (June 1st)! Congrats!
 
This week's meeting will consist of our monthly Club Assembly with next week's program being run by Immediate Past President Craig Oldham.
 
Upcoming Key Dates in June
2nd - Rotary Installation Banquet
7th - Weekly Meeting
14th - Weekly Meeting
20th - Rotary BOD Meeting
21st - Weekly Meeting
23rd - Monthly Social - Top Golf
28th - Club Assembly
 

 
The Rotary Club of Brandon earned a couple of special honors at this year's Rotary District 6890 Conference held at the Orlando World Marriott May 20-21. With a huge delegation from clubs all over the state, District Governor Tom Wagner recognized the Rotary Club of Brandon with a Presidential Citation from 2015-16 Rotary International President K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran. Only a few clubs in the entire district were recognized at this level for their work in increasing membership, service, fundraising, Foundation giving, work with Rotary youth and spreading the Rotary mission.
 
Tom Wagner also selected the Rotary Club of Brandon as the Most Improved club in the entire district for its huge membership growth and change in overall trajectory over this past year. President Chuck Burgess was at the Conference representing the club to accept the awards. These awards are a testament to the year of teamwork, hard work, planning and overall organization of the entire club membership. Through our combined efforts, committee work, service project impact, board leadership and fundraising, the Rotary Club of Brandon made tremendous strides in making a difference and leaving an impact on our community the entire Rotary year.
 
Way to go, Rotary Club of Brandon! Congratulations on a great year!
 

 
The Rotary Club of Brandon got a big dose of John Maxwell this past week with John Maxwell Team Trainer, Kris Beaird, imparting some leadership wisdom at our weekly luncheon. Kris's  exercise about leaders' capacities in roles was illustrated with a simple water bottle and lid. The purpose was to illustrate that the lid represents containment of capacity, and we all have to challenge where our lids are. Kris also spoke to self awareness and how other people may view us in our leadership roles.
 
Next week's meeting is a big one as the club disperses over $60,000 in funds to our designated charities for the year. The club is also recognizing its three scholarship recipients as well. Rotarian Nick Hall will be speaking as well about his trek across the country to raise money for Polio Plus.
 
This week the club celebrates John Gardner & Pat Brumley's 29th wedding anniversary on the 27th, Cade Rivard's birthday on the 26th, and club anniversaries for Kathy Curry on the 23rd (9 years) and Chris Larson on the 24th (5 years).
 
Key Dates for May/June
  • 24th - Check Presentations - charities, Nick Hall Guest Speaker
  • 26th - Monthly Social - World of Beer
  • 31st - Club Assembly
  • 2nd - Installation Banquet
 
 
 

 
The Rotary Club of Brandon is throwing its hat into this year's local political ring by sponsoring and supporting current Rotary President, Chuck Burgess, in his bid to become the next Honorary Mayor of Brandon. This annual, local event put on each year by the Community Roundtable has at the forefront a purpose to bring more resources and exposure to local charities through its primary fundraising component. The candidates begin raising funds through events and donations beginning June 1st and ending July 3rd. The candidate to hand in the most money raised becomes the next Honorary Mayor of Brandon for the next year beginning at the Fourth of July parade.
 
The Rotary Club of Brandon has a storied tradition with the Mayor's race with many past Honorary Mayors in the club including current Rotarians Alan Feldman, Jeff Reynolds and Vince Ferraro. Monies raised in this year's race from President Chuck will go to the Bill Carey Boys and Girls Club, BSAC's TRIDENT program and youth drowning prevention program and to all of this year's designated club charities. There are scheduled events throughout the month of June for families, the ladies, the men and kids.
 
The kick off event will be put on by Kimberly and Roger Rivard on Friday, June 3rd, and several other events will follow including a kickball tournament (June 4th), all day laser tag at CQ Tactical Laser Tag (June 5th), a movie night hosted by the Chicks for Charities group (June 8th), a clay shoot at Fish Hawk Sporting Clays (June 11th), an underground charity dance party (June 17th), a golf tournament at Cheval Golf & Country Club (June 18th) and a 5k/1-mile Fun Run with live concert and barbecue at BSAC (June 25th).
 
