What an awesome meeting for the Rotary Club of Brandon this past week as the 2015-16 charities that the club is supporting were announced, and we got an opportunity to find out that Publix is a lot more than a store "Where Shopping is a Pleasure". The meeting kicked off with some very emotional Happy Dollars as we have many of our Rotarians dealing with very important family matters. We welcomed Maria Lewis as a special guest for the final time (new inductee next week) and Brian Solano, son of Bob. Dick Eatman made us all believe in true love again by announcing he and his wife, Ann, celebrated their 52nd Anniversary on September 14th! That's just plain awesomeness! Larry Fassett got one of our better renditions of Happy Birthday thanks to Jeff Reynolds starting us off in the right key. Happy Birthday, Larry!
 
Mike Edenfield wanted to remind everyone that Rotary's Camp Florida still needed volunteers for the playground project, and President Chuck made sure to encourage everyone to begin selling their Saturday, October 24th Casino Night tickets. Sponsorship and promotional collateral would be sent out once it was completed.
 
Jeff Reynolds announced that the Rotary Club of Brandon Charity Fund board recommended the following charities that we would be supporting this year through our Annual Golf Tournament on Thursday, January 21st and our Signature Wild Game Dinner on Friday, March 4th. Jeff explained that each of the charities nominated were more than worthy of our support, and the committee had decided to support each of them in different capacities. The following charities will be our charities of choice:
 
Rotary's Camp Florida
Rotary Club of Brandon Charity Fund
The Outreach Clinic
Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center
Gulf Ridge Council Boy Scouts - Alafia Canoe and Kayak Project
The Women's Resource Center of Tampa
ECHO - $1,000 for an assistant for their GED program
Senior Care Group Foundation - $1,000 for their food pantry
Family Promise of Greater Brandon - $1,000
 
After the great news of where our making a difference is going to happen this year, we were honored to induct our newest Rotarian, Michael Owen. President Chuck did the honors as JJ Massaro pinch hit the ceremonial pinning for Michael's club sponsor, Lee Elam. Michael is going to be a banner Rotarian as is evidenced for his energy and enthusiasm for the club, its members and its mission. It's beginning to look like our red badges are catching up to our blue badges! Larry Fassett has an entire nursery of Baby Rotes to take care of!
 
Once the Rotary ceremonies had concluded, Michael Gottesman introduced the day's guest speaker, Brian West, media and community relations director, from Publix Charities who visited us to explain how Publix impacts the communities of Tampa Bay with their influx of millions of dollars of support. We learned that Publix has 275 stores in six states, and he represents the Central and South Regions for Publix Charities. They have two divisions which constitute millions of dollars of support. Publix receives over 8,000 requests annually for support from organizations. Their funding priorities are youth, education and homelessness. Brian was proud and passionate to the fact that the George Jenkins Foundation gave away over $43 million this past year, much of it ($24 million) to United Way. He also explained their local giving months whereby patrons and staff can contribute during their shopping visits. Founder George Jenkins was asked once what he'd be if he didn't give away so much, and his answer was simply, NOTHING. The presentation was so fantastic that Fred Schwabe is now a Publix convert and will be a loyal customer from now on. Maybe they have some joke books for sale there!
 
The 50/50 drawing winning number was won by Dick Eatman and Rocky Santa Cruz. After President Chuck described how the 50/50 works to Mr. Eatman to refresh his memory (welcome back to the Club, Mr. Eatman!), a two of spades was drawn. Close to the Ace of Spades, but not a winner. The jackpot continues to grow!!
 
Tuesday, September 29th will be a special day for Brandon Rotarians as District Governor Tom Wagner visits and will induct new member Maria Lewis!
 
Special Celebrations this week include:
 
Birthdays - Craig Oldham (9/27)
Anniversaries - Chris and Vonda Larson (10/2)
 
Key Dates:
 
September
29th - District Governor Tom Wagner Visits, Maria Lewis Inducted!
 
October
6th - Club Meeting - Guest Speaker Lee Hoffman
13th - No Club Meeting
15th - Fall Fireside Chat - Rotary's Camp Florida
19th - Rotary BOD Meeting
20th - Club Meeting - Club Assembly & Casino Night Preparation
24th - Rotary Casino Night @ BSAC
27th - No Club Meeting