The first quarter of FY 2015-2016 for the Rotary Club of Bluffton and District 7770 has come, and gone, and it only seems like yesterday I was given the gavel from Past President Steve Miller. It has been an enjoyable, and energetic ride, so far and I am sure the remaining three quarters will be even more so. We should always be able to take a step back and reflect as to the job we are doing, as individual Rotarian’s, being “a gift to the world”, in our own special way. This first quarter has seen our Board of Directors and Officers come together, get to know one another a little better and begin working on issues for the rest of the year for the Club. To say this year is going to be exciting, is putting it mildly. I am fortunate to have two of our member’s, Mary O’Neil and Dan Wood, come and step forward, to chair the Social and Fun! Committee. It is important that we as Rotarians spend some time with each other in a less structured environment, learning about each other, our families and what we are all about. Isn’t is exciting to learn where we all come from? What we did as teens forming ourselves for the future? Learning about each other’s spouses and significant others. This kind of activity gives each of us a new or different perspective on what each of us feel is our “role” as Rotarians.
Speaking of that committee, even though mother nature tried to derail their plans, the committee put together a successful River Party on the Sandbar in September after a couple of rained out dates. Thank you to Mary and Dan! 
Recently, Theresa and I, along with Treasurer Robbie Eidson and his lovely wife, had the opportunity to attend the Open House for PEP on Hilton Head Island, as they showcased the new vocational facilities they have. This is such a wonderful group of people doing special things in this community. They are already close to capacity and are looking for more room. If you have never had the chance or opportunity to see what PEP does for its members, stop by there sometime while on the Island and tell them you are a member of the Bluffton Rotary.  The Bluffton Rotary Club is proud to have a relationship with such wonderful people.
Also, recently I had the opportunity to take a few members of the Board of Directors to a Seminar put on by District 7770 at the S.M.I.T. in Florence, SC. President Elect Michael Putich, Treasurer Robbie Eidson, Membership Chair Quinn Baldree and Member Christopher Epps joined me for the trek up I-95 early that morning. We all were able to take part in concurrent seminars of a variety of subjects, while signing off on a MOU for next years’ Happy Feet grant monies. I am pleased to report back to the Club that the District has “upped” the amount of the matching grant back to $3,000 for FY 2016-2017, from the $2,600 for FY 2015-2016. At any time, any of the membership that would like to take the opportunity to come to any of the seminars, put on by the District 7770 leaders, please know you are more than welcome to join in the fun. It quite possibly, could give you some good perspective about Rotary from a District level as well as provide you with the chance to meet and talk with fellow Rotarians from across the District.
We have some exciting events coming up.  Sign up to volunteer for;  Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, Happy Feet, Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army. Don't forget about the Oyster Festival coming up in January. 
Fellow Rotarians, each of us are blessed in so many ways. The common blessing we all have, is  believing in "Service Above Self", and that the 4 way Test, is not just a catchy phrase, it’s a fact of life. An action where we live by a creed that we know, giving to others before thinking of ourselves is what we live by, and in the end, in a selfish manner, we will all be better for that.  In some networking circles, someone coined the phrase, “Givers Gain”, that is true in so many forms. If we believe that by serving others and providing for others before thinking of ourselves, I feel we will become better people!
Thank you for being a Rotarian!
Mike Covert