Rotarians can sponsor, donate or support by being a part of a committee as well as attend the events. Getting others to be a part of the campaign by donating and coming to the events will help get President Chuck to the finish line!
 
To find out more ways to join in the campaign, go to Facebook and visit the Burgess4Brandon page https://www.facebook.com/burgess4brandon/ or the website at www.burgess4brandon.com. Let's all support President Chuck by being a part of this fun and exciting campaign that will bring so many resources and awareness to some outstanding local charities and their causes!
 

 
Several members of the Rotary Club of Brandon gathered to assist the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) this past Saturday at the Bill Carey Boys and Girls Club in Brandon and the ECHO center off of Parsons. The project entailed helping package over 50,000 pounds of inbound food products for local families in need as well as help to organize the ECHO center and process new donations for distribution. New Rotary member, Eleanor Saunders, organized hundreds of volunteers over the six plus hour service project, and the Rotary Club played a key role in the first part of the day.
 
Chris Myers, Cade Rivard, Ron Croone, Dave West, Alan Feldman, Bob Solano, Pat Skidmore, Clyde Eisenberg, Melissa Cox, John Sellers, Maria Lewis, Lee Elam and Chequita & Chuck Burgess all represented the club throughout the day. From sorting clothes to sorting food stuffs, the day was filled with lots of laughter and fun while the hands of many made a tangible impact on ECHO and the great work that they do in the community.
 
Thanks to Pat Skidmore and Eleanor Saunders for organizing and to all of the Rotarians that took time out of their weekend to come and assist with the project!
 

 
 
The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay's Rich Strehl served as this past week's guest speaker and introduced the Rotary Club of Brandon to all of the opportunities that the Foundation offers donors wanting to connect with charities. Rich talked about legacy, planned giving and donor specific giving programs as well as innovative grant opportunities that exist for non profits doing something outside the box to impact the community.
 
The day got started with Justin Northcutt pinch hitting for Fred Schwabe who was out having knee surgery. Justin did an outstanding job and even noted to the club that Brandon Regional actually did find a funny bone inside of Fred. Who would have guessed? The club sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to Ryan Burley who just got a new front number.
 
Kathy Curry and Jackie Fields both stopped by to donate a check to the Rotary Event Center project on behalf of the Brandon South Club. Thank you so much, Kathy and Jackie!
 
A reminder about the club's service project for ECHO at the Boys and Girls Club was made as was one for the upcoming Installation Banquet for June 2nd at the Tampa Club.
 
John Maxwell Team speaker, Kris Beaird will be our guest speaker this week to impart some motivational wisdom for us all. Next week will be our charity check presentations and guest speaker Nick Hall! Should be an awesome two weeks at Rotary!
 
Club Anniversaries:
May 16th - Burley, Ryan (4 years), Jeff Campbell (4 years), David Magann (4 years), Chris McGuire (4 years), 
May 21st - Paul Garner (14 years)
 
Upcoming Key Dates:
May 23rd - Rotary Board Meeting
May 24th - Charity Luncheon
May 26th - Monthly Social (World of Beer)
May 31st - Club Assembly
June 2nd - Installation Banquet
 

 
The Rotary Club of Brandon had another banner day this past week as they inducted the Emergency Care Help Organization's Executive Director, Eleanor Saunders, as their newest Rotarian. Sponsored by recently inducted Dan Coyle, Eleanor took center stage and accepted the duties that go along with becoming a great community Rotarian. The club was excited to have her join the ranks and is expecting big things from her as she begins her Rotary career.
 
The week brought a lot of thoughts and prayers to many of our Rotarians as Fred Schwabe heads into surgery this coming week, and the club sent best wishes to both the Anello and Simmons families as they care for their family patriarchs. Best wishes to all, and you are all in our prayers.
 
Our last service project of the Rotary year is scheduled for Saturday, May 14th at the Carey Boys and Girls Club as we will be assisting ECHO with a food collection drive. Rotarians will help bring in and process over 50,000 pounds of food being donated for children and families in our community that are in need. This is a much needed project, and should be a great one for all of us to rally around and contribute to. 
 
