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I am so impressed by the turnout of our Annual Happy Feet project. We combined the shoes with a coat supply as well which was a phenomenal success. We raised more money this past holiday season for the Salvation Army and our bell-ringing than ever before! When this was first started, we had to have an “effort” to get the list of ringers full….now, the list is full within a matter of a couple of weeks. This is great stewardship! Our Oyster Roast was a complete hit and, as always, the weather was great. The Oyster Park looks great and the Rotary crews worked form sun up ‘til sundown putting on one heckuva show. Our annual Arts & Seafood weekend last fall continues to be a success, building on it each and every year as part of the “rites of fall” in downtown Bluffton. Our landmark event, the Bluffton Village Festival, was quite successful and continues to garner notice from around the US as more and more people want to experience what the “May Fest” is all about. This year we even got some TV time before the event, broadcast to tens of thousands of people around SC and GA inviting them, personally from yours truly, to join us for a day full of arts, crafts, food, beverage and fun right here in Bluffton. One very special part of this year were the newly created “Fun Nights”…..where we could come together and just fellowship, have some fun, and enjoy one another without a scripted meeting. Our evening at The Roasting Room was sensational, and I for one will be asking for this to be back on the calendar for FY 16-17. A very special occasion, happened on Christmas Eve, where a brand new Rotarian had organized, on his own, a food drive at the Rotary center to feed those less fortunate, or even to those that just need someone to talk to during the Holidays. That—that is a true testament to the meaning of being a Rotarian. To look past our own needs and wants, to better serve the community and man-kind, in many unselfish ways, is a blessing to all and for all. Now underway is our Peru Water Missions project. We cannot wait to see the finished product, and, taste some good, clean Peruvian water! One event that was much needed, was the formal writing of what I refer to as a “white paper”, on membership process in our Club. The Board took action to try and eliminate a wide spread feeling of “what do I do now” of prospective members and new members, giving them a step-by-step process. Future Boards and Officers can, and should, refer to this often, as it will benefit us all as we strengthen the membership fold.
Looking forward, I am happy with what we have done this year. Happy, not satisfied, as I find that once satisfied, we can become stagnant and I NEVER want that for this Club or for this Community. This year, I created and formed a new committee to work alongside our Service and Charities Committee (which receives requests for assistance) that goes out into the community, to see what else is out there in need of our help, who else could benefit from Rotary involvement, and how we can be even BETTER stewards of the monies we raise during our year. I hope this committee continues moving forward and only enhances the benefit we provide locally as well as worldwide. We also can look forward to an even increased presence in water quality projects as we have completed the grant process to do another water missions project in 16-17, in Belize. A few of our members came together and have created a special fundraiser for our worldwide events, tagged, “Water Walk” and will be done, most likely but not confirmed, twice per year, where we can get the Bluffton community together to see and feel how much of a necessity this, clean water, is and again, quite honestly, how we can it for granted so easily. It is amazing to see, and I am so fortunate to have witnessed this with my own eyes, people from a village that have NEVER seen clean, clear water--- EVER, see that and experience that.
I hope that we as Club, a vibrant and healthy Club, continue to look forward to bring people to Rotary and experience the Rotary way of life. I would especially like to see us continue to work on our diversity programs throughout each year, adding to and nourishing our membership, strengthening our vibrancy and our meaningfulness to the Community. With all that we do, let us not forget not only the 4- Way Test, but also the core values of Rotary and apply them to our work and benefit efforts. Again, I thank each and every one of you for your support, your membership, and your fellowship during my tenure. I hope that I have fulfilled your expectations as President, as well as providing the guidance and leadership as needed. I am happy and confident that my successor, Michael Putich, will perform up to the standards of President as he is about to embark on his role for 16-17. He is quite capable and has been an excellent “student” in learning the role while serving as my President Elect.
Michael E Covert
International Water Project Approved
Exciting news! The Bluffton Rotary has approval for its 2016 International Water Project and work is underway.
With approval of this Global Grant from Rotary International and our Rotary District 7770, in conjunction with Rotary District 4465 in Peru, we will be bringing clean, safe water to the community of Miramar in the Piura Region of Peru this summer.
The community of Miramar consists of 700 families with a total population of 2,800. The families there are, for the most part, subsistence farmers who live on approximately 150 UDS/month. The contaminated water in the village is a major source of illness, cholera and malaria which is prevalent in the community. We are partnering with Water Missions to install a clean water treatment system that will filter out the physical contaminates and disinfect any microbiological contaminants.
We are especially excited about this project because the Rotary Club Paita Centro in Peru is committed to working with us and Water Missions on this project. We are funding the project with a combination of financial support for the local Rotary Club in Peru, the Districts both here and in Peru, world match funds through TRF, and fundraising efforts locally. The Bluffton Rotary Club is planning a Walk for Water fundraiser in the fall to pay for their financial commitment of this project.
