It was another banner day at the Rotary Club of Brandon's weekly meeting with four charities slated to present their case for support this year from the club. However, before the charities got their chance, the one and only Fred Schwabe got things started by introducing some of our guests from Lake Wales, Kim Marcus and Gordon Hoover. It was great to see them travel so far for lunch, and their feedback to us was that we've got a rockin' club! I'm sure we would all agree!
Fred then invited everyone to share a dollar or two of happiness in their lives. Vince Ferraro had a happy dollar for his and his family's vacation in Nova Scotia where they had a great time. Larry Fassett had a dollar to implore some help with lining up guest speakers and wanted to report that Pat Skidmore's wife just got out of ICU and is in stable condition. Our prayers for a speedy recovery all went out to Saree and Pat. World traveler and Past District Governor, Alan Feldman, had a happy dollar as he just returned from Denmark on a Rotary friendship exchange program. He and his wife, Melanie, also stopped by Scotland and saw the Queen at the Scottish Highland Games. We all knew you were royalty, Alan, now you have the Queen of England as a first hand reference! Justin Northcutt had a happy dollar to celebrate his youngest daughter, Bailey, having a negative MRI. We are ALL grateful for that!
President Chuck announced that we are in need of volunteers to assist Scott Carter with the October 24th Rotary Casino Night. Also expressed to the Club was that Rotary's Camp Florida is in dire need of volunteers for Thursday, September 24th and Saturday, September 26th for their big playground project. And, finally, it was asked of the Club to try and attend some picture-taking opportunities at the charities that we supported the past year. After the announcements, the fun began!
The Gulf Ridge Council Boy Scouts went first as George McGovern walked the club through the Alafia Canoe and Kayak Project that is underway. Their goal of expanding this area to have the Boy Scouts and local non profits be able to use the facilities was both visionary and community impacting. George also thanked the club for our support this past year and announced that we were more than welcome to help with eradicating the hogs on their property for our Wild Game Night Dinner. 
Family Promise of Greater Brandon went next with Edwina Riddick introducing herself and this local non profit to our Club. Edwina discussed all of the great things that this organization does to make a difference in the lives of so many children and families. Their mission is to end homelessness one family at a time. By providing temporary housing and offering case management services, this organization empowers their guests to escape homelessness. Edwina gave an awesome presentation, and we're sure she's making a huge difference in our community.
Next up was our very own Debbie Meegan, Executive Director of The Outreach Clinic. Debbie shared that the clinic provides both diagnostics and  primary care services for the uninsured in our community. The Outreach Clinic's work involves serving families at or below the poverty level that do not have basic insurance to cover vital health services themselves or their children. Debbie's work and passion at The Outreach Clinic is evident in the thousands of local residents that she/they impact every day. Debbie also thanked the Rotary Club for their continued support both financially and through service projects over the years.
Finally, Chuck Burgess, Executive Director of the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center (BSAC) talked to the club about the work that he and his team are doing for the community. First, Chuck thanked the Club for their generous work and contribution for this past year. He then outlined the youth drowning prevention, special needs and community outreach that BSAC is doing through partnerships with the County, Children's Board and other non profits. BSAC helped to teach almost 1,000 Head Start children to swim as well as provide tens of thousands of dollars of financial assistance to students in their TRIDENT (intellectually disabled), after school, summer camp and swim lesson programs. He also discussed BSAC's reaching out to the Palm River area to begin after school and baseball programming through a partnership with Hillsborough County.
With the charity presentations coming to an end, the Brandon Rotary Club Charity Fund board was scheduled to meet following the meeting to discuss which charities to recommend to the club to support for the 2015-16 Rotary Year. The meeting came to a close with Debbie Meegan winning the 50/50 chance to draw the Ace of Spades, but, no such luck. The pot keeps growing!
This week's program includes the Rotary Club of Brandon celebrating the induction of new member, Michael Owen! Also, Brian West, media and community relations for Publix out of the Lakeland Division will speak to us about the Publix Charity program. The Brandon Rotary Club Charity Fund Board will discuss the charities they recommend for the 2015-16 Rotary Year as well. Should be another awesome meeting. Don't miss it!
Big celebrations this week include:
Craig Oldham's birthday on September 27th
​Wayne and Laurie Strohaker's 30th Anniversary on September 22nd
George and Sharon Anello's 33rd Anniversary on September 25th
  • September Key dates: 
    • 24th - Monthly Club Social - Top Golf
    • 29th - District Governor Tom Wagner Visits
  • October Key Dates:
    • 6th - Lee Hoffman (Riverwalk designer) Guest Speaker
    • 13th - NO MEETING!!
    • 15th - Fall Fireside Chat
    • 20th - Casino Night Prep
    • 24th - Rotary Casino Night @ BSAC