The Rotary Club of Brooksville is a vibrant organization that truly practices the motto of Rotary International – Service above self. Rotary provides fellowship and leadership opportunities for local business people and, most importantly, donates to local non-profit organizations.
Their luncheon meeting on Thursday, June 22, was called a Day of Giving to introduce the recipients of this year’s grants. Outgoing President Liz Casner conducted the meeting and introduced the current officers. They are as follows: Brandi Sanders (Foundations Chair), Diane Greer (Secretary ), Karen Lund (Membership Chair), and Karen Nicolai (Treasurer). A new slate of officers will take over this month.
One of the projects that the Rotarians are most proud of is their Seminar for Tomorrow’s Leaders which is held every year at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Brandi Sanders explained that the delegates are juniors from high schools all over the Tampa Bay area. Two students from Hernando County attended this weeklong event. Students who’ve attended previous sessions lead the conference.
Liz Casner remarked, “It’s a life-changing experience for the students, and friendships are forged.”
Another important event that has taken place annually for the past forty-four years is the Brooksville Rotary Auction. Months go into planning the auction, and members solicit donations of items from area businesses that are then auctioned off. These items might be something as small as a $25 gift certificate to a restaurant or as expensive as a car. This year the club raised more than $30,000, a new record for them.
For several years the Rotary Club has supported Art in the Park, an annual event sponsored by The Hernando Fine Arts Council. The Rotarians have volunteered their time to work at one of the booths and have also donated funds. This year’s donation amounted to $500. Allisa Babor was there to accept the check on behalf of the Fine Arts Council. She mentioned that Art in the Park draws dozens of artists and artisans from all over the country for the two-day event and attracts thousands of visitors, thus helping the local economy. The website for the Fine Arts Council is www.hernandoarts.org
Operation HeartF.E.L.T. was another recipient of a Rotary grant. The club donated $500 to aid them in their backpack program. The last part of its name is an acronym standing for Feeding Empty Little Tummies. It’s a 100 percent volunteer organization whose mission is to provide nutritious meals to Hernando County children suffering from food insecurity. Every week, the volunteers fill backpacks with nutritious non-perishable food for children to take home each Friday so that they have six meals over the weekend. Operation HeartF.E.L.T. services, on average, about 250 students per week. Over the course of the school year, they provide over 260,000 meals. To find out more about Operation HeartF.E.L.T., go to www.operationheartfelt.com
The Pasco Hernando State College (PHSC) Foundation was also a beneficiary of the Rotary Club’s fundraising. The PHSC Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that assists the college’s mission by providing scholarships, programs, library resources, faculty and staff development, and academic equipment.
Lisa Yeager, a Coordinator for the West Campus of PHSC, stated, “We gave away $1.2 million last year in scholarships. We couldn’t do it without groups like the Rotarians.”
Jen Ferguson, another West Campus Coordinator, commented, “Rotary is working to make a positive impact in the community.”
The Rotary Club of Brooksville has a full calendar for the upcoming months. One key event in which they’ll be participating is the Hernando County Vet Festival on October 14 and 15. It will take place at VFW Post 10209 in Spring Hill. Admission is free, and there will be plenty to keep you busy. More than 100 vendors will be at the event, including food trucks. There will be live music, games with prizes, displays, and much more. All the proceeds will go to help veterans organizations.
At the beginning of each meeting, the members of Brooksville Rotary Club, like all Rotary Clubs, recite the following guidelines for what we should think, say and do. It’s called the Four Way Test and dates back to 1932: 1. Is it true? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
We could all adopt those four standards in our daily lives. For more information on the Rotary Club of Brooksville, go to www.brooksvillerotary.org.