The club is also getting ready for its annual Installation Banquet on Thursday, June 2nd at the Tampa Club where we will induct our new club officers and directors. We will also recognize the new Rotary Club Charity Fund board as well. This will be our official change in leadership which will begin July 1st for the new Rotary year which has the theme of Rotary - Serving Humanity.
 
Speaking of serving humanity, the Rotary Club of Brandon would like to send its congratulations to Liz Fields, her staff, board and volunteers at Rotary's Camp Florida for being recognized as a finalist for the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Non Profit of the Year. Rotary's Camp Florida continues to be a top non profit in the NPO industry locally, and Liz's leadership is evident by all of the amazing impact that the camp makes to so many children. Way to go, Rotary's Camp Florida. (Check out the link to the story: http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2016/05/05/2016-nonprofit-of-the-year-finalists-named.html?ana=e_tbay_bn_newsalert&u=ZzMRNZ2i5u5Bq0kUkT03%2Fw0fb446c1&t=1462462721&j=72955362)
 
Key Dates for May:
23rd - Rotary BOD Meeting
24th - Charity Check Presentations/Nick Hall Speaker
26th - Rotary Monthly Social
31st - Club Assembly
June 2nd - Installation Banquet
 

 
Brandon Rotarians had some new digs this past week as they welcomed the club at Romano's Macaroni Grill for the next several months until the Rotary Event Center is completed. It was a packed house and agenda as Rotarians got an opportunity to vote for the distribution of dollars to the selected charities for the 2015-16 Rotary year. The club also welcomed guest speaker, Steve McCleary from the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Steve talked to the club about how the 501c3 non profit raises funds for college scholarships for the surviving children of fallen Special Operations Forces, family & educational counseling, including in-home tutoring, as well as advocacy support and immediate $3,000 financial grants to severely-wounded Special Operations Forces service members.
 
Club members also began signing up for our annual Installation Banquet for June 2nd at the Tampa Club. We will be inducting three new board members with John Gardner rejoining the board and Chris McGuire and Ryan Burley joining the board for the first time. We are excited about our goals for 2016-17 and to take our club to an even higher level!
 
Happy anniversary to Rocky and Jane Santa Cruz!
 
Our club will be having a great weekend as we embark on our annual fishing trip to Steinhatchee, Florida for four days of onshore and offshore fishing, a fish fry, and tons of Rotary fellowship. Those not attending will have an awesome Thursday at Stein and Vine for our monthly social. Should be a lot of fun!
 
This week's meeting will have Ruth Van Dyke, and we will announce our 2016 Scholarship recipients.
 
Important Upcoming Dates for April:
18th - Rotary Board of Directors Meeting
19th - Weekly Meeting
21st - Annual Fishing Trip/Monthly Social - Stein & Vine
26th - Monthly Club Assembly
 
 

 
 
Brandon Rotarians took to the water, both inshore and offshore, to have fun, fish and enjoy Rotary fellowship at their Annual Fishing Trip to Steinhatchee. In all, over 30 plus Rotarians, friends and families gathered for the two-day event that included an evening steak dinner and a good old fashioned fish fry from the previous day's catch. Bob Solano, Pat Skidmore and Larry Fassett provided all of the set up, organization and fixins' which made for a great weekend.
 
The trip started with many Rotarians coming in on Thursday night and having the opening dinner at Fiddler's. Despite a long wait, lots of stories of past trips and anticipation for the next day's catch abounded. The following morning was an early start with a quick breakfast and the groups breaking out into offshore and inshore fishing. It was a beautiful day to fish, and the groups didn't disappoint with king fish, amberjack, blues, blackies, trout and a whole lot of others that didn't make the cut all being caught throughout the day. Once all of the fishing was done, it was time for fellowship and a signature steak dinner. Again, more tales and fun as many Rotarians prepared to lose their money and contribute to the Pat Skidmore retirement fund (also known as poker night!). 
The following morning was another early start, and a calm, clear day started another great fishing outing. After a great day of fishing, the traditional fish fry took place with lots of happy bellies enjoying the trout and amberjack which were cooked to perfection! Overall, the trip may not have had as many fish caught as in past years, but the laughter and fun were classic!
 

