Posted by Chuck Burgess
It was an amazing night of fun, recognition and excitement as the Rotary Club of Brandon's President's gavel got passed to newly inducted President Dave Brown. Almost 100 Rotarians, family and friends gathered for the 2017-18 Annual Installation Banquet at the Rivard-Simmons Rotary Event Center on Tuesday, June 27th. You could feel the energy in the room as soon as you walked in with the anticipation of new leadership, club goals and impending community impact. 
Master of Ceremony's Fred Schwabe got things kicked off with a few great jokes, and by a few, we mean one! Royalty was in the house as District Governor Joyce Gunter and Past District Governors Gary Gunter and Alan Feldman joined the festivities. In a night that more resembled the Oscars, by the number of awards, speeches and length of program, the overall feedback was, it was a hit!
The awards started with DG Gunter presenting incoming President Elect Debbie Meegan with a four time Paul Harris Fellow pin. This award is very prestigious from the Rotary International perspective, and Debbie also became a Paul Harris Sustaining Member which gives RI $1,000 annually. Congrats, Debbie!
The mic was handed over to President Chuck, and he took advantage of the time to give out several thank you's to many deserving Rotarians that served on the board, chaired fundraising committees and made an impact in the overall success of the club. Those recognized included Mike Edenfield, Justin Northcutt, Troy Dimsdale, Steve Moran, Chris McGuire, Ryan Burley, John Dwyer, Joe Campoamor, Past President Craig Oldham, Debbie Meegan and Fred Schwabe.
Next up for awards were the annual awards. President Chuck presented three Service Above Self awards to Rotarians that served our club above and beyond behind the scenes. Ryan Burley, Susan Thomason and Justin Northcutt all received recognition for furthering the Rotary Motto of "Service Above Self". After serving as secretary of the club for two years, keeping our club in line with RI and going above and beyond at every opportunity, Debbie Meegan was awarded the President's Award. Finally, the big award of Rotarian of the Year was presented to soon to be President, at some point in the future, John Dwyer. John's leadership in the Rotary Event Center project becoming a reality, taking on the lead for the Fireside Chats and Seafood Fest along with being the liaison for the club with the Interact Club of Strawberry Crest High all led to him being selected as our year's Top Rotarian! Congrats to all of the award winners, and the club sends you all a big thanks for your leadership!
After the annual awards were completed, our Perfect Attendees all received their pins and certificates. Next up, President Chuck said a few words about the year and then made sure to give Dave the "Rules to Being President of Our Club". Every Rotarian was mentioned, and the rules were very explicit. We'll see if Dave can follow them!!
The moment we were all waiting for finally happened as Dave Brown and his new board of directors were sworn in as the official leaders of the club for the 2017-18 Rotary year. Dave thanked the current board and President Chuck for all of their hard work over the past year, and set a vision for membership and making a much bigger difference through Rotary in the coming year. Dave's impassioned words challenged us all to have as a priority this year to engage local leaders to join our club in its quest to further Rotary, impact more families and organizations and to build on the strong tradition of success of the Rotary Club of Brandon.
The highlight of the night was saved for the end. In a tradition that began last year, the President of the club gets to select two Rotarians either past or current to bestow the prestigious Rotary Legacy Award. Alan Feldman presented Derrell Curry his much deserved award, and Larry Fassett handed Bob Solano his legacy award. Both of these amazing men have had 36 years of perfect attendance in the club and have led several key elements over the years that have made our club such a huge success. It was a very special moment for all of us, but none more special to Derrell and Bob's families who were all so appreciative. Thanks Derrell and Bob for leaving your legacy!!
The evening ended with a toast to success for this year by President Dave. It was an energizing evening and a fun one as well. Congrats to everyone for an unbelievable year. Now let's make this year an even better one!