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