 
 
It was all about family and friends this past week as the Rotary Club of Brandon gathered for its Spring Fireside Chat at Rotary's Camp Florida. The steaks were cooking, the stories were flying and the next generation of young Rotarians shared a night of fellowship with an awesome group of community leaders. John Dwyer did another great job of getting everything coordinated and set up while Mike Edenfield manned the grill to make the best steaks ever! Derrell Curry took care of his world famous salad with the much needed help of Pat Skidmore, Larry Fassett and Clyde Eisenberg. Over 50 Rotarians, spouses and children all attended the evening where President Chuck and Roger Rivard gave the entire club an update on the progress of the Rotary Event Center. To date, the club has raised in both contributions and in-kind donations (service, labor, materials) approximately a quarter of a million dollars. We have a bit more to go, so getting more people involved, having other Rotarians step up and the charity vote distribution will all play a role in us accomplishing our goal.
 
This week the club moves to Romano's Macaroni Grill for its weekly meetings until the REC is completed. Howard Cohen (GM) has graciously accommodated us. Our club will also be voting to distribute close to $62,000 to our selected charities this week. Rotarians will get to divide 10 votes each to the Brandon Rotary Club Charity Fund, Rotary's Camp Florida, The Outreach Clinic, The Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center's special needs TRIDENT program, The Boy Scouts of America's Alafia Canoe and Kayak project and the Women's Resource Center. Charities designated for awards of $1,000 are Family Promise of Brandon, Emergency Care Help Organization and Senior Care Group Foundation. We are so excited to celebrate a year's worth of hard work by giving away these dollars to impact these extraordinary local charities!!
The Brandon Rotary Club will have a special guest speaker today from the Special Operations Warrior Foundation - Steve McLeary. Steve will tell us about the foundation, the great work they are doing and how they are impacting our military and veterans. 
 
We will be celebrating a big Happy Birthday to John Dwyer (April 13th) as well as anniversaries to Fred and Barbara Schwabe (April 15th) - 55 years!! and Chuck and Chequita Burgess (April 17th)- 23 years. Enjoy the celebrations!
 
In news and notes, Brandon '86 is having their 2nd Annual Golf Tournament at Bloomingdale this Saturday, April 16th and is looking for our club to put together a foursome or two to support them. Any Rotarian looking to have a fun, relaxing day on the course can contact Brad Metcalf for more information (Brad Metcalf, Tournament Administrator, 813-335-8281, Brad@BrandonInsuranceInc.com).
 
Our sister club, the Fish Hawk/Riverview Rotary Club is putting on their Annual Crawfish Festival at Winthrop on Saturday, April 16th as well. Longtime Rotarian Mike Meegan has asked our club to have a few people come out and assist with the beer tent. Anyone coming out will get an amazing lunch, and of course multiple samplings of what they are serving! Shifts needed are 10:45 - 12:30, 12:30 - 2:00 and 2:00 - 4:00. Mike's Rotary Club did a great job of assisting us at our Wild Game Dinner, so let's please return the favor!! Those that can help out, please contact Mike at mike.meegan@verizon.net.
 
Finally, our 2016 Brandon Rotary Club Charity Fund scholarship applications for current high school seniors are due this Friday, April 15th to be considered for awards of $2,000 (1) or $1,000 (3). If you have or know of a high school senior looking to get assistance from one of these awards, please have them fill out the scholarship application on our website. The charity fund committee will review all applications and award the most qualified candidates accordingly.
 