In support of a sustainable water system, this project includes health and hygiene education and training, a local Safe Water Committee to insure the system is maintained and that training will continue, plus a plan to collect affordable safe water fees for usage. The water treatment in Miramar will be powered by solar panels.
Attached is a picture of the canal in Miramar that was taken in February. The water serves as a source for drinking, bathing, cleaning, watering the animals, washing clothes and dishes and other functions. It is easy to see the need for clean water.
Never let it be said that “ole man winter” ever stopped or even dampened the progress of the Bluffton Rotary Club! This time of year, you all have been busy getting prepared for our Annual Oyster Roast. I will have to say, that when I drove down to the Wharf St dock and Oyster Park. The weather was perfect and a superb time was had by all.“Service Above Self”…..living the “4 way test”, that’s what Rotarians do. I see it personified by the members of our Club each and every week, with some, every day. They say that you have to consciously do something over and over and then it becomes a habit. Well, I have to disagree with “them”, as the Rotarians of Bluffton seem to have been born with that desire to improve the quality of life for others before thinking of themselves. I am so proud to be the President of this fine group, and every chance I get, usually at Area 4 or District events, I boast our members and their deeds to everyone that will listen.I urge each and every one of you to invite people in your daily life, that have a strong inner desire to put others before themselves, to come and see what Rotary is all about. The first breakfast is on the Club and we welcome anyone and everyone who wants to learn more. It is by always thinking of new members where we as a Club can give even more to the community. There is power in numbers—now that phrase I can live with! It is so true….just think of the lives we can touch in even bigger, more profound ways.Coming up soon is our District Conference in Columbia, SC this year and I urge everyone to attend. There are awards to be given out as well and I would like nothing more than to have the Club join me in celebrating whatever awards we may have earned. We are going to have a table in the House of Friendship, showing exactly what the Bluffton Rotary is all about. A Thank You to Deb Karambelas for stepping up and offering to head that endeavor up, I am sure it will be a work of art. Just think of all of the possibilities….oysters, beer, art, beer, music, beer, etc!! To sign up for District Conference go to www.dacdb.com and look for the calendar tab.Coming very soon, and I strongly put BOLD print on very, is our flagship event, the Bluffton Village Festival on May 8th in the heart of Old Town Bluffton. Thank you to David Hussey for chairing this year. He has assembled a fine team to surround him and make-this-happen. Sign-up sheets will start appearing slowly…sooner rather than later! PLEASE volunteer for this event so we can all enjoy it. I’m certainly excited about. Aren’t you?!!?Until next time…..In Rotary--Michael E CovertPresident
As I reflect on the Oyster Roast, I can’t help but think how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful place.
Yours in Rotary,
Bluffton Rotary President Steve Miller inducts two new members in January. Welcome Robbie Eidson (2nd from left) sponsored by Steve Miller and Jessica Gower (3rd from left), sponsored by Dot Jeger!
She witnessed the efforts provided through a global grant that is funded via district designated funds and matched by World Fund. Her message - Rotarians are making a difference in the world and there is SUSTAINABILITY….there is a system to follow the results and needs of projects and dollars spent after completion.
They are HERE!! Tickets are available NOW from any Bluffton Rotarian and at the following business locations.
Kevin Sevier, State Farm - 103 Buckwalter Place
Edward Jones, Sarah Reed - 38 Calhoun St, Unit 1
Litchfield Cabinetry - 53 Persimmon St, Suite 104
Hilton Head Wine & Spirit Shop - 50 Shelter Cove Plaza, Suite K, HHI
• In August, we roasted in the summer heat for the Boiled Peanut Festival and successfully raised funds to meet our Polio Plus goal of $2,125.
• In October, we worked hard to support the Historic Arts and Seafood Festival and raised funds to support the Club’s charitable endeavors.
• We ran the most successful Happy Feet project yet providing shoes to 250 children, spending $7,239; the Club spent $4,239 of our funds and also a $3,000 grant from the Foundation – our money returned to the district.
• We supported the Bluffton Jasper Volunteers in Medicine with a $5,000 donation.
• We matched funds raised from Club members to provide Christmas for some deserving local families.
• We donated, along with each member’s quarterly donation, funds to the Rotary Foundation. As a result, we are over halfway to meeting our Foundation Goal.
• November and December saw Rotarians in front of Kroger’s ringing the bell for the Salvation Army.
• We replanted planters in downtown Bluffton and have received a great deal of publicity for our efforts.
• Your former Presidents and yours truly had the pleasure of literally bringing up the rear of the Christmas parade.
• Finally, we ended the frantic six months with the fresh young voices of the M. C. Riley Singing Eagles entertaining us in December with Christmas and holiday songs.