Key Upcoming Dates in April:
  • 15th - Rotary Club scholarship applications due!
  • 16th - Fish Hawk/Riverview Rotary Crawfish Festival - Please help w/ Beer Tent
  • 16th - Brandon '86 Golf Tournament - Help support their efforts
  • 18th - Brandon Rotary Board of Directors Meeting
  • 21st - Annual Club Fishing Trip
  • 21st - Monthly Social - Stein & Vine
  • 26th - Club Assembly
 

 
 
Tuesday, March 22nd - The Rotary Club of Brandon got a little bit bigger and a whole lot better this week as the club inducted new member, Chris Myers, as its newest member. Community leader and owner of ACE Heating & Cooling, Chris has impacted the Brandon area greatly with his work on the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce board of directors and the several charities that he has made a difference in through his business. After hearing about Rotary for the past dozen or so years from Rotarian Ron Marshall, Jeff Campbell finally closed the deal by sponsoring Chris into the club. As we know, being a member of the Brandon Rotary Club is a tremendous honor, and with it comes a lot of responsibility to be a top notch leader. Chris is a perfect fit! Welcome, Chris!
 
This week's meeting was a great one as the club made a collective choice to move its meeting location to Romano's Macaroni Grill beginning Tuesday, April 12th until the Rotary Event Center is completed. Our last meeting at The Loft with Arlene and Courtney will be next week, Tuesday, March 29th where we will also have our monthly Club Assembly. The club will not be meeting on the 5th of April as we put on our Spring Fireside Chat on the 7th instead. Should be another fun event for our club!
 
Lots of Happy Dollars flowed at the meeting, and why not after Fred Schwabe's great joke got everyone in the mood to feel good. Maria Lewis let everyone know about her organization's Top Chef event, Brandon Regional Hospital's CEO, Bland Eng, invited everyone to the ribbon cutting to their newly constructed facilities and Alan Feldman gave us a preview of his upcoming trip to China, and we have pictures to prove it!
 
Dr. Jean Batronie was our guest speaker as she talked about her 501c3 charity St. Jude's Helping Hand Foundation. The mission of the organization is to help the homeless in Tampa. For several years Jean and her family have been feeding the homeless by providing home cooked meals, clothes, toiletries and other needed items. She has also been a strong advocate for the homeless having areas where people like her can contribute to aiding their situation. Her passion for helping others in need showed through her presentation!
 
With the Club Assembly this week, there will be lots to report with the Rotary Event Center, our fundraising results for the Rotary year, membership, discussion around the next year and sign ups for the Installation Banquet on June 2nd at The Tampa Club. We are also celebrating some birthdays and club anniversaries this week. Happy Birthday to Paul Garner (April 2nd), Alan Feldman (April 3rd) and Chuck Burgess (April 3rd). Club anniversaries this week belong to Joe Campoamor (March 30th - 10 years), Chuck Burgess (March 30th - 7 years), Derrell Curry (April 1st - 35 years)!
 
  • March/April Key Dates:
    • 31st - Monthly Social - Top Golf
    • 5th - NO MEETING!
    • 7th - Fireside Chat
    • 12th - Club votes for Charity Fund Distribution (Meet at new location Macaroni Grill)
 

 
 
Tuesday, March 15th - The Rotary Club of Brandon's weekly meeting became a spine tingling experience as Dr. Matt Wilson of Epic Chiropractic and Wellness visited as our guest speaker to discuss the challenges of proper spine alignment in today's technological world. Prior to that, however, our weekly Emcee, Fred Schwabe, got things kicked into gear welcoming several guests, most notably Eleanor Saunders from ECHO. Fred delivered another breakfast joke that met mixed reviews and is determined to regain his momentum for another streak!
 
There were Happy Dollars flying around with great news about our Wild Game Dinner, community service project at the Rotary Event Center and Chris Larson helping out our members once again. Wild Game Chair Joe Campoamor made a point to thank all of the committee chairs that led their respective areas, our sponsors and the entire club for their tireless service and efforts in making the event one of the more successful ones over the years. Larry Fassett and Chuck Burgess both thanked those that attended the Rotary Event Center service project. Those that showed up did an outstanding job of taking down walls, putting up temporary walls and getting us a step closer to a permanent home.
 
Chuck then discussed that we were only at the Loft another few weeks, and that we would be proposing another location for the club's approval next week. O'Brien's and Macaroni Grill were two options, but we needed to get further info prior to presenting.
 
Dr. Matt took over from there talking to the club about how the emergence of mobile devices and computers are changing the spine alignment of adults and children. He informed us what a normal, healthy spine should look like and examples of spines that are out of alignment look as well. Dr. Matt offered to donate the consultation fee for every Rotarian that comes in to get checked out back to our Rotary Club!
 
Larry Fassett has set up Dr. Jean Batronie of the St. Jude Helping Hand Foundation as our guest speaker. The Rotary Club of Brandon will also be inducting new member, Chris Myers!
 
Special Club Celebrations this week include: Birthday - Tom Odiorne - March 26th, Anniversaries - David & Susan West (March 21st - 35 years), Craig Oldham & Peggy Colleran (March 26 - 22 years), Ron & Connie Marshall (March 27 - 35 years)
 
Key Dates
March
29th - Club Assembly
31st - Monthly Social - Top Golf
April
5th - NO MEETING!
7th - Fireside Chat
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
This past weekend's Brandon Rotary service project at the Rotary Event Center had a little bit of everything. While many Rotarians were in small teams deconstructing the building, others were in construction mode by building temporary walls for the ones coming down. HRIC, Larry Fassett, (Head Rotarian In Charge) led the small, but mighty contingent throughout the long six hours of work, and a lot got done. Walls were knocked down, the chimney was removed, an entire bathroom was removed, part of the back roof came down and two false walls were constructed.
 
 
A big thank you to the entire work crew who pretty much all got there bright and early and stayed to the end. Thanks to Larry Fassett, Pat Skidmore, Scott Carter, Ron Croone, John Sellers, Wayne Strohaker, Chris Larson, Rocky Santa Cruz, Alan Feldman, Paul Garner, hopefully future Rotarian Rob Armstrong, Chuck Burgess, Chequita Burgess and Brandon Burgess. Also, a big thank you to Susan Thomason who took care of feeding the troops!
 
To say that this was a labor intensive project would be an understatement. Watching the elder statesmen of our club work non stop swinging sledgehammers, carrying concrete all day, throwing around plywood, tearing down a roof, ripping down walls and doing so all day long was truly impressive and inspirational. There truly is a lot of blood, sweat and elbow grease going into the REC by many dedicated and committed Rotarians month after month.
 
We are one step closer to getting it done, and we are more excited than ever to finally have a permanent home. Again, thanks to all of the Rotarians and friends of Rotary that showed up to make it happen! Way to go, Brandon Rotary!
 

 
 
It was a banner evening for the Rotary Club of Brandon this past Sunday as the new Bloomingdale WalMart (store 941), headed by community leader Peter Peck, distributed a check for $500 to our charity fund. In all WalMart contributed $8,000 to 16 local, deserving charities including some of our own charities including The Outreach Clinic, the Boys Scouts, ECHO and the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center.
 
President Chuck Burgess and Secretary Debbie Meegan attended the ceremonies to receive the check on behalf of the club during the soft opening presentation. "We are so grateful and honored to receive these funds for our Rotary Club," Burgess said. "Pete Peck and WalMart have been huge supporters of our Rotary Club and the many local charities that are in need of a helping hand. It is organizations like this and people like Pete that make our community so strong."
 
The Rotary Club of Brandon gives its thanks to Pete, his entire staff team and the WalMart organization for their support of Rotary here locally! Thanks, Pete!
 

 
 
Tuesday, February 16th - It was a lights out meeting this week with TECO guest speaker Tad Denham taking center stage with an excellent presentation about TECO's local impact. Tad talked to club members about the new TECO owners, TECO's presence in New Mexico, their continued commitment to the Manatee viewing center and the rise of natural gas as mobile fuel. Thanks, Tad, for a great presentation!
 
Fred Schwabe kicked things off with the introduction of longtime Rotarian George Simmons' daughter, Christine Hogan, who was celebrating her birthday with us. The club also had local media maven Linda Chion Kenney from the Tampa Tribune. George Anello brought in his lovely bride, Sharon as a guest as well.
 
There were lots of Happy Dollars to go around as Bland Eng announced the Grand Opening of the new addition to the Brandon Regional Hospital ER will be held March 23rd at 5Pm. He invited the whole Club. Rex Etheridge former CEO for many years will be attending. Joe Campamor celebrated the opening of his 6th and newest title office in Davenport. John Sellers informed us that former Rotarian and Manager of the new WalMart on Bloomingdale will be donating  Grand Opening Funds to our club and many of the Charities supported by our Club . All are invited to the Grand Opening which will be held Wednesday, March 9th at 7:30AM. Alan Feldman gave two Happy Dollars, one for a great fishing trip with Captain Mike Anderson host of the Real Animals TV show. They caught a lot of flounder, red fish, trout , sheephead and a snook. Alan's second Happy Dollar was given because his wife Melonie bought him his dream kayak for Valentine’s Day which will ensure many more fish and love in his future.
 
Joe Campoamor reminded the club that we are two and half weeks away from our 40th Wild Game Dinner fundraiser and that we are in need of lots of help with silent auction items and raffle prizes. Susan Thomason has done yeoman's work on this, but we need everyone to help with this by either getting items from local businesses or donating dollars so we can purchase gift cards and items so this part of our event is successful. JJ Massaro had new posters for the event and Paul Garner showed a nifty customized putter that was being donated to the event. Michael Gottesman drew a 2 of hearts after winning the 50/50 drawing so the pot continues to grow.
 
This week is our monthly Club Assembly meeting. Several wedding and club anniversaries will be celebrated this week as JJ and Melissa Massaro celebrate their 26th anniversary on the 24th. Susan Thomason celebrates her 5th year in the club on the 22nd and Wayne Strohaker celebrates his 9th year as a Brandon Rotarian on the 27th! Happy Anniversary everyone!
 
Key February/March Dates:
 
February
23rd - Club Assembly Meeting
25th - Monthly Social - World of Beer
 
March
1st - Club Meeting - Wild Game Prep
4th - Wild Game Dinner!!
8th - NO MEETING!!
 

 
 
Saturday, February 13th - Brandon Rotarians took time out of their weekend to help lead Rotary's annual Engage Rotary Youth Day held at Rotary's Camp Florida this past Saturday from 10:00 - 4:00. Over 100 area Rotoractors, Interactors and Rotarians joined forces to educate, learn from each other and share Rotary experiences. The day was filled with great talks from District Governor Tom Wagner, District Membership Chair George-Robertson Burnett, awesome Rotarian Nick Hall, an amazing Rotary Youth Exchange student from Finland and many Rotoract presidents and high school Interact members. Team-building focusing on communication, cooperation and leadership were the themes of the day as was a very intensive service project helping Rotary's Camp Florida move their offices to their new location.
 
It was great to see our Brandon Rotarians in lead roles working with Rotary Youth. The passion, energy and excitement for doing good in the world was on full display! A big thanks to Alan Feldman, Fred Schwabe, Susan Thomason, John Sellers, Chequita Burgess and Brandon Burgess (the only middle schooler to attend) who all participated in the event along with President Chuck. Due to everyone's efforts, the Rotary Club of Brandon is one step closer to getting its Presidential Citation! Only one more step to go, and that's to get everyone to activate their accounts on Rotary.org.
 
The event was a ton of fun for all participants as everyone was organized in six different groups where they competed in a series of team-building tasks such as the four person ski walk, the ever shrinking Four Way Test challenge, the blindfolded water transport game and the team golf ball relay. To experience the joy of Rotary through our youth was refreshing and inspiring to everyone involved. Look out Brandon Rotary, we may have to institute some of these cool things at our next Fireside Chat!!
 
Again, a big thanks to the leadership of our club members that participated and helped to position us for our district leadership award! Rotary in Action. You've got to love it!
 

 
 

WELCOME TO THE ROTARY CLUB OF BRANDON!

Brandon

Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
Romano's Macaroni Grill
132 Brandon Town Center Drive
Brandon, FL  33511
United States
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